People have been asking us to carry blocking wires for years and every once in awhile I bring some in to sell, but I’ve never been thrilled about the options until now. What I haven’t liked about the blocking wires I’ve seen before is that they are cumbersome. So when I discovered the Inspinknity wires that fit in a 8.5 x 11 plastic bag, I had to investigate.
Here is what Inspinknity says:
These wires stand apart from anything else on the market today. Made from a super-elastic wire with seemingly magical flexibility, these blocking wires will not rust, tarnish, corrode, or easily kink. They will not stain your knitting, and will last for many, many, many years! These premium blocking wires are incredibly strong, yet flexible enough to use for curved edges as well as straight lines. You can arch and curve these wires as you need, and they will always return to straight. This special property allows these wires to be used over and over again without weakening from repeated bending and straightening.
Laura Nelkin, of Nelkin Designs, loves the Premium wires, which are the thicker of the two. They work well with shawls and are strong enough for sweater pieces. See her review here.
The Knitgirllls (podcasters) made a video so you can see the Ultra Fine wires in action. These are lighter weight than the Premium wires and work beautifully for lace and fingering weight shawls.
If you’ve been looking for some great blocking wires, try these. You will love using them and when you’re done, they can be stored in a drawer!
Golden Needle Awards 2014
Sunday, March 2
12 – 4pm
Every year in the spirit of the Academy Awards, we like to recognize the achievements of our very own String Theory community with our Golden Needle Awards.
Enter to Win
This year we will be offering awards in the following categories:
Best Accessory (hat, mitten, bag, socks)
Best Baby/Child item
Best Crocheted item
Best of Show
1. All entries must be received by noon on Sunday, March 2. Feel free to drop your entry off during the week, if that works better for your schedule.
2. All entries must be made with yarn available at String Theory. (Ideally people will be inspired by your work and we want them to be able to buy the yarn to make their own masterpiece.)
3. You can enter as many items as you like.
4. If possible, we would like to display all entries until Sunday, March 9.
Voting is done by the Academy — which consists of every person walking into String Theory Yarn Company on Sunday March 2 — (yes children, spouses, grandparents, friends, etc. may vote even if they don’t knit) . Even though we are located near Chicago, we are requesting that you fill out just one ballot per person.
Votes are tabulated at 3:30 PM (when the voting closes) and winners are announced as soon as we can tabulate the votes — you do NOT have to be present to win. However, if you are not there, that means we will miss your acceptance speech and the opening of your award. There are inexpensive but treasured prizes for each category.
Red Carpet Walk at 2:00pm
Half the fun of the Academy Awards is to see what people are wearing. So even if you don’t want to enter for an award, we hope you will wear your knitwear (or your grandmother’s or bring in a baby with a knitted hat you made). Since there are no prizes for the Red Carpet, there are no rules either.
Want to see what happened last year? Check out our slideshow.No Comments
Saturday February 22, 2014
10am – 5pm
Did you know that Julie (one of our newest instructors) also dyes yarn? She specializes in bright saturated colors that remind me of the warmer days to come.
I am very excited to announce that on Saturday, February 22, Julie will be selling her HGL Sock and HGL Glittery at String Theory. Both are fingering weight, making them ideal for lacey wraps. If you make socks, you will love the fact that they are superwash wool with a bit of nylon to make them especially hard wearing. For those of you making a BeeKeepers quilt or playing with colorwork, she is also bringing some mini skeins.
Mark your calendar. And then come in on Saturday February 22 to chat with Julie and take a look at her yarn. She’ll help you pick the perfect color for your project or find the perfect project for a color you love.
Jeanne Carver had just completed chores at the Imperial Stock Ranch when the phone rang. It was a clear, beautiful July 2012 day in Oregon’s high desert. Carver sat on her porch with her phone.
