To CGOA or not to CGOA? That is the question!

What does that mean exactly? Well, to me it means whether to join CGOA (the Crochet Guild of America) or not. That’s a silly question, in my opinion! CGOA has been the best thing I ever could have done (and I did) for my crochet career! Even if I wasn’t a crochet professional, it still would have been the best thing I’ve done for my crochet skills and knowledge! I’ve learned so much about crochet since becoming a CGOA member!

 

CGOA has a conference every year. The first CGOA Conference I attended was in 2003 in Chicago. I’ve attended almost every year since then (15 conferences so far) and I’ve taught at 9 CGOA Conferences since 2009!

 

This year’s CGOA Conference was held last month in Portland, OR. I taught 5 crochet classes there: Symbol Crochet, Multiple Motifs, Invisible Repairs, Beginning Bruges Lace and Intermediate Bruges Lace. I had the best classes this year! All of my students were fabulous! I’ve met so many crocheters at the conference who are just as passionate about crochet as I am! The attendees come from all over the US, as well as a few other countries such as England, the Netherlands, Australia and a few more. Here I am teaching in one of my classes:

 

Teaching Invisible Repairs

 

You may be wondering what exactly happens at a CGOA Conference. Well, it depends on the year! Some years we’ve had a Pajama Party or a Fun Night! Those were both lots of fun!

 

At every conference we have dozens of crochet classes (and sometimes a few other similar crafts) that are taught by very talented and accomplished teachers (I am in awe of my fellow teachers’ accomplishments!). Here are some of the students in my classes this year:

 

 

Beginning Bruges Lace class

Beginning Bruges Lace class

Intermediate Bruges Lace class

Multiple Motifs class

Multiple Motifs class

Symbol Crochet class

 

Every year we have a show floor/market place where we can purchase yarn, thread, hooks, books and lots of yummy fiber goodness!!! This year we had a “yarn tasting” table outside the show floor where you could try out some of the yarns that were being sold in the market place. I really enjoyed “tasting” some of the yarns there!

 

Yarn Tasting table

 

Every year we have a banquet and fashion show. That’s so much fun (with yummy food, of course!). You get to see some gorgeous crochet fashions (or be a model yourself)! I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone for almost 10 years and have modeled in quite a few fashion shows over the years! It’s a lot of fun, mixed with some butterflies in my stomach, of course!

 

Modeling in Fashion Show

 

Almost every year we’ve had a Professional Development Day (PDD). That’s one of the best investments I’ve made at the CGOA Conference because I learned so much about how to run a professional crochet business. I’ve even presented the topic of Contract Crocheting at PDD a few times in the past!

 

Every year we hold a Member Meeting where we vote on the minutes of last year’s meeting and discuss new business for CGOA. The meeting is run by the volunteer board members. I was a board member for several years and it was great to learn more about what goes on “behind the scenes” of CGOA!

 

For many years now, we’ve held a Design Competition that is only open to CGOA members. Doris Chan started this (I can’t remember what year it started, though). It’s fabulous! Thank you, Doris, for working so hard to start the design competition! I think it’s been a great help for many budding crochet designers. I was too busy to design anything for the Design Competition this year, but I saw a lot of really nice designs in the competition! Here’s a look at it for you:

 

 

2018 CGOA Design Competition

2018 CGOA Design Competition

2018 CGOA Design Competition

2018 CGOA Design Competition

 

We have an editorial “Meet and Greet” where designers can sit with a book publisher or magazine editor and show them their designs. Many editors actually purchase (or commit to purchase) designs right then and there! It’s a fantastic benefit for designers who attend the conference!

 

Almost every year we have a CGOA Masters ceremony where we pin the newest CGOA members who have passed one of the Masters courses. This year, I earned my Fundamentals pin. This was because I helped test the new Masters course, Fundamentals of Crochet. This is a fabulous course and I learned a lot while taking it. I also helped tech edit the course last year, so I earned a Writer pin for that! You can read about the current Masters programs here. Here’s a photo of the Masters reviewers and graduates from this year’s conference:

 

2018 CGOA Masters graduates and reviewers

 

Since 2011, we’ve held the CGOA Jean Leinhauser Crochet Hall of Fame. The first inductee was Jean Leinhauser, who passed away unexpectedly the month before her induction ceremony. There have been 8 inductees into the Hall of Fame so far: Jean Leinhauser, Margaret Hubert, Rita Weiss, Gwen Blakley Kinsler (the founder of CGOA), Lily Chin, Doris Chan, Carol Alexander and Pauline Turner. This year’s inductee was Pauline Turner. What an interesting crochet career she’s had!

 

For new conference attendees, we have a buddy program where new attendees are paired up with volunteers who answer their questions before the conference and help them out, as needed, at the conference. Of course, everyone there is more than willing to help anyone else with their questions at the conference! We have a Buddy Breakfast where the buddies and newbies can all spend time together and meet each other. It’s a fabulous program!

 

We have door prizes and goodie bags at the conference, as well! These are always lots of fun to receive and they change from year to year! In addition to the goodie bags, I won a door prize this year! It’s a Yarn Pop bag! This bag is awesome!!! It’s HUGE and is big enough to fit a whole afghan while working on it (it measures 17” wide x 15” high x 5” deep)!!! The bag has an outside pocket, 3 grommets to feed your yarn through, if desired, 3 inside pockets, 2 zippered inside pockets, 2 magnetic clasps and a lanyard inside to attach your keys, or possibly even your cell phone (if you have a cell phone cover with a grommet, of course). You can see all the bags that Yarn Pop makes on their website here. You can see (and order) the very big bag here. Here’s a photo of all the goodies I came home with this year:

 

Goody bags and door prize

 

But one of the best things about the conference is seeing and spending time with the friends I’ve made over the years! We’re all like-minded when it comes to crochet! We each have our favorite crochet technique and fiber to work with, of course. But we all LOVE crochet and LOVE learning more crochet techniques! That’s where the conference comes into play! The classes are fabulous! I’ve learned so much in CGOA classes!

 

Brenda and me

Carolyn, me and Kristin

Shari, Kathy and me

Sharon and me

Vashti and me

 

In addition to the annual conference, CGOA has over 120 chapters across the USA. Chapter members get together either weekly or monthly to encourage each other, teach each other, share their work, attend workshops and more. To find out more about CGOA chapters, check out the CGOA website here.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at CGOA and the 2018 CGOA Conference. Until next time!

 

Happy crocheting,

Susan

 

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