Custom Fit Guided KAL

January 19, 2015

customfit logo


charlies cardigan

Charlie’s Cardigan – CustomFit


Hello! It’s Julie, and I’ve taken over the blog for a moment (shh, don’t tell Janet) so I can tell you about our CustomFit Guided Knitalong.  It is going to be so cool!

Have you ever knit a sweater that doesn’t fit? Or do you feel intimidated by knitting a sweater?

If you’re anything like me, shopping for clothes can be… a bit demoralizing. This top pinches here, that one’s baggy there. It can feel like I’m not “built right” for the clothes available. That’s one reason I love to knit – I can make a sweater closer to my own shape! But sweater patterns can be hard to customize, too – where do I add ease? How on earth do I put in bust darts? It’s enough to drive a knitter crazy.


Hakone – CustomFit

Enter CustomFit. Created by Amy Herzog (author of “Knit to Flatter”), CustomFit is a program with the philosophy that your body IS built right, your measurements are perfect the way they are, and you should be able to knit something that looks and feels fantastic on YOU. I’m finishing up my second CustomFit sweater and I love them!

How does it work? It’s simple.

1) Get your measurements taken – just once.
2) Make a swatch out of any yarn you love.
3) Choose a sweater design you want. There are dozens of neckline, hem length, and sleeve length combinations for you to combine. (Short sleeve V-neck cardigan? Done. Elbow length scoop neck pullover? You’ve got it.) Take a look here for some ideas.
4) Knit your sweater, designed for you, with no more stressing out over fit.

Then you can do it again, as many times as you want, because CustomFit saves your measurements and can apply them to all sorts of sweater designs! It’s pretty magical.

Bridgefield - CustomFit

Bridgefield – CustomFit

We are running a CustomFit Guided KAL, to help you get started and support you along the way.

CustomFit Guided Knitalong:
Saturday afternoons 2:30 – 4:00 Jan 31 thru March 7 – Janet Avila and Julie Lindsey

You’ll start with your own 20-minute personal CustomFit appointment. We will take your measurements, then look at yarn and design choices. Once your swatch is complete, bring it back and we’ll create your custom pattern.

Then pop in to our knitalong sessions on Saturday Afternoons to join other knitters working on their CustomFit sweaters and ask questions. (Morale support/peer pressure is key to finishing a sweater.) In April, we will have a “Wrap” Party with prizes to celebrate!
Cost: $60 (includes pattern, measurements and 6 knitalong sessions)

So give us a call to sign up.  We will arrange for your 20 minute consultation and then we’ll all get together on January 31 to cast on.  As we knit together, we’ll walk you through any tricky bits, and you’ll end up with the best sweater you’ve ever owned. I can’t wait to get started!


Sunday is a fun day at String Theory

January 19, 2015

Based on your feedback, we’ve decided to host more classes and events on Sundays when so many of you are available to attend.

Unfortunately, with all this new activity there won’t be table space for Sit&Knit on Sundays.  Please check out our new Sit&Knit schedule here.

Here is what is now happening on Sundays in February:

Tiny Football by Anna Hrachovec

Tiny Football by Anna Hrachovec

February 1st: Super Ball Sunday –  We thought we would kick off (pun!) February with some games of our own.  Come in and get your supplies for knitting through watching the big game.  For every $10 you spend, you’ll be assigned a square on our grid.  Prizes will be awarded based on the Superbowl score at the end of each quarter.  Watch the game, then stop in on Tuesday to claim your prize. Or try your hand at our  “Touchdown Toss” and “SuperBall Trivia”.  Come join the fun!



Prickly Poppy in Indigo

February 8th: Fiora and Indigo Trunk Show - get inspired to knit yourself something for spring.  We’ll have garments in both yarns available for you to try on. Karen and Lisa will be on hand to help you figure out colors and sizing.
Once you learn the basics, you could make this.

Once you learn the basics, you could make this.

February 15th: 1 – 2pm Pom Pom Making – This is our first pop-up class.  No need to register, just show up with $10 and your materials (in this case a pom pom maker, yarn and sharp pointed scissors – all available for purchase at String Theory).  Once you know the basics, there are so many cool things you can do with pompoms.  If you would like to secure your spot by paying ahead of time, you may, but we can’t offer any type of refunds for pop-up classes.


oscar statue
February 25th: 7th Annual Golden Needle Awards – 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 or just stop by to be inspired (and vote).  Check out the video we made of the event in 2013.




