Why Your della Q Purchase Matters

I’m just someone trying to make a living.  Aren’t we all?  When I started my business 12 years ago, I was simply trying to pay my mortgage and bills as a single woman.  I was fortunate to find the knitting industry which truly embraced women entrepreneurs.

My knitting bags and needle cases are designed by me in Seattle, but they are sewn in Vietnam.  In the early years, I used to travel to Ho Chi Minh City on buying trips two times per year.  On one of those first trips,  I stumbled across an organization called Vietnam Quilts, now renamed as Mekong Quilts. It touched my heart.  I don’t even remember now how I heard about them.

Mekong Quilts teaches rural, low income women the art of quilting as a means to a steady income. The quilts are sold in retail stores in Vietnam and Cambodia.  You can also order them online here.   They ship them from Vietnam via air for free!

Baby Quilt

Mekong Quilts hires a woman only if they can maintain full-time, long term employment.  It is important for the organization to provide a steady income to the women.  While the women are working at Mekong Quilts they must commit to keep their children in school, improve sanitation as well as learn to diversify their income such as raising chickens or vegetables.  You can read more about the program here.

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In 2007, I secured a special visa to visit the region where the ladies worked.  There were only 35 at the time.  Mekong Quilts now employs more than 300 women!   I spent the day watching them sew.  Let me be clear, these ladies are HAND SEWING the quilts.  The stitches are perfect.

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Group Photo

The next year, I brought Sue Spargo, legendary quilter to Ho Chi Minh City to teach.  She spent two days with the ladies sharing special hand sewing embellishment techniques.  It was so inspiring!

Sue with Group 1

Every year, della Q makes a cash donation to Mekong Quilts based upon our profits.  Sometimes, I forget that I’m not just running a business to earn a living.  I’m also running a business to help others earn a living.

YOU are also helping the ladies of Mekong Quilts earn a living every time you buy from della Q.

 

 

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She had a vision…

 

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In 2011 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to complications she was unable to have reconstruction surgery right away, as she had hoped.. Barb Demorest had a decision to make, what to do in the meantime. Her doctor gave her the options available. He showed her a photo of a “knitted knocker” and gave her the link for the pattern.

Barb, a knitter herself, asked her super knitter friend Phyllis for a favor. Barb asked Phyllis to knit for her, of course, Phyllis did. The story could have ended there, but it did not.

Barb knew immediately that these hand knitted prosthetics would be answered prayer for many women experiencing mastectomy. Traditional prosthetics could be hot, heavy and irritating against tender skin. They can be expensive too. It became her mission to make these Knitted Knockers available to women who need them for free, worldwide. To do that she needed to connect volunteer knitters and crocheters with breast cancer survivors, and that she did.

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In 2014, Barb was recognized by the Susan G. Koman Foundation and has received world wide recognition for her vision. Volunteers work tirelessly to fill requests received from doctors, medical centers and women who request them throughout the US and world wide. People who have learned of her mission continue to support Knitted Knockers.org with financial donations, time and talents.

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Knitted Knockers Support Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that is run completely by volunteers. The focus to provide these handcrafted breast prosthesis has been brought to public awareness by documentaries, social media and word of mouth. While that is a blessing it also increases the need for more volunteer knitters and crocheters as well as continued financial donations.

Patterns for knitted and crocheted “knockers” can be found at the website. http://www.knittedknockers.org

According to U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics, about 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.  About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

While we can’t do everything, we can do one thing.  It has been said “When fighting cancer, sometime the smallest things can make the biggest difference.”

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Want more information? Just head on over to the website and see if this could be the one thing you could do.

 

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Stitch by Stitch…

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Charity knitters gather in groups all over the world to share their passion for the craft. Friendships are created. Knitting knowledge is shared, with no expectations in return. These special folks come together for  a variety of projects from baby hats to hats for the homeless, sweaters for orphans, helmet liners for soldiers, prayer shawls for the sick and hurting, crocheted water filter covers and even knitted prosthetics for breast cancer patients. The list goes on and on. This is nothing new, charity knitting and crocheting has gone on since the craft was born.

My grandmother told me tales of knitting for soldiers during WWII. She and her friends knitted bandages, socks, gloves, and mufflers. She told me of helping her mother roll knitted bandages for “what seemed like forever”. File Apr 02, 10 49 39 PM

The American National Red Cross supplied a Garment Manuel complete with knitting patterns to be referenced by groups and committees. A national knitting campaign was launched to supply both soldiers and wartime refugees warm clothing.

