Shop Around the Block Sale

March 28, 2014

Spring Break
Shop Around the Block Sale

Friday, March 28th  – Sunday, April 6th

Planning a “staycation” this year?  Treat yourself to a day of “shopping around the block”  in Downtown Glen Ellyn.  

It’s simple.  Buy something in one participating store, then present your receipt to any other participating store, to 
receive 20% off one item. All purchases must take place during between March 28th and April 6th.

Participating Stores: 

AliKat

Anastazia

Marcel’s

Paisley on Main

Renaissance Art

String Theory

The Bookstore

No minimum purchase required. One item per receipt presented. Each receipt can only be used once. Does not apply to markdown, sale or previously purchased merchandise. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
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New Yarn: Reywa Bloom

March 16, 2014

reywa bloom

 

Just In: Reywa Bloom

Every time you open your wallet you are making a statement about your values. At String Theory we value educational opportunities for impoverished communities, which is one of the reasons we brought in Reywa Bloom, a laceweight yarn made from yak and silk.  Income from the Reywa yarns is invested directly into Tibetan communities.  read more

reywa community-involvement

Another reason we sell this yarn is because it is beautiful to work with.

What is so special about Yak?

The fiber used in Reywa yarns is the down under-layer of a yak’s winter coat. With a diameter of 15-20 microns, it is comparable to cashmere in softness while being 10-15% warmer than merino wool. Naturally hypo-allergenic, it remains warm even when wet. Natural breathability helps the body regulate its heat, keeping the wearer warm in the cold and cooler when temperatures rise.

Yak down is extremely rare, with each animal producing an average of only a kilogram of fiber annually. In comparison, a tiny German angora rabbit produces approximately the same amount! The rarity of yak down and the remote corners of the world in which it is found add immediate value to this lovely fiber.

What shall I make?

The yak and silk combination is all about drape, making it perfect for a lacy shawl for Spring.  Beth and Jody are both making Arietta by Asa Tricosa.  One skein would also work for the Shattered Sun Shawl.  Or for something a little more meditative, combine it with Shibui Silk Cloud in a Sweet Nothing Shawl.

Whatever you choose, you’ll get hours of enjoyment slipping the yarn through your fingers and reflecting on far off lands and your impact on them.

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Classic Elite Trunk Show: March 13 – 16, 2014

March 13, 2014

cey-trunk-show-table

Classic Elite Trunk Show
Shawls, Wraps & Scarves
Thursday March 13 – Sunday March 16

This never happens.  Sure we’ve had trunk shows before, but no company ever loans you every single garment from a book.  Nevertheless, that’s what we have for you this time: every single garment from Classic Elite’s Shawls, Wraps & Scarves book.

cey-shawl-books

I love the premise of this book.   They’ve taken 20 ideas ( a stitch pattern, or stripes, or cables) and worked them in three different yarns for a dramatically different effect.  For those of you following along, that’s 60 garments.

cey-vail

This book is one that you will keep coming back to.  It has something for every season and occasion.  Right now you’re probably thinking it’s time for a little something over the shoulders of a prom dress or the wedding you know is coming up in June or maybe a linen scarf for summer.  In the fall, you’ll find great ideas for gifts.

cey-alpaca-lace-wrap

So stop by and take a look before Monday.  We will help you find the perfect yarn for the look you want.  If you are stretching yourself with a new skill, join Kristen’s  Pick Your Project class on Tuesday evenings.

 

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What’s New: Flexible Blocking Wires

February 27, 2014

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.

deluxe premium wires

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.

ultra fine wires

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!

 

 

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Golden Needle Awards 2014

February 22, 2014

oscar statue

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 Sweater
Best Scarf/Cowl
Best Shawl/Wrap
Best Toy
Best Baby/Child item
Best Crocheted item
Best of Show

Rules

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

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.

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Happy Go Lucky Trunk Show February 22

February 15, 2014

hgl-logo

 

Trunk Show
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.  

happy-go-lucky-two

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.

 

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Knitting Olympic Style

February 12, 2014

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.

Read more

imperial yarn 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?)

winter-games-kal-day-3

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.

 

 

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Christy Becker on Designing Cowls

February 10, 2014
When Christy Becker moved to Winfield recently, String Theory became her local yarn shop.  She often hangs out on Thursday afternoons at our table and we got to talking.  She is patient and kind and knowledgeable so I asked her to teach a class for us on How to Become a Lace Knitter (starts February 27).

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

Downtown_1_medium
A year ago December, I ordered the Lorna’s Laces yarn called Christmas at Downton, and I planned to participate in an online knit-along that used one skein of the Sportmate.  I loved the yarn and the colors, but the pattern was soon revealed to be lace gauntlet gloves.  I love lace and gloves, but the pattern just did not call my name.

I watched as several of my friends also decided not to knit this pattern and started knitting cowls and scarves. Unfortunately, the yarn that was so beautiful in the skein, was often quite ugly knitted up.  It pooled in simply awful ways.

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.

My second design, Cool Breezes Cowl  happened after a summer visit to String Theory before we moved to the neighborhood! I, as always, suffered from the delusion that I can knit really fast! It really seemed that I needed a lot of summer yarn, and a few others!  My optimistic plans for all this wonderful yarn soon crashed as we decided to put our home of 25 years on the market and buy a townhome.  I tell myself I could have knit all that yarn if I had not had to clean out a house filled with 4th grade posterboard projects, baseball card and star wars collections, and notes my daughter had passed to friends in middle school. But, I digress, and probably should admit that packing up my yarn stash was a monumental task, too.

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. 

And, now I really love designing.  I have just finished another cowl design that I have used for two different cowls, again using different weight yarns and creating two different sized cowls.  I find myself looking at books of stitch patterns and in old magazines and thinking of how I could incorporate them into a 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!

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String Theory Getaway March 8, 2014

January 31, 2014

 

snowballfight mochimochi

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.

Gnome no evil

Gnome no evil

Space is limited.  Call now (630 469-6085) to register.

 

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Norm the Monster

January 28, 2014

norm in the knitting store
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.

norm drinking chardonnay

 

He likes a good Chardonnay.

norm doing yoga

 

And he does Yoga!

She’s thinking he may be very hard to give away!

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