Showing posts with label CGOA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CGOA. Show all posts

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Importance of Crocheting Networks



There is one simple trick that can greatly improve your crochet and your crochet experience, networking.
Networking can greatly help in a professional manner for those interested in following a career in crochet, but in its simplest form it can help you improve your crochet skills. Sharing our passion with ours is an opportunity to learn and grow, finding other crocheters allows you to gain new insights to methods and approaches that you have not thought of before. 

Finding networking opportunities vary dependent upon where you live, you can seek out local crochet guilds (from CGOA), or even local get-togethers(from Ravely), or even gatherings at local coffee shops, community or senior centers, libraries, and local yarn shops. Even finding a few “crochet friends” can improve your skills and bring new joy to your work. 

If you are a crochet professional or aspire to be, then networking with follow professionals can greatly assist you in your profession. You can never be a expert at all the skills you need to make your business grow, but by networking you can find the people and the tools that can help you. 

For 2014 there is one event in  the United States that can aide both professionals and non-professionals in obtaining networking opportunities, the CGOA 20thAnniversary Chain Link at the Knit & Crochet Show, in Manchester, NH July23-27. There are opportunities for all to get together and make the connections that can last a life time. Pre-Registration ends June 30, so if you haven’t already, make your plans to attend, it could just change your life (This I speak to as a personal experience).

Monday, April 21, 2014

CGOA 20th Anniversary Conference: Opportunities for Professionals



Once again CGOA offers vast opportunities for those that are, or those that strive to be, professionals in the crochet industry!

At the Knit and Crochet Show this July 23-27, 2014, in Manchester, New Hampshire, there may not be the traditional “Professional Development Day (PDD)”, but there are many learning and networking options available. 


On Wednesday, there are three different events that can aid any professional. “Get Your Geek On” is an opportunity to discuss crochet structure and technical processes of actually creating a stitch; while “Master’s Crochet the CGOA Way” may be focused on the CGOA Master’s Program, but will share with you information that will improve your crochet abilities and help you to look critically at your work. I cannot forget “Professional Think Tank”, an informal setting that is designed to aide all crochet professionals, by addressing your pressing questions, and honing your communication skills while networking with others.

However the opportunities do not end with Wednesday. 

The CGOA Education Committee has had a hand in ensuring that there are some terrific classes such as:

  • ·         Thursday “Design Inspiration” with Lily Chin.

  • ·         On Friday there is “How to Market Your Knit & Crochet Business” with Kate Preston and “Independent Pattern Publication” with Mary Beth Temple.

  • ·         Saturday continues different options with “Color Theory and Fiber Artisan” with Suzanne Allen.

  • ·         While Sunday rounds out options with “Healthy Hands” with Suzanne Allen, “Draping a Pattern- a Demonstration” with Lily Chin, and “Teaching Challenges” with Karen Klemp. 

This list does not even include all the wonderful technique classes available, there are so many to list that I would basically be reposting the class listing. 

There are also many “informal get-togethers” being planned for those that are recognized as Associate Professionals and Professionals with CGOA (keep an eye open on the Professional Yahoo Group for the locations and times, they will be posted as the event nears). If you are interested in applying for Associate Professional or Professional status, please apply here (www.crochet.org). 

If you are able to attend this, the 20th Anniversary conference of CGOA, you will not be at a loss for learning and gaining new friends!

Check out all available classes, events, and registration at http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/

Look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

CGOA twenty years strong!

Mary Colucci
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! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Love to Crochet Your Own Originals? Enter the CGOA Contest!


Love to Crochet Your Own Originals?  Enter the CGOA Design Contest!




If you are a crocheter who often does your own original wonderful creations, here are a few reasons you should enter the CGOA Design Competition.

·         It is fun to see your creation exhibited with other outstanding crochet designs.

·         It will give you a reason to really stretch yourself and create something that will give joy to yourself and others.

·         It may lead to crochet fame and give you credibility with magazine editors, book publishers and yarn companies (if you’d like to become a designer in the industry). I know as Design Manager at Red Heart I found new designers this way.

·         And last (but not least), there are monetary prizes in each of the 5 categories: Fashion, Accessories, Home Décor & Afghans and Thread Crochet. And this year there is a special category, the CGOA 20th Anniversary Award, that will be given to the entry that best celebrates and exemplifies the spirit of CGOA in 2014.
Last year I was one of the judges lucky enough to see the amazing designs up close and personal. Boy was I wowed! The Design Competition grows each year as CGOA grows. It is the most exciting part of the conference (other than seeing crochet friends and meeting new enthusiastic crochet people and taking classes and shopping the market and so on and so on). So I encourage you to enter the contest and let the world see what you can create!

