Crochet DOES belong in the Knitting World!

Adding Crochet to Your Knitting Toolbox

by Sara Leighton, designer and blogger

As a crochet designer, it is evident that I think crochet has a great deal of stand-alone merit. Crochet projects, patterns, and techniques have come a very long way from the granny squares and stiff fabrics of the 60’s and 70’s. The craft is so versatile; it can be sturdy or sweet, funky or feathery, chic or country. Crochet’s value is sometimes dismissed by certain parts of the knitting community. I invite you to keep an open mind! Did you know that crochet can be a great addition to knitting projects as well? Here are three reasons that you should consider learning at least basic crochet stitches, along with three suggestions on how to use them.


Reason #1: Being “multi-stitchual” spurs creativity.Each fiber art that we try helps us become more well-rounded. When I learned to knit it absolutely affected the way that I viewed my crochet. If you learn to crochet you may being to see your knitting in a new way. It may generate new and different ideas for projects or modifications and provide you with a fresh look at individual stitches and how they fit together.

Reason #2: Knitting patterns may suggest using crochet and/or a crochet hook.Fixing mistakes, adding beads, and reinforcing button holes will all become much easier if you are already comfortable holding and working with a crochet hook. A baseline of crochet knowledge will also help you to select the hook size that is best for the job.

Reason #3: Each craft has strengths and weaknesses.If you know how to both knit and crochet, it will allow you to choose which craft is right for your particular project. Do you want to make a tight basket that will easily stand up on its own? Crochet is here to help. Looking to create flexible socks? Knitting may be your best bet. Limiting yourself to only one craft means shutting out hundreds of potential project ideas and patterns.

Even the most basic of crochet stitches and techniques can be used to improve your knitting projects.

Here are three basic suggestions for utilizing crochet in knitting.

Suggestion#1: Add a single crochet border


A single crochet border is clean and crisp, helpful for cleaning up bumpy edges. You attach the yarn to the hook with a slip knot in the same way that you would attach it to the needle in knitting. Next, attach to the item in any location with a slip stitch. Then you can work single crochet stitches along any edge by inserting the hook between rows and/or stitches. Rounding corners is a cinch as well. Fasten the yarn off by pulling the tail through the last open stitch similar to knitting.

Suggestion #2: Create a simple no-sew seam with slip stitches. 3

I am not a huge fan of sewing with a yarn needle. Happily, slip stitches allow for the creation of quick and sturdy seams. You can seem any two edges together by working slip stitches between rows and/or stitches, inserting the hook through both pieces of fabric.

Suggestion #3: Make it pretty with a lace border.4

Using crochet means no knitting extra rows ahead of time or thinking about the border at the beginning of the project. You can add a lace border to your project at the very end. This simple border only uses three simple stitches: slip stitch, single crochet, and double crochet. For the interested learner, there are endless options when it comes to beautiful crochet borders. Also, remember that going around corners and from horizontal to vertical edges is easy.

Here’s an example of a complete hybrid project. I knit a simple scarflette with a keyhole, based on Kate Donaldson’s Beginner Keyhole Scarf ( 5

I added a single crochet edge to the left and right sides to stop the fabric from curling, as well as a simple shell border on each end to make the scarflette more feminine. Finally, I reinforced the keyhole with single crochet as well.

There are many digital and print resources out there, both free and paid, that can help you to learn crochet. Read your yarn labels to find out which size of crochet hook you should start with. Spend a little time with a hook one of these days and you will be making a meaningful investment into your fiber crafting. I am proud to call myself “multi-stitchual”. Join me!


A huge nod and thanks to  Sara Leighton, a passionate crochet designer and blogger from Seattle, Washington. Her insight is much appreciated and if you would like to get to know her a bit better you can  contact her by email

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Don’t Worry, Knit Happy

Knitting Sarah’s Tips for Healthy & Happy Productivity

 by Sarah Chy


As you turned your calendar from October to November last week,  I’m sure many of you may had that moment of panic where you realized that Christmas is just one page turn away. Yes, we definitely are in the throes of holiday knitting crunch time. As you assess your to-knit list this year, I wanted to extend some tips that I employ for finishing projects in a timely manner with joy & in good health in the hopes that you might have a little less stress and a little more happiness as you knit away on your gifts this year. If you aren’t knitting gifts, no worries! This list serves as a general guide to getting your projects from WIP to FO in a timely manner, too.

