Guest Post: Shadow Wrap Short Rows by Cocoknits

Julie Weisenberger of Cocoknits shares a new technique for creating short rows.

Cocoknits photo1Often, adding techniques into the directions makes patterns run on and become too long. So I love when I can work techniques into the pattern of a design and still keep the pattern to a reasonable length.

Cocoknits photo2I had just added the Shadow Wrap Short Row (SWSR) technique to my website (pictured above) and then wrote the pattern for Leonie, a wide, drop-shoulder, t-shirt-style knit. The sloped shoulders of Leonie are the perfect opportunity to use the SWSR.

I love this technique because it streamlines short row shaping. No more wrap and turn or even YO and turn. You knit or purl up to the turn, then work a little increase in the next st before slipping it back over to the left needle, turning and working back. SWSR creates a little “shadow” stitch (thus, the name) and therefore makes the short row easy to spot when you come back to it. In the traditional w&t, you would have to un-wrap the stitch, then hide the wrap. With SWSR you simply knit or purl the stitch together with its shadow.  See the full instructions here.

Give it a try and see what you think. If you like it and want to practice, try knitting a Leonie. You’ll perfect your technique and wind up with a perfect summer to fall transition piece. It’s worked on US10 – 11 needles so it’s a quick knit. It also includes some other techniques, like binding off to avoid stair steps around the neckline.  

Cocoknits photo3



Tell us what you think of this new technique.  Do you think it is something you might try?

Posted in Rambles | Leave a comment

della Q and Vietnam 2015 – Part 2


The early part of September took me to Vietnam to visit with my supplier, reconnect with my team of sewers and research what to bring you for Spring 2016.  This post includes my last two days of my trip.  You can read about the first three days here.

Day 4:  Bed of Sheep and a Proper Hair Wash

After a quick lunch meeting with my hang tag printer, I set out to make some final fabric decisions.  I had a ton of fabric swatches from the previous days and need to decide what I thought you would like for the cotton needle cases such as our DPN and Circular Case as well as our bags including the Nora Wrist Bag,  the Eden drawstring bags and the Willa Bag.

I found a cool tea house that served banana smoothies and got down to work.

Banana SmoothieThe totally fun part of this tea house was the bed of sheep!

Bed of SheepSheep with Waiter








Guess who brought one home?  Yep, I couldn’t resist it and will be giving it away in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

Once my work was done, I set out for a proper Vietnamese Hair Wash.  Honestly, I don’t know why we don’t have this in the US.  Maybe your city has one, Seattle certainly doesn’t.

Think one and half hours of having your head massaged, your hair stroked strand by strand, a neck, shoulder, arm and foot massage. . .all while you are laying in this comfy “bed”.  So awesome, right?  Oh, yes!  Oh, it’s only $26 USD.

Hair Wash BowlDay 5:  The Ones That Matter

This was one of those days that warms your heart.  Ms. Lien, Mr. Nghia and I headed out to the workshop where all the magic happens.  We drove to a small town about an hour outside HCMC to visit the fabulous ladies who sew all the della Q products!  I was so excited to see them again as well as watch their amazing talents.

FullSizeRender 22FullSizeRender 26FullSizeRender 27FullSizeRender 31FullSizeRender 53FullSizeRender 54della Q products are sewn by six women, some of them family.  They work in a small house in a poor community.  They are often the sole support for their family as many of their husbands do not work (don’t get me started!).  Because they work in a house, they are able to have their younger children with them while they work.

I am so thankful for this team of ladies!

FullSizeRender 34


Posted in Rambles | 3 Comments

della Q and Vietnam September 2015 – Part 1

IMG_2591The early part of September took me to Vietnam to visit with my supplier, reconnect with my team of sewers and research what to bring you for Spring 2016.  This post chronicles the first three days of my trip.

Day 1:  Arrival, Rockstar and Underwear

After 26 hours of travel, I landed in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) at 9:30 in the morning.  As you exit the airport, you kinda feel like a rockstar, as there are thousands of people waiting. . .there must be 20 people waiting for every arriving passenger!

I grabbed a metered, brand name taxi and headed to my hotel.  One must be careful to avoid the “taxi” drivers who are offering to help with your luggage and take you to their car.  After about an hour of driving around, you will end up not at your hotel, but at a “better” hotel (which just happens to be owned by the driver’s brother).

After checking into the hotel, I changed into something cool since it was 90 degrees plus and 90% plus humidity.  If you have never traveled to Vietnam, here is my first tip:  Bring a ton of underwear.  I don’t mind wearing the same sweaty dress all day, but I can’t stand to wear the same pair of sweaty underwear!

