Red Heart sponsors several great organizations, but my personal favorite might be the Crochet Guild of America, or CGOA! It’s a fantastic non-profit, and the only national organization dedicated to the craft of crochet.
About the Crochet Guild of America
Full disclosure – I am currently a member of the Crochet Guild of America Board. I was elected last year, and I’ve learned so much about how far-reaching and wonderful the CGOA really is! It’s a volunteer position, but I’m probably still a bit biased.
The CGOA provides the opportunity for our members to learn more about crochet, as well as connect with other passionate crocheters. And we have some influence the yarn/craft industry too, through our membership in the Craft Yarn Council!
I asked our current President, Linda Dean, to answer the question “Why Join the CGOA?” She said:
Not just for professionals or expert crocheters, all skill levels and interest levels are welcome. And there are the CGOA Masters Programs to help you get those skills you need to become one of the experts! There is mentoring if you’d like to enter the professional world of crochet, but there are far more hobbyists who just love crochet and the Crochet Guild of America community.
How is Red Heart Involved with the Crochet Guild of America?
Red Heart is one of the CGOA sponsors, and recommends the Crochet Guild of America for connecting with other crocheters!
In addition to sponsoring the Crochet Guild of America’s general mission, Red Heart sponsors some of the events and prizes at our annual conference – Chainlink!
Last year, National Red Heart spokesperson Marly Bird and I co-hosted the Fashion Show at the Chainlink Banquet on the final night – and not only did we get to show off our member’s gorgeous designs on the catwalk, but a few Red Heart designs were modeled as well! And of course, there were lots of fab prizes!
Chainlink 2019 – the CGOA Conference
And now we’re getting ready for Chainlink 2019, this year to be held in Manchester New Hampshire, July 10-13! This is the only crochet-only conference I know of, and it’s truly unique. Check out this schedule!
Probably the biggest draws to Chainlink are all the fantastic classes! Taught by internationally recognized instructors, these classes can really boost your skills and crochet abilities. I’ve learned so much from amazing designers I never would have gotten to meet or learn from otherwise! And now I help present at the Professional Development Day, helping others in the crochet industry.
But it’s not all serious studying (and even the classes are super fun and often funny!). There is shopping in the Boutique Marketplace, the Excellence in Crochet night, the pinning of new Master Crocheters, the Fashion Show and Banquet I mentioned earlier, and the amazing Design Competition – with cash prizes!
This year also includes a couple of new events – Manchester Mardi Gras and a Sing-a-long! You can sign up for as many or as few events and activities as you like. There’s a ton to do, and it’s so much fun. And really, it’s always so wonderful to spend time with others who are just as passionate about crochet!
Tips for Your First Trip to the Chainlink Conference
When I went to my first Chainlink Conference several years ago, I was very nervous about only really “knowing” a couple of people… who I’d only actually ever met online.
So one of the smartest things I did (besides going!) was signing up for the Buddy Program when I registered! I was paired with a volunteer who knew all the ins and outs of Chainlink. And she was able to introduce me to so many fantastic people! I had an instant friend and meal companion. But soon I had many friends there to keep me company!
One of those first friends was Jessie Rayot, of Jessie At Home! She recommends:
“Spend some time in the crochet lounge. The lounge is a great way to meet other crocheters and you could make new friends who share your passion. It’s also a great place to get questions answered if you are stuck on a project; you never know who will be there!”
And remember how I got to co-host the Fashion Show with Marly Bird? We’ll both be there again this year – and she had three tips to share:
“Don’t be afraid to join a group of crocheters in the lobby you don’t know. Bring something to wear that you made. Take classes!”
I got to meet fellow Joy Creator Kirsten Holloway, of Kirsten Holloway Designs last year too – and she’s written up a fantastic blog post all about her experience, with lots of fantastic insights as well as nitty-gritty details! One of my favorite quotes:
“…grab your shawls, wraps, lacy tops or other garments you’ve crocheted and prepare to show them off! The obvious answer to “did you make that?!” is “of course!”, at this conference.”
Hope to See You There!
I’ll be at Chainlink 2019 in Manchester – and I know lots of other amazing designers, bloggers, authors, instructors, and happy crocheters will be too! Be sure to stop and say hi if you see me – and show off what you’ve crocheted this year with Red Heart Yarns!
Tamara Kelly, Moogly