1) Set reasonable goals.

This is really where success begins. If you are just starting on knitting Christmas stockings today and your plan is to make 20 before Santa comes around or hospitalize yourself trying, you might want to put your doctor on speed dial. Knitting 12 intricate lace shawls between now and New Year’s? It’s probably not going to happen. While it’s OK to push yourself a little, it’s important to honestly look at your free time and make realistic plans. You’ll be more efficient, you will enjoy it more, and the FOs will be better quality if you set reasonable goals for yourself from the start.

2) Be organized.

Nothing will slow you down faster or be more irritating than not being able to find your tools when you need them. If you miss a deadline, I promise that 35 minutes you spent hunting for your yarn needle will haunt you. Keep your needles tidy, your notions within easy reach, and give each of your projects its own project bag containing everything you need to work on it. Having all the things you need at your fingertips will insure your time is spent on the knitting, not trying to find your knitting or things you need to be able to knit.

nov-2016-blog-pic3) You can take it with you.

Be a mobile knitter. Take your knitting with you when you’re out and about because you never know when you’ll find yourself stuck waiting. Even more importantly though, keep your knitting nearby at home. If your knitting is within arm’s reach, when you have 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there – like when the water is boiling on spaghetti night — you’ll be more likely to pick it up and work on it. Those random odd minutes will add up over time. I’m a firm believer that it’s what you do in these in-between moments that make or break the best laid knitting plans.

4) Prioritize for when life happens.

Maybe you’ve done everything right; you’ve set realistic goals, you’re hyper organized, and you’ve been knitting in your allotted time plus all those in-between moments. You’ve been diligent and on target and you’re feeling great about finishing that to-knit list on time this year. Then your sister’s car breaks down and she asks if you can carpool with her to save a on rental. Your kids come home and beg you to help them make handmade gifts for their teachers. Oh, and could you also make a dozen cupcakes and a help organize your daughter’s holiday party at school? And then, to add insult to injury, the dog breaks out in hives from the new dog food you bought him. In the waiting room at the vet you have to face the facts: either you won’t sleep for the next 3 weeks or the to-knit list will have to be slashed. It’s disappointing, but these things happen and you have to be prepared for this eventuality. Have your projects prioritized so that if/when the time comes you can easily bump the lowest priority projects to a later date. Knowing what your priorities are before you hit roadblocks makes it quicker and easier to move on when you do.

5) Knit happy, knit healthy.

It’s always important to remember that at the core of our knitting is love and joy. When you’re rushed and knitting on deadlines, it’s easy to forget this simple fact. We all start with this idyllic vison of wrapping those dear to us in our love-filled stitches, but when you rush and push too hard you’re actually knitting that stress right into your work. You’re more likely to wind up with overuse injuries, to make mistakes that thwart your knitting plans, and to miss out on important moments with friends and family out of an obligation to your to-knit list. knitting-blog


Take a deep breath and enjoy those stitches because that’s what it’s really all about. If your body gets sore or tired, take a break. When you have a social engagement, go and have fun. Take care of yourself, knit happy, and if you’ve made a reasonable, flexible, prioritized list, you’ll get everything you need to finish done. And the results will be those love-filled stitches you envisioned.

Guest blogger Sarah Chy is a Wisconsin-based knitter, spinner, writer, and small-scale family adventurer. You can keep up with her latest crafty projects and family hijinks on her blog,




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8 Things I Can Do on 8 Acres

This isn’t about knitting.  It isn’t about any crafty thing really.  It is me just putting out to the universe how fortunate I am.  My husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary in July (clap, clap, clap).  On the day of our anniversary, we signed papers to buy an 8-acre parcel of land in Mazama,WA.  Where is Mazama?  It is a three and a half hour drive northeast of Seattle (five and half in the winter when the main road is closed) . .over the mountains, through the woods, etc.  Mazama is the tiny little community in the Methow Valley where we were married.

You’ve seen the photos.



