I went to a conference…
that was all about crochet…
I think I am finally recovering from my trip to Itasca, IL (a suburb of Chicago) to attend the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) 2017 Chain Link Conference. If you are not familiar with CGOA you can find out more information about them here but basically, they are the only national organization that is dedicated specifically to crochet. The CGOA is also a membership organization but you do not have to be a member to participate but you do receive perks and discounts for being a member.
I have actually known about CGOA for quite a while and was a member in the past I wasn’t really an active member and basically forgot to renew my membership and never really thought about it again; that is not until one of my good friends attended a certification course offered by CGOA and found out about the conference and informed me that we had to attend.
I went back and forth about whether or not I would attend mainly for personal reasons, one being the conference was held in IL and that meant I would have to travel from NC. I also knew that I would be moving a couple of weeks before the conference and it just didn’t seem like a good time to be traveling and being away from home for approximately a week. Last but not least because I have a crochet business I was worried about all the stuff that I still needed to get done i.e. orders that needed to be shipped and projects left undone while I was gone.
So Why Did I decide to go…
The driving force behind my decision to attend is because I refuse to complain about something unless I plan to be part of the solution. If you follow me on any of my social media like Facebook, Instagram and or Periscope you know one of the things I talk about is the lack of diversity when it comes to the crochet community. And when I say diversity I’m not talking about a lack of people of color actually crocheting because we all know the art of crochet is practiced world wide but when you think about the experts or the leaders in the field of crochet trying to find a person of color is like finding a needle in a haystack and even when you do most of them are only recognized within our own community and that is a problem! One of the ways to fix the problem is to actually show up. But not only did I show up but I had conversations, conversations that may have made people uncomfortable but I bet you they won’t forget that I was there and more importantly that I have something to offer the crochet community.
The conference overall was great. I did not expect to see a lot of women of color at the conference so I wasn’t surprised that only about 10% of the attendees were women of color. What I was surprised about is the average of the age of the attendees, so the majority of the attendees were 49 years of age and up and I’m not going to lie I was a little shocked because you constantly hear “this not your grandma crochet” yet it was your grandma at the conference and not you lol. For real where all the younger folks who crochet?
I jokingly called it the “conference of shawls” because there were a lot of shawls, gorgeous shawls but a lot of shawls! And I believe that myself and my friend Aniqua from My Kinda Thing were the only two doll makers or amigurumi artist which was also very interesting.
Again overall I had a great time. It was a great learning experience I was able to not only connect with other crocheters but I had the opportunity to present my work to yarn companies and magazine publishers which I really can’t even put into words what it means for the growth of my business. Even if you are a crochet hobbyist it is still a great conference to attend just to be in a place full of people who passionate about the same thing you are is indescribable and I highly recommend that you plan to attend next year.
Make sure you are following My Crochet Life on Facebook as I will continue to share my experience as well as some of the things I learned. I would also love to get your feedback feel free to comment below or on my Facebook Page. Would you attend the CGOA why or why not and how do you feel about diversity in the crochet community?