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Artistic Differences Blog Tour – Giveaway

January 6, 2015

I am so honored to be the first stop on Talitha Kuomi’s Artistic Differences Tour.  I’ve been intrigued by Tal’s designs ever since she provided us with our first Mystery KAL. Remember the Quench bag?  Then, I LOVED watching her videos when she was a contestant on the Fiber Factor.  “I am the troll under the bridge of my children’s lives…” – priceless!  So when she started dropping hints on her website that she was working on something with Classic Elite Yarns, I could hardly wait.


Artistic Differences is a collection of 10 projects, each presented twice with subtle adaptations to encourage the knitter to customize the piece to their own personal style. Take a look. There is a pair of “boot” socks with a simple detail that makes my heart sing and a bag that makes me want to start making bags again and a cowl that just lays perfectly.  I could go on and on, but this will be the last time I’m invited to do a blog tour if I don’t get to the featured pattern pretty soon.

terva rocker 2

Terva – rocker style

Blog Tour – Day 1: Terva

Terva is the light and lacy pullover that everyone wants in their wardrobe for Spring and Summer. Knit a little longer, over a tank, with some wide leg linen pants…. The “rocker” style is worn with 6″ of ease; the “boho” style is more form fitting.

Now, you’ve probably heard that I struggle with lace,  so I’m especially grateful for all the ways that Tal has made this manageable for a non-lace knitter like me.

  1. She starts with ribbing.  It is going to be a breeze to make those (most visible) seams at the top of the arm look professionally done.  You could even do a provisional cast on and a three needle bind off later.
  2. There is no shaping. The sweater is knit in two pieces: the back with the back halves of the sleeves and the front with the front halves of the sleeves . So once I get the lace pattern in my head, there will be no need to adjust.
  3. It is top down. I can block as I go.  Whether I decide on waist length or tunic, it will be exactly as long as I want it.

terva arm

What fascinates me about Tal’s designs is the thought behind them.  There is always a story that she is willing to share.  So I asked Tal what inspired this piece.  This is what she said:

most of the places i’ve played are urban where the rocker chic in me thrives but, one of my favorite places to sing with a guitar is a campfire, preferably by a lake to feed my boho side. 

as i swatched for ‘terva’, the way the wide ribbing came together at the shoulders and down the top of both sleeves looked to me like rocks laid neatly side by side.  do you see it?  the way the first few rows of lace nip the ribbing in a little, making the rounded edges of what i see as stones? 

after that happened, i worked to create a lace that would give the rippled effect that you get when you look through the heated air near a campfire.  it’s not smoke, as you can see right through, but the overly heated air distorts the picture somehow.  almost like little waves. 

so, to me this pullover is the stones of a campfire circle and the rippled warmth of the fire.  that’s a scene i’d love to be carrying in my head as i navigated the brightly lit stage of an urban club.

And now, I’ll be carrying that image as I knit this sweater.

Discount and Giveaway

Today only, Terva is 10% off on Ravelry (no code necessary).

Tomorrow, check out Slate Falls Press for the next stop on the blog tour.

Classic Elite is giving away a free pattern to one lucky winner per blog.  Just leave a comment below telling me which is your favorite design from the Artistic Differences collection.

* all photographs are courtesy of Classic Elite Yarns


NaKniSweMo 2014 Wrap Party

December 11, 2014


On November 1, we had more than thirty people take up the “knit a sweater in a month” challenge. The goal was to make an adult size sweater (at least 50,000 stitches) during the already busy month of November.

Barbs hiro
Barb finished hers in just 10 days.

kathleen fair isle
Kathleen steeked a fair isle cardigan, but even after facing her button bands came up short for the 50,000 stitches.

Lisa B button band detail
Lisa ran out of yarn and had to switch to something else for her button band. Best design feature ever!

Susan won the grand prize drawing of a gift certificate for another sweater’s worth of yarn.

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Whether you finished or not, you are an inspiration to the rest of us!


Winner of Annual Turkey Baster Knitting Contest

November 25, 2014


Congratulations to Crayola Bolger for winning our annual Turkey Baster Knitting contest. Crayola came all the way from Raleigh, North Carolina to participate.  She beat out 23 other entries by knitting 30 stitches in 2 minutes.

Some of our most experienced knitters had the lowest scores – those basters really are hard to knit with!   Crayola said the trick is when knitting the first row you want to be sure to slide the stitches all the way onto the baster.  The tendency is to try to speed through and all the stitches get stuck at the narrow tip – making the second row almost impossible.   Now you know for next year : )

Thanks to everyone who came out for this.  We had a blast!

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String Theory’s Annual Turkey Baster Knitting Contest

November 17, 2014

Annual Turkey Baster Knitting Contest
Sunday afternoon, November 23
anytime between 12 – 3:30pm

Yes, I know – that turkey baster knitting contest always sneaks up and there is never enough time to practice knitting with those turkey basters – but seriously – practice doesn’t help.

