Conference Planning Information

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We'd like to share some information with our members about how the CGOA board of directors makes decisions about our conferences. Since our conferences are held in conjunction with the TKGA conference and the Knit and Crochet Show (vendor shopping area), all three groups have input in the decision-making process.

Two of the most difficult decisions to make about holding a conference are where to hold it and when to hold it. Lots of factors must be considered when making those decisions. 1. Where in the past have we attracted the most attendees? 2. Do we want to try someplace new? What are the costs of the conference center, and how much will hotel rooms cost our members? How convenient is this place to get to by car, or airplane, or train? 3. When is the venue available?

We are not a large conference, so we have a limited pick of sites. Of the sites that we have been to, including Atlanta, Chicago, Oakland, Portland, Philadelphia, Manchester, Buffalo, and West Palm Beach, where did we get the most attendees? It was in Manchester, New Hampshire. (We had our first regional conference, along with the TKGA National Conference, in Atlanta. We had approximately 50 crocheters register for classes at that conference and sold 115 crochet class tickets. In Manchester we have drawn hundreds of crocheters in pre-registration, multiple years, and sold over 800 class tickets each time!) So, even though Manchester is not an airline hub, it drew more attendees than other conferences that were at hub cities. And, the conference center/hotel situation was very convenient for teachers and students. The conference center was adjacent to the hotel, so that teachers and attendees did not have to take a bus or hike back to their room at lunch if they wanted to drop something off. The teachers were very appreciative of this!

As for the time for the conference, because of our size and our room needs, we often don't get a lot of choices. The conference centers usually stay booked years in advance. We can't make our reservations years in advance, especially when we are testing new locations to see if they are viable. Sometimes, like Buffalo and Portland, there is not enough response to make it feasible to keep returning. We don’t want to be locked in by multiple-year contracts to venues that prove to not be financially feasible. And sometimes in checking out new locations, the dates we want aren’t available immediately and we have to wait a year. And in those cases (like this year) our fallback, proven venues also have date issues. So we have to take the times that we can. This year, the weekend is right after July 4th weekend. Not the most ideal time, but the only time available in the summer, when most of the attendees told us they like to attend the conferences.

Whenever a decision like this has to be made, we, the board members, know that we can't please everyone. But we want to please as many people as we can. We took a poll of our members in 2008 and as part of a Knit & Crochet Show poll in 2009, and the majority of those who responded said that they wanted the conferences in the Northeast in summer.

We also know that disappointed members will consider not rejoining CGOA, because they feel they're not being heard. Let us reassure you, we are listening. However, we hope you'll change your mind when you realize that CGOA is not just about the Chain Link conferences. CGOA is a close community of crocheters. And we all want to promote crochet. If you want to have a better organization, think about what you can do for CGOA by volunteering. Even though we have a management company who takes care of the business end of the organization, CGOA is run by a team of volunteers who work together. The CGOA board members all volunteer their time. The CGOA members on the committees and the committee chairs all volunteer their time. The members who help out at the conferences, and the class angels, they all volunteer their time. We couldn't do it without them. If you have any ideas about what CGOA could do to improve, we need you to volunteer, and to help us achieve that. Let us know if you are interested in volunteering to help CGOA become a force to be reckoned with! Also, stay the course. Some changes take time to implement for the best result.

When you join or renew your membership in CGOA, you get to take advantage of our discounts at various on-line retailers. You get to enter into our annual design contest (open only to members), you get a free pattern booklet, (new each year) with patterns from the CGOA Board members, you get to take our Masters in Crochet Stitches class, you get to take part in our on-line membership discussion group, you get to read all about CGOA and what's happening on our blog at, you get Crochet! magazine with our Chain Link newsletter four times a year, you get discounted classes at our Chain Link conferences and free attendance at the Market (The Knit & Crochet Show). And you get to be a member of this close community of crocheters.

One last thing – if you want CGOA to grow, you need to vote for the new board members. The ballot is in the Chain Link newsletter in your latest copy of Crochet! magazine. The ballots have to arrive at CGOA headquarters by the end of December. Please, if you are interested in change, don't forget to vote! (The check boxes for the candidates were left off the ballot. Just write "for" or "against" by each name. And you can write in your own candidates.)

Remember, it's you who can make CGOA be as great as it should be!

Your CGOA Board of Directors

Chain Link's Big Announcement for 2010!

Monday, November 23, 2009

In 2010 the Chain Link Annual Conference will be (trumpet blast and drum roll!):

July 7 (Wed.) - Professional Development Day
July 8-10 (Thurs., Fri., Sat.) - Education and Conference Activities
July 9-10 (Fri., Sat.) - Exhibits Open
Radisson Hotel Manchester/Ctr of New Hampshire
Manchester, NH

Put a big CIRCLE around these dates and start to count down!

