Thursday, July 15, 2010

CGOA Professional Development Day

The bags are unpacked, the laundry is done, and I've even sorted through most of my materials and purchases from the 2010 Knit and Crochet Show I attended last week. This was my first time at the conference and though I did have a buddy assigned to me who told me a bit about the event, I didn't know exactly what to expect.

I am happy to report that the experience greatly exceeded my expectations!

I got to meet such incredible people, from well known designers and publishers to aspiring crochet professionals to people who just love to crochet and knit. It was inspirational and energizing for me - dare I say it - life changing. It gave me hope that I can make some kind of career out of my crafty endeavors.

My adventure started on Wednesday at the Crochet Guild of America's (CGOA) Professional Development Day (PDD). After speeding up to Manchester in the morning (keeping an eye out for troopers), I entered the ballroom to find a place to sit. Circular tables were spread throughout the room, tables of door and raffle prizes were in view, and refreshments were provided. But the main thing I noticed was the energy in the air. People were smiling and chatting, saying hello to old friends, greeting new ones, commenting on others' handcrafted garments. It was an electric chatter of joy and fun weaving throughout the room. I found a table near the coffee (always a great place to sit) and before I knew it, I was meeting new people and feeling right at home. I introduced myself to some ladies at the table and lo and behold, who am I sitting next to but Edie Eckman!

The program began with information from Robin Chachula, followed by an inspirational presentation by Kristin Omdahl. Lion Brand then took the floor to do a marketing piece - which was fine to do considering they sponsored the day. I'm more than happy to sit through a half hour commercial about yarns that I love in exchange for free coffee. They let us check out their new line of luxury yarns (only available now via online order or in the Lion Brand Studio in NYC), and gave us free hooks and yarn to make charity squares. The morning ended with a presentation by Lily Chin, a tour-de-force in the design world with a NY attitude and personality I adore.

Lunch was next - which for hotel food wasn't bad. I had finally met up with my conference buddy who was - you won't believe this! - Jean Leinhauser. Go ahead - go Google that name if you don't know who she is. Or check Amazon for the many, many books she's written and published. She was there with her good friend and business partner, Rita Weiss, another legend in the business. Then sits down Marty Miller, the current CGOA President. You can imagine how exciting this was!

After lunch, it was time for smaller workgroups. Eight different workgroups were presented and attendees could choose to go to three of them. The three I attended were
- Ellen Gormley: The Business of Crochet (click here for proof I was there)
- Susan Lowman: Contract Crocheting (From an Editor/Designer's Perspective)
- Edie Eckman: Designing for Publication

After three hours of tons of helpful information, my brain was buzzing with ideas and excitement. I had pages full of notes, extremely helpful handouts from the teachers, and a couple of charity squares to donate. The day also resulted in over $1000 being raised for lyme disease research.

Why no more details than this? Because there isn't enough time in the day for me to write in all the details of everything I learned from the presentations, workshops and people I met. You'll just have to find the opportunity to check out PDD for yourself at next year's conference which will be taking place in Minneapolis at the end of July. I know I'll be there.

Stay tuned ... adventures from Saturday's shopping and the CGOA dinner and fashion show are up next.

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