You'll need to become a member of CGOA (if you are not already) and check out the competition rules that will be on the CGOA site soon (or maybe they are being added as I upload this).

Here are a few photos of memorable winners from 2013:



Mille Fleurs Dress by Dot Drake (Grand Prize)
Granny’s Tree of Love by Deborah Bagley (Afghans and Home Décor Honorable Mention)

Owl Sit with Your Yarns by Deborah Bagley (Artistic Expression 3rd prize)




A big thumbs up to Amy and Donna for hosting the Crochetville Blog Tour! As a new member of the CGOA board, I am very pleased to be a part of this community. We are supporting the charity, Halos of Hope. Please see their site for how you can help. halosofhope.org

Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrating National Crochet Month 2014

Welcome to the next stop on the Crochetville blog tour in celebration of National Crochet Month. We'd like to thank Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka for putting this event together again this year. I hope you are enjoying all of the stops and you can find the complete list here in case you missed any of them.

Please join us in supporting Halos of Hope as we collect handmade hats for cancer patients. You can find all of the details here including where to ship your hats and many hat patterns you can use.


For those of you who don't know me, I am Tammy Hildebrand and I currently serve as the Vice President of CGOA. It is an exciting time as our board of directors are working on many new ideas to bring as much value to your membership as possible.

If you haven't visited our Facebook page yet, please stop by. This is where we post our announcements making it the perfect place for you to hear our latest news. We wouldn't want you to miss out on anything!

In celebration of National Crochet Month as well as the fact that our Facebook page is approaching 30,000 fans, we would like to offer you the opportunity to win a prize! We value each and every one of you and hope you will consider joining CGOA if you are not already a member. You can read the top 25 reasons to join on our website but there are just too many benefits to list them all.

To enter for your chance to win a copy of Rustic Modern Crochet, simply leave a comment on this blog telling us why you love the Crochet Guild of America! You can also earn another entry by "liking" our Facebook page if you aren't already a fan. Please share the crochet love by sharing our page and let others know about CGOA! We will also select 5 additional entries to win the pattern of their choice (up to $9.99) from Crochetvile! Good luck everyone! We will announce our winners next Monday, March 24.
Tammy Hildebrand
http://hotlavacrochet.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hot-Lava-Crochet/260649393965228


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Friday, November 29, 2013

CGOA Membership: The Perfect Gift

The CGOA Membership: The Perfect Gift
'Tis the season of either wondering what to get the crocheter(s) in our lives, or wondering what to treat ourselves with.  With so much cooking, traveling, shopping, visiting, and social obligations, who has time to worry about making gauge?  Of if Aunt Jane or Uncle Bobby needs another size G crochet hook, or if that particular shade of yarn is one she/he already has in her/his stash...

Fortunately, the CGOA has the perfect gift for every crocheter that is sure to fit perfectly, and with plenty of room for growth in both skill AND friendships!  ... This perfect gift is the CGOA Gift Membership!
CGOA: Where skill and friendships
blossom


An individual one-year (USA) membership is still just $35.00!  There are many wonderful reasons why being a member is so cool.  In fact we have over 25 reasons listed on why being a member is a fantastic experience: from the subscription to Crochet! magazine with our ChainLink newsletter inserted inside, to discounts at our annual Conference, and at various National and Retail locations, and more!

Gift memberships cannot be processed online.  They need to be faxed in or snail-mailed.  So to ensure your gift membership is processed in time for the start of our TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY, process your request today and be pleased in knowing your gift will last the entire year!!

((If Aunt Jane and Uncle Bobby already have a CGOA membership, they will still appreciate your thoughtful gift as it will count as a membership renewal for them!))

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Professional Development Day!

Thank you, Lion Brand Yarn, for sponsoring the CGOA Professional Development Day in Indianapolis! 

It was a fun and educational day thanks to our many fabulous presenters!

Bobbie Matela speaking on editor critique.

Melissa Leapman presenting how to create a proposal.

Kimberly McAlindin our emcee for the day.

Amy Shelton discusses social media.