The caller got to the point, firing questions at Carver about the sheep ranch and wool operation she runs with her husband, Dan Carver. The caller asked so many detailed questions about Imperial’s wool yarn that Carver figured she was talking with an independent yarn shop – the ranch sells its yarn to 300 shops across the country. But she finally asked the caller’s identity.
“I’m with product development with Ralph Lauren in New York.
“ Are you kidding me?”
“Nope, I’m sitting in an office on Madison Avenue.”
“That’s amazing. Can you hear my sheep?”
The product developer with the New York-based brand with nearly $7 billion in annual sales, speaking from one of the most populated places on earth to one of the least populated, said yes, he could hear the Imperial Stock Ranch sheep.
Most yarns could fill a passport with all the trips they make across the oceans. In contrast, Erin, the yarn used by Ralph Lauren for the Opening Ceremony sweaters went from a ranch in Oregon to a mill in Pennsylvania to a dyer in North Carolina. It is a rare thing for us to see the sheep that our yarn comes from, an incredible connection.
Ralph Lauren made this video to tell their story. It will will take your breath away. But I like this newer video even better, because it shows the sheep recently, in snow covered fields (this really cold winter, makes even better wool they say.)
I love a good story and have been completely captivated by this one. I’ve met Jeanne Carver, have carried their yarns for years and am so excited for their success. To celebrate, I joined their KAL on Ravelry and am trying to make this sweater in 18 days! The sweater uses Erin, like the Ralph Lauren sweaters, but the design is a simpler cable pattern. (Thank goodness! Did you see the Opening Ceremony sweaters?)
I’ve honestly never participated in a knitalong and am a little surprised how much fun it is. The pictures and the support make you feel a little like you are sitting around the table with a group of friends. I admit I had my doubts going into this ( a whole sweater in two weeks, really?) but now I’m beginning to think it is possible.
I like being part of the Imperial Stock Ranch story.
If you are still thinking that a sweater is a little ambitious, but you want to try this yarn, stop by the store and we’ll help you pick out a smaller project. There are many lovely options to choose from.
It is really very cool to knit with yarn made entirely in the USA, while watching the Olympics. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.
She is also a designer. Her cowls have been very popular around here, so I asked her to give us a little background on her inspiration. Take a look.
How I became a Designer
by Christy Becker
Since I loved the colorway, I decided to hunt on Ravelry to find the perfect pattern. Amazingly, my search was unsuccessful. I looked at a lot of photos that I found quite unattractive and I did a little research on defeating pooling.
I learned that I needed to use stitch patterns that used different amounts of yarn in each row. So, I played with a variety of them…It was a bit like coloring between the lines. And, my lines were based on a slip stitch technique that I had just fallen in love with because it keeps the edges from curling!
All these different stitch patterns worked! The colors showed off their original beauty! It actually appears that there are stripes of each color, but one’s eye must jump around to build these stripes. I was thrilled! I knit a second cowl with fingering weight Soulmate. It does not quite have the stripe effect, but it is still a pleasant mix of the colors.
Then, I discovered how very difficult it is to publish a pattern. There is so much to include, and it seems quite impossible to think of every question a knitter might have. But, after a lot of editing and revisions and a wonderful son-in-law who happens to be an incredible graphic designer, I had a very professional looking pattern and became a Ravelry designer!
But, the most thrilling part for me is reading the comments Ravelers put on their project pages. A few have pointed out that it is not completely pool proof! But, the majority have commented how they love the pattern and that it was perfect for their yarn.
Of course, I am excited that so many people have found it. Over 2500 different knitters have downloaded it, and almost 100 have started their project page. Many have knit more than one cowl with the pattern. And, it is exciting to discover where in the world all these knitters live.
But, I did accomplish one cowl design using two of my new yarns. I wanted an open lacey cowl that still had a structure to it, and would be wearable in warmer weather. I had this one beautiful skein of Cobasi and built the Cool Breezes Cowl in the same manner, between my non-curling edge lines. I found a stitch pattern that I liked and decided on putting in some stockinette rows to divide the lace blocks. The number of stockinette rows was determined when I was knitting with a group of friends and asked them if they thought I needed another row, or not. I figured out the number of stitches to cast on to get an adequate length with the limited yardage I was working with. And, I liked the result!
