If you’re wondering ‘what is a CAL?’ – well we’re not talking about calories or Californians, we’re talking about crochet-alongs! These fab projects are hugely popular among new and more experienced crocheters alike, as they encourage a real sense of community with fellow crocheters who are also making the same project.
Crochet-alongs are generally patterns for larger projects such as blankets, where the patterns are released in stages so that people can crochet the individual parts at the same time. Many CAL’s have associated hashtags or facebook groups so that people can share photo’s of their progress and completed projects. Lots of crochet-alongs are also available with accompanying yarn kits, so that you know you have all the yarn and colours to make your project from start to finish.
There’s loads of different CAL’s out there, and many of the patterns are free, so we’re taking a look at some of our favourite crochet-alongs that you can hook up in 2021!
Top 10 crochet alongs of 2021
Beachcombing Blanket by Eleonora Tulley
Regular Simply Crochet designer Eleonora Tulley (a.k.a CoastalCrochet) loves nothing more than crocheting by the seaside, and that’s exactly where she found the inspiration for her stunning Beachcombing Blanket! This crochet-along was originally released as free patterns over a 12 week period on the Coastal Crochet blog, but now that the CAL is finished you can also buy the full complete pattern on Ravelry.
Jane Crowfoot’s The Fruit Garden CAL
Crochet legend Jane Crowfoot is the brain behind many of our favourite crochet-alongs, and this year she’s done it again with her gorgeous The Fruit Garden CAL! This gorgeous design is inspired by the Arts a& Crafts movement, and features beautiful 3d crochet floral motifs. You can find out more about this and the other amazing crochet-alongs Jane has designed here!
Scheepjes 2020 Crochet-along
Scheepjes not only produce a huge range of amazing yarns, they also produce some of the most amazing CAL’s out there! Scheepjes have been bringing us a yearly CAL since 2014, as well as many other MALs (make-alongs) in between. They’ve recently announced their new official 2020 CAL – d’Histoire Naruelle, an incredible blanket designed by Scheepjes Blogger Christina Hadderingh. As well as hooking up the crochet-along together, there was also a special read-along of the book that inspired the CAL – Anthony Doerr’s best-selling novel All the Light We Cannot See. You can find out more about the CAL and read-along on the Scheepjes website.
Cushion Crochet-along by West Yorkshire Spinners
Blankets not really your thing? Then how about this gorgeous cushion CAL from West Yorkshire Spinners! This CAL was designed by Anna Nikipirowicz and is hooked up in gorgeous West Yorkshire Spinners ColourLab DK, a super-vibrant 100% British wool yarn. The pattern comes in 4 parts, so it’s a great CAL for if you’re not wanting to spend too long on your project! Find out all the details and get the free pattern here!
This brand new crochet-along from Deramores is a gorgeous blanket by five talented crochet designers (including a couple of Simply Crochet regulars) – Hannah Cross, Cassie Ward, Veronika Cromwell, Fran Morgan and Zoe Potrac. This CAL has been designed with great texture, simplistic patterns and mindfulness colours inspired by those that relax the body and help to reduce stress. The pattern is available for free on the Deramores website. To keep up to date with the CAL conversations and get help along the way you can also join their dedicated Facebook group.
Mosaic Dream Crochet-Along by Emma Leith
We love the intricate designs by regular Simply Crochet designer Emma Leith, and her new Mosaic Dream crochet-along blanket is full of fun techniques and stitch combinations. You can find the free pattern here, and yarn packs are available from Create and Craft.
Kaleidoscope Mandala Crochet Along by HanJanCrochet
Colour-lovers get ready to find your next project! This amazing Kaleidoscope Mandala blanket by regular Simply Crochet designer Hannah Cross (HanJanCrochet) is not only an explosion of colour but also a fun and challenging project for crocheters! Hannah designed this project so that as well as being an exciting make, it’s also the sort of project you can easily pick up and put down – plus as it’s made in bite-size motifs there isn’t a ridiculous amount of ends to weave in once you’re finished. You can find the full free pattern (and handy step-by-step tutorials) on Hannah’s blog here.
The Jewel of Summer CAL blanket by King Cole
This new CAL from King Cole is a fantastic mix of techniques and motifs that every crocheter will love! Designed by Carmen Heffernan, the blanket is made up in vibrant shades of King Cole Big Value Dk, so it’s a great CAL for if you’re wanting to make a big project on a budget. You can find the free pattern on the King Cole website!
The Kaledioscope Blanket CAL by Catherine Bligh
Here’s an eye-popping crochet design that really channels traditional quilting techniques! This fab design by Catherine Bligh uses a multitude of textures motifs to create an incredibly stunning design. You can still get yarn packs for this CAL from Wool Warehouse here, and the full pattern is available to download from Ravelry. You can also find out more on Catherine’s blog here.
Katie Jones Carnaby CAL by Simply Crochet
We couldn’t possibly write this post without including the latest CAL from Simply Crochet. Designed by super-star crochet designer Katie Jones, the Carnaby CAL is a 2-in-1 project, where you make all of the different motifs and then can decide to assemble your parts into a fabulously retro jumper or a brilliant blanket in the final part. The CAL is still running at the moment, but if you missed any parts you can still catch up on Ravelry (where the full patten will also be made available upon completion). You can find out more information about the Carnaby CAL here.
Simply Crochet Hook ‘n’ Learn CAL
We couldn’t help squeezing one more of our own CALs in! If you’re still relatively new to crochet, and maybe think some of these CAL’s look a bit difficult, then you should definitely check out the Hook ‘n’ Learn crochet-along! Designed by Lucy Croft and published in Simply Crochet during 2018, this 12 part crochet-along is a brilliant project for both beginners and ore experience crocheters. Each part of the blanket is made up of different stitches, so it’s a great way of widening your stitch repertoire! You can buy the full pattern, as well as finding plenty of handy tutorial videos and more on our Hook ‘n’ Learn crochet along post.