 

The times have changed. The needs have changed, but one thing has not. Knitters see a need and tirelessly donate their time and resources to meet those needs. Communities of folks all over the globe gather to work on projects, encourage each other, share valuable tips and keep up on the next crucial need. Why do they do this?  In part,  it is the vision for making the world a better place, offering care and comfort to those who need it, and being productive. Sometimes it just seems like a tangible way to show others they are not forgotten, that they matter.

Groups meet in homes, churches, libraries, yarn shops, schools, senior centers and coffee shops. Busy hands create, wisdom is shared, stories are told and friendships are formed, connecting people who share the love of the craft. Then comes the realization that the  joy in giving to others is likely the greatest reward of all.File Apr 02, 10 51 27 PM

Next week we will feature just one organization that is making a difference in the lives of women one stitch at a time. Out of one woman’s personal tragedy came a world wide effort to help make life a little bit better.

 

 

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Knitting Bag with Pockets, Pockets, Pockets

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The Isabella knitting bag has it all.  Lightweight?  Check.  Zip Closure?  Check.  Pockets?  Check.  Pockets?  Check.  Did I say “pockets”?

Funny thing just happened.  I’m writing this during a bit of down time at Vogue Knitting Live in Red Rock, Nevada.  A lovely woman just walked into my booth and said “I have the Isabella bag and love it!”  How is that for coincidence?  Or is it karma?

I Couldn’t Have Said it Better

I told her I was just writing this post and asked her what she liked most about the bag.  She said “It is large but isn’t bulky.  It is lightweight for those of us who don’t want to carry a heavy bag and it has lots of pockets.”   So there you go.  I couldn’t have said it better.

Mapping the Pockets

Where are all the pockets?  Let’s break it down.

  • Two front pockets with twist closure
  • A pocket on each end
  • A pattern pocket on the back
  • Eight pockets on the inside including a small zip pocket

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Travel Buddy

A number of knitter’s have told me they love this bag for travel.  Why?  Reason number 1 – you guessed it – pockets.  Reason number 2 – it fits under an airplane seat without having to tip it on it’s side.  As a side note, one of my retail store owners held a knitting cruise.  Of all the bags brought on the cruise, guess which bag was vote most practical?  Isabella!

Let’s Talk Fabric

Isabella fabrics change twice per year.  To see the most current fabrics, check here.  At the time of this writing I have the following fabrics.

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What Knitters Are Saying

Here are some quotes from the reviews:

  • “Well designed knitting bag”
  • “The best looking bag I have ever owned”
  • “Perfect size to manage multiple or large projects”
  • “A lot of compliments from my knitting friends”

See Isabella in Action

Need a live demo?  Check out the video.

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Have a question about Isabella?  Email me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cocoknits Sweater Workshop~a book review

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by Jennifer Hughes:

It can be daunting to start a new knitting project – you never know if it will be quite right until the very end when you try it on. In Julie Weisenberger’s new book Cocoknits Sweater Workshop, she really takes the guess work out of the equation.

The 9 new patterns included in the book can be made with many suggested adaptations to customize them to your figure and style. With a very ingenious system Julie calls the Cocoknits Method, you’ll fill in a color-coded Worksheet with the quantity of stitches from your chosen pattern, making note of the increases and shaping rows, and then you can track your progress on the paper instead of reading the pattern over and over. If you also use her colored stitch markers, they’ll correspond to the guidelines on your worksheet.  And since the patterns are constructed to be made from the top down, you can try your sweater on as you progress and adjust everything along the way.

Julie’s use of the tailored shoulder makes each sweater fit so nicely! It looks more complicated than it is – when you see the step-by-step photos and read her instructions, the technique is explained thoroughly and makes sense when you’re knitting it. The results are a sophisticated looking finish that you may be surprised you can accomplish with seamless knitting – it’s not your grandma’s raglan!

Also included in the book is a “Flattering Fit and Style” section with recommendations on how to choose the right pattern for you and how details of what stitch you use or where you end your sleeves can make all the difference in how the final garment will look on you.

It’s so enjoyable to create something with your own two hands – or needles – and if you pick the right yarn and pattern, you’ll have a work of art that will last!

Jennifer Hughes comes from a long line of makers and has been knitting since she learned from her Mom at the age of 8. She may hold the land speed record for knitting in Berkeley, CA.

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Love this tutorial by Tanya Eberhardt of Little Things Blogged!

How to knit the Long Textured Stitch

By Tanya Eberhardt

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Hello to you! I am so excited to participate in a guest post series here on the DellaQ blog!To kick this new venture off I decided to share a textured yet fairly easy stitch with you guys! It’s called the Long Textured stitch and can literally be used in a tons of projects like a scarf (yes please), a pillow and why not a blanket! Try playing around with colors and you can even create a stunning and highly textured piece of knitting!

