May 16, 2016
The Tahki Stacy Charles Spring/Summer Trunk Show was a huge success! We enjoyed a presentation from our very own Stacy Charles as he discussed fashion trends, yarns and the fantastic TSC Collection.
"I popped into the store and found it was buzzing with knitters -- knitting, chatting, noshing and looking at and trying on the pieces. The store really felt "alive." There were so many garments to look at, you didn't know which way to turn. (And... I was excited to see my pieces again.)" Joan
"As soon as you enter the store, there is an explosion of color and texture all around. This trunk show has been great inspiration for us." Cynthia
See more behind the scenes photos from Stacy's visit to String [HERE].
You can still experience the collection now through 5/20 and don't miss 15% OFF select Tahki Stacy Charles garment yarns [HERE]. Sale ends 5/19.
Don't miss another String event! Subscribe to receive event updates [HERE].
May 08, 2016
by Tanis Gray
To me, the season of spring welcomes in an abundance of promise. New life, longer days, knitting on the porch at night, rather than bundled up in my office because it’s already dark and cold after dinner. We can take an evening walk, strolling through the neighborhood looking out for plants starting to pop up and push their way into the sun. The world seems to come alive this time of year and we’re all a bit like bears coming out of their caves after a long winter’s nap. We stretch, yawn, grab our knitting and head out into the world.
I find that my knitting changes this time of year. I reach for the lighter blends, head more in the direction of short cardigans or boleros, lace shawls and baby blankets. I beeline to the part of my LYS that boasts plant fibers with their easy drape and lighter weight. I explore new fibers and lighter colors – my brain and knitting thinking “spring” the whole time.
Spring is still a fickle friend. Layers are essential as the day goes from chilly to warm to downright hot here in Virginia. With that in mind, I’m excited to announce the fourth installment in our yearlong KAL (knit-a-long) with String Yarns in New York City. I’ve talked about the wonderful feeling of camaraderie in a past post here while doing these KALs, of meeting and making friends across the globe as we all stitch together, working on the same project. But what I enjoy the most is seeing knitters go from being complete beginners or have scant knowledge of a particular technique or two, to finishing their project with confidence, having a completed garment to wear with pride and the ability to understand the mechanics of how and why we’re doing something specific in the pattern. It’s one thing to know how to do something, but to understand why is of equal importance.
I’m thrilled to share with you our next project, the Breeze Bolero! Knit in a classic top-down raglan style, this is an ideal first or second sweater project. The benefits to knitting a top-down garment are numerous, but my favorites are that we can try it on as we go, there is practically no finishing, no seaming and it’s easy to make adjustments if you wish.
The Breeze Bolero is knit using String Yarn’s Breeze, a cashmere, silk, cotton blend fiber, perfect for spring and summer. This lightweight DK blend has wonderful drape and a dozen lovely colors to choose from. Use the code MayKAL16 to get 15% off on the kit here exclusively for our KAL! The pattern is written in 6 sizes, ranging from a 30.75″ bust circumference to a 50.25″ bust circumference, just specify which size you’d like in the drop down menu on the kit page to ensure accurate yarn amounts.
The Breeze Bolero KAL is chock full of techniques for us to explore together. Not only will we cover top-down construction, but we’ll turn our raglan increases into cable twists, make buttonholes, discuss the best way to attach buttons, read a schematic, and my favorite thing of all in this project, create Vikkle Braids.
How do our KALs work? Each Tuesday for a month starting on May 10, look for guidance and tips in the String Yarns Ravelry Group [HERE].
Photos courtesy Tanis Gray. Read the entire post from Tanis here.
May 07, 2016
As the warmer breezes arrive, so do new and exciting fiber collections that offer an amazing array of yarns. As we fill the shelves with all of this wonderment, the creative minds at String begin imagining spectacular new designs, each one combining yarns in a different fashion.
The String Opera Coat is a unique collaboration of color and texture similar to what we see in the store windows up and down Madison Ave, Lidia Karabinech was particularly inspired by this season’s Missoni collection.
"We wanted to make a cool, but very cosmopolitan piece that one could easily wear from day into night.” - Lidia
The top panel is worked up in our String Exclusive Breeze yarn, which adds structure to the sweater and perfect balance to the fluid drape of the lower panel.
TSC’s Stella, Tandem and Flora yarns are worked in coordinating colors highlighting the hills and valleys of the chevron pattern which flows so beautifully into the leaf lace pattern. Flora adds an elegant touch of twinkle, giving the garment an added dimension.
The sweater is delicately over-sized, one-size fits most. Lidia’s signature shoulder shaping along with the slim 3/4 sleeve balances the proportion of the body and together come together in a sleek and flattering piece. I-cord edging is the perfect finishing touch to offer a piece with couture details that are very feminine and on trend.
