I am what the Ravelry and Podcast worlds refer to as a lurker. I listen, watch and follow other knitters constantly without ever interacting. Some might equate this with stalking… but that’s just silly. Nevertheless, I am determined to break out of my lurking habits. I may be socially and geographically isolated from other knitters, but in the age of social media, I don’t need to be completely cut off.
That is why the new theme for the year is KAL. I love to KAL. All knitters love to KAL. We already follow each others progress on projects, KALS just give us a better reason. When a knitter hears about an up-and-coming KAL, they buy yarn before even knowing what it’s for. Though this may be yet another rationalization for buying yarn, knitters cannot seem to fight the urge to KAL.
For the non-knitters in the group [HI MOM! ;)], to KAL is to knit along. These KALs come in many shapes and sizes. There is the pattern-specific where a group of knitters choose one pattern to complete within a set time frame, which will most likely be extended… several times. Then, the ever-popular themed KALs. January might be Finish it or Forget it! while February is Second Sock Makes A Pair. 2012 has been themed as The Year of the Stash Down for many knitting groups.
I find that these two KAL options both provide such an opportunity for growth. Pattern-specific? Choose a KAL focusing on a new technique and then ask everyone in the group to hold your hand and practically breathe for you as you make your first cuts to steek for the first time (which I am still terrified to do). Themes? Ultimate stash-down and queue-up opportunity. You may start off feeling proud of yourself for choosing a pattern and yarn you already have, or for finishing that long-awaited second sock. Then you show off your work-in-progress only to find ten more patterns your KAL members are making that you just have to knit! Thus, the endless queue.
Often, either KAL choice ultimately leaves your stash bursting at the seams as you watch others knit up yarns that you (clearly) should already have in your stash, but somehow are lacking. Good thing your local yarn shop just received a shipment, Etsy is just a few clicks away, and you have your favorite online yarn shops bookmarked!
However, the most important part of a KAL – actually knitting along and interacting with fellow knitters, no matter how many miles away. Knitters who then connect over color choices and combinations, pattern styles, and helping others reach their knitting goals. This is the reason I embarked on an epic shawl right after the New Year, only to barely finish by the (extended) deadline.
This month – my first mystery KAL! It’s too bad this month is the shortest month of the year, all three clues have been released, and I’m still only on the cuff of the first colorwork mitten… it might not be so mysterious for me afterall. But I will, at the very least, post one in-progress picture to the Ravelry board! Maybe.