Walking into the room was like walking in to a candy store! Lion Brand Yarn donated all the hooks and yarn for our attendees to make squares for “Warm Up America”! The tables were centered with all different colors and collections to choose from!



“Warm Up America" provided several different patterns to work on - lots of fun deciding what to do first! Our Attendees really knocked out a lot of squares for a great cause!


A very big thank you for all the great raffle prizes that were donated! 
Karen Ratto-Whooley, Pamela Price Designs, Ellen K. Gormley, Coats & Clark/Red Heart Yarn, Margaret Hubert, Susan Lowman, Random House/Doris Chan, Crochet 1-2-3/Value-Publishing, Caron Yarn, Universal Yarns and Tahki Stacy Charles all donated to help raise funds for “Warm Up America”!  We collected $486 in raffle sales! Thank you!


Most of all we would like to thank those who attended Professional Development Day! Without your attendance there would be no Professional Development Day! You don't need to be a professional to attend our event - it is for the everyday crocheter or knitter who is considering/dreaming about entering the profession - whether you are thinking about designing, contract crocheting/knitting or tech editing.

It's not too late to sign up for our October Professional Development Day in Concord, NC! We hope to see you there!















Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Enter the Professional Development Committee's GIVEAWAY CONTEST!

Giveaways are a lot of fun and this one is no exception! CGOA's Professional Development Committee is excited to tell you about a fabulous free giveaway sponsored by Lion Brand yarn.



Lion Brand is the proud sponsor of Professional Development Day which will be held in Indianapolis, IN on July 17 and in Charlotte, NC October 2. You can find all the details here http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/ and we hope you can join us for at least one show!

What Can You Win?

Take a look and see the fabulous prize package you can win. (Disclaimer: All photos shown are meant as samples only. Yarn photos do not indicate the color that may be included in the prize package.)

Copyright: All photos are copyright Lion Brand Yarn and are used with permission.






  • A tape measure, tote bag, and crochet hook

How Can You Enter?

To enter, simply comment on this blog post. If you've attended Professional Development Day in the past, tell us what is your favorite part about it! If you've never been, tell us why you would love to attend. You can also earn a second entry by visiting and "liking" the CGOA Professional Development Facebook page.


Contest Rules
Contest will be managed by the Rafflecopter app on the CGOA Professional Development Facebook page. Winner will be selected by random drawing by Rafflecopter.
Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
Must be 18 years or older to enter.
Void where prohibited by law.

Contest ends July 1, 2013, at midnight EDT.

Winner will be announced on the CGOA Professional Development Facebook page.

Winner must provide a valid email address to the CGOA Professional Development Facebook page via a Direct Message to the page by midnight EDT on July 8, 2013. If a message is not received by that time, the prize package will be forfeit and another winner will be selected.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email 48 hours after receiving email address.

Good luck to everyone!

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

20th Anniversary Logo Design Contest


An important milestone, the twentieth anniversary of CGOA, is fast approaching and a grand celebration will take place in 2014. Where did the time go? There is no time like the present to begin planning a fabulous celebration to honor all our members past and present who have contributed so much to our beloved organization.

The celebration committee wants to tap into the talents of the creative members of our organization, so they are having a contest to find the best logo for the anniversary celebration. The theme is A Proud Past, A Brilliant Future and the celebration colors are emerald green, white and platinum. Pins and other memorabilia will be made using the winning logo design and it will also be used for all sorts of promotional materials to spread the word near and far that CGOA is alive and well after 20 years!

Please send some of your creative energy our way; we would love to have members who are passionate about crochet lend their talents to the creation of this very special logo. The winner will be announced at the 2013 Chain Link Crochet conference in Indianapolis. and will receive a pin with her winning design plus a monetary prize of $250.00 from Crochetville. Deadline: June 25, 2013.

Entry Rules:

-Deadline: June 25, 2013

-Submit via email to: CGOA@offinger.com with 20thLogoContest in the subject line.

-CGOA members only are eligible to enter the contest

-Winner will receive a logo pin with the winning design and $250.00 from Crochetville!

-Submit your logo design in color on an 8 ½ X 10” paper. It may be hand drawn and does not have to be camera-ready format.

-Design must be original and never used elsewhere
Incorporate the anniversary colors however you choose; Incorporate crochet or a hook, if possible; Have fun, be creative!

