Chicago Yarn Crawl August 2 – 10

August 1, 2014

Every year, the Chicago Yarn Crawl gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to new customers.  As they walk through the shop, I want people to see that our mission goes beyond getting more people to knit and crochet.  We want more people to knit or crochet with good yarn.

It is a busy time and “crawlers” are often in and out quickly since they have a lot of ground to cover, so I try to communicate the essence of String Theory with our free pattern.


This year, I designed a cowl with Be Sweet’s Bamboo and Medium Brushed Mohair.  I love the sheen and drape of the Bamboo and the weightless warmth of the Mohair.  And I love the contrast, when I put them together.

be sweet ladies

But really good yarns are not only wonderful as they move through your fingers, they also have a story to tell.

Be Sweet works with several job creation groups that give artisans the confidence and the means to support themselves and their families in otherwise economically depressed regions. The groups have grown to include almost 200 artisans, mostly female of the Xhosa tribe who live in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape.

Many of the women now depend on the work for their survival and with the help of creative program directors, the artisans are in stable environments where they can earn a fair wage, learn new skills, and enjoy their work. This makes a huge difference to a person and a community. 

Take a look at this short video to see the women in action.

Your purchase of Be Sweet yarns make this possible.



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Yipes Stripes: Mystery revealed

July 27, 2014

Yipes Stripes in Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted

Every June String Theory hosts a Mystery Knitalong. We usually have more than 70 people who are willing (even eager) to start a project without knowing what it will be.   I’ve discovered that when people don’t know what they are making, I can get them to try all sorts of things, so I’ve taken this opportunity to introduce people to new techniques – nothing too difficult, just something that they might not have tried before.


This year’s project was Yipes Stripes by Ann Weaver.  Along the way we learned about folded hems, braids, slipped stitches and a two color bind off.  It has been great fun to see how different the same project looks when made in different colors.  Also, please notice that while most people used the same yarn, needle size and pattern, their cowls came out dramatically different in size.


We even had some exciting variations.  Notice the hat on the left.  So very clever!


And Bobbie adapted Beth’s Handshake mitten pattern to make Yipes Stripes mittens.

Take a look at our Ravelry group for more inspiration.  I hope next year you will join us!

I love the many aspects of the mystery knit along. I love being part of a group knitting the same thing, learning new techniques and skills, mastering new levels of skills I already know AND the suspense of not knowing what you are making. It’s also lots of fun telling people (with a straight face) you have no idea what you are knitting when asked.  testimonial from happy participant


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Incredible Yarn Sale starts July 23, 2014

July 24, 2014


Yarn Clearance and Stash Sale

Thursday July 24 – Sunday July 27

The yarn sale this year is HUGE.

Every year our customers clean out their closets and bring us the yarn they are no longer in love with for our annual Stash Sale. We all know “one person’s stash is another person’s treasure.”  We have so much to sell this year, we ran out of boxes and baskets and bins.

Here are a couple of the deals:

  • $100 worth of handpainted cashmere for $20.
  • 1800 yards of windspun wool – naturally dyed for $60
  • lots and lots and lots of Noro
  • novelty yarn for necklaces for $3

Whether you are looking for an incredible deal on an exquisite handpaint or some cheap stuff for crafting with the kids, you are going to find it here. We’ve got  yarns in every weight and fiber you can imagine. People have dropped off books and needles and project bags.

If there is anything left on Sunday, it will be 50% off.

Discounts up to 75%

Not only are we selling our customers’ stash, but we are also clearing out String Theory yarns too. The new yarns for fall are already starting to arrive and there just isn’t any more room. Hundreds of balls of yarn have been discounted up to 75%.  Wools, alpaca, mohair, cottons and silks  - something in every weight.

Discounts will increase every day of the sale, so come early and come often.

The block in front of the store will be closed to traffic on Thursday and Friday for Glen Ellyn’s Sidewalk Sale.  Please check the map for alternative parking.

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Christmas in July | Wednesday July 9th, 7 – 9pm

July 6, 2014


Christmas in July Open House
Wednesday, July 9
7 – 9pm
no tickets necessary – everyone welcome

‘Tis the season to start making gifts.  To inspire you, we’re having a party.  We’ll have Christmas cookies, holiday music and our top gift ideas on display.