I had a quick afternoon meeting with my supplier Ms. Lien and Mr. Nghia to discuss a few projects and plan the rest of my trip.  My goal was simply to stay awake for the day so I could adjust to the time zone.  I think I made it until 8 p.m. that night.

Day 2:  You Think This is Easy?

In the morning, Mr. Nghia picked me up in a car to take me to the fabric markets.  I know this sounds trivial (to be picked up in a car), but the first few years I traveled to Vietnam, there were few cars due to high tariffs.  My mode of transportation was either walking or the back of a motorbike, without a helmet (as no helmet laws were in place at the time).  Walking was just as dangerous.  Although there are sidewalks, they serve as the parking lot for the motorbikes.  So, you have to walk in the streets, with the motorbikes!

FullSizeRender 16

Our goal for the day was to find the new cotton prints for Spring.  Most of you know that my cotton prints are remnants.  This means we basically hunt for fabric that I like.  We walk from shop to shop (avoiding the motorbikes) hoping to find something you like.  I’m telling you, this is really tough work.  It is hot and sticky.  You need muscles to move the big fabric rolls.  You have to watch your bag so a motorbike doesn’t drive by and grab it.  It is frustrating.  When you find a print you LOVE there are often not enough meters.  It is overwhelming.  Sometimes it is difficult to see the tree instead of the forest.  Right, then sometimes the power goes out so you can’t see anything anyway.

FullSizeRender 35









After a bit of Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) for lunch, we picked up Ms. Lien and drove an hour out of the city to a fabric printer.  I am trying to find a printer who would be willing to print fabric for me that doesn’t require a 6,000 meter minimum.  Six thousand meters!  This equates to 66 football field lengths!  You would all have to own at least 25 bags and they would all need to be very large.

We spent the afternoon touring the factory and learning about the printing process.  I’ll post about this adventure at a later date.

Day 3:  Needle in a Haystack and Bamboo Bikes

In the morning, Mr. Nghia and I continued to look for the perfect cotton print for Spring.  It was so frustrating.  However by the end of the morning, we had some very good options!

We also had a quick “chat” with one of the shop owners who supplies the polyester lining fabric for our bags such as Cleo and Tess.  Isn’t this 84 year old lady gorgeous?  Don’t mind the sweat streaming down my legs. . .

della Q with Vietnamese Supplier

Mr. Nghia took me to a delicious restaurant for lunch that specialized in the food of Hoi An (one of my favorite towns in Vietnam).  Check out this yummy fish dish.

IMG_2636In the afternoon, I met with the Director of Mekong-Quilts.  della Q donates a portion of our profits each year to this fabulous organization.  Mekong Quilts trains low-income and rural Vietnamese women in the art of quilting.

During the meeting, I learned that a sister organization, Mekong Creations makes these super cool bamboo bikes!  I totally want one!

Bamboo Bike Brochure

Check out Part 2 of this post here.


Posted in Rambles | Leave a comment

Comparing Circular Knitting Needle Cases

I am often asked what the difference is between The Que Circular Needle Case and the Tri-Fold Circular Needle Case. My first response is simply “It is a matter of design preference”.


The Que Circular Needle Case Style #145

Tri-Fold Circular Needle Case #1145

Tri-Fold Circular Needle Case #1145

The Que Circular Needle Case is a more square case with a bit of padding.
– 12 labeled pockets
– US numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13, 15
– Metric numbers 3.25, 3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
– One zippered pocket for notions
– Available in both silk (solid or stripe fabrics) and cotton prints



The Tri-Fold Circular Needle Case is flatter, but longer and does not include padding.
– 13 numbered pockets, 5 unnumbered
– US numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13, 15
– Metric numbers 2.75, 3.25, 3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
– Two zippered pockets for notions
– Available in both a silk stripe/solid combination and cotton prints


Both cases allow you to store multiple sets in each pocket. I think both store about the same number of needles. However, the Tri-Fold does include a few unnumbered pockets as well as a labeled pocket for US 2/2.75 mm.

As far as number of needles per pocket, I generally say three to five sets in the smaller sizes and two to three in the larger sizes.  This really all depends upon the cord length and the total number of needles you are storing.

I also am asked “How big is the case when it is full of needles?”.  Think about if you were to take all of your needles and stack them up.  Now add a bit of fabric and you’ll get the general idea.

Here are a few photos with needles in the cases so you get an idea of what they look like with one, two and three sets of needles in each numbered pocket.  There is plenty of room for more, it is simply a matter of how thick the case becomes.

Just remember you can’t shrink the size of your needles simply by putting them in a case!  However, you can keep them a bit more organized.