Some beautiful shibui linen had come home with me, too. So, I cast on for a longer cowl and this time I repeated the pattern rows three times instead of two for a wider cowl.
I just realized that my designing is really like I usually cook these days. Meals for the two of us are quite simple, in large part because I would rather be knitting! I do almost all my shopping at Trader Joe’s and use a lot of their recipes. I call it more assembling the ingredients than creating. And, that is how I have designed my cowls–by assembling different stitch patterns into an appealing recipe! Enjoy!
I am so excited to announce that String Theory is having our first Getaway.
On March 8, Anna Hrachovec, author of the Mochimochi books, has agreed to spend the day teaching us how to knit tiny gnomes and letting us in on her secrets for capturing fabulous photos.
String Theory Getaway with Anna Hrachovec
Date: Saturday, March 8
Time: 10am – 5pm
Place: Clarus Center, Warrenville IL
Prerequisite: previous experience with DPNs
Cost: $125 includes tiny gnome kit, snacks, lunch and a goodie bag.
First we will learn basic tiny toy knitting techniques: starting with a small number of stitches on DPNs, joining I-cord legs into a round, pulling an I-cord through the toy to make arms, and simple embroidery/finishing.
Later, we will play with photography, learning how to take interesting pictures of tiny objects. And we’ll discuss how these techniques apply to pictures of larger knitted garments. Take a look at Anna’s recent videos for Nickelodeon and you’ll see she has a lot to share.
Doesn’t everyone deserve to getaway?
We want you to feel like you’ve spent the day at a spa or a luxury resort, so we are taking care with every detail. The setting is beautiful, the food will be delicious, and the knitting will be full of laughter and inspiration. All we need now, is a fun loving group of knitters. Please join us.
If you are coming from out of town, please consider spending the night at the Hilton Garden Inn, one block from the Clarus Center. Then you can join us Sunday afternoon for Sit&Knit at the store.
Space is limited. Call now (630 469-6085) to register.
Linda made “Norm the Monster” to give to a colleague who is having a baby boy. Norm is loosely based on the toys by Rebecca Danger, knit in baby appropriate Blue Sky Organic Cotton.
But it turns out that Norm likes to hang out in the yarn store.
He likes a good Chardonnay.
And he does Yoga!
She’s thinking he may be very hard to give away!6 Comments
Please Join Us
Imperial Stock Ranch Yarn Tasting
Friday, January 31st
7 – 9pm
There are only 6 seats left. Call 630 469-6085 to reserve your spot
What do you do at a yarn tasting? Think of it like test driving a car. You’ll play a little and discover what you like and what you don’t. Both knitters and crocheters are welcome. You don’t need a lot of experience, just a sense of adventure.
During the evening, you will
- learn the story behind the yarn (it is a really great story),
- have an opportunity to try five different yarns,
- experiment with stitch patterns
- discuss pattern ideas for will bring out the best in each yarn. We will have sample garments to inspire you.
In addition there will be:
- an opportunity to special order yarns we don’t currently carry
- 10% off all purchases made that night
- Door prizes for a couple of lucky winners
And since we are tasting things, I thought you should also have a taste of what Glen Ellyn has to offer. Cabernet & Co has once again recommended two different bottles of wine and an appropriate snack to go with them.
Still not convinced? Read about our first Yarn Tasting last November. It received such rave reviews that we thought we should make this a regular thing.No Comments
Big projects, little projects, kids classes, adult classes – we’ve got what you need to cure cabin fever.
So far, it has been a really cold and snowy winter. And while some people are perfectly content to hibernate until Spring, most of us could really use something fun to draw us out of the house.
There are currently some seats available in each of these classes that start this week.
Call the store 630 469-6085 today to reserve your spot. You’ll be feeling better in no time.