Get the String Opera Coat for the month of May for 20% OFF [HERE].
May 03, 2016
New York! The days were long, dark, and cold, but that dreadful time is finally over—Spring has sprung! Tulips are blooming on Park Avenue, the sun hangs low but warm at 6pm, and bare arms and legs are making their prefatory appearances.
What better time to meet Tahki Stacy Charles’ fantastic new Spring/Summer collections?
We’re accustomed to keeping eyes on Ravelry for the current seasonal offerings, but opportunities to see new garments in the cloth, so to speak, come few and far between. String Yarns is thrilled to announce that garments from Tahki Stacy Charles’ Spring/Summer 2016 collections will be coming to the store next Wednesday, May 11, 2016! As if that weren’t enough, TSC Yarns' fearless leader, Stacy Charles, will also be on hand from 3-7 pm to answer all your questions and help guide you towards your next warm weather knit!
We sat down with Stacy to get some early, behind-the-scenes feedback about Tahki Stacy Charles new collections—consider this your TSC Yarns primer!
Tahki Stacy Charles encompasses 3 very distinct brands—Stacy Charles Fine Yarns, Tahki Yarns, and Filatura Di Crosa.
Can you describe the individual "personalities" of the brands? If these 3 brands were women, what would they be like? Where in NYC would they live? Can you ascribe a popular designer/designers that fit the personality of each brand?
I think of the Stacy Charles Fine Yarns’ woman as being sophisticated and fashion conscious—she’s probably trying to snag tickets to at least one runway show at New York Fashion Week every year. She lives uptown, bordering Central Park on either side—she shops at Bergdorfs and Barney’s. The Stacy Charles woman loves designers like Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, and The Row.
The Tahki Yarns woman is more relaxed, playful, and adventurous. She could easily live downtown or in an outer borough like Brooklyn and commutes to Manhattan. She has a laid-back style and sensibility—she pounds the pavement in kitten heels for the office, but switches to stylish sneakers or ballet flats after hours. The Tahki Yarns woman loves Kate Spade and Tory Burch.
The Filatura Di Crosa woman is worldly, well traveled, international and artsy. She can be bold with print and texture, is influenced by the art scene, and isn’t afraid to mix up her style. She follows trends to subvert them and reinterpret them into something all her own. She lives in Tribeca, where she can be infused with new ideas and influenced by the current art scene. The Filatura Di Crosa woman loves designers like Celine, Missoni, and Stella McCartney.
Tahki Stacy Charles’ Spring Collections this year are thematic—can you describe each of those themes?
The Chelsea Morning Collection from Stacy Charles Fine Yarns exemplifies the hip, chic neighborhood of Chelsea in downtown Manhattan. It includes 17 knit and crochet designs with an urban, fashion-forward feel. Chelsea is home to the Fashion Institute of America, art galleries, The Highline, and unique fashion boutiques, and you can feel those influences in Chelsea Morning.
The Sea Breeze Collection from Tahki Yarns is like a Manhattanite’s weekend getaway collection. The 17 garments and accessories in Sea Breeze are inspired by New York’s beaches—Long Beach, Rockaway, etc. It’s very relaxed and casual, full of natural fibers and textures—it’s your classic, sitting-in-the-sun-on-a-towel, book-in-hand beach knitting.
The Arte Collection from Filatura Di Crosa is all about creativity and color, and the thoughtfulness and ingenuity of designs that exist in the place where fashion meets art. Arte includes 12 garments and accessories inspired by the runway and the art world—so many of Filatura Di Crosa’s yarns are infused with rich colors and textures, so it’s easy to see how that translates to garments with a painterly, artistic vibe.
Where do you find the greatest inspirations for your collections? Which designers do you consistently follow, year after year?
Living in New York, we’re blessed with a constant stream of inspiration. The city itself is like one big gallery, but we also have museums we can visit. I get a lot of inspiration just by walking the streets of Manhattan. I look at the way fashion is worn by both the older and younger generations. I look at trends and looks I’m seeing from a cultural as well as historical perspective. You’d be amazed at the way the brain consumes and translates the different inspirations it takes in just on a daily basis. Living in New York is a creatively enriching experience.
I consistently follow Missoni, Michael Kors, Prada, The Row, Versace, Dior, Chanel, and Brunello Cucinelli.
What is your favorite aspect of working in the knitting industry?
I love creating yarns and developing products. It’s a wonderful experience to be able to control a product and be there from its inception to its fruition. I like wearing the fashion hat and indulging in the creative side, and then taking those things that inspire me and hammering them out on the business end of things. It’s a personal investment, and one that I love dearly.
