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The annual CGOA conference, officially known as the 2015 CGOA Knit & Crochet Show in Mission Valley, California, was quite an experience! As a first-timer (newbie), I had to acclimate to the spirit and high energy cadence of the event.
Along the way, I connected deeply with the reasons that crocheting has been a lifelong hobby for me. The CGOA conference solidified that connection.
My Journey to the CGOA conference
My mother taught me to crochet with the chain, single crochet, and double crochet stitches. I don’t recall her teaching me how to read a pattern, but somewhere through the years, I have figured out text patterns with the many crochet abbreviations and can work my way through a symbol pattern if needed.
Free Form Crochet
As a child, I would look at photos in pattern books or magazines and start crocheting. Sometimes that worked out well, but not always. I called that technique the “just did whatever I wanted” method. Other times, I would find an inspiration and just start crocheting and called that technique the “make it up as I go” method.
After attending the CGOA event and seminars, I now know those both represent an official crochet method known as Free Form Crochet! If you think I’m kidding, take a look at the website for the International Free Form Crochet Guild. The amazing colorful designs are stunning. It’s is such a beautiful flow of creative energy. The fashion show in San Diego included some fabulous artistry apparel and accessories using free form crochet techniques.
One time, during my teenage years, I made a variety of crocheted flowers and chain stitched them together with green yarn, representing the stems and leaves. I wrapped them around the iron bedstead at the foot of my bed and called them my flower garden. Yeah, that’s called yarn bombing. I yarn bombed my own bedroom some 40+ years ago!
Counted cross-stitch embroidery was very popular during my college years. For hours at a time, I would make little X stitches on fabric mesh. I had a butterfly design on a cross-stitch embroidery pattern and eventually figured out how to convert it to colors for crochet in single crochet… and then created this pillow.
I was pretty happy with the butterfly pillow so I gave it to my sister as a gift to match the blue and yellow decor of her bedroom.
These photo-type designs are known as graph pattern crochet, tapestry crochet, or charted crochet. Sometimes Intarsia Crochet is used in reference to these, but my understanding is that intarsia creates a pattern on the back side of the fabric. The ones that I made created a stringy, knotty mess on the back side of the fabric, so no, those were not intarsia.
The Future and CGOA Community
Somewhere near the third day of the conference, I realized that the doodlings from teenage years may have been my start as a budding crochet designer!
CGOA conference Insights
During the CGOA conference classes, I learned several new stitches, thanks to the many wonderful teachers and helpful classmates. My favorite new stitch is the hdc2tog for decreasing stitches at the end of a row. If you don’t know that stitch already, take a look at the Stitch Guide on Annie’s website.
My brain is still buzzing with creative ideas from the conference. I’m excited to get started on the CGOA Masters Program and will be posting updates as I progress. The first step is to select yarn for the master’s program swatch requirements. It’s time for a yarn crawl to add to my stash collection!