Golden Needle Awards 2015 | Winners

March 1, 2015


Wow!  We had some beautiful projects this year in the Golden Needle Awards. Thank you to everyone that brought your masterpiece in for display.  We are so inspired!

It is so gratifying to have helped you find the pattern or select the yarn and then see the finished product as beautiful as we imagined it would be.

Every year we celebrate the creativity and skill in our own community with the Golden Needle Awards.  Our customers submit entries and then whoever drops by the store during the event gets to vote.  As soon as we get it put together you’ll get to experience the whole event via YouTube. In the mean time, the winners are…. (click on the pictures for pattern links)

Michelle made this sweater during our 2014 NaKniSweMo.

Favorite Sweater: North Shore by Michelle Everson

Favorite Sweater: North Shore by Michelle Everson

Debbie makes a lot of adorable toys, so I’m glad she entered this year.  These are part of a woodland themed nursery.

Wee Woodland Wuzzies by Debbie Bush

Favorite Toy: Wee Woodland Wuzzies by Debbie Bush

Jan’s cowl is done in a tube, like a hat and then grafted together.  Manos Fino knit densely is one of my favorite fabrics.

Funchal Moebius by Jan Jones

Favorite Scarf/Cowl: Funchal Moebius by Jan Jones

Christine made this adorable baby sweater for her granddaughter.

Provence Baby Cardigan by Christine Rachke

Favorite Baby Item: Provence Baby Cardigan by Christine Rachke

Tobi saw the cowl that Kristen crocheted for the store and liked it so much that she made one for herself. Gorgeous!

Molecule Cowl by Tobi Davis

Favorite Crochet:Molecule Cowl by Tobi Davis

Sharon made these for her mother. What a gift!

Ballet by Sharon Wussow

Favorite Accessory: Ballet by Sharon Wussow

A couple of weeks ago I shared this pattern link on Facebook.  Cathy took on the challenge and was up until 1am the night before our Golden Needle Awards finishing up.

Darwin by Cathy Fey

Favorite Shawl: Darwin by Cathy Fey

Christy will tell you that she won best of show because there was no “Home” category, but we know it was because her blanket is beautiful and grand and it took 4 years to finish.  Christy also mentioned that you can trace her journey to becoming a yarn connoisseur, since the yarns used towards the end of the project are nicer than the ones she started with.

Sock Yarn Blanket by Christy Becker

Best in Show: Sock Yarn Blanket by Christy Becker

A very special thank you to those that came in to “oooh” and “aaah” – you were key to the festivities.

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Ann Weaver Workshops in April

February 20, 2015


People are still raving about the Albers Cowl Workshop they took with Ann Weaver last September.

“I will never look at a painting in the same way again.”

Other workshops were entertaining, but “I learned so much with Ann Weaver.”  

“Janet, you need more lights and darks so we can combine color the way Ann taught us.”

I’m very excited that we are able to bring Ann back to teach us more.  This time we’ve got two new options for you to choose from. Take a look below and decide which one(s) are right for you.

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

modular mitts

Mixology Workshop
Friday April 10, 2015
7:00 – 9:00pm
Cost: $75

Would you like to feel more confident about your color choices before you start a project? In this workshop, Ann Weaver will show you how to figure out what kinds of colors a project needs and how to pick out a palette you will love, even after all the knitting is done. Please join us!

Modular Mitts,  designed by Ann Weaver, is a perfect opportunity to experiment with color by using small amounts of yarn and simple techniques. Inspired by the color studies done by Johannes Itten and his students at the Bauhaus school, these mitts are designed to showcase the interactions among colors.

The goals of this workshop are to expand your color vocabulary and confidence in color combination choices and to teach modular knitting techniques like picking up and knitting stitches.

Skills needed: ability to cast on, knit garter stitch comfortably and bind off are required.

Since it is a Friday night, Ann said she would show us how to make a great cocktail.  Did you know she is also a bartender?

Click to Register for the Mixology Workshop

Chitagong Square Shawl

Chitagong Square Shawl

String Theory Getaway: Shawls from the Inside Out
at the Clarus Center in Warrenville
Saturday April 11, 2015
10:00am – 3:00pm
Cost $125

Come spend the day with Ann Weaver!  Learn to make good color choices and master the techniques needed to make one of Ann’s shawls from the inside out.

We have an incredible day planned for you at the Clarus Center in Warrenville. 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 delicious, and the knitting will be full of laughter and inspiration.

Anns Mom traffic furnitureEveryone will start with a square shawl, creating a customized shape, textures, and color combination. For example, Ann’s mom (pictured at left) is modeling a square shawl Traffic Furniture. Then, those that are interested can start a circular shawl based on a workbook Ann created.

We will have lots of yarn available on site to help you design your shawl based on what you learn about color and texture and a consult with Ann, if you like.

Ann will also have many, many samples on hand to inspire you.

All we need now, is a fun loving group of knitters. Please join us.

