CAL (Crochet Along) – What and Where is That?!

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Picture is from ‘Frida’s Flowers’ by Jane Crow

There was a time, if you had a town of 500 women, about 490 of those women would be stay-at-home mothers, and about 450 of those women would practice a craft, like sewing, quilting, knitting or crocheting.  They would get together in ‘bees’ or ‘circles’ to share coffee, gossip and patterns.  Today, the inverse is more likely true.  With so many people holding full time jobs, and dealing with hectic family schedules, the few who still crochet have a hard time finding others who share their craft, and the time with which to meet them.  With the advent of the internet, those problems are solved.

Across the internet, you can find email groups, facebook groups, and websites devoted to bringing crafters together.  You can find links to some of these in my blog roll.  To further still the camaraderie, we now have Crochet Alongs (CALs), where thousands of people across the world all use the same pattern to create something beautiful.  Often these are mystery CALs, with just a bit of the pattern revealed at intervals.  This is a list of some of the CALS from April and May.  They are in no particular order, except I am participating in the 1st 4.

  • Frida’s Flowers by Jane Crow “The new project is called Frida’s Flowers Blanket is inspired by Mexican Folk Art and the colourful dresses worn by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.”
  • Mandala Madness by Helen Shrimpton “When Kimberly Slifer of the Official CCC Social Group on face book asked me to design a blanket/afghan for a CAL (crochet a-long) project for next year, I was, honoured, excited, chuffed to bits…. you get the idea! The ideas that went spinning through my head were crazy.  But I knew it had to be something very special, and so the idea of a HUGE Mandala started to form in my mind. As I started to work on the design I kept saying to myself “this is madness”… and so the name… Mandala Madness”
  • The Hekel Mandala by Annamarie Joubert-Esterhuizen  You need to request to join the facebook group, and the patterns are all available (in many languages) in the files of that group.
  • A Designers Potpourri by Sheri from The Country Willow, Cylinda from Crochet Memories, Cheryl from Homemade Hats by Cheryl, Donna from Articles of a Domestic Goddess and Rebeckah from Rebeckah’s Treasures.  Of these, thus far I am only doing the doily by Cylinda, Spring Pineapple Floral Lace.
  • Everything is Cool and Groovyghan by Heather Gibbs of KCACO-UK (Keep Calm and Crochet Along) “This is a mystery crochet-along for a rectangular mixed motif blanket where either blocks or rows will be introduced every two weeks. Lots of different shapes and stitches will be incorporated so it won’t get boring and there will be plenty of opportunity to play with colour!”
  • 2016 BAM CAL “Starting in January and ending in December we will have 3 squares each month, a main square , a filler square for those who want to do an extra 12” square each month  and a 6” square.”
  • Fran the Manghan Mystery CAL “The FRAN Mystery CAL will make what I hope you’ll agree is a manly/unisex blanket or throw. There are no flowers, circles or curves at all in the patterns – just straight lines and texture.”
  • Ali Crafts CAL “Mystery crochet along to make a granny square based blanket.”
  • DROPS Mystery Cal “The blanket will consist of a centre of granny squares surrounded by several types of edges with different patterns and stitches”
  • Garden Party Jacket   “If you’ve never made a garment before, this pattern is a great one to start with! You’ll no doubt be the sweetest flower in the bunch wearing this pretty.”
  • My Under the Sea Crochet Playbook  “3 x pages or 6 single pages (your choice) Appliques & crochet pieces to create 6 fun under the sea themed pages 1 x an adorable mermaid doll & accessories”
  • Mix and Match Crochet Along   (Note: The site for this blanket is in dutch, but there are translations for the pattern in English.)
  • Crochet Along to the Garden State by Julie Yeager  The pattern will be free and released over a period of about eight weeks here on the blog and also on Ravelry. (Note :  this becomes a paid pattern after the CAL)
  • Crochet Along 2016  “So I thought after less than a year of crochet under my belt whilst I love all these patterns other fabulous designers do I’d like to do my own and see whether I have learnt enough to design a simple crochet along.” (Note: blanket is a simple circle within a block)
  • 2016 Afghan Sampler   “What’s the best part about this blanket? It’s TOTALLY up to you how to crochet it! Crochet every block for a blanket that is perfect to snuggle under while watching your favorite television programs, crochet a few and make a blanket for your pets or kids, or crochet *two a week for the entire 52 weeks of the year* and create a beauty to adorn your king sized bed!”
  • Blanket of Secrets  (Note:  Variations on the granny block)  
  • Last Dance On the Beach  “As many of you know, this CAL was designed by the late Marinke Slump ( aka : Wink) from http://www.acreativebeing.com and was the final design she was working on at the time of her passing. In accordance with the wishes of Marinke’s family, 12 of her online friends and bloggers have completed her unfinished design to present this beautiful and sensitive CAL in Marinke’s memory and as a tribute to her work.”

I’ve not included CALs which aren’t in English, because I can’t read them sadly (I think I must move to The Netherlands – so much gorgeous Dutch work being done!), and I haven’t included paid patterns because I am not going to pay for something sight unseen.  I’ve started too many CALs and quit in the 3rd week because I just didn’t like them.  (Not that I mind – I just frog and move on to the next one!)

Next time I think I will give you links to some of the magnificent CALs from previous years.

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