National Crochet Month and the CGOA Masters Program

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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:

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:

When I’m not working on the CGOA Masters program, I’m busy blogging and designing crochet patterns for publication on my website at, as well as in crochet books and magazines. To see all of my published crochet patterns, please visit my Ravelry designer page here: 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: 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

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

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