Board of Directors, CGOA
Executive Director, Craft Yarn Council
Wow, it’s been 20 years since CGOA was formed. I remember meeting CGOA Founder Gwen Blakely Kinsler back in the mid-1990s when she was organizing the first Chain Link conference. It’s amazing to see how CGOA has grown from that small group of enthusiasts to a national network of crochet fans.
CGOA is credited with raising awareness of crochet in the industry. Before CGOA, the yarn industry tended to be more knit-centric. As CGOA provided crocheters with a more unified voice, yarn manufacturers and publishers took notice. They began to realize the diversity of crocheters and the need for finer yarns, a more extensive selection of crochet patterns and they responded with exciting new yarns and an array of magazines specifically devoted to crochet.
The organization also reached out to crocheters nationwide to create local chapters. Today, at guild chapters around the country, crocheters regularly gather to enjoy the camaraderie of their shared passion.
CGOA’s national conference also has evolved. Its educational programs now provide members with the opportunity to take classes from nationally and internationally known crochet experts. Most importantly, the conference continues to serve as a community meeting place for crocheters from around the country to meet, greet, and share.
Of course, CGOA has done much more, including developing its acclaimed Masters Program. It’s this program that provides members with the opportunity to build their expertise with guidance from crochet experts.
From a personal perspective, CGOA and TKGA national and its chapters have always been tremendous supporters of Craft Yarn Council’s education initiatives. When the Council organized Knit Out & Crochet Events, it was guild members who committed to staff the Learn to Crochet and Knit tables at these venues. They literally taught thousands of novices how to crochet and knit. We couldn’t have done it without them and hopefully in the process many of these newbies went on to join that local guild.
Guild members have also been generous supporters of Halos for Hope, the wonderful charity that is being supported by the Crochetville blog tour, Warm Up America! and other industry charities, along with some of the Council’s more fun events like I Love Yarn Day, which is the celebrated on the second Friday of October. A number of guild chapters planned special events on that day to teach crochet to others and once again helped to raise awareness of the craft.
CGOA and its chapters have created an amazing community, which should be celebrated in March and year round!