Knitting Abbreviations:

CO: Cast On

WS: Wrong Side

RS: Right side

K: Knit

P:Purl

SL: always slip stitch purl wise

wyif : with yarn in front

wyib : with yarn in back

Before we begin, let’s explain what wyif and wyib abbreviations stand for!

These two abbreviations basically refer to is the position of your working yarn in relation to your knitting. When you’re getting ready to work a purl stitch, you make sure that you’re holding the yarn in front, and when you’re going to knit a stitch, you make sure that the yarn is being held to the back.

With these instructions, you’re being directed to put your yarn in front (as if to purl) or back (as if to knit), but without working a knit or purl stitch at that point. It only refers to the position of the yarn, not the next action.

Also when slipping a stich keep in mind you are always going to slip purlwise (as if to purl). In other words, move the yarn to the front or the back, slip the st from the left needle to the right needle purlwise, then move the yarn to the back to knit 1.

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Instructions:

CO an odd number of stitches (I had 25 sts)

Row 1 (WS): Purl

Row 2 (RS): K1, * sl 1 wyib, k1; repeat from * to end.

Row 3: P1, * sl 1 wyif, p1; repeat from * to end.

Row 4: K1, * sl 1 wyib, k1; repeat from * to end.

Row 5: Purl

Row 6: K2, * sl 1 wyib, k1; repeat from * to last st, k1.

Row 7: P2, * sl 1 wyif, p1; repeat from * to last st, p1.

Row 8: K2, * sl 1 wyib, k1; repeat from * to last st, k1.

Repeat rows 1 to 8 for stitch pattern.

To maintain a nice edge, you can add +1 edge stitch on each side.

On the RS: sl the first stitch knitwise; knit the last stitch

On the WS: sl the first stitch purlwise; purl the last stitch

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Enjoy the rest of your day!

Our thanks to Tanya Eberhardt, Blogger and Knit Designer. Tanya lives in Thessaloni, Greece.

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Get to know her better. Here is her social media information.

Blog: http://www.littlethingsblogged.com/

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/tanya-eberhardt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LittleThingsBlogged/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ltblogged/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ltblogged/?etslf=11321&eq=ltblogged

 

 

 

 

 

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Stitches in the City | Knitting Project Bags

Do you check out local yarn stores on your travels?  Do you look for something unique to remind you of your trip?  I do.  Well, as you know, I don’t knit so I tend to visit local kitchen stores.  I have a nutmeg grinder from a small town in southern France.  I have an amazing hand painted small platter from Portugal.  I could go on, but I might start to get hungry!

Anyway, I started to think about this desire to collect things on our travels.  Often we want something that includes the city’s name.  We want it to be light and small to fit in our suitcase.  Of course, knitters want something they can use in knitting.  Viola! “Stitches in the City”™ project bags.

Stitches in the City™ bags are perfect for a small knitting or crochet project.  The un-dyed cotton is printed with the city name and it’s skyline.  The black, smooth drawstring opens and closes easily.  The knitting bag includes a small pocket on the inside for notions.  The bag size is 11″ wide by 12” high.

Group Photo on Black

As of today (February 21, 2017) you can find bags in the following cities:

  • Aarhus, Denmark
  • Ashland, OR
  • Chicago, IL
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Washington D.C.
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Nashville, TN
  • New York, NY
  • Northampton, MA
  • Park City, UT (coming soon)
  • Reykjvik, Iceland (coming soon)
  • Richmond, VA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Vancouver, B.C,  Canada

You CAN NOT order the Stitches in the City™ bags online.  You HAVE TO VISIT A LOCAL YARN STORE to get your hands on one of these!  That is part of the fun:  travel, collect and knit.

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Do you wish your local yarn store carried a Stitches in the City™ bag with your hometown name?  Let the owner know!  We can work with them to promote your city.

What have you purchased from a knitting store on your travels?

 

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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.

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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

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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 (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/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  illuminatecrochet@gmail.com.

Follow her:                                             

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/illuminatecrochet

Ravelry:  http://www.ravelry.com/people/illuminatecrochet

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/illuminatecrochet/?hl=en

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Don’t Worry, Knit Happy

Knitting Sarah’s Tips for Healthy & Happy Productivity

 by Sarah Chy

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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, http://knittingsarah.com

https://www.facebook.com/pg/knittingsarah/about

 

 

 

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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.

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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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