CGOA Membership: The Perfect Gift

Friday, November 29, 2013

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

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!))

How the Pattern Made It To Your Favorite Magazine

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The process of a pattern making it into a magazine for you to get inspired to pick up some yarn and a hook has a varied process, but many professional hands are involved.
It begins with an idea; a designer swatch up some yarn and writes up an explanation of their idea and submits it to a magazine editor. The editor considers the idea, and how it works with the other designs under consideration to create a magazine that meets their audiences need. Upon accepting the design they submit an offer to the designer and a contract is created.
The designer now writes the pattern and creates a sample for photographing. Many designers approach this differently, some make up the sample as they write the pattern, some write the pattern and hire a contract crocheter to create the sample for them, some have a hybrid of these approaches, but the pattern has to be written and the sample has to be created.
However the process does not end there, the pattern and sample are now shipped to the magazine editor by the deadline, where the sample is photographed and the pattern is sent to a tech Editor to be reviewed for accuracy. The tech Editor goes over the entire math in the pattern and formats the pattern to the magazine standards so that the publication has an easy read and flow to it. They may also draw up charts or graphs for the pattern. Essentially they are attempting to ensure that what the designer has written is as understandable and as accurate as possible to ensure that the project can be successfully completed by the widest audience.
The photographer in the mean time is setting up shots that give the most information about the design, showing it in its best light, addressing set up of the shot with any props, making sure that the colors work for an eye catching image, as well as addressing the highlights and unique details of the project.
Then it all goes to the hands of the publishing team. They set the page outlines, and put the magazine to print; it goes to distribution and makes it to your mailbox or newsstand.
Many hands create the instructions that adorn your imagination; you may have a part to contribute in the process yourself. CGOA offers assistance in being a professional in the crochet field, so if you are so inclined visit CGOA and check out the “Learn” tab for more details.

Professional Development Day Overview and Thanks

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 2, 2013 was a day set aside by CGOA at the Fall Chainlink/ Knit & Crochet Show Conference in Concord, North Carolina, to aide professionals and would-be professionals in how to put together a proposal for a book. There was a vast amount of knowledge shared such as MelissaLeapman’s outline on the proposal process, Susan Huxley sharing how to take the best photo to get your idea across, as well as Bobbie Matela giving an inside view of how the an editor will review a proposal. 

Basic tips were covered on actually writing your book by Cari Clement and Marty Miller, since without creative writing and well written patterns, you may not have a product! Renee Rodgers informed us that this may be a daunting task, but you can ask CGOA for a mentor to help get through the process.
Then education on how to promote yourself and your book was addressed. Margaret Hubert shared her blogging tips, while Vashti Braha shared her vast knowledge on newsletters, Amy Shelton gave insight to social media platforms while Patty Lyons gave tips on how teaching can promote your book. Never forget how to use the press to get yourself recognized, and who better to share tips here then Lily Chin. 

Through all of this we were reminded by Andee Graves how to take care of our money makers: our hands. She addressed issues of hand health for years of happy stitching.

It was a successful event that was fortunate to have a wonderful sponsor in Lion Brand Yarn. They help make the day happen! They also supplied material to make afghan squares for Warm Up America, over the course of the day, the attendance made up over 350 squares that will be assembled into blankets for those in need. 

There was also a raffle to help raise funds for Warm Up America. There are many sponsored that donated items to be raffled off. I currently have only a partial list, so I apologize to those that I may miss. But a special thanks to Valu- Publishing Crochet 123, KRW Knitwear, Go Crochet, Simplicity, Leisure Arts, Debbie Bliss Yarns, Universal Yarns, Interweave, Andrea Giattini, and Coats & Clark. Please let all the sponsors know that you appreciate how they helped in making a difference in the lives of crocheters.

CGOA 2013 Fall Fashion Show Images

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If you weren't there for the CGOA 2013 Fall Fashion Show in Charlotte, Friday evening, 4th October,  you can get a peek at some of the action.  I have just uploaded a gang of images (67!) taken backstage at the Fashion Show.  No worries; we are all perfectly decent and dressed!  We tried to capture every design that went down the runway, but I know we missed a few.  Please visit the Flickr CGOA Group photo pool to see them.  They will also show up in the little slide show of Chain Link images on the left side of this blog page.

