But first, here's a definition of a CAL from 25 Crochet Terms Defined on Kathyrn Vercillo's Crochet Concupiscence blog:
CAL: As the name suggests, this is a project in which a number of people each crochet the same pattern at the same time, often from different locations. It’s a great way to gain a sense of community while crocheting and to create some deadlines for yourself.1. Improve your skills
My main reason for joining a CAL is to learn a technique that I don't already know. I'm always looking for ways to build my skills. The Infinity Scarf is made in intermeshing crochet which I've never tried before. This technique is also called interlocking crochet and it's very similar to double filet crochet too. Last month I took part in a crochet sock CAL by Rohn Strong in his Crochet Sock Addict group. (I've been a little obsessed with mastering the crochet sock this summer! If you've been following my blog you'd know about this!)
Part 1 Ladder Stitch was the trickiest part to master but I DID IT!
2. Get help if you're stuck
In a CAL you have an opportunity to ask questions. My current CAL has a Facebook Group and a Ravelry thread for this. If you're too shy to ask questions, you are quite likely to find your answer looking at the issues that other people had and the solutions they found. It's also a valuable experience for me as a crochet teacher to see what difficulties people have and how they overcome them. It helps me support my students better when they get stuck.
3. More likely to finish your project
Another reason to join a CAL is that you are more likely to actually finish your project. Seeing other people post their progress photos is wonderfully motivating! I was having such a hard time finishing a sock (I kept starting new ones) but last month's sock CAL did the trick. The CAL has a deadline that everyone works to.
4. Being part of a group is fun!
I love the camaraderie of being a part of a group of people who are into the same thing as you are! It's fun to share your photos and see how other people are doing, look at their color combinations, like and comment on each other's progress...
5. And there are prizes too!
Everyone who finishes by a certain date goes into a prize draw. The haul for the CGOA CAL is pretty impressive. I'm not sure if one person gets the whole lot or several people get one prize each. Of course, rather inevitably, I've seen a book that I'd like to buy among the prizes (Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters: 200 Stitch Patterns in Words and Symbols by Melissa Leapman published by Quarto Group)
Here's a super article on how to find and join your first or next crochet-a-long by Marie Segares on her Underground Crafter blog. Why not give it a whirl?