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CGOA's New Blogger Team

Monday, December 21, 2015

The CGOA Now! blog has some exciting things in store for 2016. We've just assembled a new team of volunteer bloggers who will be helping all your favorite long-term CGOA bloggers keep you up-to-date on CGOA news and all things crochet, so you can expect to see more frequent and informative posts in the new year!

We'd like to introduce you to the new team, but first...

Did you know CGOA Now! is your blog? All members of the Crochet Guild of America are eligible to submit blog posts for CGOA Now!. If you have something you'd like to say to the crochet community or would like to join the volunteer blog team (and are a current member of CGOA), please send an email to CGOAnow {at} crochet {dot} org.

And now on to our new blogger team!

Laura Blake



Laura's grandmother taught her how to crochet when she was 8 years old. She crocheted on and off throughout the years until she made a baby bonnet for a friend in 2013, and hasn't stopped crocheting since. She loves to show how beautiful crochet can be (and that's its not inferior to knitting). Her experience has now grown to include testing patterns and proofreading for designers. You can find her on the web on Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Marie Segares



Marie Segares is an accomplished crochet blogger and proprietress of Underground Crafter and the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur podcast. She is a Craft Yarn Council Certified Crochet and Knitting Instructor who regularly teaches fiber classes, has had patterns published in numerous magazines, and contributes to several craft blogs. While crocheting is her favorite craft, she also enjoys soap making, quilting, sewing, embroidery, and even knitting! She can be found on the web on Facebook, Ravelry, and YouTube, and on Twitter @ucrafter and @cyeshow.

Stacy Vaka



Stacy learned the art of crochet from her aunt when she was 12 years old. She launched her blog, Crochet Kitten (where she uses the nickname Animator's Wife), in 2007 to support her crochet and belly dance habits. She enjoys the mathematical, designing aspect of crocheting, but also likes putting together tutorials to share her love of crochet with the world. Find her on Facebook, Ravelry, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Book Review: Boho Crochet: 30 Hip and Happy Projects

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Title: Boho Crochet: 30 Hip and Happy Projects
Contributing Editor: Marinke Slump

Book Review by Marie Segares, UndergroundCrafter


Boho Crochet is a collection of 30 crochet patterns by 10 popular crochet designers (including Etsy shop owners and bloggers) from the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, and the US. These designers are known for their embrace of bohemian-style projects influenced by 1960s and 1970s crochet as well as their use of vibrant, contemporary colors.

The book opens with an introduction from Marinke Slump, who brought the collection together, and bios of each of the 10 contributing designers. Next, there is a Project Selector, which is a graphic table of contents with a thumbnail of each pattern along with the pattern name and designer name. (This is the only place in the book where the designer name is linked to the pattern.)

The first section, Crochet for the Home, includes 19 patterns for blankets, pillows, and decorations, including 4 “one star” (beginner) patterns, 11 “two star” (intermediate) patterns, 3 “three star” (accomplished) patterns, and 1 “four star” (advanced) pattern.

The next section, Crochet Fashion, includes 2 “one star” patterns, 8 “two star” patterns, and 2 “three star” patterns for women’s accessories such as neckwear, a shawl, a hat, fingerless mitts, and bags.

Each pattern page includes an introduction, a pattern skill rating, and a supply list that lists the yarn by weight and fiber type, but not brand. About half the patterns indicate gauge is not important. Most patterns include several full color pictures.

The final section is Crochet Techniques. Tools and Materials shares some general tips about yarn, hooks, and notions. Getting Started includes multi-step photo tutorials of basic stitches and techniques. There are also photo tutorials for increasing, decreasing, crocheting in the round, changing colors, joining and seaming, and finishing, and a written explanation of common pattern reading challenges. The book ends with a listing of the yarns used in each project and an index.

The bright colors and inviting pictures are definitely inspiring, and the detailed tutorials in the back make this book ideal for an adventurous beginner crocheter who is hoping to take their skills to the next level. All of the patterns have been previously published, and quite a few are available for free online. The book has also been “translated” from a UK version, and all of the patterns use US crochet abbreviations. However, some of the formatting has not made the transition, so US crocheters who are accustomed to reading patterns from traditional publishers will need to adjust to the lack of spacing (e.g., ch55 instead of ch 55).