I tried to fill in descriptions for every photo, but it's such a huge task that I missed most of those, too!  If you see your design among them, or recognize a designer or model I have not credited, please let me know by commenting here and I will fix. Thanks to Marcy Smith, emcee; Bonnie Barker, photographer; Diane Moyer, backstage dresser; and Deb Seda, traffic manager for helping make this a brilliant event.


Doris Chan
2013 Fall Fashion Show Coordinator

New Beginnings

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It has been real pleasure being the Professional Development Chair! I've really enjoyed watching so many of you bloom in your careers. I've also come to realize how much our volunteers really give to our CGOA. Thank you to each and every one of you who has made the CGOA the wonderful organization that it is!
I am now passing the torch on to Linda Dean. I know that she is going to do a fantastic job as the new Chair. Linda has so many great ideas - I can't wait to see what she does!
Renee' Rodgers is also stepping down and Deidre Eyles is going to be our new Mentor Coordinator. Thank you, Renee', for all the hard work and time you have given to the CGOA. We are very grateful! Deidre will do a fabulous job - I know that our Mentor Program will be in great hands! Thank you for all the support and for the friendships we have formed! It has been an experience I won't forget! All the best, Brenda Bourg

2013 Design Competition Peoples' Choice

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The winner of the CGOA 2013 Design Competition $100 Peoples' Choice Award, sponsored by Karen Whooley/KRW Knitwear designs, as voted by attendees at the CGOA Conference, Charlotte/Concord, NC, is
Sparkling Shells Evening Shawl, designed by Susmita Mullick:
"This "sparkling shells evening shawl" is designed by Susmita Mullick. It is a light and lacey shawl done in Lion Brand Vanna Glamour yarn in a platinum with diamond color shading. The design features diagonal shells which are interconnected with a slip stitch on both sides of the shawl. This sparkling shells evening shawl is perfect for holiday gifts or to wear on gala occasions."
Sparkling Shells by Susmita Mullick

CGOA 2013 Design Competition Results

Thursday, October 3, 2013

We proudly announce the winning entries in the CGOA 2013 Design Competition, as announced tonight at the Awards Ceremony, CGOA Conference in Charlotte/Concord, NC.
In the category Accessories, sponsored by WEBS, America’s Yarn Store:
Honorable Mention
Fiji Flowers on Flowers (61), designed by Linda Dean:
$100 Third Prize
Josephine’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcape (86), designed by Maxine Pike:
$200 Second Prize
Windowpane Wrap (19), designed by April Garwood:
$300 First Prize
Dragon Wing (1), designed by Joyce Lewis:
Dragon Wing is also the winner of this year’s $200 Technical Merit Award, sponsored by Designing Vashti, for outstanding, fresh use of Tunisian crochet techniques.
In the category Afghans and Home Décor, sponsored by Red Heart:
Honorable Mention
Granny’s Tree of Love (42) designed by Deborah Bagley
$100 Third Prize
Alpine Lodge (88), designed by Sue Solakian
$200 Second Prize
Octie: Flower to Octagon Blanket (70), designed by Jessie Rayot
$300 First Prize
Simple Pleasures (24), designed by Julia Bryant from Canada

In the category Small Accessories, sponsored by Tulip Company, manufacturers of Etimo cushion grip crochet hooks:
Honorable Mention
Rainbow Crochet Carryall (100), designed by Cynthia Fiebig:
$100 Third Prize
Is That A Platypus Scarf? (74), designed by Laurinda Reddig
$200 Second Prize
Purple Cascade (56), designed by Jean DeMouy:
$300 First Prize
Fair Isle Love Beanie (2), designed by Deja Jetmir:

In the category Thread Crochet, sponsored by Boye and The Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky:
Honorable Mention
Rendezvous (9), designed by Kathryn White
$100 Third Prize
Rose Ensemble (20), designed by Kathie Earle
$200 Second Prize
Calcutta Doily (8), designed by Kathryn White
$300 First Prize
Princess of Circles (25), designed by Carol Booth:
In the category Fashion, sponsored by Interweave Crochet:
Honorable Mention
Summer Lace Dress (94), designed by Janelle Ponte:
$100 Third Prize
Frilly Summer Cardigan (13), designed by Susan Walsh, from Australia!
$200 Second Prize
Connemara Beauty (51), designed by Jennifer Ryan:
$300 First Prize
Afternoon Tea (6), designed by Kathryn White