10% off all purchases!

Start now, it feels so good to be one step ahead of the season.

Don’t celebrate Christmas?  Please stop by anyway.  Who doesn’t love a Christmas cookie?

Take a look at the fun we had a couple of years ago.

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Stash Sale starts July 24th

July 3, 2014

cartoon for stash sale

Part of the fun of knitting and crocheting is collecting the yarn: the colors, the feel, the smell, the possibilities…. You don’t even have to turn it into anything to enjoy it.

But as time passes, tastes change. It might be time to reevaluate.
Do you love it?
Do the colors sing to you?
Do the possibilities excite you?

If not, I encourage you to curate your collection. If you love it, keep it. If not, pass it on to someone else who will.

And it just so happens that our annual Stash Sale starts on Thursday, July 24th. Here’s how it goes:

  • You drop off your stash all packaged pretty and priced.
  • We sell it.
  • You get store credit for whatever sells.
  • Whatever doesn’t sell gets donated to a local charity.

So, go through your stash and pull out all those projects that you no longer want to make, or that handpainted silk in a questionable color, or that acrylic that you inherited from your friend’s mother-in-law.

  1. Package similar yarns in ziplock bags: If you’ve got three skeins of the same yarn but they’re different colors – put them in one bag together. If you’ve got odds and ends of novelty yarns – put them in one bag together. If you’ve got odd balls of different yarns but similar colors – put them in one bag together.
  2. Put a price on your bags (think garage sale, about 1/2 of the original price).
  3. Put a description on your bags (approximate yardage, fiber content, what it would be good for…)
  4. You do not need to put your name on every item. We will add an individual barcode sticker to track your items.
  5. Bring everything in by Tuesday, July 22.

Life is too short to maintain a stash that you doesn’t doesn’t make your heart sing.

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Make that Old Sweater/Coat/Chair Look Like New!

June 5, 2014

Sweater pills and fuzz balls are a fact of life. Even the most expensive kinds of knits are susceptible! And what about that favourite sweater, the one that used to make you feel so great… you simply can’t part with it, so now it’s become weekend-wear only.

Last year, we discovered the Lilly Brush, which we still love.  This amazing brush gently removes pills from natural fibers, but once you add acrylic or nylon to the mix, the fiber is too tough for the Lilly Brush.  When I was at market in May, other store owners were raving about the Gleener, so I decided to give it a try.  It works!





This is a sweater that is 50/50 wool/acrylic blend ( I know you are surprised I own such a thing – me too!) Anyway the pills came off so easily that I tried it on a skirt that was pilling, a fabric bag, and my winter coat!  All good. My pictures aren’t so professional, so take a look at these.

Gleener has three fabric-sensitive edges, so you can use it to remove pills and fuzz from almost any kind of garment. Stop by the store and we’ll show you how it works.


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Stephen & Steven Tour stopping at String Theory

May 31, 2014

steven and stephen tour


The Dynamic Duo of Stephen West and StevenBe, two of knitting’s hottest rock stars, are coming to String Theory on August 3 and 4!

We’ve got three options for you to choose from. Take a look below and decide which one(s) are right for you. At all three events you will have an opportunity to meet the designers, ooh and aah over samples and purchase yarns dyed for the occasion.

You can register online or stop by the store. Space is limited, so don’t delay.

Wear a Stephen West or StevenBe design made with yarns purchased at String Theory to any of the events and receive a $10 coupon towards your purchase.

This is going to be such a blast; I hope you can join us!


Can’t wait to see how this will look on me!

Wine & Cheese with Stephen & Steven
Sunday August 3 5:00 – 7:00pm
Cost: $35

Treat yourself to an evening with Stephen West and StevenBe as they take you on a tour of their “Best of” Trunk Show. They’ll have samples of their most successful styles and their newest collections using their custom dyed yarns (also available for purchase). Consult with the inspiration masters to find the perfect yarn combinations for your favorites.

REGISTER for Wine & Cheese

westknits shawls

Shawl Design with Stephen & Steven
Monday August 4 1:00 – 4:00pm
Cost: $75

You might have to take the afternoon off work, but it will be worth it.

