TL:DR – Watch this 5 minute video while I go over what SAL means in cross stitch and 8 reasons why you should join one!
What is a SAL?
Cross Stitchers LOVE our acronyms!
SAL in cross stitch stands for stitch-a-long.
A stitch along is an event where a stitchy community gets together to all make the same pattern over a predetermined period of time.
Informal SALs are when stitchy friends just decide to make the same pattern. Each purchase a copy and usually start around the same time.
Most common are when the pattern is delivered in pieces. Instead of getting the entire pattern at once, you get it a piece at a time.
Kinda like this:
Is a SAL Only for Cross Stitch?
A stitch along can be for any kind of stitching. It can be for sewing, those are sometimes called sew-alongs.
It can be for knitting or crocheting and those are called knit-alongs. There are also make-alongs which can be for any craft, or multiple crafts to be made involving a theme.
What is a Mystery SAL?
Mystery stitch alongs are very popular right now! A mystery SAL means that you don’t know what the pattern looks like until it’s released to you piece by piece.
How Long is a Stitch Along?
The length of time that a stitch along lasts depends on the pattern and how the designers want to release it.
Some SALs are released week by week. Some patterns are month by month. And there have even been a few SALs that were released day by day.
One of the great things about a stitch along is that you don’t have to finish on time. You can stitch it at your own pace. Take your time and enjoy!
Where Can I Find a Stitch Along?
A lot of modern stitch-a-longs are online because it is easier to get together that way.
You can sometimes find them at your local cross stitch specialty boutique.
There are a TON. Just Google your favorite designer’s name and Stitch Along or SAL.
How Do I Get the Pattern?
Online stitch alongs are usually released by email. You get a piece of the pattern in an email attachment every week or every month. But not always!
Some stitch alongs give you a link that takes you to a website where you download the pattern. And there have even been a few SALs in Facebook groups where pieces of the patterns are released as files posted in the group.
Why Join a SAL?
Join a SAL if You Like Big Projects
Since any stitch along is usually made up of a lot of smaller pieces, it comes out pretty big. So it’s great if you like working on big projects.
Join a SAL if You Like Small Projects
Joining a stitch along is also great if you like working on small patterns, since it’s broken up into small pieces.
And you still get that satisfaction of completing a project every time you finish one of those smaller pieces.
There’s plenty of time in between releases of the larger pattern to fit in other projects as well. You’re not stuck!
Join a SAL for the Community
This is MY favorite reason for doing a stitch along!
It’s a lot of fun to stitch the same pattern together. You can share your progress. And if you made some changes to the pattern, share those, too!
Join a SAL for the Motivation
Some folks can have a hard time finishing projects we’ve started. #guilty!
If you’ve ever done a very large cross stitch pattern, you might have gotten bored with it over time. But, when you join a stitch along, you’re constantly motivated. When you see other people stitching the same pattern and making progress, it really helps you finish it.
And some people work better with deadlines. lol
The Stitch Along Pattern Might Be Limited
A SAL pattern might only be available for a limited time. While you can certainly take your time to stitch it, don’t wait until it’s too late before you snatch up the pattern.
Join a SAL to Lean About Cross Stitch
Yes, you should probably already have the cross stitch basics down.
But a stitch along is a GREAT time to ask questions because everyone in the community is very engaged. And often, you have direct access to the designer. They can answer questions about how to do a particular stitch, or about certain aspects of the pattern.
Join a Mystery SAL for the Surprise!
It can be very exciting waiting for the next release when you don’t know what it’s gonna be. Lots of suspense!
Join a SAL When You Don't Know What to Stitch
What if you LOVE a designer but you don’t know which one of their patterns to stitch next?
With a stitch along, the next pattern has been chosen for you and curated by that designer.
And, as I mentioned before the designer, is sometimes part of the SAL community – BONUS!
Now that you have a better understanding of what happens during a stitch along, now you just need to choose one. And there are MANY!
Almost every designer has one – some designers do them every year, and even every season.
The latest Notorious Needle SAL is coming along fantastically.
You should join us!