If you could pick one garment from each collection this season as your favorite, what would they be? What about yarns?
I love the Phlox Tank in Alicia & Crystal from Chelsea Morning, the Long Beach Poncho in Ripple from Sea Breeze, and the Caravaggio Cardigan in Chantal from Arte. To me, all of these garments exemplify each brand’s personality and are easy, light, wearable, and timeless—they are what Summer knitting should be about.
If I had to play yarn favorites, for Stacy Charles Fine Yarns it would have to be Alicia. Alicia is an elegant, lightweight linen in striking jewel tones. Linen is having a moment right now, which is great because it’s such a lovely Summer fiber—it has so much character, it grows softer with every wash, and it knits up beautifully.
For Tahki Yarns, I would pick Ripple. Ripple has been a beloved favorite among knitters ever since we introduced it. There is really nothing else like it anywhere. It has this very interesting flattened thick-thin quality that doesn’t require complicated stitchwork, but I’ve seen it worked up into cables and lace and it’s amazing the way the texture works out.
For Filatura Di Crosa, I have to pick another fan favorite: Tempo. Tempo is our Missoni-inspired yarn. It’s a self-striping, multicolor, tweedy cotton blend with a lot of texture. Knitters love it because it makes every knit look like an artist’s masterpiece. Tempo has a lot of personality and lends itself beautifully to outside-the-box garments like this season’s Botticelli Top.
Tahki Stacy Charles prides itself on a deep knowledge of fashion and an ability to stay trendy while still remaining wearable and timeless? How do you balance designs that are both classic and trendy?
With trends, everything goes into the idea mill. You don’t leave anything out, because even if you aren’t necessarily going to embrace the trend as a whole, you can always pick and choose details or aspects that translate well into knitted garments.
That being said, we take trends and try to balance them from the perspective of our yarns—what yarns will be best suited to a chosen silhouette? Once the trend is incorporated with that yarn, is the garment still wearable? Does the yarn lend it the right texture? When we look at adapting a trend for the hand knitting marketplace, the fashion aspect must be balanced with the wearability factor, and at the end of the day, wearability must come first.
You’ve had a lifelong relationship with yarns and fibers. What do you look for when introducing a new yarn for the season?
Believe it or not, I look for trends in yarn, trends in lifestyle, and trends in the general world. It’s like that moment in the Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep breaks down the particular shade of blue Anne Hathaway is wearing, and how it began on the runways and then was fed into different aspects of life. I glean information, both seasonally and globally, from so many different types of sensory observations, so I’m never specifically looking for any one thing, because what I’m looking for is always evolving.
What advice would you give to a knitter looking to cast on for a new project?
Do some research into what you are going to make. Think about what you’re putting into your wardrobe, how you will wear it. Knitting is not fast fashion—ideally, you will live with your garment/accessory for quite some time, so make something you will love. Make it with good materials too. It’s worth it to make yourself a quality garment. Know and trust your own sensibility; if you like the way it looks, go for it. Lastly, have a point of view. Wearing the trend doesn’t do you any good if it isn’t relatable to you. Have an opinion about it!
Join Stacy and the String Yarns’ staff on May 11 from 3-7 pm to see and touch the new Spring/Summer collections, try on your favorite yarns, and ask Stacy any questions we may have forgotten!
April 30, 2016
Mother's Day is rapidly approaching. Celebrate the Mom in your life...even if the Mom is YOU!
Choose a kit from our Mom's Day Gift Ideas Collection [HERE].
April 21, 2016
Designer and author Tanis Gray will host the fourth in String Yarns' series of 6 Ravelry KALs (knit-alongs), beginning May 10th in our Ravelry group. Join other knitters while learning new techniques to create this perfect 3-season bolero.
Tanis will share her expertise and teach you new skills during this KAL: top-down raglan construction, buttonholes, cable twists, Vikkel braids, M1R and M1L, steam blocking, pattern reading, sewing on buttons and schematic reading. She’ll walk you through each of these techniques as you make new Ravelry friends, ask questions, while knitting this 3-season bolero in a virtual knitting circle.
Please note that if you purchase the pattern prior to the start date of May 10th you will receive the specs and materials page (page 1) only with the discount code so that you can purchase your yarn. On the morning of May 10th, you will receive an update with the full pattern.
Don't forget, the Breeze Bolero KAL officially begins on Tuesday, May 10th! Buy the pattern now on Ravelry [HERE].
Offered in String Breeze, a beautiful blend of 20% cashmere, 20% silk and 60% cotton. Sample color: Lavender #200790.
Get the Breeze Bolero kit [HERE]. Use the code MayKAL16 to save 15% OFF.