The book is beautifully presented and would make a wonderful gift. Crocheters who spend a lot of time online may have already accessed some of these designs for free or by purchasing them on Etsy or Ravelry, but others would view the book with fresh eyes. As with any pattern book, your enjoyment will be increased if you love the patterns. Unfortunately, there is no Ravelry source page set up for the book, but you can see several photographs on the official Martingale page for the book here.

Full disclosure: A free electronic review copy of Boho Crochet was provided by Martingale. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.
 

2015 CGOA Design Competition Winners!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


The 2015 CGOA Design Competition was held last week at the Knit & Crochet Show (the conference for CGOA and TKGA members) at the Town & Country Resort & Conference Center in San Diego, CA.

There were many hands helping in the design competition this year. I want to personally thank my co-chair, Bobbie Matela, our judging manager, Karen McKenna, the many helping hands at the conference, including Edith Smith, Diane Miller and many, many more, as well as everyone who helped “man the booth” on the show floor (there are too many of you to list)! We couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now for the announcement of the winners in the 2015 CGOA Design Competition! 
 

In the “First Time Entrant” category, sponsored by Susan Bates, the winners are:

3rd place - Harem Nights by Amy Curtin
 
2nd place - Woodland Winter Jacket by Heather Galluzzi
 
1st place - Emily Rose by Kayt Ross

 
In the “Young Designer” category, sponsored by The Marian G. Wilburn Foundation for Fiber Arts, the winner is:

1st place - Catherine Wheels Skirt by Grace Rosburg

 
In the “Artistic Expression” category, sponsored by Creativebug, the winners are:

3rd place - Danakil Depression by Kayt Ross
 
2nd place - Cobblestones by Kayt Ross
 
1st place - Spiral Blues by Ann Wicker

 
In the “Accessories” category, sponsored by Clover, the winners are:

Honorable Mention – Ombre Celtic Knot Necklace by Jennifer Ryan
 
3rd place - Spring Floral Pin by Jean DeMouy
 
2nd place - Eleanor Shawl by Kathryn White
 
1st place - Hearts Galore by Sandy Gold

 
In the “Afghans & Home Décor” category, sponsored by WEBS America’s Yarn Store, the winners are:

Honorable Mention – Shades of Teal Afghan by Kayt Ross
 
3rd place - Behind the Picket Fence Throw by Shari White

2nd place - The Long & Short of It by Vicki Buford

1st place - Country Gardens Pillow by Joyce Geisler

 
In the “Thread Crochet” category, sponsored by Bernat, the winners are:
 
3rd place - Blue Bird Doily by Kathryn White

2nd place - Spring Leaves Wedding Dress by Brandi Isham

1st place - Free Spirit Doily by Kathryn White

 
In the Fashion” category, sponsored by Interweave Crochet / Love of Crochet, the winners are:
 
Honorable Mention – Lollapalooza by Julia Bryant

Honorable Mention – Blue Poppy Lace Coat & Poppy Pin by Alla Koval

Honorable Mention – Checkerboard Cardigan by Shari White

Honorable Mention – Aegean Dress by Kristin Lynn
 
3rd place - Velella Poncho by Shari White

2nd place - Tunica Geometrica by Susan Walsh

1st place - Legacy by Kathryn White

 
For “Technical Merit”, sponsored by Mary Maxim, the winner is:
           
Spring Leaves Wedding Dress by Brandi Isham
 

For “Peoples’ Choice”, sponsored by Happily Hooked Crochet Magazine, the winner is:
 
Spring Leaves Wedding Dress by Brandi Isham
 

And the “Grand Prize” winner, sponsored by Red Heart, is:
 
Emily Rose by Kayt Ross
 

Please join me in thanking all of our generous and supportive sponsors this year. And a big “CONGRATULATIONS” to all the winners in each category of the competition!
 