Check out more details and videos of each case:

The Que Circular Needle Case

The Tri-Fold Circular Needle Case

One Set

One Set

Two Sets

Two Sets

Three Sets

Three Sets

One Set

One Set

Two Sets

Two Sets

Three Sets

Three Sets

One Set

One Set

Two Sets

Two Sets

Three Sets

Three Sets

One Set

One Set

Two Sets

Two Sets

Three Sets

Three Sets


Posted in Rambles | 2 Comments

Della chats with Patty Lyons~

patty lyons
Patty Lyons is a nationally recognized knitting teacher and technique expert who is known for teaching the “why” not just the “how” in her pursuit of training the “mindful knitter”. She specializes in sweater design and sharing her love of the much-maligned subjects of gauge and blocking.

Patty designs and knitting skill articles have been published in Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knit Purl, Knitter’s Magazine, Cast On, Knit Style, and Creative Knitting magazines, where she also writes a knitter’s advice column called “Patty’s Purls of Wisdom”. Patty’s designs have also been included in pattern collections from Classic Elite, Noro, Cascade, Universal, Tahki Stacy Charles and Kollage Yarns.

BPatty Lyonsest of all, she’s a friend! Even better, she agreed to take part in a not so typical interview.


Della: What song best describes your knitting?
Patty: The Long and Winding Road . . . (I design a lot of cable sweaters)

Della: Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Why?
Patty: Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, because then I’d be funny and beautiful
(I am already one of those things . . . you can figure out which one)

Della: If I came to your house for dinner, what would you serve?
Patty: The best delivery NYC has to offer – I don’t cook

Della: If you were a knitting notion, what you choose to be?
Patty: A Della Q needle case of course!
Della: :)

Della: Who has had the most influence in your life? In what way?
Patty: Mom. Too many reasons to name.

Della: You are on ‘America’s Got Talent’, what skill will you show off?
(singing, dancing, magic tricks, etc)
Patty: Catskill Standup Comedy

Della: Mountains or beach?
Patty: Mountain

Our thanks to our guest Patty Lyons. She is a very busy lady, we appreciate her time!
Here’s all her social media info:

Website/Newsletter sign up:




Posted in Rambles | Leave a comment

Designing The Perfect Knitting Needle Case

I am often asked about how I come up with my designs. The truth is, the designs come from you. I rely on what you as a knitter tell me you need. I then balance this with any sewing constraints or my brand and design preferences. For example, I don’t really work in plastic. Fabrics are what is true to the della Q brand. I don’t use Velcro.

I don’t make a case for every request. In order to stay in business, I have to know there is larger market for my products. These demands change. For instance, I did not used to have a straight needle roll. So many store owners told me “no one uses straights anymore”. However, after a couple of years, I was getting more and more requests from consumers for a straight needle roll. Our Lily Straight Needle Roll is a now a part of my core collection.


Designing the Tunisian Crochet Case

What do I use in my design work?
– Graph paper
– Tape measure (in centimeters as my supplier works in centimeters)
– Needles/hooks
– Pencil and eraser
– Rubber bands
– Fabric
– Older case designs

Once I have an idea for a case, I simply start sketching. I will use other cases often as a basis for my new designs. I determine the width of pockets using needles and hooks. If they are stacked pockets such as in our Double Point Roll that holds two sets of DPNs, then I need to widen the pockets to allow more than one set of needles to fit comfortably. I consider whether the case should include a storage pocket for notions. This increases the cost so sometimes I include it, other times I leave it out. Does the case need some sort of security flap? How many pockets are necessary without being excessive?

Deciding on the size labels to include in a case can be challenging. I want to accommodate all types of needle brands (e.g. Add, Knit Picks, Hiya Hiya) where I can. I also consider if smaller sizes or larger sizes should be included. I have to design to the masses in order to stay in business so I try to understand what most people would want to store. Sometimes my US numbers (letters for crochet) and metric numbers don’t always match up to all the brands. There are inconsistencies (particularly in the crochet world) in the equivalencies.

In general, I will launch a new case in my core silk collection first. If it does well, then I will have it made in my limited edition fabrics.

I am fortunate to have a rock star supplier in Vietnam. She can take my rough sketches and turn them into a functioning needle case. Once a couple of samples are finished and sent to me via DHL, I will then fill the case with needles/hooks to make sure the pockets are the correct size, etc.  I ask my sales reps and some retailers for feedback on the samples. Sometimes another round of samples are required. If we are lucky, we get it right the first time and they go into production. By production, I mean, sewn by people and sewing machines. These are not machine made items!

