How the CGOA Master Program Changed My Life

There are points in your life that you can reflect back on and realize that was where everything went in a different direction. For me one such point is the CGOA Masters Advanced Stitches & Techniques Program. Some may recognize my name as a teacher or designer or even past president of CGOA, but none of that would be true if not for that portfolio.

I remember when I first learned of the program, when Advanced Stiches & Techniques was first released in May of 2010. A group of fiber artists were discussing how they were getting master certification in weaving and yarn spinning. I was in awe that such certifications even existed, as I had never heard about it before. Then I get my first newsletter from CGOA and was thrilled to learn that they offered just such a program.

Getting started

I purchased it the day it was released, and waited patiently for it to arrive in the mail. As soon as I open the envelope I was enthralled and captivated by the 29 page document. Picking up a skein of yarn I began working each swatch as it was listed.

I will admit I was a bit apprehensive. There were times I came across stitches I had never worked. There were patterns that had no description or picture of what it should look like. However, I continued on. In honesty, I was so excited that I completed the entire 48 swatches and 13 questions in a matter of days. Not wanting to appear too eager, or speedy in my work I waited a week or so before contacting the CGOA office to set up a review. Unbeknownst to me, the course was so popular, that by the time I had requested a review it already had a four week backlog.

Over the next four weeks waiting to be assigned a reviewer, I anxiously looked over my work, practiced a few of the new stitches, and tried to stay calm. There was no point in second guessing myself.

The wait

Then the time came to send of my portfolio. I was a complete mixture of feelings. Essentially taking a test from a professor I had never met, and they were going to tell me if I could actually crochet. I am self-taught, and even though I had been crocheting for 25 years at this point I had never had someone scrutinize my work. What if they told me I was joke? What if I was only making mistakes? Then I remembered those fiber artists, and how in their discussions they had talked about how much they learned about themselves and their work through the review process for their certifications. How it improved their weaving, their spinning.

After finally passing the review process, I realized I did learn a lot about myself, and improved my crochet. The program forced me to consider things, stitches and techniques that I had just taken for granted. By understanding more about my stitching I have improved my work.

Moving Forward

The rest of my adventure grew from this. Now that I had actually completed this recognition program I had friends and family ask me to teach them to crochet. It is a bit mind boggling that people that have known me as a crocheter only now think I can actually successfully crochet because I received a certificate, but it is what it is.

Then being invited by CGOA to be recognized as a Master at a graduate ceremony at their next annual conference took me into the world of design and further professional growth. I also made lifelong friends whose diverse backgrounds create a unique tapestry in my life, it is always amazing how crochet can unite. I found another family one that understands and embraces me in an entirely different way than I had ever experienced before.