-Individuals may submit as many ideas as they
-Winner will be selected by blind voting by the Past Presidents’ committee and announced at the 2013 Chain Link conference in Indianapolis

-Winner will be featured in an issue of Chain Link newsletter and recognized at the 2014 Chain Link crochet conference

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Get Hooked!



Kudos to Amy and Donna for this cross-country crochet tour….it’s been amazing.

I’m lucky because I work in the yarn industry. I live crocheting and knitting 24/7. I sometimes point to my work and my natural aversion to “regular” group meetings as the reason I never joined my local guild sooner. Then I had an epiphany or you could say I got “hooked” (sorry, I couldn’t resist) when the Craft Yarn Council, my employer, organized the first Knit-Out & Crochet events in New York City in the late 1990s. I reached out to area guild presidents asking for volunteers to help us teach crochet basics. The response from the guilds was amazing and that’s when I first got to meet so many of the members of the New York City Crochet Guild

I confess the other reason I hesitated joining the guild was that while I love to crochet and knit and have since I taught myself as a kid I’m happy stitching moderately easy to easy intermediate projects. I don’t aspire to tackle complicated projects so I assumed I’d be laughed out of any guild because I wasn’t creating drop-dead gorgeous projects. Of course I was wrong. I came to realize everyone is at a different level, has a different interest and there are no crochet police lurking at the meetings! It didn’t matter what I crocheted so much as I shared a love of crochet and fiber, which I certainly did.  What is most appealing about the guild meetings is that they are just plain fun. There’s lots of cheering when members show off projects during Show and Tell…and lots of laughs that come with sharing.

Then my involvement with the Warm Up America Foundation brought me to CGOA national and I’m currently a Board member, another epiphany. Hopefully, many of you have heard about this national charity (www.WarmUpAmerica.org) where crocheters and knitters volunteer to create afghans for people in need.  I set up a booth to promote the charity at the Knit and Crochet Show, which hosts both CGOA and TKGA conferences. Of course, seeing the displays of new yarns at the marketplace was great but it was meeting the crocheters from around the country that made the trip so worthwhile. Then there were the classes, informal get- togethers and fashion show that rounded out an amazing weekend.

Ok, I confess I’m probably not going to tackle any expert projects any time soon, but I took away so many ideas from the show that I could incorporate into my own level of projects. Seeing first hand how other crocheters, as well as the industry’s top designers, are using all the interesting new fibers and colors with basic stitches, was inspiring. I’d urge every crochet enthusiast to try to get to a national conference---there are two a year and they rotate around the country—but if you can’t, check out your local guild or start your own. I promise, you’ll get hooked too!

Mary Colucci

Monday, March 18, 2013

CGOA News from our President

While I know many of you and you me, I know that most of you are probably wondering who this person who, for 2013, will be your president.  My name is Cari Clement and I live in Montpelier VT with my husband and two Maine Coon cats.

There's so much we're working on this year:  the new website, increasing membership value, linking up with more chapters, putting together this year's By the Board pattern book, increasing our presence - and contests - on Facebook, and so much more.  I also invite you to create your own page on crochet.org.  You can link to your own website, your Etsy site, your Pinterest board and lots more.  Hope to see your page up soon!

While you'll soon be able to "meet" all your board members from their upcoming profiles on crochet.org, I thought I'd give you a bit of my own background.  I learned to knit at the age of 8 from my mom, an avid knitter, but I'm a self-taught crocheter, having picked it up while in college, thanks to all the inspiring crochet of the 60's.  My degree (from UMass) is in Textiles, but from the Fashion and Marketing/business standpoint.  Yes, I'm probably more of an entrepreneur than anything, as I've only worked for other companies for maybe 3 or 4 years after graduating from college until I sold my last business, Bond America, and joined Caron International as their Creative Director back in 2003.  Late 2011 Caron was sold to Spinrite (Bernat, Patons) in Canada and I became the Editor of two new magazines:  Knit 1-2-3 and, of course, Crochet 1-2-3.  Some of my other experience includes owning a fabric/yarn store in the 70's, a freelance knit and crochet design business in the 80's and a yarn and knitting machine store in the 80's.  When I'm not crocheting or knitting, I love spending time with my daughter, her husband and their two kids, who live just down the street.  I'm also a gym rat every weekday morning, an avid beader (bead crochet, embroidery, kumihimo), gardener and traveler.  In 2003 I founded Rwanda Knits, a non-profit that has helped women in Rwanda earn a living through knitting (and crochet).  The 150+ women now have a knitting center and run a self-sustaining independent business.