One of our prior winners was a crochet expert.   (She did know how to knit, but she didn’t knit very much).  So you see – expertise is no advantage.   Beginners often do better than experienced knitters – because they can remember the steps to make a knit stitch.   Experienced knitters knit by feel and memory – but those turkey basters throw them for a loop.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Have you replaced those horrible plastic turkey basters?   You know there are nice glass ones available – maybe you should visit Marcels…. 

Nope.   I totally love Marcels – but the plastic turkey basters remain –– and they are indeed horrible to knit with.

 Would you review the rules again?

Sure – We cast on 10 stitches for you – that way no one has any advantage from the cast on.   We give you exactly 2 minutes to knit as many stitches as you can.

We keep track of every entry and at the end of the day – the person who knits the most stitches in the 2 minute period wins.

Stop by any time before 3:30 PM.   You do not need to be present to win – so if you only have a few minutes – stop in – enter – and leave (you still get a free gift just for entering).    But for the grand prize — we take your email and notify you if you are the winner.

 What are the prizes besides the turkey hat?

That is a secret – but I have to tell you – the grand prize is totally worth 3 minutes of your time.   It may be the nicest prize we have ever given.    Plus, there will probably be a small little gift– just for entering the contest.   So how can you lose?   So come try it – it is so fun!

That turkey hat is way cool – but I’m going away for Thanksgiving – can I keep it until Christmas?

Okay – there isn’t a huge demand for that hat at Christmas – so if you win – we’ll let you take it home for Christmas – we just need it back for next year.    Traditions are traditions.

 What does the turkey hat look like?   Can I see those plastic turkey basters?

 Here you go – me in the turkey hat with the basters.


Please join us.  We’d love to see you!

– Karen

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Shibui Yarn Tasting November 19

November 2, 2014

Mix No. 20

Shibui Yarn Tasting
Wednesday November 19
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Cost $35
Call 630 469-6085 to reserve your spot.

The Shibui collection includes skinny yarns that are nice on their own, but become magical when combined.  I know many of you hesitate to combine yarns because it seems difficult or you can’t imagine what the “new” yarn will be like. This tasting is for you.


Mix No. 32

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

  • have an opportunity to mix and match different Shibui yarns,
  • experiment with stitch patterns and needle sizes
  • try on garments from the Shibui Mix trunk show

In addition there will be:

  • 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.

Please join us; we would love to see you!



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Scarf Market Starts November 28 – We need scarves!

October 30, 2014


Scarf Market
Thanksgiving through Christmas

Help us make our  Sixth Annual Scarf Market a success.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, String Theory sells scarves that have been knit, crocheted, woven and donated by you.

In the last five years, we’ve raised almost $25,000 and supported local organizations that change the community we live in: PADS, People’s Resource Center, Family Shelter Services, Dupage Homeownership Center and Hope Fair Housing.
This year all proceeds will go to Bridge Communities, serving homeless families in DuPage County with mentoring, housing, and supportive services.

We’ve started to receive many beautiful scarves, but we need more.  We accept scarves, shawls and cowls in any yarn:acrylic, novelty, silk, wool.  Soft scarves sell first.  They must be handmade and never worn.  If you would attach the yarn label to the scarf, that will help us with pricing and washing instructions.

Every year I get questions about how big the scarf should be.  A good average is 5″ x 60″.  Of course kid’s scarves can be shorter (and should be machine washable).

Please consider making us a scarf or two.  We will turn your time into a cash donation for a local organization committed to helping our community.

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Throw this knitter a life line!

October 29, 2014

If you’ve been in the shop recently, I’m sure you have noticed Lisa’s amazing shawl hanging from our giant knitting needle near the back of the store. It’s hard to miss and feels more like an art piece to me.

The pattern is Glacier Sweep by Stephen West, and Lisa made it out of gorgeous, bright skeins of La Jolla fingering weight by Baah. It’s truly stunning and something that really inspired me. I fell in love with the alternating “sweeps” of garter stitch sections… they reminded me of waves and movement.


Stephen West is considered by many to be a “rockstar” in the world of pattern design.  Could I, a knovice knitter, figure out a Stephen West pattern? How hard could it be? I skimmed over the pattern.    Hmmm… garter stitch, check.  Stockinett, check. Yarn overs, check.  Short rows… short rows..huh?  What’s a short row?   Yikes.  (In moments like this, one has the opportunity to squelch their beginner knitter fears and “just do it”). Ironically, the “sweep” that I loved so much – that made me think of soft waves, is only achieved using “short rows”.  Time to dive in and learn something new!

