Knitalongs are a great way to enjoy knitting in a community
How do you choose what you will knit next? I myself choose what to knit next based on variables like birthdays (is a loved one’s birthday coming up soon? What would they enjoy?), need (one or both of my daughters outgrew her fingerless gloves, and it’s time to knit new ones), or what I call “the queue” (my mental list of whom I have promised handknits to, and who comes next on it).
In the absence of any of these variables, I choose what to knit based on my own desires. Maybe I haven’t knit socks for a while, and there’s a skein in my stash I’ve been dying to use. Or maybe I’ve stumbled across a really beautiful pattern that intrigued me so much that I just had to try it. The one constant is that the choice of what to knit is entirely my own. I choose what pattern and yarn I will use, and I choose when I will work on it or how quickly it needs to be finished.
But what if you put one or more of those choices into someone else’s hands? Suppose someone else chooses the pattern and says “today, we will start to knit this?” This is what we call a knitalong, often abbreviated “KAL” online.
Why Join a Knitalong?
Why would anyone want to put such knitting choices in someone else’s hands? I wondered that myself whenever I stumbled across word of a knitalong. Then one day, one of my friends passed along something called a Summer Mystery Shawl, and I was intrigued. I loved the idea of trying out a pattern, a few lines at a time, without even knowing what the shawl would look like when it was finished. I liked the intrigue and the challenge behind it.
Full disclosure: I later discovered that the pattern was far too complex for me, and I had to abandon it. But I enjoyed the attempt!
Another aspect I enjoy about a knitalong is the community. When you participate in a knitalong, you know that a group of knitters are working through the exact same pattern you are. You can ask questions. You can find out if anyone else had trouble with a tricky portion, and if so, you can also find out how they solved it. Conversely, you can help out others who may hit a rough patch. There’s also the sheer pleasure of seeing what a group of knitters can do with one pattern using entirely different yarns and, oftentimes, with entirely different knitting styles.
Where to Find Knitalongs
Knitalongs can be found in so many places. Hop on Ravelry and do a search for “knitalong” in the forums, and you’ll come up with thousands of results. Many yarn shops conduct their own knitalongs.
Knitalongs can often be found in knitting blogs as well. The blogs for WEBS Yarn Store and Lion Brand often host knitalongs; the links take you to their KAL-tagged posts. The Knit Purl Hunter blog is devoted almost entirely to knitalongs. And a Yahoo! Group called Six Sox Knitalong has been running a group knitalong devoted to socks since 2004!
So the next time you are pondering what project you will start next, why not consider joining a knitalong?