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The annual CGOA conference, officially known as the 2015 CGOA Knit & Crochet Show in Mission Valley, California, was an educational experience that transformed some of my thoughts about crochet.  As a first-timer (newbie), I had to acclimate to the spirit and high energy cadence of the event. Friends reconnected at the networking events and complete strangers were soon chatting with each other and making those wonderful relationship connections.

While making the most of each event, I connected deeply with the reasons that crocheting has been a lifelong hobby for me.

The CGOA conference in San Diego brought me closer to the heart of why I love to crochet.

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 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.

The website for the International Free Form Crochet Guild provides the proof. This form of crochet is such a beautiful flow of creative energy. The fashion show in San Diego included some fabulous artistry apparel and accessories using freeform crochet techniques.

Yarn Bombing

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. Yes, that’s called yarn bombing. I yarn bombed my own bedroom some 40+ years ago!

Tapestry Crochet

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 using embroidery thread and a needle. 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. Once the colors were determined, I crocheted a fabric design and created a 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 the term “Intarsia Crochet” is used in reference to these, but my understanding is that intarsia creates a pattern on the back of the fabric and either side of the fabric can be displayed. The charted patterns that I made created a stringy, knotty mess on the back of the fabric, so no, those were not intarsia.

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 Finder on Lion Brand’s website.

The CGOA 2015 conference was a success, for the event planners and for me personally. The conference was well organized and had both educational and fun activities each day. The networking time was rewarding for me and I connected with so many crafting enthusiasts in the short three days.

Reasons to attend a Crochet Guild event near you:

Education – Dozens of sessions with industry leaders.

Shopping – New product lines, ability to ask questions and talk to suppliers. I spent time with vendors and discovered some essential tools for crochet during my time on the vendor floor.

Inspiration – From fashion show to contest displays, inspiration everywhere. Even the attendees were decked out in crochet fashions that were drool-worthy.

Networking – Let’s talk about crochet and make new friends

My brain is still buzzing with creative ideas from the conference.  It’s time for a yarn crawl to add to my stash collection!

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