Shawl Design is for people who are willing to experiment. Tap into the creative genius of Stephen West and StevenBe to design your own shawl. Experience the magic of mixology, taking a variety of yarns from different labels, weights and contents to create a magical and unique accessory.

Start with a garter tab cast-on and learn different methods of creating angles and edges. Combine these different methods to customize your own design. Get advice on the perfect yarns to complete your vision and get started.

REGISTER NOW for Shawl Design

stephen_headshotstevenbe headshot2

Tips & Tricks with Stephen & Steven
Monday August 4 6:00 – 9:00pm
Cost: $75

We’ll serve snacks, since you’ll be missing dinner.

Get the inside scoop on what to knit from this fall’s hot trends and start now! Take a look at Stephen West and StevenBe’s most successful styles. Try some on. Pick your favorite and begin.

Learn tips for combining yarns, selecting colors, mastering the garter tab cast on, strategically placing markers and much, much more.

REGISTER NOW  for Tips & Tricks 



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What’s New: Milk + Honey Lotion Bars

May 28, 2014


I know, we love our LoLo bars, but when I was in Indianapolis, I stopped by this booth and I found the scent of honey intoxicating and then saw the bee intricately carved into the top of the bar and I couldn’t resist.

These bars are made by hand in Sante Fe, using local beeswax, locally-grown, organic, skin-healing calendula flowers, and scented only using plant-based essential oils–no chemical fragrances ever! We have lemongrass, lavender and unscented, my favorite because the scent of the beeswax comes through. Just pop the bar out of the tin and apply to dry hands, cracked heals, rough elbows – anywhere that needs a little loving care. It even works on sunburn!

Visiting friends or family this summer? Pick up a few bars for hostess gifts.


I really wasn’t going to get the Anywhere Balm, but they gave me a sample and I found myself opening the tin to apply a bit to my cuticles and then my lips and then just to enjoy a little aromatherapy (lavender mint!) and I decided you were going to need this too.

Added bonus: when you finish the balm, clean out the tin and use it for stitch markers.

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String Theory Mystery KAL 2014

May 20, 2014


For the past few years, we’ve celebrated the start of summer with a Mystery Knitalong (KAL).

 What is a Mystery KAL?

Starting on Sunday June 8th, we will email you a piece of a pattern, including pictures and helpful hints. At the end of four weeks you will have all the pieces of the puzzle and a lovely knitted …. something.

The projects we pick are easy enough for adventurous beginners but interesting enough for more advanced knitters. Our hope is that you’ll learn a little something along the way.

If you need help at any point, you are welcome to stop by the store for assistance.  And we will set up a Mystery KAL topic on our Ravelry board for those of you who are not local.

The cost to participate is $5 which covers the cost of the pattern which you will receive in its entirety at the end of the KAL.  Call today to join in!

color wheel

Yarn Suggestions:

Your first challenge will be to decide on your yarn.  You will need 90 yards of five different colors in worsted weight yarn.  I’m going to use Ewe Ewe’s Wooly Worsted which conveniently comes in 98 yard balls. Rowan Softknit cotton would also be lovely, if you would rather not work in wool.

Here’s your first tip from the pattern designer:
Of the five colors, one should be really dark (dark gray, dark purple, deep brown, something really contrasty). One should be really light (certainly doesn’t need to be white/natural, but should be pretty pale–yellow, light gray, something distinctly light). The remaining three colors can be in what I call the “medium-light” and “medium-dark” groups. 

I picked three colors that I liked together and then added my light and dark colors. You might want to dig through your stash to see what you have and then stop by String Theory to complete your pallette.

Need some inspiration? I love the color combinations on Design Seeds.

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Schurmeier Jewelry Show, Saturday May 10

April 30, 2014

jewelry show

Schurmeier Jewelry Show

Saturday, May 10

10:00am – 5:00pm

at String Theory


Jerry and Susan Schurmeier (my very talented parents) are working hard to prepare for their show next week.  I thought you might be interested in a little behind the scenes.

Dad starts out with sketches.


He saws and solders.


and Voila!


Mom sorts and strings and sorts and strings


and Voila!



I know you’ll want to pick something up for your mother, a special teacher or a graduate, but don’t forget a little something for yourself as well.

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