If you've never heard of a CAL before, we're not talking about calories or Californians – we're talking about crochet-alongs! These fab crochet along 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.

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What is a crochet-along?

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 crochet along 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 that are released throughout a year, and many of the patterns are free, so we'll be updating this list regularly so take a look at some of our favourite crochet-alongs that you can hook up in 2023 (and be sure to check in regularly for the latest updates!)

The best crochet alongs of 2023

Talavera Blanket CAL from Simply Crochet

Simply Crochet Talavera blanket cal

Running from issue 122 to 128 of Simply Crochet was the brand new Talavera Blanket crochet along! Designed by Ana Morais Soares, this stunning blanket is made over 7 parts, starting in the centre of the blanket and working outwards. This Spanish-inspired blanket is packed full of fun new stitches for you to learn and plenty of eye popping colours, and if you missed any of the issues you can still find them available as back issues or digital issue!

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Get your copy of Simply Crochet or find a back issue here

Pssst, keep an eye out for news of a new Simply Crochet CAL for 2023 coming real soon!


Christmas Eve Wishes CAL

Christmas Eve Wishes Cal

If you're feeling festive already and can't wait to get started on some Christmas crochet, then we think you'll love the Christmas Eve Wishes CAL. Sirdar have teamed up with designer Made by Anita to bring you this brilliant blanket CAL full of fab colourwork designs and textured stitches. Plus as it's made using Sirdar Bonus DK, a brilliant acrylic yarn that is remarkably affordable, so even if you're saving up for Christmas you can still afford to treat yourself with this awesome CAL.

The CAL runs from the 20th October to the 24th November 2023, with the patterns being release each week on madebyanita.co.uk

Get your Christmas Eve Wishes CAL yarn pack from Sirdar.


Hoooked Christmas Calendar 2023

Hoooked CAL

'Tis the season for Christmas CALs, and yarn brand Hoooked have got a brilliant project for their 2023 CAL. Designed by Nathaly from Studio Belovely, you'll use soft cotton and gold Lurex yarn to create an amazing advent calendar which can be used year after year!

The CAL starts on October 24th and runs over 4 weeks, plus it's available in English, Dutch and German. The patterns will be released for free on the Hooked Xmas CAL Facebook Group.

Buy your Hoooked Christmas Calendar 2023 yarn pack from Hoooked


Echoes Mystery CAL

From October 10th- December 18th, The Frosted Stitch and Knot Bad Britt will be running their own mystery crochet along. It's the perfect CAL for autumn as it'll teach you how to make your very own fingering weight shawl. All the patterns will be uploaded to Knot Bad Britt's blog and will run for 10 weeks.

Sign up and get your 10 week Mystery CAL


Black Sheep Wools HoHoHo Crochet Along

Start feeling festive with Black Sheep Wools HoHoHo crochet along. Created with Rosina Plane, this funky crochet blanket celebrates all things Christmas. Featuring overlay mosaic crochet technique, you can choose from three different colourways, modern, sepia and traditional.

Pick up the yarn packs from Black Sheep Wool and download the pattern from Rosina’s Ravelry page.


Scheepjes Christmas Tangle MAL

Scheepjes Christmas Tangle MAL

There's nothing quite as festive as a big tangle of fairy lights! But us crocheters are well experienced with knots, so embrace the challenge with the Scheepjes Christmas Tangle MAL. This fabulous blanket is made using interlocking crochet and can be made in two colourways – and if you think it looks a bit tricky, there's a free potholder pattern to match so that you can practice your stitches before tackling the blanket!

Oh and if you're wondering why it's called a MAL instead of a CAL - it simply stands for Make Along.

Find out more about the MAL at Scheepjes.com

Buy your Scheepjes Christmas Tangle MAL yarn pack at Wool Warehouse


Down by the Sea CAL

Coastal Crochet down by the sea

CAL's aren't just for Christmas, so if you're not a fan of all things festive, we think you'll love this Down by the Sea CAL. Designed by Eleonora of Coastal Crochet, this new CAL is just the latest in a series of amazing and popular CAL's by Eleonora, and features her signature style and uses lots of fun and interesting stitch techniques.

