Sandra McIver gets in on the fun!

Sandra McIver had me at hello a few years ago when I saw her lovely designs at the TNNA Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio. Every one of the patterns in her book Knit Swirl are stunning.  Trust me, I saw them all!  (Yet another thing to add to my bucket list, knit them all!)

She did  her homework. It shows. Knitters everywhere sing her praises…so we knew you would like to meet her on a personal level.

Della: What song best describes your knitting?
Sandra: It’s a Wonderful World as sung by Louis Armstrong–because (at least most of the time) that’s how I feel when I’m knitting.

Della: Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Why?
Sandra: I think it would have been fascinating and enriching to have had Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman as parents. They seem to have been thoroughly wonderful people who found bliss in their love for each other throughout 50 years together and left great legacies in their films and in the work their foundation continues to do today.

Della: If I came to your house for dinner, what would you serve?
Sandra: Food from the ‘hood—grilled wild king salmon with herbs from my tiny little garden, and oven-roasted locally grown veggies dressed with some of California’s finest extra virgin olive oil. Dessert would probably be homemade lemon yogurt ice cream made with Straus Creamery yogurt and cream and Meyer lemons from my tree.
Della: What time is dinner?? (YUM)

Della: If you were a knitting notion what would you be?
Sandra: Oooohhhh—that’s tough. I’m a sucker for anything that falls into the knitting notion category. I guess I’d have to say a knitting bag because you can never have enough, and a new one never fails to put a smile on a knitter’s face.

Della: Who has had the most influence in your life? In what way?
Sandra: My grandmother. She was a force to be reckoned with at all times, despite living during a time when women just weren’t supposed to be that way.

Della: You are on ‘America’s Got Talent’, what skill will you show off?
Sandra: Nada, zippo—those sorts of skills, sadly, are not in my wheelhouse. I do have a standing order in for beautiful, pitch-perfect singing voice in my next life. I’m also going to be tall, have at least some athletic ability and straight legs.

Della: Mountains or beach?
Sandra: Happily, I don’t have to choose. We are oh, so lucky to live life atop a mountain ridge.

Thanks to Sandra! Your honest responses have us just swirling to knit one of those stunning designs of yours!!
And if you are not familiar with Sandra’s stunning one seam swirl jackets you need to check out her book Knit, Swirl.
Bet you can’t knit just one!


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Julie Hoover shares some stunning insights!

Just for fun we decided to get the inside scoop from some of your favorite knitting designers and authors.  Fiber artists are open and good sports, as you will see…

We asked a few quirky questions in hopes we might get to know these folks a little better.
Meet Julie: julie-headshot_xlarge
Julie Hoover, an Ann Arbor Michigan based designer agreed to share a little insight on how she ticks:
Della: What song best describes your knitting?
Julie: This isn’t a well-known song, but I’m going with Bob Schneider’s “Getting Better”… It’s a light-hearted love song, full of optimistic happy lyrics and just a great tune. Every design/project I work on, I get just a little better. (Listen here:
Della: Pick two celebrities to be your parents.  Why did you pick them?
Julie: Assuming this connection could even be made… I’d pick James Taylor for my father (imagine that gorgeous voice singing me to sleep every night) and Gloria Steinem for my mother (I don’t even know where to begin why, she’s just awesome).
 Della: If I came to you home for dinner, what would you serve?
Julie:  Depends on the season, but most likely pasta.  I’ve been smitten with my good friend Karen’s recipe lately:
Della: I you were a knitting notion, what would you choose to be?
Julie: Hmm, blocking wires.  They keep everything nice and straight, but they can be flexible too. (I can’t live without them.)
Della: Who has  had the most influence in your life?  In what way?
Julie:  I would have to give that honor to my husband, Eric. He keeps me grounded and is such a solid rock.  Can’t imagine a more wonderful father to my three boys.
Della: You are on ‘America’s Got Talent’, what skill will you show off?
Julie:  Ugh!  You couldn’t drag me onto “America’s Got Talent” alive!
Della: Mountains or Beach?
Julie:  That’s not fair.  Beach (as long as there’s some shade).
Julie’s  59 designs can be seen and purchased on the Ravelry website.  Other than making stylish and modern pieces for both men and women she is a “serious photo taker and gourmet food lover.”
Our thanks to Julie for playing along!
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della Q Esquire Collection Created for Male Knitters

We have added a few new styles to our Esquire Collection this fall.  The Esquire Collection was created for the male knitter or those who prefer a more tailored look for storing their knitting needles and hooks.  Learn more about the collection in our latest video.

See on the pieces at

Tell us:  Are you seeing more male knitters in your community?

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Cathy Carron / KnitCliks and One Skein Wonders


Cathy Carron is one busy lady! We caught her this spring just as she and fellow designer  Carolyn Noyes launched a news knit web site called  If you haven’t signed up, do it today!!  It’s awesome!  You will want to  see their insta-site yet too =‘knitcliks’. It’s really quite amazing.  Knitting permeates the world!

Cathy’s design work is also regularly published in Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knit Simple, Knit.1, Knitscene and the online magazine, Twist Collective.

She is the author of the popular One Skein Wonders: Designers, One Skein Wonder: Luxury Yarns, Cowlgirls along with many others.  Cathy’s  patterns are available on the Ravelry website.

Cathy has earned her way into the ever growing list of accomplished and talented designers.  We are  happy to share a bit of personal insight and think you will appreciate her candor and quick wit.