We now own eight acres about one mile from where these photos were taken.  Right.  Eight acres!  For some this might be small, but for a Seattle city girl, this seems huge!  Check it out.

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Do you see all those mountains that want to be hiked in the summer and skied in the winter?  In a few years, we hope to be living in Mazama full time.  Once there, I may be packing your della Q Circular Knitting Needle Case or knitting bag in my ski or hiking clothes after a morning out on the trails.

For now, we will be staying at the inn (or our tent) until we build a house and a della Q studio (grin!).  Until Oprah discovers me, we won’t be building anytime soon. (Shameless plug. . .does anyone know Oprah?)

I’ve been thinking about what we are going to do with 8 acres. . .

One.  Soak my tired feet in the stream (yep – there’s a stream) after standing for eight hours at a yarn and fiber event.

Two.  Walk around the property saying “Can you hear me now?” on my cell phone when you try to reach me in the mountains.

Three.  Sun bathe naked.  That was my husbands suggestion.

Four.  Walk from acre to acre looking for Lucky in the tall grass.

Five.  Enjoy a glass of red wine watching the sun set after a day of hiking.

Six.  Roast marshmallows next to the campfire after a day of skiing.

Seven.  Dream about where we will build the della Q studio.

Eight. What do you think I should do on the property?  Share your thoughts!


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Double Point and Circular Knitting Needle Storage. All in One.

There is a place for everything some would say.  I would say, “there is a case for every knitting needle.”  You have probably heard me say this before “If you want to store all your needles together. . .go 1136-017-angle-high-res1000pxget a suitcase!”  Seriously, why would you want to keep them all together?  If you want a circular needle wouldn’t you just want to look at your circular needles?  In addition, do you really want to bring all your needles with you when you are headed out of the house?  Do you store all your shirts, pants, socks and underwear all in one drawer.  Probably not.

Doesn’t it make sense to store your circular knitting needles separate from your crochet hooks?  Unless you are a new knitter who only has a few needles and hooks, it really does make sense to keep them separate.  As such, I design cases specific to the needle type:  a case for double points, a case for circulars, a case for interchangeables, etc.

I am going to break my own rule.

After talking with so many of you, it does seem as though there is a need to have a knitting needle case that stores a mix of double pointed (DPN) and circular knitting needles.  Our DPN + Circular Needle Case (Style #1136) case allows you to do just that.



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The case is a quad fold design and allows for the storage of:

  • one complete set of DPNs US 0 to 10.5 (metric 2 to 6.5) up to 8″ in length
  • four additional sets of DPNs with unlabeled pockets
  • about 50 sets of circular needles in 12 labeled pockets US 3 to 15 (metric 3.25 to 10) and two unlabeled pockets
  • Notions, etc. in two zip pockets

Who should use this case.

If you have mostly circular needles and a few DPNs and want to store them together, this might be a good fit for you.

Who should not use this case.

If you have more than one set of DPNs per size for most sizes, your DPNs will not fit.  Check out our Double Point Needle Roll (Style #158) where you can store TWO sets of DPNs per size.

If you have a TON of circular needles (e.g. more than five or six of every size) or quite a few smaller than US 3 (metric 3.25) you will want to consider one of the following cases dedicated to circular knitting needles:

If you looking to store interchangeable tips and cords, your tips will fall out of the pockets designed for DPNs.  The pockets were designed for five sticks each, not just two sticks.  Check out our Interchangeable Needle Case (#185).

Need a live demo?


What flavors do you say?


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Red, Brown, Seafoam, Purple, Ocean and Black silk are part of our core collection and are always available.

The case is also offered in our Natural Collection (with printed labels rather than sewn in labels) and our Esquire Collection.  Both of these collection have a button and string closure rather than the tie.

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Want a bit of spice?  Check out the DPN + Circular case in our Limited Edition cotton prints that change each season.

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As of September 2016 we have stock of the Columbia, Belmont, Austin and Trenton cotton prints.  Once the stock is sold, that is it!

What are people saying?