My passion for crochet stems from the nature of the needleart itself: free - and fabulous.  While, yes, there are rules and there are patterns and there are charts, there's just one hook and one stitch - and with them you can go wherever you want.  It's the passion of crocheters and the talent of the amazing designers, most of them professional members of CGOA, who have really inspired me.  (I even learned to do Tunisian entrelac, finally master Doris Chan's foundation stitches and, at a conference, learned to do Darla Fanton's reversible bead crochet.)  The skill of the tech editors, without whom there would be no accurate patterns anywhere, is totally amazing.  And the teachers, both professional and the rest of us who teach whoever is willing to learn, who keep skills growing.  However, it's all of you, the CGOA family, who make all of us work as hard - and have as much fun - as we do.  And it's you who we need to hear from:  ideas, suggestions, criticisms, questions, expectations met and unmet - whatever's on your mind you'd like us all to hear - and act on.

As President, I hope to see the organization through some significant, positive changes this year which include a plan for bringing on many more members, increasing membership benefits to all members, building the crochet.org website, working to make conferences the best they can be, launching a scholarship program, supporting Susan and Jane while they make the Masters Program grow and develop, involving more CGOA chapters being spearheaded by Mary and Jack, helping contribute to Tammy's amazing social media projects, working with Marcy on making that website run like clockwork and working with Karen Knies, our Executive Director, to make CGOA the best it can be.  Yes, it takes time - but we have the will - and the skill - to make it a reality.

And a thanks to the duo at Crochetville for making this tour possible!

- Cari Clement

Sunday, March 17, 2013

National Crochet Month and Professional Development


I'd like to thank Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka of Crochetville for hosting this exciting blog tour in celebration of National Crochet Month! I have enjoyed reading all the posts each day this month. You can find the complete list here in case you missed any of them.

Please join us in supporting Project Night Night which is an organization that provides homeless children with a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children's book, and a stuffed animal -- all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. You can find all the details here.

For those of you that don't know me, I am Tammy Hildebrand and I am thrilled to be serving as your Vice President this year. Having previously served as CGOA's mentor coordinator and the professional development chairperson, I'd like to take this opportunity to share some of the great benefits CGOA has to offer.

Did you know the Crochet Guild offers a mentoring program at no additional charge other than the cost of membership? We've got professional members ready to help you achieve your goals whether you're working towards a career in technical editing, contract crocheting, teaching, and of course designing. You must already be actively pursuing your goals on your own but if you qualify, our mentor coordinator will place you with an established professional to work with one-on-one for up to two years!

Currently in development is a brand new online teaching group. Some of your favorite conference teachers will share their experience and knowledge on topics such as how to propose and prepare classes, creating handouts for your students, how to gauge your time, material fees and so on. This is not a class on teaching so you must already have some teaching experience.

And speaking of the conference, we will be in Indianapolis, IN July 17-21 for our summer show and in Charlotte, NC October 2 - 6 for our fall conference. Read about all the exciting events and classes planned for the annual Knit and Crochet Show. One of my favorite events is Professional Development Day, also known as PDD. This is a daylong event that kicks off the conference first thing Wednesday morning. Each year we have a different theme, various speakers and topics, and interesting formats to help you increase your knowledge about what it takes to be a professional.

Also at our conferences we hold a  "Designer Meet and Greet" with editors and publishers from your favorite       magazines and yarn companies. This is such a unique opportunity to have actual face time to show your designs to the publishers. It is not uncommon to sell a design right off your back! Where else could you do something like that? So what are you waiting for? Stop by our website to learn more and you too could be a member of the Crochet Guild of America!

Be sure to pop over to This is Crochet, our other stop on the tour today. Turquoiz Blue is one of our  professional members that designs beautiful fashion, accessories and home decor. Be sure to check out her Fleurette Scarf, a clever piece done in Tunisian Knit Stitch that I think is so pretty.

You can find me on my blog at Hot Lava Crochet and also on Facebook at Hot Lava Crochet. I hope I will  see many of you at an upcoming conference. Please be sure to come up and introduce yourself!