So here’s what we asked her ~

1. What song best describes your knitting?

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

2. Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Why?

Judi Dench – she’s creative, funny, smart, has warm sparkly
eyes & is feisty and her own woman.
Clint Eastwood – he’s no-nonsense, smart, creative, quiet
(a-man-of-few-words-but-they-mean something when said!)

3. If Della came to your house for dinner, what would you serve?

First, I’d ask Della what she can’t or doesn’t want to eat. Then I’d plan around that…in summer, grilled vegetables & fish or chicken & salad with a fruit pie (or fresh fruit with a wine reduction poured over – my fav) for dessert; during the winter, beef stew, biscuits & salad OR grilled black cod, mashed potatoes & spinach – some of my own favorite meals. I am a simple cook…my husband is the master ! (I do the baking).

4. If I was a knitting notion I would choose to be:

knitting notion: a tape measure – ‘like getting gauge right!

5.  Who has had the most influence in your life? In what way?

This would be like “splitting a child” for me….so I am going to punt and pick two: my mother – I could write a book! She’s taught me persistence, the importance of working hard, the love of education and to continually educate oneself. She’s a remarkable person who has not had the easiest life, lots of pain, lots of loss – but she continues to live the most positive and active life even @ 87 years this year. And equally, my husband! We are very, very different people – after 30 years I still sometimes wonder how we ever got together and remained together quite amicably (with two daughters to show for it!). He’s very quiet, very smart, with a sly sense of humor and an immense capacity for work of all kinds. By observing him, I have learned to be (somewhat) more patient, to pre-think & pre-plan, not to jump-the-gun, etc; to be calmer, to be a better listener. He’s my rock.

6. You are on ‘America’s Got Talent’ , what skill will you show off? (singing, dancing, magic tricks, etc)

If I could, I’d sing!….”Climb Every Mountain”…..

7. Mountains or beach?

Mountains – love the majesty…riding through the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina years ago above the clouds, felt like heaven…I also enjoy living in the Litchfield Hills in Northwest, CT….

It’s been fun!  Thanks for joining the conversation.

You can follow Cathy at the following:








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Naming Your Knitting Bag

I am often asked how I come up with the names for my bags and cases.  Lena was the first bag I named.  She is close to my heart for that very reason.

Lena Knitting Bag

Lena Knitting Bag

In addition to naming the bags and cases I name the cotton fabric prints for each season.  BTW – I’m sure the big time designers have a research team and a science to naming their prints and styles.  Me?  Not so much.

How is this for reasoning?  First, name the bag, then name the fabric.  So each bag/case has a name (ok, mostly) and then the fabric that bag comes in also has a name.  Example:  Rosemary is the bag name.  The fabrics names are Purple, Seafoam, Market, etc.  My silk fabrics don’t change so Purple, Seafoam, etc. are pretty straight forward and don’t change. What changes twice per year are the cotton prints such as Market and Lane.

Vintage Girl Names

Who doesn’t love a vintage name?  This is the basis for naming my bags and cases.  Agnes, Nora, Millie, Cleo. . .and so on.  I do try not to have too many names with the same beginning letter.

Seattle and Portland Street Names

I’m a Seattle girl.  I love this city.  My limited edition cotton prints, which change twice per year, are named after Seattle city streets.  Market and Latona (Spring 2015 fabrics) are streets near my home.  My Eden cotton prints, which also change twice per year, are currently based upon Portland street names.  Irving is my favorite print from the current Fall 2015 season.

Irving Print in Eden Cotton Bags

Irving Print in Eden Cotton Bags

Washington Hikes and Peaks

My newest bags, Millie and Nora (bag names) come in cotton prints.  I used to be a mountain and rock climber.  Which means at my current age, I am simply a happy hiker.    The Millie is named after Washington mountain peaks (Tonga and Granite) and Nora is named after Washington trails (Beckler and Miller).

I wouldn’t blame you if you were totally confused by now!  If you are, just know that every style and fabric has a corresponding number.

This aside, do you name either your knitting bags or your projects like people name their cars?  Tell me, tell me. .



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Knit Purl Hunter aka Michelle Hunter tells all (well, kinda)

Michelle Hunter, knit teacher, pattern designer and self proclaimed knitting addict shares some personal insights with Della.

If you don’t know her, you simply must check out her huge library of online knitting videos.  Michelle, aka The Knitpurlhunter has guided hundreds of knitters through many online Knit-Alongs.  Her patterns each come with video instructions.  She has done it well, and we appreciate her talents for the knitting community and for taking the time to play-along with us!


michelle hunter

Della: What song best describes your knitting?
Michelle: Takin’ Care of Business

Della: Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Why?
Michelle: George Clooney because I would get to look at him across the dinner table and Ellen DeGeneres because she is funny and kind.

Della: If I came to your house for dinner, what would you serve?
Michelle: Stir fry and use knitting needles for chop sticks.

Della: If you were a knitting notion what would you choose to be?
Michelle: a counter.

Della: Who has had the most influence in your life? In what way?
Michelle: In my knitting life it has been Karin Skacel. She shared my vision and brought it to life.

Della: You are on ‘America’s Got Talent’ , what skill will you show off?
Michelle: A stand up comedy routine.

Della: Mountains or beach?
Michelle: Beach, baby! My idea of heaven is knitting on the beach:)






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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?

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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


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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.


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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


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