Why Mystery KAL?

First Mystery KALWhat is a Mystery knit along (KAL)?  For years I have seen the “spoiler” posts for the mystery KALs on the Ravelry forums and wondered what it all meant.

When you sign up for the mystery KAL, the designer releases the pattern in sections, over a period of time.  You, and a group of other participants are knitting the pattern without knowing what the final object looks like.

I decided to delve in, and discover the Mystery KAL for myself.  I started my first mystery KAL 2 weeks ago.  In fact, I started my first knit-along of any kind 2 weeks ago.  I started the J Fleckenstein’s Summer 2016 mystery KAL which promised an easy shawl pattern.  In the process of participating in this KAL, I have learned a few things about myself and discovered some benefits and drawbacks to the mystery KAL experience which I have shared below.

Benefits

  • Each week has a knitting goal.  I do well with a knitting goal.  A new “clue” ie, the next step in the pattern is released periodically.  The first week, I knit like crazy to make sure I had clue 1 completed before the release of clue 2.  I completed clue 2 in just 2 days so I was sure it would be done well in advance of clue 3.   Having a specific knitting goal in mind, really motivates me to complete each clue on time
  • I love the mystery aspect.   I have always loved a good mystery starting with Nancy Drew in my younger years.  I guess I still really love a great mystery or surprise and wait with anticipation for the next clue to be revealed on Fridays.  I also anticipate the mystery of what the final shawl will look like.
  • I like knitting with a community.  I really enjoy exploring the other knitters’ project pages.   I also enjoy browsing questions in the forum for this project.  For me, the community is the main reason to participate in a KAL.
  • I received the pattern for free.  If I wanted the pattern now, I would have to pay a small fee.

Drawbacks

  • Yarn choice is difficult.  I’m hesitant to buy expensive yarn when I don’t know what the final product will look like. It is also more difficult for me to decide on the best yarn for the project when I don’t have a visual image of the finished project.  The KAL called for 2 skeins of fingering weight yarn.  The designer for this pattern has gorgeous yarn for sale that is suggested yarn for the pattern.  However, I did not feel comfortable spending more than $60 on a knit I wasn’t sure I would like.
  • The knitting can be uninteresting.  The shawl for this KAL has been almost entirely in garter stitch.  This pattern has been easy, as promised, but so far I’ve been waiting for a more challenging or interesting section of the pattern.
  • It can be difficult to trouble shoot the pattern directions when you don’t know what the final product will look like.  When I knit, I constantly compare my knitting to the pattern photograph to ensure that I’m interpreting the directions correctly.  There is no pattern photograph to use for this purpose in a mystery KAL.

Overall, I am enjoying the mystery KAL experience and will probably do another one after I complete my current project.  Or perhaps I’ll try a classic knit along where I still get the advantage of knitting with a community but have the advantage of knowing what the final product should look like.

I would love to hear about your experiences with any mystery KALs that you have done.  .

 

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