Top crochet-alongs CALs of 2023
Crochet-alongs are a great way to get stuck into a project, so join us in looking at this years top CALs.
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.
What is a crochet-along?
Crochet-alongs are generally online 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 come with extra tutorial videos to help you through each stage of the pattern, as well as having associated hashtags or Facebook groups so that people can share photos 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 the year, and many of the patterns are free, so we'll be updating this list regularly.
Take a look at some of our favourite crochet-alongs that you can hook up in 2023 (and be sure to keep an eye on this page for the latest updates!)
The best crochet alongs of 2023
Simply Crochet's Golden Moments Blanket CAL
This brand new 6-part CAL from Simply Crochet started in issue 134, but if you missed out on any parts you can still catch up. This brilliant design by Eleonora Tully (a.k.a Coastal Crochet) is chock full of colour, textures and stitches, and is made up of panels that celebrate those special moments in life.
- Find out more about the latest issues of Simply Crochet (as well as how to access back issues)
- You can also download any issues you've missed via the Simply Crochet digital issues app or from Ravelry.
Graceful Gull Make-along
This new crochet-along starting on the 31st July 2023 and running until the 15th September is definitely one not to miss.
The amazing crochet designer Heather of Keep Calm and Crochet On UK has teamed up with indie yarn dyer Kitey (aka the yarn whisperer) to bring you a brilliant summer crochet along.
You'll be making a shaped shawlette together, made from gorgeous hand-dyed-to-order over a relaxed time frame, it's a brilliant summer project and would make a great choice for your first make-along!
- Sign up to the Graceful Gull Make-along on the KCACO website
Maya's Meadow CAL
We're so excited to see this brand new CAL from the incredibly talented crochet designer Dedri Uys, which starts on the 26th June 2023 and runs over 11 weeks.
Dedri is especially talented at creating interesting motifs full of fabulous stitches, textures and unique shapes, and this crochet-along blanket is no exception.
It's made up of 12 large motifs and 20 smaller motifs, all joined together and finished off with a border. With stunning colours, interesting shapes and some stunning details (the dragonflies made from lace and textured stitches are amazing!), it's a CAL that we can't wait to start!
More like this
- Learn all about the Maya's Meadow CAL on lookatwhatimade.net
Time to Bloom CAL
Here's another crochet-along by one of our favourite designers – the Time to Bloom CAL by Hannah Cross runs from the 3rd - 31st July 2023.
Hannah has created a beautiful blanket made up of stunning hexagon motifs specifically designed to help you to develop your crochet skills. From making the motifs to that tricky joining stage, you'll be in good company with Hannah and the crochet community making along with you.
There's loads of resources to help you too, from handy videos to live weekly Q&A sessions with Hannah. You can take part for free, but there's also an affordable VIP option which gives you early access to many of the resources, as well as a host of bonus videos, tutorials, offers and more – it's well worth treating yourself to!
- Get involved with the Time to Bloom CAL from HanJanCrochet.
More ways of making
CALs are great for learning new crochet skills, but if you're interested in expanding your skillset with even more crafts, then check out our pick of the best craft kits for adults!
Crochet alongs to make at any time
While part of the joy of a crochet-along is making it at the same time as others, there's no reason that you can't still enjoy them after they've finished.
Breaking up patterns into parts makes larger projects more manageable, and many come with handy videos to help you tackle each section. Here's just a few of our favourite CALs that we think are worth checking out.
Rooms with a view CAL by Coastal Crochet
Eleonora Tully (otherwise known as Coastal Crochet) has made quite a few crochet-alongs in recent years, with her colourful blankets proving popular with many crochet fans.
Made up of inspiring and varied panels, her latest 'Rooms with a View' CAL takes inspiration from window views around the world, and can be made in two variations; 'light's on' features white windows or 'light's off' depicts black windows.
There's also the chance to personalise the panels with your own views too, and the patterns are completely free and each part has an accompanying video.
- Check out the Rooms with a View CAL on the King Cole website
The any yarn crochet along by Dora Does
Here's a crochet-along that you can make at any time as well as using up existing yarn in your stash.
The 'any yarn crochet along' is a garment CAL, creating a round yoke sweater or a raglan cardigan using Dora Does patterns (available on Ravelry, Etsy or Lovecrafts).
The genius part is that both of these patterns have been designed in a way so that you can use any yarn, so whether your stash is full of 4ply or choc full of chunky, you can make the most of your existing supplies.
The CAL was split into weekly sessions, but even if you missed them you can still access all of the resources and rewatch the weekly videos. It's a great CAL to try if you're thinking about tackling your first garment project.
- Read all about the 'any yarn crochet along' on the Dora Does website.
Day Tripper Blanket CAL
There's no mistaking the colourful crochet style of Katie Jones! This popular crochet designer is all about bright colours worked in fun and varied motifs.
Her Day Tripper Blanket CAL which is exclusive to Sirdar is a great CAL for crocheters of all abilities. It's available to buy as a bundle that includes the pattern and all the Sirdar yarn you'll need, plus there's handy videos where Katie guides you through each part too.
- Get your hooks stuck into the Day Tripper Blanket CAL from Sirdar.
Patchwork Cardi CAL by MakeAndDoCrew
The majority of CALs tend to focus on fancy stitches or motifs for big beautiful blankets. However, if you fancy hooking up a gorgeous garment 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).
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 CALs 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 in 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!
- Head to our Hook 'n' Learn crochet along to find out more.
How to choose the right CAL for you
Crochet-alongs are loads of fun, but there are a few factors to consider before jumping straight in!
Materials you need
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 CALs will suggest more budget-friendly options if the main yarns are expensive, or if not then they will almost certainly tell you the yarn weights and quantities so you can make substitutions.
Project size and time commitment
Most CALs 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 time you realistically will be able to commit 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 CALs are designed to be suitable for beginners, some of them will probably be too big for your very first crochet project! But don't worry, there's plenty of smaller crochet kits to try!
Craft projects by post
If you love the idea of regular crafting time, take a look at our pick of the best craft subscription boxes - monthly crafty goodness delivered straight to your door!
Develop your confidence in crochet
Crochet-alongs are a great way to improve your crochet skills, as the support and community means there's plenty of help if you get stuck.
Many people can be daunted when first trying a large pattern, so following a CAL or using a crochet kit means you can just enjoy the making
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.
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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