I bought the pattern and picked out some yarn in colors that reminded me of the Caribbean sea. I asked for a little help getting started because you start by making a tiny icord, or by making a garter tab, and picking up stitches. (I always thought a garter tab was something you hooked a nylon stocking to- not so).

After a bit of coaching, I was happily knitting…… Then ripping. Then knitting. Then ripping. This knit/rip pattern repeated itself until I realized they make stitch markers and row counters for a reason! After ripping for the fourth time, and finally knitting without making a counting error (thanks to my markers and counter), I decided it was time to thread my tapestry needle with a long strand of yarn and run it though the stitches on my needle, that way if my counting skills failed me again, all my “good” knitting could be saved and I would just have to rip to the strand holding the stitches without guessing. This, my knovice knitting friends, is called a “Life Line”- and it saved me! It can be used any time in your knitting, and as you can see in the photo I will be using it more than once. (I probably won’t need it as long as it’s there… insurance).

life line

I’m enjoying working on this shawl and I hope it turns out as beautiful as Lisa’s!

All good knitters were “knovice knitters” once. Right?

Speaking of squelching “beginner knitter fears”, Tina has never knitted a sweater before, but she’s all ready to participate in NaKniSweMo. She’s purchased her yarn and was working on her swatch. You go girl!


Mary Jane is getting braver too- She decided she wanted a little more color in her Albers Cowl by Ann Weaver. So,with a little help from Joan and some Wednesday knitting friends, she found just the right shade of pink to make her cowl “pop”!

mj2JPG     mary Jane

Stop by on Wednesday and see how we’re all progressing. We always make room at the table and you may look up at Lisa’s shawl and feel inspired too!

Happy knitting


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NaKniSweMo 2014 | String Theory Yarn Company

October 8, 2014

Should I make Paria?

You may know November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but did you know it’s also National Knit a Sweater Month (NaKniSweMo)? Pronounced Nanny-Sway-Moe, the goal is to start an adult-size sweater on November 1st and finish it by November 30.

It may sound crazy, but it’s easier than you think! String Theory is holding a NaKniSweMo knitalong event throughout November. We’ll help you pick your project, figure out your size and gauge, and guide you through the trickier bits. If you’ve never knit a sweater before, this is a great place to start!

Did we mention there will be fabulous prizes?

GRAND PRIZE: A sweater’s worth of yarn! Buy your yarn between now and November 1st and finish your sweater by December 1, and you’ll be entered to win back your yarn purchase as a gift certificate! (Please save your receipt!)

MORE GREAT PRIZES will be given away! We’ll have giveaways on Instagram, Facebook, and Ravelry, random drawings, and more!

In addition to our Ravelry group, you can also win prizes at the official NaKniSweMo group!  Feel free to double dip.

Or should I make Wake?

Or should I make Wake?


In NaKniWriMo, you write 50,000 words in one month. In NaKniSweMo, you knit 50,000 stitches in one month! You can prepare your project and swatch before November 1, but you don’t cast on until the big day. You have all 30 days of November to finish your sweater.

What does 50,000 stitches look like? Adult-sized long sleeve sweaters in yarn up to a chunky size are almost all 50,000 stitches or more. If you are a size XS, you may want to pick a yarn that’s a little thinner and/or something long-sleeved in order to get 50,000.


Cast-on Breakfast: Ready, set, go! We know you’ll want to get the earliest possible start.  Join us for a social morning of casting on our sweaters, complete with delicious coffee and treats. Bring your swatch to be entered in a special prize drawing. November 1, 8:30-10:00 AM

NaKniKnitalong: Come sit with us on Thursday nights to work on your sweater. We’ll help you through any rough spots and cheer on your progress. We will also talk about the finer points of sweater knitting, from increases to button bands to seaming and blocking.  Thursdays in November 7-9 PM (no KAL on Thanksgiving day)

Wrap Party: Needles down, everyone! Let’s celebrate our beautiful finished sweaters, give away some awesome prizes, and have fun. December 1, 7:00 – 9:00pm

The only criteria for your pattern is that it must be at least 50,000 stitches. Most adult sweaters qualify.

To participate, your yarn must be purchased at String Theory. You can use String Theory yarn from your stash, but if you purchase your yarn between now and Nov. 1, you’ll be eligible to win our Grand Prize.

None of the events are “mandatory” – you can participate even if you can’t make it! Just be sure to bring in your finished sweater (or send a photo!) by December 1 to be eligible for the grand prize!

A “finished” sweater is one that is in one piece and functional. (We will look the other way if you haven’t blocked it or missed some yarn ends!)

You are honor bound to start on November 1 and finish on or before November 30.

Or will it be Merle?

Or will it be Merle?

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