In short, knitters love this case and have rated it 4.8 out of 5.0 stars (September 2016).  Yeah!  Here are what your fellow knitters are saying:

“I have been using my needle case for over a year and am very happy with it. It is very helpful to have all my needles in one place, easy to find because of how the interior is organized. I don’t mind leaving my case out because it is so beautiful to look at. I have even been able to ask my husband to check for needles when I am out. He is always able to see what I have. I am very happy with my Della Q purchase. Well worth the money spent.” Knitter in Saratoga Springs, NY

“For a long time I was looking for a way to store all my circular and double pointed needles – everything I had tried wasn’t working – then I found this case and it was perfect.”  Knitter in San Diego, CA

“I can’t say enough about this product. It arrived exactly as pictured & described on the website. Quality is great – durable and beautiful fabrics and stitching is clean. It is exactly what I was looking for to store a good # of my dpns & circulars.”  Knitter in Winefield, IN

Your needles are ready when you are.

Jump into your next project quicker by organizing your needles in a della Q needle case.

  • Labeled Pockets – Know what needles you have and what you don’t.  Save money buy not buying extra sets of needles.
  • US and Metric Sizing – Easily convert patterns or use the sizing system you are most comfortable.
  • Neat, Secure, Precise Stitching and Finishing – Know you won’t have to replace your case anytime soon and that is looks professionally made, because it is!
  • Secure Flaps and Ties – Don’t lose your needles.
  • Nearly 20 Storage Options – Find the right case for your specific needle storage need.
  • Nine Different Fabric and Color Options – Pick the fabric that speaks to you in silks, cottons, bright or muted colors.  Coordinate or mix and match.
  • A Portion of Your Purchase Helps Low-Income Women – Feel good that you are helping low-income Vietnamese woman train in the art of quilting as a means to a steady income.

Don’t delay your next project because you can’t find your needles or the right size, or all five of your DPNs . . .

Get your DPN + Circular Needle Case now > > >


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Grandma Corn’s Baby Sweater

‬iphone pics 362



The pattern doesn’t change but the size can be tweaked by using thicker yarn and bigger needles.   The following are approximate sizes using a baby or  sport weight yarn:

3-6 month :  Size 1 and 3 needles

For size 1:  Size 2 and 4 needles

For size 2:  Size 3 and 5 needles

Gauge:  7 stitches=1 inch on size 3’s.

6 stitches=1 inch on size 5

Optional:  use needles 1-­2 sizes smaller for cuffs and ribbing.



CO 60 sts

K1, P1 rib for one inch.  Increase one stitch in the last row of ribbing.



Row 1: Purl

Row 2: Knit                                                                                      Abbreviations:

Row 3: Purl

Row 4:  K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*                                                K-knit                   P-purl

Row 5: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*                                                 kfb-knit into the front and back of stitch

Row 6: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*                                                 sts-stitch(es)         yo-yarn over

Row 7: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 8: K5, *kfb, K4, repeat from* to last 6 sts, kfb, K5               tog-together          pm-place marker

Row 9: P72

Row 10: K1, *yo, K2tog, repeat from*

Row 11: P72

Row 12: K7, *kfb, K3, repeat* to last 9 sts, kfb, K8

Row 13:  P87 sts

Row 14: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 15: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 16: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 17:  K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 18: K3, *kfb, K4, repeat from* to last 4 sts, kfb, K3

Row 19: P104

Row 20: K1, *yo, K2tog, repeat from*

Row 21: P104

Row 22:  K1, *kfb, K4, repeat from* to last 3 sts, kfb, K2 Row 23:  P125

Row 24: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 25: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 26: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 27: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from*

Row 28:  K5, *kfb, K4, repeat from* (149 sts)


Shape raglan armholes​:

Row 1:  P23, pm, P31, pm, P41, pm, P31, pm, P23

Row 2:  *K to 2 sts before next marker, kfb, K1, slip marker, kfb, repeat from* three more times, K22 Row 3: Purl

Repeat rows 2 and 3 seven more times.


Divide for body and sleeves​:

K 31 sts

Slip the next 47 sts on waste yarn.

CO 6 sts using backward loop or knitted cast on, pm after the 3rd cast on stitch.

Join to back stitches and K57 sts.

Slip the next 47 sts on waste yarn or stitch holder.

CO 6 sts, as before, placing marker after the 3rd stitch.



Work in st st until piece reaches desired length.  Suggestion:  5 ½ (6, 6 ½) inches. Dec 1 st in the last row.