The CAL is available in 2 different colourways (inspired by Brighton beach and Bournemouth beach). The CAL runs from Friday 4th November to Friday 9th December and the pattern parts can be found on the coastal crochet website.

Get your Down by the Sea CAL yarn pack from theKnittingNetwork.co.uk


Happy Square CAL

Hobbii Happy Squares CAL

We are SOOO EXCITED by this brand new CAL from Hobbii! The Happy Squares CAL is a mystery crochet-along design by Sandra Torrance aka @littlegoldennook, and as it is made up of happy squares it was also appropriately launched on 15th August 2023 - which just so happened to be Granny Square Day! The project is made of 5 parts which are supplied to you in 4 weekly emails once you sign up, and of course there's a CAL kit available to buy too!

Find out more and get your Happy Squares CAL yarn pack at Hobbii.com


Strawberries & Cream Crochet Blanket CAL

Strawberries-and-Cream CAL

We're big fans of crochet colourwork, but it is a technique that has some elements that many people struggle with. Thankfully super-star designer Hannah Cross has created an amazing crochet-along to help you conquer colourwork! The Strawberries & Cream crochet blanket CAL ran from the 1st-31st of July and Hannah included a range of options to suit every type of crocheter (and their budget). You can still catch up with the CAL for free on her blog, purchase an ad-free pdf of the pattern, or sign up for the online course which as well as the pattern includes ad-free and bonus videos, tips and resources!

Find out more and join the Strawberries & Cream Crochet Blanket CAL at HanJanCrochet.com

CAL's are great for learning new crochet skills, but if you're interested in expaning your skillset with even more crafts, then check out our pick of the best craft kits for adults!
craft kits for adults weaving

Patchwork Cardi CAL by MakeAndDoCrew

The majority of CAL tend to focus on fancy stitches or motifs for big beautiful blankets, but if you fancy hooking up a gorgeous garment then we think you'll enjoy this Patchwork Cardi CAL by Jess of MakeAndDoCrew. This awesome design can be made in either the multi-coloured Original colourway or the ombre style Lite version, and is made up of just 4 parts (each with an accompanying video for each part too).

Find out more about the CAL here or buy the ad-free pattern on Etsy

patchwork-crochet-cardigan-free-pattern

Hook N Learn CAL from Simply Crochet

We couldn't help squeezing one more of our own previous 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 more experienced 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.

Simply_Crochet_Hook_n_Learn_CAL_main

How to choose the write CAL for you

Crochet-alongs are loads of fun, but there are a few factors to consider before jumping straight in!

Firstly, pay attention to the materials needed – and most importantly, how much they cost. You can often get pre-assembled yarn packs for crochet-alongs that will contain all the yarn you need. However, you don't have to use the exact same yarn. Some CAL's will suggest more budget friendly options if the main yarns are a bit expensive, or if not then they will almost certainly tell you the yarn weights and quantities so you can make substitutions.

Most CAL's are often based on larger projects such as blankets, and while the community and regular pattern parts are encouraging, you don't want to fall behind. Think about how much you realistically will be able to crochet each week, or whether the CAL is designed so that you can go at your own pace.

Finally, take a look at the techniques involved in the CAL. Most are designed to give all skill levels the resources and knowledge to follow the CAL, but you should also consider your experience and preferences – for example, are you wanting to learn new stitches or do you just want to focus on some intricate crochet colourwork?

Similarly, while many CAL's are designed to be suitable for beginners, realistically most of them will probably be a little bit too big for your very first crochet project! But don't worry, there's plenty of smaller crochet kits to try!

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Check out our pick of the best crochet kits

If you like the idea of taking on a new project but would rather go at your own pace, then you should check out Gathered's pick of the best crochet kits for beginners and pro's.

Authors

Matt SpiersDigital Assistant, Gathered

Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.

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