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CGOA Celebrates 20 Years ~ Part 8: The Chain Link Newsletter

Monday, July 21, 2014

This is the last in my series which looks back over the last 20 years of the Crochet Guild of America as we get ready to launch the 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Annual Crochet Conference on July 24 in Manchester, New Hampshire. 

I've been so excited all year long, working on the planning committee with the other Past Presidents and thinking about how far we've come over all these years due to the dedication of passionate crocheters who have contributed so much! More recently, I have been humbled and honored to find out that this year I was voted as the Inductee to the Jean leinhauser CGOA Hall of Fame! Please join me on Thursday at the Annunal Member Meeting for the ceremony. I look forward to seeing all my crochet friends!

Jean Leinhauser CGOA Hall of Fame
The humble beginnings of the Chain Link Newsletter in 1992 were simply a form letter to communicate with and keep in touch with avid crocheters who had heard about my very early musings of what was a dream to have a crochet conference with fabulous teachers and class...a dream that was realized on August 18, 1994.

In response to my Letter to the Editor in Threads magazine in which I looked for Crochet Pen Pals, the overwhelming number of letters I received dictated that I use a form letter at first. Typing laboriously on an Apple computer and mailing them out was worth it. I had wonderful fun reading about crocheters' experiences and love of the craft, as well as to share my dreams, plans and crochet news I could find.  I still have many of those letters. They were special and I remember that some had little gifts enclosed, like a doily, flower motif or an oirgami bird; some were writen to me on artfully created handmade stationery. It was in the days before email, and it was so exciting to get letter after letter in my mail box from people who were as passionate about crochet as I was! Their excitement and encouragement gave me the courage and the motivation to plan that first conference in 1994.

I quickly saw a need for a crochet community from the heartfelt letters I received. From that first simple form letter, the Chain Link newsletter evolved. I had to cut and paste the graphics and copy them on a mimeograph! 

Vol. 1, No. 1: Our Chain Link newsletter

Later, my dear friend and neighbor, Gerry (a non-crocheter) laid out the newsletters for me for 2 years. One of the Pen Pals volunteered to create a logo for the newsletter masthead.

First Chain Link Masthead

Once the Crochet Guild of America became an official organization in 1995, we had volunteers who took over the work of the newsletter. It continued to evolve as a professional document that linked us together. It was a place where we could share ideas and news about crochet as well as many other create ideas from the editors that gave their time.

In March 2002, DRG Publishing (now Annies)  launched Sharing the Art & Soul of Crochet, a magazine that brought new ideas for crochet lovers.

Crochet! ~  March 2002
On August 1, 2003, we had hired Offinger to manage our organization and a plan had already been worked out for Crochet! magazine to become the official magazine of CGOA. It has remained so ever since and the generous folks at Annies have supported our organization from the very early days and they have borne the cost of inserting our Chain Link Newsletter into the magazine, For Members Only, since that time. We are indeed very appreciative.

CGOA ad designed by DRG
In their ongoing support Annies also created a CGOA ad which they included in the magazine for all these years, complimentary!

2014-The Ad Today, compliments of Annies: "When You Think Crochet, Think CGOA!
Carol Alexander, the original editor of Crochet!, served on the CGOA board and retired in 2014. Ellen Gormley, a long time CGOA member and crochet designer has come up through the ranks and assumed the role as Executive Editor with the Autumn 2014 issue.

The Chain Link newsletter looks much as it did back then; the logo on the masthead has stayed the same.

The Editor of Interweave Crochet is the current President of CGOA

Indeed, we’ve come a long way, baby!! Now we have cyber-friends in all parts of the world who we can visit on a daily basis. We can even chat face-to-face on our computers to supplement out emails and messaging. There are no boundaries, but still there is something very special about being in an organization that works for the betterment of crochet and its members through education and the camaraderie that comes from sharing a passion for crochet that can't be seen, only felt when we join together for our annual meetings and monthly at our local chapters.


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