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The first CAL I came across was Sophie Universe designed by Dedri Uys from Look At What I Made. It is about epic large blanket with lots of colors and structure. And later last year I run my own first ever CAL Circles of the Sun, which is about 9 small squares in overlay crochet technique joined together into a pillow cover. But I have never followed any CAL’s myself. Until recently, when Last Dance on the Beach was released by Scheepjes. And I am a part of it.
|Last Dance on the Beach. Weeks 1 and 2.|
CAL’s can be mystery and regular. In mystery CAL you don’t see the finished project till you come to the end: every week a new part is released and your wip is growing, but there is still a secret about the final look. And in regular CAL’s you can see the final product at once. Both variations have their advantages. Mystery CAL has a kind of secrecy and excitement. And in regular CAL there is more space for choosing right shades and thinking about possible color ways.
|Last Dance on the Beach. Week 1 and creative chaos.|
By the way today a new square from Last Dance on the Beach was released, and it’s week 6 already!! It was designed by Carmen from Crafty Queens in corner-to-corner technique (you can download the pattern HERE, and video tutorial is available HERE). I am also following this CAL and here are my finished squares (blue):
This CAL is a kind of a challenge for me as I am learning new techniques and stitches every week. Last time I heard about seagull stitch, which was used by Nerissa from Miss Neriss in her design (here are the pattern and video). Isn’t this square filled with meaning and emotions? I LOVE it!
So what are the reasons to follow the CAL? I have created a list of 10 thoughts. The numbers don’t mean some of them are more or less important. But if you have never followed any CAL’s, I hope you will find a good enough reason for yourself.
- New fresh design. Many CAL’s involve newly created designs which have never been published before. And joining the CAL gives you an opportunity to be on the top of the trend. But it’s also true that sometimes designers decide to run a CAL with already existing pattern. Just for fun.
- Designer’s support. Because CAL is run in real time, the designer is also available for answering questions and giving help and advice if needed. Many designers have their own groups on Facebook and Ravelry, and it is very easy to reach them. By the way you can have a look at my own Ravelry group HERE. I will be happy to hear from you and see your finished projects. Or you can also share your pictures with me on Facebook HERE.
- Support from other crafters. Very often CAL’s unite hundreds and of thousands people, all passionate and excited about crochet. They hang around in specially created groups and are happy to help each other when there are any problems with understanding the pattern.
- Making new friends. Online community is amazing. When I started to design I got many new people to know from all over the world. And surprisingly many of them became my friends (though I am a total introvert, yes).
- Learning new tricks and techniques. As mentioned about I learn a lot from following Last Dance on the Beach CAL. It is all about new techniques and stitches. Every week I am introduced to something I have never known before. And feel how my general crochet level is increasing.
- A chance to (finally) finish your WIP. Do you have the same problem as I? Lots of unfinished wips and new projects coming in all the time. And CAL is really great in this situation because it motivates to finish what you’ve started. Because of the huge energy coming from the craft community and wish to interact with other people. It’s a little bit sad to give up and abandon the project when others are going on and their projects are growing.
- Crochet therapy. During the CAL you are forced (in a way) to crochet regularly. And great healing power of crochet is well known. When you follow the CAL, you are never alone. You can talk to other people and share not only your projects, but also your feelings and concerns. And it helps you to stay in line when you mostly need it.
- Discovery of new resources, designers and blogs. Following the CAL opens a window to the whole new world of resources and ideas you haven’t probably heard about… When I see a new CAL coming up, first thing I do is checking designer’s page and blog. And often I make wonderful discoveries and start following inspiring blogs.
- Building self-confidence. Because of the permanent support from designers and other fellow crocheters during the CAL, the problems with reading and understanding the pattern are being resolved themselves. And I believe with this support you can very often cope with something you would not be able to do on your own. And this definitely helps to raise self-confidence.
- Giving birth to your own creative child. Working altogether with one and same pattern, people sometimes begin to think of their own tricks and variations. I believe that following the CAL can help develop the freedom of crochet, and give space to some self-designed elements. You should though be aware of the copyright issue! :)
Here are my reasons to join the CAL. What are yours?
And here is how my Last Dance on the Beach blanket looks so far:
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