Skills needed:  knit, purl, work in the round and increase

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 on Sunday, you can stop by String Theory on your way back home.

 Click to Register for the Getaway


ann weaver Crazy shawl_2

Ann Weaver has created things her whole life. She learned to knit when she was seven, learned to read a pattern at 22 and started sharing her designs through various forms of publication in 2007.  

Since graduating from New York University with majors in Art and English, Ann has worked as a deli associate, Harvard graduate student in Assyriology, Macy’s cosmetics counter manager, teaching fellow, assistant curator, state bureaucrat, temp, Akkadian instructor, medical secretary, assistant office manager, barback, commercial bread baker, and proofreader, among other things. She is always looking for a new adventure. 

Ann’s design work reflects this quest for adventure; while retaining a clean, wearable aesthetic, Weaverknits designs experiment with asymmetry, unusual color and yarn combinations, and androgyny. 



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Pom Pom Pop-up Class Sunday February 15

February 12, 2015
pom pom it hat

Pom Pom It by Stephen West

It seems like every hat has a pom pom these days.

But there are actually a million things you can do with pom poms.


Did you see the sheep that Linda made for our window?  She made them with pom poms.


Or you could make lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Or fruit.  Or eyeballs.

I’ve seen beautiful garlands, package wrapping and Easter centerpieces all done with pom poms.

I confess, I used to be a strong supporter of making pom poms with two pieces of cardboard or a fork, but then I discovered the Clover Pom Pom maker.  This gadget makes life pom pom making so much easier!

How many of you own a Clover pom pom maker, but never sat down to figure out how to use it? Now is the time!  It is really easy once someone shows you how.

So please join us for our first pop-up class:

Pom Pom Making with Karen
Sunday, February 15 at 1:00pm
Cost $10
No need to register ahead of time.  Just bring $10, your pom pom maker, sharp scissors and some yarn. If you are missing something, all materials are also available for purchase at String Theory.

Warning: Making pom poms is addictive and may seriously eat into your stash!

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Cheshire Cat Mini Skeins – Pattern Ideas

February 11, 2015

neon cheshire

Is anyone else craving a little color?  I think that our Cheshire Cat Mini Skeins are the antidote to gray winter days. Each packet contains five skeins of sock weight yarn. Some are gradients.  Some are just fun colors that go together.

On Sunday, I unpacked a box full of Wine and Chocolate (gradient packets).
chocolate and wine

You’ve probably seen the Little Sister dress that we’ve made out of it.  But I think it is time you made something for yourself.

let's take it nice and easy

Let’s Just Take it Nice and Easy is a simple design that let’s the colors shine.


Daybreak or the Age of Brass and Steam would also work beautifully if you prefer a triangle shawl.

Antarktis has also been on my radar for awhile – many people have done multi color versions.

To make Migee, you’ll need on mini skein pack and then about 100 yards of a contrast color. Maybe you have some leftover sock yarn in your stash.

Mona midnight ocean edited-1

Last year, Mona made Midnight Ocean – gorgeous!

And then there is Reverse Psychology – gorgeous with or without the beads.

Feel like crocheting?  Stack any color combination in the Mesa Cowl.

And because it will soon be fingerless mitt season again, you should take a look at these gradient mitts.

For more ideas on things to do with mini skeins, I suggest you “like” the Frabjous Fiber page on Facebook.  They  post a “daily stripe” picture which is always inspiring.

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Golden Needle Awards | February 22, 2015

February 3, 2015

oscar statue

Golden Needle Awards
Sunday, February 22
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.  During the event you will have a chance to view the entrees, nibble on a cookie, hear some great stories and get inspired for your next project.  Whether you enter to win an award or just come for the inspiration, we hope you will join us.

We’ve changed things up a bit, so please read through.

Enter to Win (categories are the same as last year)

Prizes are awarded 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

alexis best of show

Alexa won best in show for Barndom last year

Rules (NEW drop off deadline)

1. All entries must be received by 5pm on Saturday, February 21. 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. (Honestly, people are going to want to make what you made and we want them to be able to buy the yarn at String Theory.)
3. You can enter as many items as you like.
4. If possible, we would like to display all entries until Saturday, February 28.

Voting (vote early, vote often)

Voting is done by the Academy — which consists of every person walking into String Theory Yarn Company on Sunday February 22 — (yes children, spouses, grandparents, friends, etc. may vote). 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, but we hope you will be.  There are amazing prizes for each category.

Red Carpet Walk at 2:00pm (NEW format)

Half the fun of the Academy Awards are the interviews on the red carpet.

So even if you don’t want to enter for an award, we hope you’ll let us interview you about what you are wearing.  All knitwear has a story.

If you have entered, we will give you a moment to grab your item from its display and tell your raving fans what it was like to make it.  (This is also a great time to sway some voters!)

Every year this event is a blast!  Check out our slideshow from 2013.

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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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