If you'd like to see photos of the winners, please see my blog post here: http://thecrochetarchitect.com/2015-cgoa-design-competition-results/.
 
If you'd like to see photos of all the entries in this year's design competition, please see my Flickr album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskfWHM9T.

Now it’s time to get those hooks busy designing entries for next year’s CGOA Design Competition!

 
Happy crocheting,

Susan Lowman
2015 CGOA Design Competition Co-Chair

 

Book Review: Playtime Stackers

Sunday, July 5, 2015



Title: Playtime Stackers
Author: Donna Collinsworth

Book Review by Renee' Rodgers (www.reneecrochet.com)

Cute, cute, cute! That’s how I would describe this new booklet from Annie’s and author Donna Collinsworth. 
A unique offering, Playtime Stackers has six playsets that include stacking rings with a doll that hides neatly inside. For crocheters who like to make toys, this is a perfect fit. 
Projects are suited for both boys and girls. Instructions are written, without diagrams; but if there are any difficulties, just visit StitchGuide.com for help. 
All of the toys in this book would make adorable baby shower gifts or birthday presents for the little ones. 
(Annie’s, 2014; pages, $8.99, ISBN: 978-1-57367-599-4)
Full disclosure: A free review copy of Playtime Stackers was provided by Annie's Crafts. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review: Crocodile Stitch Afghans



Title: Crocodile Stitch Afghans
Author: Joyce Lewis

Book Review by Renee' Rodgers (www.reneecrochet.com)


If you’re a crocheter, you would have to be living under a rock to not know about crocodile stitch. It has been a very popular stitch for several years now. 
Enter Crocodile Stitch Afghans, a collection of five new blankets. My personal favorite is the Water Lily Throw. 
All instructions are written in a clear and concise way. As an added bonus, if you need any extra help to complete the projects, a visit to StitchGuide.com will clear things up. 
If you need a new crocodile stitch project, this book has it!
(Annie’s, 2014; 24 pages, $8.99, ISBN: 978-1-57367-562-8)
Full disclosure: A free review copy of Crocodile Stitch Afghans was provided by Annie's Crafts. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review: Hooked on Crochet! Afghans



Title: Hooked on Crochet! Afghans

Book Review by Elena Hunt (www.beatriceryandesigns.com)

Annie’s has done it again!  Hooked on Crochet! Afghans is a fabulous crochet pattern book and a great addition to my crochet library!  There are six magnificent patterns by three great crochet artists. This 28 page pattern book has easy-to-read instructions, including written instructions and crochet graphs for each pattern.  If you have been looking for a unique afghan pattern, this book is for you.

The eye-catching Pretty Peacock Afghan (pg. 7) that graces the cover of this book is top on my list to make and has been one of my favorite afghans this year. Another favorite is the Bouquet of Daisies Afghan (pg.37); I would love to make this afghan for my own home, perfect for a summer throw.  There is also a Jewel Tones Tunisian Afghan (pg. 4) and a Baby Heirloom Afghan (pg. 12) for those of you who are looking for something in those styles! 

The patterns in this book vary in skill level from easy to intermediate, but the clear and easy to read instructions would make any of these patterns doable for an average crochet hobbyist.

If you love to crochet afghans like I do, I hope you will try one of the great patterns in this book and get Hooked on Crochet! Afghans into your crochet library too!
Full disclosure: A free review copy of Hooked on Crochet! Afghans was provided by Annie's Crafts. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review: Crochet with Love Knots



Title: Crochet with Love Knots
Author: Jenny King

Book Review by Jennifer Cirka (www.jaybirddesigns.com)

If you are interested in making lightweight summer accessories, do I have a book for you! Crochet with Love Knots by Jenny King has some beautiful and trendy designs in the famous love knot stitch. Plus, I have a confession to make. I never learned how to make a love knot. Trust me, I always wanted to, but I was intimidated by the complexity of how they looked. So, I decided to conquer my fear and learn a new stitch while reading this book to review.

This booklet from Annie's features eight different and fashionable patterns using the love knot stitch. All patterns are rated easy to intermediate in skill level and use different weight yarns. The booklet includes detailed instructions with photos that excellently describe how to make a love knot stitch, plus there is also a stitch guide and metric conversion chart. 

