CGOA Hall of Fame 2020 Winner
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CGOA Hall of Fame


Karen Ballard Hall of Fame Interview

CGOA is proud to announce the 2020 winner of the Jean Leinhauser CGOA Crochet Hall of Fame.

Karen C.K. Ballard

Karen C.K. Ballard is a textile historian, artist, crochet designer, teacher, writer, and collector of textile tools. Karen has been interested in textile arts since early childhood when her aunt taught her to crochet. Since then she has taken numerous classes in textile arts, beading, color theory, art, glass, textile history, textile preservation, and instructor training. Since retiring from her career as a computer software designer and manager, she has immersed herself into the textile world. Karen has displayed textile artifacts from her personal collection, professionally taught and demonstrated crochet, sold her crochet/beading designs, participated in freeform crochet exhibitions, and researched and presented talks on textile history, especially WWI and WWII patriotic crochet and knitting, consulted and written on textile history.

Karen is a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) and has earned CGOA’s Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques certification. Her involvement with the CGOA includes having served for several years as a Junior Reviewer for the CGOA Masters Program, and currently serving on the CGOA Information Committee. Karen also writes a regular column for the CGOA’s Chain Link Newsletter ( Her articles focus on historical crochet-related themes such as “Crochet Thread & Yarn Advertising” (Summer 2017), “Crochet Attitudes During Wartime” (Winter 2015), and “Vintage Crochet with Tapes/Braids, Rickrack & Cords” (Winter 2014).

In addition to her Chain Link Newsletter column, Karen has also written several articles for PieceWork and Crochet Traditions magazines, as well as for the Center for Knit and Crochet  ( and for I Antique Online an online community for antique collectors ( ).

She has designed and created beaded crochet jewelry for commission to a Caron International yarn trade show; created historically accurate textile items (including clothing, tents, and flags) for living history programs; designed and sewn theatrical costumes; taught crochet classes; sold designs to magazines; participated in freeform crochet exhibitions; and won first prize in the Small Wonders category of CGOA’s 2012 Crochet Design Contest for her “ NC Necklace.”( )

Karen has a particular love of freeform crochet which began after taking several classes at her first Chain Link Conference from Prudence Mapstone. Karen contributed her piece Tribute to Peter Max to Prudence Mapstone’s 50 years of Flower Power collaborative project  (

Currently Karen is gathering materials for a book on mid-19th century crochet and putting together a local mixed-media (largely crochet) art show of exhibitions depicting textile history and lore.

You can find more information on Karen’s background on her website .