Posted in Rambles | Leave a comment

Meet Della


Posted in Rambles | Leave a comment

How to Get What You Want For the Holidays: Wish Lists

Is your family starting to ask you what you want for the holidays?  Have you started a list?  I have.  Given all of my recent travel I need new luggage tags. I would like those really cool leather ones that are imprinted with my name, etc and will not tear off my suitcase.

Perhaps you are pining for a particular yarn or maybe a della Q bag? :)  Online wish lists are an easy way to keep your holiday wish list and share with your friends and family.

In addition to allowing you to keep your list of items in one location, wish lists allow you add notes about the items and send the list to friends and family.  Most of the tools are free.  Once you sign up for the wish list you add a button to your browser toolbar (no tech skill set required).  The button allows you to add any item from a web site to your wish list.  Let’s say you are on Jimmy Beans Wool website and you see a particular yarn you must have, you simply click the button on your tool bar and “bam” it is added to your wish list.  Pretty simple.  See my button below:  it says “Add to Wish List”.

Add to Wish List Example





Consider signing up for one of these free wish list tools:

Amazon – This is probably the most popular wish list tool  Your items do not have to be on Amazon.  You can add items from any website.  You can also search for other people’s wish lists as long as they have made it public.

Wishpot – allows you to import your Amazon list.  You can scan barcodes to add to your list.

Wishlistr – similar to Wishpot you can import your Amazon list.  It allows you to easily rearrange your items into themes such as birthday, wedding, holiday.

If you use a wish list, tell me which one in the comments below.




Posted in Rambles | Leave a comment

Why della Q Cotton Print Knitting Bags and Needle Cases Are Limited Edition

I love a good cotton print!  Of course, “good” is in the eye of the beholder.  If you have followed our collections for more than a season, you know that our cotton prints are limited edition.

These are some of my favorite prints we have offered over the last four years:

Turquoise Vines

Turquoise Vines

Candy Spree

Candy Spree

Kirkwood Meadow

Kirkwood Meadow 















My bags and cases are hand sewn in Vietnam.  Vietnam produces silks and poly-silks.  When I reorder a style from my supplier, she can easily secure additional silk and poly-silk fabric.  However, all other fabrics are imported as remnants and are sold on a secondary market.  If I want to use a cotton print in my collection, I have to buy these remnants which have limited meters available.  If I buy a certain amount of fabric and I decide in a few weeks that would like additional meters, the fabric will most likely be sold out.

So, I have to predict how much cotton print fabric I will use per style, which styles will require the cotton print and how many pieces I will sell in a particular period of time.  I usually have two cotton prints per season so that you can have more than one choice, but also because I typically can not get enough of one fabric to make it through a season.  Sometimes, I have to select three prints as I can not find enough fabric in just two prints that I like.

The moral of the story?  If you like a particular cotton print, grab all the pieces you can as it will be gone before the next season!  Our latest cotton prints are always listed under “What’s New” at

What were some of your favorite cotton prints?



Posted in Rambles | Leave a comment

della Q Natural Collection: Knitting Needle Cases

There is something about a vintage look that I love.  Maybe it reminds me of my grandmother and her kitchen.  Whatever the reason, I wanted to develop something that was a bit more simple than the signature della Q collection in it’s vibrant colors.

I started with un-dyed cotton.  In addition, I wanted to find a closure that was less feminine than my standard tie closure.  Thanks to Takako at Habu Textiles, she suggested the button and string.  Do you remember when your interoffice mail came in those brown envelopes with a red button and string closure?  What a fantastic idea!  Somehow it seems more fun to wrap a string around a button than tie a bow.

Natural Button Close Up with Logo2 Rotate

When I was sharing my thoughts about the proposed new collection with Franklin Habit, he suggested the pop of color for the button.  Again, another great suggestion from an industry leader.

The next important item I wanted to tackle was the size labels.  I wanted an option different than the sewn in size tags.  I emailed my supplier to see if she could print directly on the fabric.  The answer was “yes!”  I was thrilled.  I enjoyed finding a vintage typewriter font while eating my lunch one day.  (I often do my Google research projects while eating lunch.)

One would think that printing the labels on the fabric would be easier than sewing each individual label.  Apparently, not.  The sewing process becomes more complicated as the fabric needs to be cut into it’s components for each style, then the piece requiring the printing is sent out to the printer.  Once the printing is complete, then the components are reassembled and sewn.  Hence, the Natural Collection needle cases are more expensive than my signature needle cases.

Printing Close Up-NLG


As of today, the collection includes the following cases:

Tri-Fold Circular Needle Case

Double Point Roll

Interchangeable Case

Double Interchangeable Case

DPN and Circular Case

Tell me what you think. . .should I add to the collection?


Posted in Rambles | 1 Comment