Winner of Annual Turkey Baster Knitting Contest

November 25, 2014

turkey-baster-winner-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.

karen-in-turkey-hat

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

– Karen

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Shibui Yarn Tasting November 19

November 2, 2014
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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.

Shibui-Mix-32-4_small2

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

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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.

Shawl

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!

Tina

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

-Linda

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NaKniSweMo 2014 | String Theory Yarn Company

October 8, 2014
paria_a_500_medium2

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?

HOW IT WORKS

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.

EVENTS

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 FINE PRINT
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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Knovice Knitter Needle Woes

September 25, 2014

Our Wednesday group is off to a great start! I loved watching fellow knovice knitters begin new projects.

I wonder if anyone noticed the thought bubble over my head, as I looked around the table.  It read:  “Sheesh-  does it ever go smoothly for a knovice knitter?”   Well, the honest answer is: Sometimes… but usually not. However, with a bit of guidance, a little perseverance, and a boat load of encouragement, we eventually overcome the little things that trip us up.

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Spud & Chloe Sweater in Toast

Pat started a nice little scarf project called Garter Not Scarf . She chose to do it in Spud & Chloe “Toast” (I love the S&C names- so fun!)  She was happy with the pattern once we novices realized yf  meant “bring yarn to front” … I bet you can  guess what yb meant!   She loved the softness of the Spud & Chloe wool/cotton blend in her hands as she casted on. The tricky part was keeping those stitches from sliding off  size 10 aluminum needles.  Once she switched over to a set of ChiaoGoo bamboo needles, she became a knitting machine!

Jewel part 1

Jewel part one

lime to turquoise morph

Lime to Turquoise morph

neons part two

Neons part two

 

 

 

 

As Pat continued her scarf, JoRene was across the table starting Sonnensegela gorgeous shawl/scarf wrap. JoRene picked a gorgeous package of fingering weight  Wonderland yarn mini skeins by frabjous fibers (there are some beautiful color combos to choose from at the shop), and for her repeating stripe she chose the uber delicious Shibui Cloud – a gorgeous lace weight, silk/mohair combo (think skinny like thread).  JoRene had no trouble starting out with the fingering weight yarn but her happy face was slowly disappearing once she started with Cloud. After unknitting and pulling teeny mohair stitches apart, she checked the pattern again. She was using a size 2 needle (suggested by the yarn manufacturer, but much smaller than the pattern suggested).  I loved watching her smile return as she knit the next row onto the larger needles.  Her Sonnensegal wrap is going to be stunning and she’s going to finish a lot faster on those larger needles!  Woohoo!

Picking out the correct knitting needles is not always easy. Find what works for you and what works with the yarn you’re using;  there are a lot of options.  Metal, wood, bamboo, plastic, straight, circular, etc.etc. you may have to try a few to find out.

In my first post I used the word débutante, a french word for “beginner”.  In my mind the word Débutante conjures up images of white gloves, pearls and ‘coming out’ parties.  So go ahead and throw on your pearls if you’d like,  “come out” and join some novice knitters as we kibitz on Wednesdays. We serve up platters of encouragement!

Btw, no need for the white gloves,  it’s challenging enough without them!

-Linda (Knovice Knitter)

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Confession of a “Knovice Knitter”

September 13, 2014

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I had always thought beginner knitters were restricted to the aisles of brightly colored acrylic yarn in the big craft stores.  Beautiful yarn shops were only for the “experts” who used words like:  fiber, drape,  fabric, fingering and intarsia. They knew complex codes like: CO48 work *k2,p2,ssk,k1, repeat from * for 5cm ending on WS.  They read charts, and of course they never made mistakes.  I have since changed my mind.

One October day I decided to make a scarf for my son in his school colors (how hard could it be?).  I stopped at my local craft store and picked up some orange and black acrylic yarn and a pair of knitting needles. I stood in the store reading through a book on how to “cast on”.  By the time I returned home, my memory was failing and I did the best I could at getting the stitches onto the needle. I began to knit back and forth using the basic knit stitch that my Aunt Mary had taught me as a child. Frustration soon set in as I watched my scarf become wider and then narrower. What was happening? I pulled it all out and started over only to have the same thing happen again!   I needed help.

My first stop was the home of my 86 year old neighbor, because after all most people over 80 must know how to knit!, right?  She smiled at me and my mess, said she had no idea how to knit, but her grand-daughter in Boston was an excellent knitter.  Well a trip to Boston wasn’t in the cards, so that’s when I mustered the courage to walk into String Theory Yarn Co. and  plead for help.   It was one of the best decisions I ever made!

In about 15 mins. a lovely woman explained to me what was going wrong and how to fix it.

There I was, sitting at the same table with other knitters… the “experts”.   Guess what?  Those “experts” dropped stitches, miscounted rows, asked for help, and ripped stuff out – JUST LIKE ME!

There are loads of knitting books and You Tube videos to help you learn to knit, but String Theory offers a great class for beginners called “Knitting 101″ , taught by experienced knitters who will actually help you hold your needles the right way!!  Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

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Now that it’s football season and scarf weather seems to be returning early this year, I’m going to make another scarf; on the first try I hope!    I’m picking up some Malabrigo Rios in Glazed Carrot and Paris Night, (which in man speak are Chicago Bears colors).  What are your team colors?  String Theory carries a wonderful assortment of worsted weight, washable yarn in many different colors.  Stop in and browse around.

Here are a few easy scarf projects to consider:

ewe ewe scarf

The Ewe Ewe Scarf is a fun, easy garter stitch project.

wicked easy

If you’re feeling more adventurous and want to practice your knits and purls, how about giving the Wicked Easy Scarf a try.

rivalry scarf

Want to practice color changing (no, you don’t knot off each row)?  The Rivalry Scarf would be perfect.

Finally, the thing that scared me the most; the table filled with “experts”, is now what I love most about String Theory. It’s a great way to spend time with others, commiserate, exchange ideas, etc.   Because of my work schedule it’s easier for me to visit the shop  on Wednesdays, and usually I have the table to myself.  Come join me, I’d love to have some company!  By the way, the french word for Beginner is Débutant… do we dare start a Débutant knitting group on Wednesdays?  I’ll let my fellow beginners decide.

Linda (a Knovice Knitter)

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New Classes for Fall

September 1, 2014

pow mitts campanula earth and sky

Top 10 Reasons to take a class(or two) at String Theory

  1. You need a challenge – stretching your brain, keeps you young
  2. You’d love to meet new people – we have the nicest customers at String Theory
  3. You need a good excuse to get out of the house – we know how that is….
  4. Double pointed needles baffle you.
  5. You’ve always wanted to learn to crochet.
  6. You bought yarn on vacation this summer and now you can’t figure out the pattern – try Kristen’s Pick Your Project class on Tuesday evenings.
  7. You could use a little “peer pressure” to get those gifts made for Christmas
  8. Our instructors are knowledgeable – they love sharing their favorite tips
  9. Our instructors are patient.
  10. Our instructors make classes fun.

Our instructors have put together a great schedule for this Fall. So grab a cup of coffee and your calendar.  When you figure out your schedule, stop by the store or call 630 469-6085 to register.

Don’t let the kids have all the “Back to School” fun!

Sign up one (or more) of our classes before Sunday, September 7 to receive a 10% discount.

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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.

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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.

be-sweet-yarns

 

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