K1, P1 rib for 1 inch.

Bind off in pattern.


Slip stitches from waste yarn to needle. *The marker is the BOR (beginning of the round)

Work even on 53 sts until sleeve measures 5 ½ (6, 6 ½) inches.

Dec 1 stitch in the last row.

K1, P1 rib for 1 inch.

Bind off in pattern loosely.

Repeat for second sleeve.

Button Band:

With the larger needle, pick up and knit stitches on one side of the sweater. Remember the number of stitches for later.  Knit 5 garter rows.  Bind off loosely.

Pick up and knit the same number of stitches on the other side of sweater.  Knit 2 garter rows.

On the third row, knit the button holes in the desired locations by doing a (K2tog, yo).

Knit two more rows.  Bind off all stitches.

You may choose to create buttonholes on both sides of sweater, if you are not sure of the gender of baby. Then you may sew the buttons over the appropriate side later.

Sew buttons and weave ends. Block. Find a cute baby who needs a sweater!

~I think my grandmother would be thrilled that we are able to share her pattern with you. If you have questions you can email me at

Thanks to Della for allowing me to share.

Happy Knitting!

Cornelia’s Granddaughter

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Mesh and Cotton Zip Pouches. The Latest Knitting Bag from della Q.

If you know me, you know my distaste for plastic.  I don’t like the feel of it.  I can’t stand the crumpling sound of it.  That said, I get how knitters want to see what is in their bag.  I get why some knitters prefer zip lock bags over the della Q Eden Cotton Pouches and our Edict Cotton Project Bags.  I’m just not a plastic girl.

Remember the Namaste Oh Snap! Pouches?  Apparently, you can’t get them any longer.  I had a number of knitters and store owners ask me to do something similar.  I had to think about it.  I didn’t want to do the same thing.  There are certainly other mesh bags already on the market.  However, I think they are rather boring.   If I was going to do something in mesh, I wanted to do it the della Q way.


Enter the della Q Mesh and Cotton Zip Pouches.   I can live with mesh, especially when it is paired with cotton. . .you know how I like a good cotton print.   So, I reinvented the mesh bag by pairing it with a cotton fabric.  I know you Namaste Oh Snap! folks loved how they were nested.  So, I did add in that bit of Namaste detail.  You get three different sized pouches nested together.  I included a zip top, as I think it a bit silly to have a bag for notions that doesn’t completely close.  (I know 50% of you are going to say you don’t like the zipper. . .I can’t please everyone.)  I also added a flat bottom to my pouches for a bit of extra room.

You know what else?  Another really important detail?  The mesh edges are COVERED!  YOU WON’T CATCH YOUR YARN!  Yeah, for tiny details.

What do you think?  Is this a mesh bag done the della Q way?



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250 lbs, Granola Bars, Lights and Checklists. della Q Prepares for Knitting Events and Festivals.


Have you been to a knitting event such as VK Live or Stitches?  Do you sometimes wonder how it all comes together?  If not, close this post and go do a few rows on your current knitting project. Otherwise, I thought I would share a behind the scenes look at how della Q prepared for VK Live Pasadena which is this coming weekend.

The first must have is a check list! This is the one I created.


Before I start packing, though, I need to make sure I order electricity and tables from the decorator.  I make a note on my calendar to be sure I order in advance so that I can get a bit of a discount.  BTW – how much do you think it is to rent a table for three or four days?  You’ll never guess.  It is generally between $150 and $200 per table!  No, it doesn’t have gold on it.  No, it doesn’t set itself up.  Yep, I can buy one for less than that!  But, then I would have to ship it.  Or, rent a car and make a trip to Ikea and then pay for parking to park the car at the hotel.  These decorators know they have you hostage!

Show Details

Ok, now that I have my electricity and tables ordered, I need to make sure I have room in the studio to sort and pack.  Here is Lucky ensuring the space is clear.

Before Packing

I start by packing my lights, display materials (generally collapsable cubes, back drapes), signs, etc.  I can’t forget the granola bars!  Since I am usually the only one in the booth, I sometimes don’t get lunch.