National Crochet Month and the CGOA Masters Program


First of all, I want to thank Amy Shelton at Crochetville for putting together this National Crochet Month Blog Tour: “A Tour through Crochet Country”! Please consider supporting Project Night Night, the charity we’ve chosen to support during March, 2013, for National Crochet Month. For more information about Project Night Night and this crochet blog tour, please visit the Crochetville blog post here: http://crochetville.com/a-tour-through-crochet-country-natcromo-blog-tour/.

I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Susan Lowman. I’ve been a professional member of CGOA (Crochet Guild of America) since 2003. In July, 2012, I was asked to join the CGOA Board of Directors as the secretary and Liaison to the Masters Committee. In October, 2012, I became one of the two Co-Chairs of the CGOA Masters Committee (the other Co-Chair is Jane Rimmer). I’ve also been a Masters portfolio reviewer since September, 2010.

I thoroughly enjoy being an active member of CGOA, which is comprised of members of all ages, skill levels and nationalities. We’re all very supportive of each other and help each other improve our crochet skills and knowledge. Corporate, professional and individual members mingle effortlessly at the annual CGOA Conferences and on the CGOA website. We support and encourage each other in our crochet endeavors, whether we’re professionals or hobbyists. We all love crochet and we speak the same crochet language!!! Joining CGOA is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Many professional opportunities have opened up in my crochet career (and in many other crochet designers’ careers) because of being a CGOA member and attending the annual conferences. My crochet skills and knowledge have improved through CGOA, too. I can’t imagine not being part of such a fantastic organization with members who are dedicated to the advancement of crochet!

As Co-Chairs of the Masters Committee, Jane and I work to improve the Masters program, correct errors in the program, oversee the portfolio reviewers, train new portfolio reviewers and answer questions about the program. I am passionate about teaching and helping others improve their crochet skills and knowledge. I consider it an honor to be part of the CGOA Masters program and to carry on Jean Leinhauser’s vision for the program.

The Masters program is a way for CGOA members to assess their crochet skills and knowledge, as well as to show their mastery of crochet stitches and techniques. Once enrolled in the CGOA Masters program, each candidate receives the written instructions for the course, which is comprised of making 48 crochet swatches and answering 13 questions. The Masters candidate compiles all of their swatches and their answers to the questions into a portfolio. When they’re all done, they notify Offinger Management Co that their portfolio is ready to be reviewed (Note: Because of the huge response to the program, there is currently a waiting list for reviews). Once the candidate reaches the top of the waiting list, their portfolio is reviewed by 2 volunteer Masters portfolio reviewers and returned to the candidate with a detailed written review of the work in the portfolio. If the candidate passes the program, they receive a certificate of completion and a Masters pin, as well as recognition in the CGOA newsletter and at the CGOA Conference. If the candidate has too many errors in their portfolio to pass, they are given the option to correct the mistakes and resubmit the new swatches/answers for another review. Hundreds of CGOA members have enrolled in the Masters program, testing and increasing their crochet skills/knowledge through the Masters program.

CGOA has had several Masters programs in the past, which are no longer offered. In 2010, the late Jean Leinhauser created the current Masters program, “Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques”. For more information and/or to enroll in the Masters program, please visit the CGOA website here: http://www.crochet.org/?page=MastersInfo.

When I’m not working on the CGOA Masters program, I’m busy blogging and designing crochet patterns for publication on my website at http://www.TheCrochetArchitect.com, as well as in crochet books and magazines. To see all of my published crochet patterns, please visit my Ravelry designer page here: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/susan-lowman. I also tech edit crochet patterns (to find the mistakes and correct them before the pattern is published) and teach crochet classes, as time allows. I’ve taught crochet (and shuttle tatting) classes at the CGOA Conferences in 2009, 2010 and 2012. I’m scheduled to teach 6 crochet classes at the upcoming CGOA Conference in Indianapolis this year in July. I’d love to meet you in one of my classes at the conference this year! You can see the full list of crochet (and knitting) classes offered at the conference here: http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/. I’m not sure when registration begins, but if you’re a CGOA member, you’ll receive an e-mail when it’s time to register for the conference.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look inside the CGOA Masters program. If you’re not a member of CGOA, I hope you’ll check it out and seriously consider joining. And if you can’t attend a CGOA Conference, please look for a local CGOA Chapter to join so you can connect with other crocheters in your community! The CGOA website is http://www.crochet.org.

I’ll be blogging again on my website on March 26th for my “designer” stop on the National Crochet Month Blog Tour. Please stop by and see what I’ll be giving away that day!

Happy crocheting,
Susan Lowman