Wednesday Evenings 7:00 – 8:30pm January 29, Feb 26, Mar 19, April 9 – Jody Oxley
A classic cardigan from the Wool People collection. This pattern is full of clever techniques and details.
Read all about it here.
Learn: How to make a sweater that fits, German Twisted cast on, kitchener stitch, short rows, one-row buttonhole, i-cord bind off
Materials: worsted weight yarn, dpn, 16″ and 40″ needles to match gauge (sizes 7-8 recommended), 40″ needle one size smaller for bind off, split ring stitch markers, tapestry needle, waste yarn, 5-1 1/8″ buttons
Please buy your pattern on Ravelry and bring copy to your first class.
Cost: $60 (materials not included)
Kids (ages 10 and up) Learn to Knit:
Saturday Afternoons 4:30 – 5:30pm Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15 – Lindsay Pekny
Learn the basics or improve your skills while making basic fingerless mitts.
Learn to: make fingerless mitts, cast on, knit, bind off, sew a seam
Cost $45 – all materials included
Saturday Afternoons 2:30 – 4:30 Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15 – Lindsay Pekny
Start your socks at the toe and use up every bit of your beautiful yarn. This can be your first pair of socks, but if you are not an experienced cuff-down sock knitter, previous class participants strongly recommend using worsted weight yarn.
Learn: provisional cast on, short-row toe & heel, stretchy cast off
Materials: 100g fingering yarn & DPN’s #2, 100g dk yarn & DPN’s #4 or 100g worsted yarn & DPN’s #6; stitch markers.
Please bring a copy of the free “Universal Toe-up Sock Pattern” from Knitty.com to the first class.
Cost: $55 (materials not included)
Saturday mornings 10:30 – 12:30 Feb 1, Feb 8 – Jody Oxley
One skein of Malabrigo Rasta, a little instruction and you will have a pair of thick and cozy mittens. You know you need a new pair.
Learn: mitten construction, increases, decreases
Materials: one skein Malabrigo Rasta (you could also use 2 skeins of Boboli Quick), size 11 DPNs
Please download free Super Bulky Mittens for Women pattern from knittingpureandsimple.com and bring to first class.
Cost: $30 (materials not included)
Class fee: $55
A cure for Cabin Fever: PRICELESS
Often when I’m helping people choose a project, I can see them adding up the cost of the yarn, the needles, the pattern and the class and they comment “That’s an awfully expensive sweater/pair of socks/hat”. And they are right. If the purpose of the project is merely to clothe your body, there are many cheaper ways to do that. But most of us knit because it provides hours of entertainment, strengthens our brain and keeps us sane. There are a not a lot of cheaper ways to do all that.
For the complete class schedule, check our Classes page.
Erin (Ralph Lauren’s choice) is worsted spun, a process that smooths the fibers into a solid color and produces a yarn with a cushiony softness. Columbia (which we also received) is mule spun which gives it a look similar to handspun, with little flecks of colored fibers blending together beautifully.
In honor of the Winter Games, Imperial Stock Ranch is hosting a KAL to make the Winter Games Pullover. The challenge is to cast on during the opening ceremony and cast off at the close. (I’m really not sure this is possible, but I’m willing to try.) Tanis Gray, the pattern designer, will have photo tutorials and step-by-step instructions to go along with the pattern.
If you would like to join me for the KAL, come in soon to pick our your yarn. I’d hate for you to miss out on your favorite color. And because it is always fun to get some personal support, I’ve reserved the classroom table at String Theory on Wednesday afternoons during the Olympics so we can KAL together. Let’s say about 1:00. I hope you’ll come.
In addition to great yarns, Imperial Stock Ranch has a great story. If you are interested in learning more and getting to play with Erin, Columbia and several other Imperial Yarns, join us for our next Yarn Tasting on Friday January 31 from 7 – 9. Call today to reserve your spot; Yarn Tastings fill up fast. Cost $35.