And in the category Artistic Expressions, sponsored by Jenny King Designs:
Honorable Mention
Meeting Mr. Tumnus by the Lamp in Narnia (41), designed by Deborah Bagley
$100 Third Prize
Owl Sit With You (43), designed by Deborah Bagley
$200 Second Prize
Philomena (96), designed by Kate Buckner:
$300 First Prize
Summer Visitors (63), designed by Sachiko Adams:

Summer Visitors is also the winner of the $100 Founders Prize, sponsored by CGOA founder Gwen Blakley Kinsler;

And finally, the $1,000 Grand Prize sponsored by Crochetville and
Mille Fleurs Dress (32), designed by Dot Drake:

One prize remains, the $100 Peoples' Choice Award, to be voted by the attendees and announced on Saturday.


Book Review: Headwraps

Friday, September 20, 2013

Title: Headwraps

Author: Sharlee Dayne

Book Review by Reneé Rodgers (

Dayne has created a sweet collection of this hot new fashion accessory. All of them are created with size 4 (worsted weight) yarn. There are a total of 10 projects, and all are rated as “easy”. All but one of the patterns is sized for both girls and teens. All instructions are written, without charts. The projects are created from a variety of stitch patterns, with different stylized flower embellishments. 

There is a super cute fascinator-type headwrap that any girl, grown-ups included, would like. In fact, I might have to make one for myself. 

These patterns would make great beginner projects, though this booklet is primarily a pattern booklet, only having a small section in the back of general instructions. Once a beginner knows the basics, however, any of these patterns would be achievable.

Whether created for a little girl, or a big girl, these would make not only great fashion accessories, but included in a “spa” package with a crocheted spa cloth and a lovely bottle of bath gel, would make a fabulous gift for special friends. 

(Leisure Arts, 2013; 48 pages, $5.95, ISBN: 978-1-4647-0737-7)

Full disclosure: A free review copy of Headwraps was provided by Leisure Arts. 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: Texting Mitts

Title: Texting Mitts

Author: Andee Graves

Book Review by Reneé Rodgers (

Andee Graves has been designing for some time now, but this is her debut book title, Texting Mitts. All of the projects are fingerless gloves that are created from sock weight yarn that will appeal to young and young-at-heart alike. There are a total of eight projects, in a variety of skill levels and a variety of techniques, from lace to very textured stitch patterns. Like many of the current Leisure Arts titles, there is an online link to step-by-step tutorials, for both left- and right-handed crocheters for each project. 

Ms. Graves has created a winner, with a nice variety of mitts that will keep your hands toasty warm and still allow you to use your wireless device. Any of these patterns would also make lovely bridal or prom accessories, as well as stage or re-enactment props, making them truly timeless. In fact, I have a stash of sock yarn that I may have to use to make a few pairs of these for gifts. 

I look forward to seeing what Graves creates next!

(Leisure Arts, 2013; 32 pages, 19.99, ISBN: 978-1-4647-0632-5)

Full disclosure: A free review copy of Texting Mitts was provided by Leisure Arts. 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 Cool

Title: Crochet Cool
Author: Tanya Bernard

Book Review by Marie Segares (

Crochet Cool by Tanya Bernard (also known as Tanyastangles on Etsy) is a crochet pattern book featuring 21 clothing and accessory designs for toddlers and pre-schoolers. The patterns are arranged into four seasonal sections. Because Tanya lives in Florida, the winter designs are probably a bit light for those of us living in snowy parts of the country, but she does represent each season with fashionable yet classic projects. 

The designs include items for both boys and girls, and Tanya uses a variety of fibers. Each pattern includes several largely, brightly lit photographs of the design on a child model – typically from several different angles – as well as a brief description, a difficulty rating (measured by yarn balls), and a key to the abbreviations used in the pattern. All patterns are written with US pattern abbreviations, and many include photo tutorials of unusual stitches or construction techniques. Tanya’s patterns include fun details, such as surf board appliqués, many of which can be used to adorn other projects. 