Once I have done that, I start pulling stock.  This is the fun part!  I try to do my best to figure what customers will want.  I can’t bring everything.  Nor can I bring 50 pieces in every color.  It is a guess sometimes.  I hope I am bringing the right things for this weekend!

Picking Stock

Now, I have to make it all fit into my shipping boxes.  Packing, packing . . .

Packing 2


Sometimes I have to move things around a bit as my cartons can’t weigh more than 60 lbs or UPS will charge extra.  Depending upon the show, sometimes the decorator won’t allow my cartons to weigh more than 50 lbs.  So I weigh each box to make sure I’m under the appropriate limit.  The boxes are HEAVY!  BTW – I make sure I don’t wear a dress or flip flops on packing day.  I wouldn’t want to drop one of these boxes on my toes.

Weighing Boxes

Before I tape the boxes closed, I double check my list.

Completed Checklist

Looking good.  250 lbs all ready to go to Pasadena!

Boxes Ready

Will I get to see you in Pasadena?

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Where to Find The Newest Knitting and Crafting Supplies

If you are a knitting or craft store retailer, you often are looking for the newest knitting and crafting supplies to offer to your customers.  One of the main sources of finding new knitting supplies is by attending a trade show once or twice a year.  In the US there are two primary trade shows:  TNNA (The National Needle Arts) and CHA (Craft and Hobby Association).  In Europe, there is one primary show, the H+H (Handarbeit and Hobby) in Cologne, Germany.

If you are not a retail store owner, you may not be familiar with a trade show.  Trade shows are large events hosted by an association in a particular industry in which retail stores can “shop” for product to carry in their stores.  Vendors (e.g. manufacturers), like della Q, host a booth that displays their products for the shop owner to see and test.  If they like the vendor’s product they will place an order for delivery to their store.  In general, to attend and buy at a trade show, you must  be a retail store owner and place a minimum order that can be anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand per vendor.

The booths at TNNA and CHA are considered “pipe and drape” which means the walls of the booths are separated by curtains.  See the photos below of a the della Q booth at couple of the TNNA shows.  Depending upon the show size, I either ship a pallet of my tables, lighting and samples or do something smaller where I bring all my samples and lights in suitcases (you would be amazed at how I can maneuver three large suitcases through an airport and convention center)!

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I just returned from the H+H show a couple of weeks ago.  These folks REALLY know how to host a show!  Granted, it is much more expensive to attend this kind of show, but if you are a knitting or craft retailer looking for the newest knitting and crafts supplies, you need to see this show to believe it.

H+H hosts 400 exhibitors from 43 countries.  The show is about six times the size of TNNA.  It covers four separate floors which makes finding your way back to your booth a bit challenging.  Thank goodness for their navigational app (yes!  for INSIDE the show).

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Do you see that last photo?  It is a booth that has a restaurant/bar in it!

One of the main differences with this show is that it is “hard wall”  rather than “pipe and drape”.  Look at how different my booth is for H+H.

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This show costs me more than twice as much to have a booth, but what a difference in presentation.  I also don’t really have to do anything to set up.  Before the show I work with the staff on the layout and lighting.  They build it.  I simply show up with my samples.

H+H also includes quite a number of special exhibits.  Check out this “butcher”.

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Of course, TNNA also offers a fashion show, but the H+H fashion show makes you feel like you are at Fashion Week.


So, what do you think?  If you are a retail store owner, is H+H 2017 on your list?







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Seeking home… Nominate your LYS!

Sheep with Waiter

Last fall Della made a trip to Vietnam to visit her sewers and to choose fabric for the Spring 2016 line.  While there she spotted this sweet little sheep and knew he had to come back to the United States with her. (The sheep, not the waiter.)  Knowing his final destination should be to live in a yarn shop, she has enjoyed his company for the past several months. Now is the time to let him go to his Forever Home. Here is the best part…You get to help us decide exactly where he will eventually claim as home.

Yes, he has traveled many miles and is ready to settle in and love his new family.

Brick and mortar yarn shops are like finding a precious pearl in a field. They are a place of refuge for the lonely, resources for wonderful fiber and instruction for knitters and crocheters, a meeting place for charity minded artists who wish to share their talents and efforts with people they may not know or may never meet.  Owners often work countless hours to run a small business that mean so much to the folks lucky enough to find them.