When I find a little more free time, I am looking forward to making the Sunset Circlet Wrap. I think it would be a great addition to my wardrobe for summer. Something simple to dress up jeans and a tank top while still looking professional. Right now, I'm not sure what color I would want to make it. 

When you are ready to learn a new stitch and make some amazing accessory items, Crochet with Love Knots will make a great addition to your library. 

(Annie's, 2014, 423 Pages, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-57367-539-0)
Full disclosure: A free review copy of Crochet with Love Knots was provided by Annie's Crafts. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review: Amamani Puzzle Balls



Title: Amamani Puzzle Balls
Author: Dedri Uys

Book Review by Lorene Eppolite (www.cre8tioncrochet.com)

Amamani Puzzle Balls by Dedri Uys features six adorable amigurumi animal puzzle balls. These loveable animals are based on traditional Amish puzzle balls.

Each puzzle ball comes apart in three pieces. Many of the puzzle ball pieces are interchangeable.

All of the creatures are super adorable and Dedri’s patterns are easy to understand and work up. The information section at the beginning of the book explains in great detail everything you’ll need to know to design you very own Amamani Puzzle Balls. The Basic Parts and Pieces section breaks it down even further.

Additionally, each creature has detailed illustrations and photos to really help you follow along without question. 

This is one of the best designed books I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing. The Stitch Guide at the end of the book along with the website provided will help any experienced crocheter or very determined beginner, be able to make these adorable little guys (and gals).


Amamani Puzzle Balls is available by Annies Crafts in either hardcopy or digital download for $10.99.
Full disclosure: A free review copy of Amamani Puzzle Balls was provided by Annie's Crafts. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

CGOA Masters Day at 2015 Knit & Crochet Show

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The CGOA Masters Committee is pleased to announce this year's CGOA Masters Day to take place at the Knit & Crochet Show in July in San Diego, CA. For more information about the Knit & Crochet Show, along with the CGOA and TKGA classes and events, please visit this website: http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/.

Here's all the information you need to know in order to register for this year's CGOA Masters Day (registration is available through the Knit & Crochet Show website, listed above):


CGOA Mastering Crochet the CGOA Way 
(Note that you have the option to take morning, afternoon or BOTH)

Two Sessions: Morning: 9am-12pm and Afternoon: 2pm-5pm
Price: $40 member/$50 non-member per session
Room: Salon Three

If you’re currently enrolled in the CGOA Masters program, would like to learn about the program, or simply want to take your crochet skills to the next level, join us for a full day or half day of information specifically targeted to enhance basic crochet skills and skills necessary for the CGOA Masters program. Topics covered will include: organizing your Masters notebook, getting gauge in rows and rounds, yarning over correctly, weaving in ends invisibly, joining smoothly, fastening off neatly, reading your stitches, foundation stitches, blocking and more. We’ll also be reviewing swatches in the program to teach you how to review your own work and we’ll explain what we’re looking for in the portfolio reviews.

Morning Session Will Cover:
Information and skills specific to the CGOA Masters program
(Introduction to the Masters program, introduction to the committee and the reviewers, organizing your notebook, reviewing Masters swatches and more)



Afternoon Session Will Cover:
Enhancing crochet skills
(Improving your basic crochet skills, reading & understanding patterns, knowing your stitches, finishing, blocking and more)

Supplies to bring: Swatches for informal review, portfolio in progress (or finished), swatch(es) for blocking, worsted weight yarn and crochet hooks.

Homework: Write down your questions for the CGOA Masters co-chairs and portfolio reviewers. Make any swatches from the program that you’d like to have reviewed onsite.


We hope you'll take advantage of the 2015 CGOA Masters Day and all that the Knit & Crochet Show (CGOA Conference) has to offer!

The CGOA Masters Committee

Natioal Crochet month

Tuesday, March 31, 2015





I have the honor of being the last blogger for the crochet month of March.  You have the honor of reading my first ever blog!  Since the topic is crochet I think I’ll share with you how much crochet means to me. 