The book doesn’t include any international stitch symbols. Because it is a paperback, it doesn’t lay flat so you can’t read and crochet at the same time. Like many designers who are primarily self-published, Tanya uses a pattern writing style that is different than what you might see in crochet magazines, but her patterns are clear and understandable. Crochet Cool assumes that readers already know the basics of crochet, so don’t expect to find general crochet technique information inside.

I would recommend this book to advanced beginner and intermediate crocheters who enjoy making children’s items. If you are new to children’s garments, this book is definitely a great introduction.  Some of my favorite patterns are the Daisy Dress, the Laced Up Tanktini, the Garden Jacket, the Granny Square Winter Coat, and the Skater Sweater. 

Project types: 4 dresses, 4 sweaters, 3 jackets/coats, 2 vests, 2 hats, 2 ponchos, 1 romper, 1 pair of shorts, 1 swimsuit, and 1 scarf

Skill levels: 5 easy, 8 intermediate, and 7 advanced

Retail price: $19.95

Book Review: Connect the Shapes Crochete Motifs

Title: Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs
Author: Edie Eckman

Book Review by Marie Segares (

Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs: Creative Techniques for Joining Motifs of All Shapes by Edie Eckman is the follow up to her bestselling book, Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. The book was a pleasant surprise for me. I expected a short book with suggestions for interesting ways to join crochet motifs, and what I found was a collection of over 100 crochet motif patterns along with many tips and tricks for making more polished motifs and joins.

The first part of the book, Techniques, is filled with ideas for starting to crochet in the round, reading symbol patterns, starting and ending rounds, weaving in ends, color theory, choosing yarn, planning increases, arranging shapes, mutliple methods for joining motifs (in progress and while they are finished), forming continuous motifs, and blocking. While some of this information is also available in Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, if you love crocheting motifs and are always looking for ways to make your projects look even better, this section will help take your motif crocheting to the next level.

The next part of the book, Motifs and Joins, includes both motif patterns and suggestions for joins.  Each pattern is written with both U.S. pattern abbreviations and international stitch symbols. The patterns are organized into different sections based on construction and appearance.

●     Classic Grannies: 3 squares, 1 circle, 1 hexagon, 1 half hexagon, 2 triangles, and 2 joins
●     A Little Double Crochet: 3 squares, 1 circle, 2 hexagons, 1 half hexagon, and 2 joins
●     Gathered Chains: 2 squares plus 1 four-sided motif, 1 triangle, 1 six-sided flower, 1 circle, and 3 joins including 1 filler motif
●     Lacy Links: 1 square, 1 triangle, 2 stars, 1 circle, and 6 joins including 1 filler motif
●     Layered Mesh: 4 squares, 1 hexagon, 2 circles, and 2 joins
●     Sc/Dc: 3 squares, 1 circle, 2 hexagons, and 2 joins
●     All Clustered: 2 squares, 3 octagons, 1 triangle, 1 hexagon, and 2 joins
●     Triple Petals: 2 squares, 1 triangle, 1 six-sided motif, 2 hexagons, and 2 joins
●     Start with a Flower: 3 squares, 2 triangles, 2 hexagons, 1 circle, and 2 joins
●     3-D Fun: 2 squares, 2 hexagons, 1 triangle, 1 circle, and 2 joins
●     Swirls: 2 hexagons, 1 circle, 2 squares, 1 triangle, and 2 joins
●     Radiants: 2 circles, 1 hexagon, 1 square, 1 six-pointed motif, 1 triangle, and 2 joins
●     Picots in Plural: 2 six-pointed motifs, 1 eight-pointed motif, 1 triangle, 3 squares, and 2 joins
●     Wheels and Shells: 3 squares, 1 triangle, 1 hexagon, 1 eight-sided motif, and 2 joins
●     Inner Connectivity: 3 squares, 2 triangles, 1 hexagon, 1 six-sided motif, 1 circle, and 1 join

My favorite patterns are in the Layered Mesh, Start with a Flower, and Swirls sections.