Let's turn Manchester
into Crochet Land!

It's OUR crochet get away!

- Design contest, fashion show!
- Crochet classes and get-togethers!
- Vendors with great crochet stuff!
- A venue that's all under one roof: easy to get to everything!

So get ready!
Feed your MAD MONEY STASH now, to come to our annual CHAIN LINK!

Watch for details at

Poll Results

Earlier this year, we asked blog readers to tell us their favorite benefit of being a CGOA member. The results were:

Free subscription to Crochet! magazine: 63%
Discounts for CGOA members: 18%
Design contest for members: 14%
Linda Sauter Library: 3%

Thanks for your input, and watch the blog sidebar for new polls!

Suggestion Box 2009

CGOA members, we want to hear from you! Do you have ideas for:

  • a location for the Chain Link conference?
  • new classes or instructors for Chain Link?
  • additions to the CGOA website?
  • new benefits we can offer our members?
  • anything else?

Please post your suggestions as comments to this post. All suggestions will be given thorough consideration by the board of directors. Watch this blog for announcements about suggestions we are able to implement.

See Your CGOA Board Members!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ever wondered what your CGOA Board Members look like? Here's a photo taken at the annual member meeting at Chain Link.

If we plan to attend any fiber-related conferences, we'll try to post that information here. You'll then be able to recognize us so you can come introduce yourself to us. We love to meet CGOA members anywhere!

CGOA Board of Directors, l-r: Penny Sitler, CGOA Executive Director; Amy Shelton; Marty Miller, Vice President; Vashti Braha; Carol Alexander, Secretary; Rita Weiss, President; and Drew Emborsky. Not pictured: Treva McCain, Treasurer.
Photo courtesy of Alexander Iannelli, whose wife Irene is a member of the Hooked on the Sound Crochet Guild chapter in CT.

Board Member Interview: Marty Miller

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Would you like to learn a little more about Marty Miller, CGOA Vice President? Check out this interview on Noreen Crone-Findlay's blog, Hankering for Yarn.

Breaking News: CPSIA Exempts Yarn from Testing/Certification Requirements

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has just announced that yarn will be exempt from the rigorous lead testing and certification requirements required for children’s products under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Many crocheters, handcrafters, and others in the fiber-arts industry had been very worried about the effects widespread testing requirements would have had on manufacturers at many points in the yarn/fiber distribution chain.

You can read more information on this ruling at

The October issue of Yarn Market News will feature in-depth coverage of this breaking story.

More Chain Link Photos

Thanks to various Chain Link attendees who submitted photos they took at Chain Link directly to CGOA/Offinger. We are happy to announce these photos will be available for viewing on or before September 1. Check here for links to the photo collections when they are available.

For your current viewing pleasure on the CGOA website:

Professional Development Day
(photos taken by Offinger staff)

Some Exciting News about CGOA

At Chain Link in Buffalo, the CGOA Board of Directors proudly unveiled their newest project - which will benefit all new and renewing members this year. Most of the 2009 Board members contributed a pattern to Across The Board Crochet, a pattern booklet that will be available on-line (for free) when you join or renew your membership to CGOA! Six patterns, all designed by the CGOA Board - Carol Alexander, Amy Shelton, Vashti Braha, Drew Emborsky, Marty Miller, and Lorraine Lucas. As Carol said in her introduction, these are some of our favorite patterns to design. We had fun making this booklet for you, and hope you have fun making the patterns!
Marty Miller
Vice President, CGOA Board of Directors
Editor, Across the Board Crochet

Have You Blogged About Chain Link?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Many CGOA members and Chain Link attendees have posted on their blog about their experiences at Chain Link 2009. We would love to read your thoughts! Please post a comment with a link to your blog post(s) about Chain Link 2009.

CGOA 2009 Design Contest Winners

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Congratulations to all the winners of CGOA's 2009 Design Contest!


Crochet Confection Evening Gown by Renee Barnes of Bruno, AR, Fashion Category
$1,000 donated by Coats and Clark

Fashion Category
First Place: Flamenco Dancer Dress by Patricia Williams of Ozone Park, NY
$300 donated by Coats and Clark
Second Place: Blue Dress by Andrea Graciarena of Belmont, CA
$200 donated by Boye Needle Company
Third Place: Green Evening Dress by Paula Bennett of Torrance, CA
$100 donated by DRG, Crochet!
Honorable Mention: Baby Dress Set by Carol Carlile of Windfall, IN
Honorable Mention: Short-Sleeved Jacket with Shawl Collar by Margaret Hubert of Pawling, NY
Honorable Mention: Wedding Dress by Paula Bennett of Torrance, CA
Honorable Mention: Double Breasted Jacket by Mary Jane Hall of Beavercreek, OH
Honorable Mention: Bruges Lacy Dress by Hyacinth Thomas of Jamaica, NY
Honorable Mention: Corset Top by Tracie Barrett of Riverview, FL
Honorable Mention: Playing the Angles Jacket by Deborah Erbach Burger of Brevard, NC

