As you maybe already know, I recently finished my first Mystery Knitalong. A Knit ALong (KAL) is where a bunch of people knit the same project during a specific time frame. If it’s a mystery KAL it’s a knit along where you don’t know at the beginning of the KAL how the end product looks like.
To knit something this way was new for me. You trust in the instructions of the designer. At first you get only the boundary data: the yarn weight, required yarn length, the size of the needles (to obtain gauge) and an indication of what it should be at the end, i.e. a hat, a scarf or a shawl. Some designers reveal a little more i.e. about the texture or shape of the product, square, round, with cables, lace…
MKALs or MCALs (Mystery Crochetalong) find favor with knitters or crocheter mainly by cooler temperatures. In the summer, Stephen West’s MKAL has already been announced and you had enough time to prepare. Since I like to try something new, I’ve gotten myself into it. The motivation is increased all the more, as I could encourage other knitters in my group to participate. Together, it is just more fun and you can motivate each other! Because sometimes not knowing what it looks like at the end or do not like the pattern and you have invested time and wool, raise doubts. In these moments are encouragements the right thing. In times of despair I also have persevered due to my knitting friends. At the end I’m so happy about the new garment and to broaden my comfort zone.
After the MKAL is before the MKAL: I loved it so much that I poked a little on Ravelry and have found the group ‘KAL Fanatics’. The group moderators do a great job, because I’ve rarely seen such a well organized group. There are threads for each month for the KAL / CAL. So you can very easily get an overview. But sometimes the choice is just overwhelming. That’s why I created a checklist.
How to choose the right MKAL – Checklist:
- Information search: Find out about the next KAL! Of course there are many ways to search the Internet for KALs. In my opinion I find it easiest (and best) organized the forum of the KAL Fanatics group of Ravelry.
- Time Frame: At what time (month) do you want to participate a KAL? Is it going to fit in your schedule? At certain seasons we have less time, because we still have to deal with other things, such as Christmas. Even while traveling, it is a little more complicated if you do not always have internet access to download the latest clues. Can you make it to knit the clue before the next one is already been activated? If you ever begin a clue not on time, the world does not collapse. But before all went through the KAL, you do not want to let you take the power or motivation. If you can not make it this time, for some reason, do not worry. There’s certainly a next KAL. But yet another project in progress, which is around the corner, you don’t want, right?
- Project Choice: Which project do you want to knit? What do you feel like to knit? A MKAL should be fun. But you invest time and wool for something that you do not know.
- Style check: Are there any further details on the project concerning the construction, the technique or the design elements? How is the style of the designer? Check the designer page and look at the designs. Do you like the style? If you like them, the MKAL will be shortlisted.
- Wool check: Is there information about the yarn weight? Do you have the matching yarn already? Can you possibly reduce your stash a little? Or do you enjoy a further visit to your yarn shop? Sometimes the designers also carry matching kits for MKALs which can be ordered. (Be careful with that point, it’s very tempting.)
- Decision: Do you check the foregoing points all positive? Make a decision and buy the pattern. Start with the preparations: choose the yarn/ color and look for the right needles. Maybe other tools are needed too. (If the size matters, I recommend to do a swatch to check your gauge.)
- Calendar check: Enter the dates in your calendar when the clues will be published! So you’re going to be reminded to the clues automatically and you don’t need to worry that you’ll forget it. (Now you can hardly expect to cast on.)
- Spread the word: Infect others with the MKAL-fever! Together, it is just more fun. Shared joy is double knitting fun!
What about you? Have you ever participate in MKALs? How was your experience? Would you add something to the list?