The third part of the book, Patterns, includes 12 projects.  All but one of these projects includes new motif designs.  The projects include 9 home decor projects and 3 women’s garments (1 shawl, 1 vest, and 1 skirt). The Lacy Skirt is my favorite of these projects and would be a great wardrobe staple.

The book ends with a motif directory which includes a thumbnail of each motif in the second section so it will be easy for you to locate your favorite patterns. The book is a spiral-bound hardcover, so it stays open while you crochet.

Overall, this is a great book for crocheters who like to make motif patterns and other portable projects. There are tips sprinkled throughout, and while the joins work with specific motif patterns from the book, a careful reader could learn a lot about adapting joins to different motif patterns. I would also recommend it to crocheters who prefer international stitch symbols, as well as beginners hoping to advance their technical skills.

Retail price: $19.95

Full disclosure: A free review copy of Connect the Shapes Crochet Motoifs was provided by Storey Publishing. 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: 50 Fabulous Crochet Bobbles, Popcorns and Puffs

Title: 50 Fabulous Crochet Bobbles, Popcorns and Puffs
Author: Jean Leinhauser

Book Review by Marie Segares (

50 Fabulous Crochet Bobbles, Popcorns and Puffs by the late Jean Leinhauser of the Creative Partners is a pattern booklet featuring 55 textured stitch patterns.

Each pattern includes a large swatch photograph and clear written instructions using US pattern abbreviations. The book begins with a table of contents featuring thumbnails of each stitch, so it is easy to find patterns again. As a booklet, it can lay flat, making it easy to crochet and read at the same time. The booklet is also lightweight enough to be portable. The booklet doesn’t include any international stitch symbols. While there is diversity in the density of the different stitches – which create lacy to heavy weight fabrics – the patterns all emphasize dimensional/textured stitches and don’t include a variety of other stitch types.  There are no difficulty levels indicated, and the book assumes you already have basic to intermediate crochet skills.

I would recommend this booklet to crocheters who are beginning to explore stitch guides, crocheters who enjoy using textured stitches, and those who are budding designers. A stitch guide collector will probably find that several of the stitches are already represented in their other books. 

Retail price: $14.95

Full disclosure: A free review copy of 50 Fabulous Crochet Bobbles, Popcorns and Puffs was provided by Leisure Arts. 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: Baby Crochet

Title: Baby Crochet
Author: Sandy Powers

Book Review by Marie Segares (

Baby Crochet: 20 Hand-Crocheted Designs for Babies Newborn-24 Months by Sandy Powers is a colorful book filled with cute projects for newborns and toddlers. Sandy, a well-established Etsy seller of crochet patterns, brings together fun projects with great photography and layout in this book.

Baby Crochet assumes you already know the basic stitches and it dives right into the patterns, which are organized into four sections: Hats, Body Suits, Cocoons, Afghans, and Other Crochet Bits. Like many designers who are primarily self-published, Sandy has her own style of writing patterns (using U.S. crochet terminology) which is slightly different from what you might be familiar with from magazines. Her style is clear and consistent, though, and she also includes detailed progress photos for stitches or techniques (like post stitches, surface crochet, and adding fringe) that may be more challenging for a beginner.

The book features over 150 brightly colored photographs, including progress photos and several pictures of each design on doll models and/or children. Sandy notes in the beginning that “The saying ‘never work with children or animals’ is so true,” but Tara Renaud’s adorable photographs would lead you to believe that all went well on the set.

The patterns do not include a difficulty rating, but most of the projects use methods within reach of an advanced beginner. More experienced crocheters who are looking for ideas for baby projects may also like this book. Most of the patterns are only available in one size, but a few have directions for multiple sizes.
This book would appeal to beginner crocheters looking for small projects to make when trying out new techniques, as well as more experienced crocheters who make a lot of baby gifts and charity projects. The book is really bright and fun to look at, and will definitely encourage you to pick up your hook and get stitching.

Project types: 9 hats, 4 cocoons, 3 diaper covers, 2 blankets, 2 booties, and 1 each bunting, onesie, cardigan, and legwarmers patterns.

Skill levels: Not listed. 

Retail price: $18.95

Full disclosure: A free review copy of Baby Crochet was provided by Sellers Publishing. 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.
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