I first taught myself to crochet (over 50 years ago) when a cousin moved out of state and gave me an unfinished granny square afghan.  Not wanting to waste yarn I taught myself to crochet and finished the afghan and I was hooked! (Pun intended!)  I was just starting motherhood and over the years my five children had many crocheted items to wear and play with.  I have lost count of how many afghans  I’ve made, but a few years ago I went out of state to help a daughter with her kids when she was having health issues.  One day I opened the linen closet and saw LOTS of afghans.  At first I didn’t recognize them but then realized I had made them all and she certainly didn’t need any more!  The same goes for my other children!



Like lots of crocheters after I was comfortable doing crochet I started playing with published patterns to make them to my ideas-longer, shorter or even a different stitch.  I entered several magazine crochet contests and actually was a finalist.   I’d see designs in publications and realized that they were very much like ones I had designed. That awakened a desire in me to be published but was too timid to do so.

Fast forward to 1993.  I saw an announcement in a crochet publication (can’t remember which one) that someone named Gwen Blakley Kinsler was trying to organize a national crochet guild.  She was organizing a conference in Chicago at DePaul University that next summer.  Was I excited!  My kids were on their  own by that time so I was able to afford to go.  What an experience!  I took classes and met people who’s names I had seen in publications as designers.  I was rubbing shoulders with the crochet world elite!!!

 This was the chance to become a founding member of the Crochet Guild of America.  Well I’ve attended each summer conference since then and besides taking LOTS of classes I’ve had the opportunity to meet with publishers and have been published in various books and magazines.  If not for the CGOA I never would have found the courage to approach publishers with my designs.  I now have crochet friends all over the US as well as Canada, Ireland, England and Australia.   I’ve even had the opportunity of going to Ireland on a crochet tour.

I’ve also helped to found the Ididachain Crochet Guild in Alaska.  We are now 16 years old.  Several of us met on the internet at Crochet Partners and that was the start of our guild.

To sum all this up, crochet and CGOA has given me the opportunity to grow both as a person and of course as a crocheter.  Thank you God for crochet!!!



Delma Myers

An insider's look on CGOA!

Monday, March 30, 2015

I must admit, when I was nominated to the Board of Directors for 2014-2015, I was completely honored, but I really had no idea how this whole organization worked!  I had learned a few things being the Buddy Program Coordinator, as well as having the opportunity to speak with almost all of the Past Presidents and former Board Members, but it wasn't really until I was in on the Board that I caught a glimpse of the big picture. I have had a whole year to dig in and get going, and I thought now would be a great opportunity to share with you what I have learned!

Volunteers

Board of Directors

As you have seen over the past week (and Delma tomorrow!) we are all people highly involved in the crochet community in various ways who care deeply for this organization and we do our best to keep it headed in the right direction, inspire new ideas and programs and help plan for the future while keeping in touch with the past.  We have at least 5 Board meetings a year, with one always being at the Summer conference.

Committees

As of right now, we have 13 different committees:
  • Advisory Committee
  • Masters Committee
  • Chapter Development
  • Nominations
  • Fundraising
  • Communitcation & PR
  • Message Boards and Forums
  • Hospitality
  • Event & Online Education
  • Professional Development
  • Design Contest
  • Jean Leinhauser Hall of Fame
  • Website Member Content/Member Benefits
Each of these have at least a Chairperson who coordinates all the efforts and other volunteers and a Board Liason who keeps track of the committees work and reports to the rest of the board the great work being done and any issues that they may need help with.


Offinger

Offinger is the company that manages the day-to-day work of an organization as well as our event planners.  They handle the membership accounts, manage the crochet.org website, plan all the logisitics of conference, and help to keep the Board on track and conforming to our bylaws.

Without our Volunteers or Offinger, CGOA would not exist.  Over the next few weeks, be sure to check back here for an expanded look into each of these committees and how we need  YOUR help!

I want to thank you you for stopping by today, and for all the hard work Amy and Donna have done to keep the Blog Tour running.  I hope you have had a great National Crochet Month, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon!!

 
 
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