For this reason, to honor those places and the people who work and support them we are sharing this wonderful work of art.

It is as simple as going to our Facebook page, tagging your favorite LYS and mention the  city in  which it is located. Each day a new post will be up and ready for your tag. Only one tag per day, please. Don’t be sheepish!  Share this information with all your knitting friends (as well as your LYS), the more people who offer up their favs the better the chances.   It’s a win for the shops who are mentioned too! Before long we will welcome the vacation season and what is better than poking around a new yarn shop upon the recommendation of fellow fiber enthusiast?  We know, not much!

The adopted shop will be announced April 1. (No kidding!) Posts must be dated March 24-March 30.

Have fun with this…and good luck!

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Guest Post: How To Choose The Right Yarn For Your Knitting Project


Ariel Altaras of Stariel Knits shares her thoughts on how to choose the right yarn for your project.

Working at a yarn store, people often ask me how to pick yarn for their project. Sometimes the suggested yarn isn’t available, or isn’t exactly what you want. There are several things you need to consider when substituting yarn for a project.

Yarn Weight and Amount

Many patterns will tell you the weight of the yarn you should use. In this case it’s pretty easy to make sure the yarn you substitute is the right weight. But, if the weight isn’t given, it isn’t always easy to figure out the weight of a specific yarn mentioned. The gauge is a good place to start, but sometimes yarns are knit tighter or looser than the recommended gauge to achieve a specific type of fabric. Ravelry is a great resource for looking up yarns you are not familiar with.
Similarly, the yarn amount may be given as number of balls, grams, ounces, or yards. To substitute, the number of yards is the most accurate. If possible look up yarns to determine how many yards per ball and grams or ounces per ball.

Fiber Content

Once you know the amount and weight of yarn to buy, the next thing to consider is the fiber content. Different fibers have different properties. A garment knit in wool will be very different than one knit in cotton – the cotton garment will be heavier, not as warm, more likely to stretch out, and generally not have as much stitch definition. The wool garment will be warmer, lighter, keep its shape better, and show a stitch texture better. But there are less obvious differences as well. Alpaca, even though it is an animal fiber, doesn’t have the same springy quality as wool and may not show a cable or textured pattern as well. Fibers like silk and bamboo can give a yarn both drape and shine.
For a larger project, it’s ideal to swatch a yarn at the recommended gauge, and make sure you like the fabric you’re getting. But for a quick substitution, a yarn that is similar to the recommended one will be the most likely to give you a finished project like the pattern sample.

Yarn Construction

The construction of the yarn can also affect the fabric it produces. Tight vs. loose twist, plied vs. cabled yarns, single vs. multiple plies. All of these properties will affect the behavior of your knitted fabric. If you want your project to look like the pattern picture, try to pick a yarn with a similar construction.


The color or colors of yarn can have a big influence on how the finished object looks. Here is the same pattern (Monkey by Cookie A) knit in solid, semisolid, and variegated yarns:

Solid Yarn Example

You can see with a solid color that the stitch pattern really has a chance to show off.

Semi-Solid Example

The semi-solid yarn still shows the pattern quite well, though not as well as the solid yarn.

Variegated Yarn Example

The variegated yarn distracts quite a bit from the stitch pattern.

Monkey is a pattern that I think actually works quite well with most yarns, but you can definitely see the difference in pattern visibility when using a solid vs. a variegated yarn.

Color choice is a matter of personal preference, but do take the stitch pattern into account when making your choice. Stockinette stitch, garter stitch, or simple textured stitch patterns are good choices for variegated yarns, since the stitch pattern is not intended to be the focus of the knitted item. To show off lace or intricate cables, solid or nearly solid yarns are best. Semisolid or tonal yarns are a good middle ground. Depending on the amount of color variation they can show off patterns quite well, and they pair well with less intricate lace and cables too.

But, in the end, the most important factor to consider when choosing yarn is whether you like it, and like the look it produces with the pattern you’ve chosen. When in doubt, swatch!

Ariel knits and designs socks and accessories in Seattle, assisted by audiobooks, Scandinavian cinema, and her cats.  She also works at her local yarn store and blogs at


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