Home Decor Category
First Place: Doily by Ferosa Harold of Mausica Arima, Trinidad & Tobago
$300 donated by Coats and Clark
Second Place: Freeform Pillow by Shelby Lynn Allaho of Eugene, OR
$200 donated by Interweave
Third Place: Victori Africana Footstool by Rhonda Davis of Atlanta, GA
$100 donated by DRG, Crochet!
Honorable Mention: Tamara's Trail Throw by Tamara Gonzales of Wichita, KS
Honorable Mention: Avalon Doily by Kathryn White of Gig Harbor, WA
Honorable Mention: Irish Lace Mat by Kathie Earle of Rathangian, Ireland
Honorable Mention: oily by Ferosa Harold of Mausica Arima, Trinidad & Tobago

Accessories Category
First Place: Spring Handbag by Jerry Rigdon of Dallas, TX
$300 donated by Coats and Clark
Second Place: Headpiece and Bag by Kathie Earle of Rathangian, Ireland
$200 donated by Boye Needle Company
Third Place: Butterfly Necklace by Sonja Hood of Toronto, ON, Canada
$100 donated by DRG, Crochet!
Honorable Mention: Evening Clutch Bag by Diane Moyer of Orange, CT
Honorable Mention: Silk, Silver and Lace Purse by Julia Bryant of Toronto, ON, Canada
Honorable Mention: Beaded Evening Bag by Sonja Hood of Toronto, ON, Canada
Honorable Mention: Freeform Hat with Earflaps by Leslie Nelle-Urinyi of W. Milford, NJ

Crochet As Art Category
First Place: Heartrock Hotel by Gwen Blakley-Kinsler of Rolling Meadows, IL
$300 donated by Coats and Clark
Second Place: The Harvest by Carol Ventura of Cookeville, TN
$200 donated by Interweave
Third Place: Pop Top Bowl by Denise Royal of Richardson, TX
$100 donated by Martingale & Company
Honorable Mention: Crochet On a Rock with a Twist of Lime by Gwen Blakley-Kinsler of Rolling Meadows, IL
Honorable Mention: Crochet Cabernet by Andrea Vanbenschoten of Wharton, NJ
Honorable Mention: Prayer Flags by Martha Furman Kojro of Rolla, MO

Special thanks to our judges:

Contest Chair: Cari Clement of Caron International
Contest Co-Chair and Designer Doris Chan
Last Year's Judge Jean Leinhauser
Brett Bara of Coats and Clark and Crochet Today
Michele Maks of DRG and Crochet World

Chain Link 2009 Photos on Flickr

Chain Link attendees with flickr accounts, we have some exciting news for you! CGOA has a new CGOA flickr group. You're invited to upload any of your Chain Link photos to the group photo pool.

Just upload your photos to your regular flickr account. Then visit the CGOA flickr group and select which photos you want to upload to the group pool. It's as easy as that!

Here is a slide show of the photos currently in the group pool. We can't wait to see your photos added, too!

Chain Link 2009: Share Your Experiences!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chain Link 2009 was held in Buffalo, NY August 5-9. If you attended Chain Link, we'd love for you to comment and share your experiences. You may want to give us answers to some of these questions:

What was your favorite part of the conference?

What was your favorite class?

Who was your favorite teacher?

What is your best conference memory?

Chain Link 2009 Fashion Show Photos

CGOA board member Drew Emborsky took some great photos of the Fashion Show that was part of Chain Link 2009's dinner banquet. We hope you enjoy this slide show of all the wonderful fashions!

All photos copyright 2009 Drew Emborsky.

Contact CGOA Board Members

Do you have a suggestion, comment, or question for CGOA's Board members? Send an email to We would love to hear from you!

Members: Submit Content for the Blog

Members are welcome to contribute crochet-related articles, reviews, photos, YouTube videos, and links to their own blogs. Please send your submissions to: cgoanow @ (to help us avoid spam, cut and paste address into your email program and remove spaces from "@").

Blog Comment Policies

CGOA welcomes your comments! To help us avoid comment-spam, all comments are moderated. Damaging, hateful, profane, advertising, or solicitation comments will not be approved. If your comment is not approved, please feel free to reword it and post it again. For guild-related questions, please send an email to: cgoanow @ (to help us avoid spam, cut and paste address into your email program and remove spaces from "@").

CGOA's Official Member Newsletter

For more information on CGOA's Chain Link Newsletter, the official newsletter of our organization which is mailed to members as an insert in Crochet! magazine, email newsletter AT crochet DOT org.
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