“I have been making and creating from yarn crochet and knitted items for as long as I can remember. It brings me great joy to share these handmade items and especially to gift them to others I care about.”
On Instagram, Lynda, who is based in Melbourne, Australia, says that she is “inspired by artistic flair & creativity”. Lynda has an Etsy store called LoveGoodYarn where she sells her finished items. You can also find out what she’s up to on her website.
She was an inspiration to me; her generosity to share her amazing talent helped me to create a colorful crocheted cotton blanket. It was my first CAL (crochet along) that I participated in and my first use of cotton yarn. I enjoyed every moment of working with Wink’s wonderful patterns.
Marinke brought out the best in those of us who participated in her CAL2014. The enclosed mandala was made from the yarn I had left over from the CAL with Wink.
RIP Wink. You will be missed by so many.”
Since Lynda mentions the crochet along, I thought I’d share my own thoughts today on CALs. I haven’t participated in one myself (really not sure why actually!) but I always try to spread the word about them, support them and follow along with them while they’re happening. They’re a joy to watch as works of art that are similar but unique grow step by step across blogs and social media. Some are short, some are long, but they’re all fun and inspiring.
I started actively following the online crochet community in 2011. There were CALs then but it really seems like they’ve exploded in the last year or two. Whereas in the beginning I’d only spot a couple per year, usually promoted through groups on Ravelry, now I see multiple CALs happening all throughout the year, many of which take social media by storm and get picked up as news on the major craft blogs. Plenty are hosted or sponsored by yarn companies and other groups in the industry. More and more people are getting involved in CALs then ever before, at least from what I can tell.
I mention this because I’ve been thinking about the potential health benefits of CALs. The most obvious one seems to be that you’re working together with a group, so you feel the benefits of being part of a community. In sharing your work with others online and getting positive feedback about it, you’re receiving validation for your art and craft. In working on the same thing that others are working on, in tandem with them, you feel those ties to the people around you even if it’s virtual. You feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself, which is hugely emotionally satisfying and healing.
In my book, Hook to Heal, I reference some of the points that author Gretchen Rubin makes in her Happiness books. I am current reading her newest book Better Than Before which is about establishing habits that help improve our quality of life. She talks about how a lot of people require some kind of accountability to others to maintain a habit, even a habit that they enjoy, and how creating this kind of accountability can strengthen the habit and encourage us to stick with those things that we love. The CAL does this, too, making many people commit to their crochet time because they’re following along with the timing of the CAL. When this happens, the individual likely receives all of the other health benefits of crochet. When you commit to walking with a dog or a buddy, you walk more and receive the benefits of walking; when you commit to a CAL, you crochet more and receive the benefits of crochet.