April 19, 2016
The world of high fashion, the bustling streets of New York City, the flashy windows of Barney’s, Sak’s, & Bergdorf’s—String has a bountiful wellspring of inspiration from which to draw. Our cup runneth over, so to speak. With head designer Lidia at the helm and String’s faithful and incredible staff, it’s no surprise that String Yarns churns out the most innovative, beautiful, and haute couture designs.
Our very own Lidia Karabinech has been clicking away at the needles for over four decades. While we’ve always admired her fashionable eye and amazing ability to convert runway to retail, we realized there’s a lot we can all learn from Lidia. From her unique knitting method, her interesting choice for favorite fiber, and what she considers to be her richest knitting muses, we think you’ll be surprised and delighted to learn more about Lidia!
Let’s start at the beginning—where are you from?
I was born in the former Soviet Union, in Ukraine. I went to university in Kiev and then lived in western Ukraine, which is a beautiful mountainous area near Hungary. Then I moved to New York City in my thirties.
The Carpathian Mountains on the border of Hungary and the Ukraine
When did you start knitting? How did you learn to knit?
I learned to knit and crochet from my mother when I was 8 years old, so I have been knitting for almost fifty years.
What do you love about knitting?
I like to make things. From the very beginning I was interested in creating items I can wear. Even though I enjoy the knitting process, I always look forward to the completed garment.
What are your favorite fibers to work with? Do you have a least favorite fiber?
My forever favorite is linen. I think about blue flowers in linen fields, how it is treated with sun, wind, and rain. My grandmother used to live in a place where linen was grown, so it’s very personal. And I think linen ages like a woman—it becomes softer, relaxes a great deal, and it always retains its strength.
A flax field in bloom
(SIDE NOTE: The former Soviet Union is one of the world’s largest flax producers, and the Ukraine is now printing banknotes made from linen!)
Of course, I love cashmere for its softness and how easy it is to work with. The finished garment is so luxurious and always beautiful.
I don’t have a least favorite fiber. Even acrylic serves its purpose.
Are you a picker or a thrower - do you knit continental or english style?
I knit eastern European style, which is close to continental. I knit and purl through the back loop, but the yarn loops lay differently on the needle. I keep the yarn over my index finger on my left hand, no wrapping. (A helpful pictorial on Lidia’s method can be found here.)
How many WIPs do you currently have on the needles?
Countless. I have some sweaters that I started 15 years ago.
What is your favorite thing to knit?
Sweaters, cardigans, and big pieces. I also like to make scarves if I want to try a new yarn, so it’s not a big commitment. (Good tip!)
What inspires you to knit?
When we get a new yarn in the store, I just feel an itch in my hands to make something. Or if I see somebody’s intricate piece and I want to try a new technique. I feel there is always something new to learn.
How did you learn to design knitwear?
When I learned to knit, I had some books of stitch patterns but no written instructions for garments, so I learned to design from understanding garment construction and a little bit of math. I had no problem measuring myself and doing simple calculations. I studied tailoring and couture sewing later, so I mostly understand how things are made. I also read a lot of books about technique.
Where do you find design inspiration?
Everywhere. When I go to museums and see paintings or installations, I look for details that can be used in knitting. On a trip to Moscow, I drew inspiration from the famous onion domed churches and thought about how they could be translated into hat shapes or colorwork. Flower shows enhance my sense of color. And butterflies. Also, when I see runway “it” pieces, I like to use and reinterpret some of the details.
Lidia's Flower-Motif Beanie & the famous Onion Domed Churches of Moscow
Which comes first—do you pick out a yarn and then design based on the yarn, or do you fashion a design idea and then look for a yarn to suit the design?
It goes both ways. If I’m using a particular yarn as a starting point, I think about how it will drape, what kind of stitch can be used without being overwhelming, so you can see the beauty of the fiber. The shape of the garment has to compliment the body shape.
What is your/String’s design process?
We first decide what yarn we want to use, and then we consider trend reports, fashion magazines, what people are wearing on the street, what we see in high-end stores. Our goal is to present our clients with pieces that are trendy, but classic enough to be worn for many years without looking outdated. I personally like simple shapes with couture details.
What inspired the couture designs you did for Tahki Stacy Charles Yarns this season? (Modigliani Tunic, Titian Shawl/Scarf, and Orient Point Asymmetrical Skirt)
When I saw Filatura Di Crosa MiniTempo, it screamed “Missoni”. The Modigliani Tunic is reminiscent of seventies ribbed sweaters and dresses; it’s body hugging and youthful. And, of course, striped.
Missoni for Vogue 1971 (l) and Lidia's Modigliani Tunic in Filatura Di Crosa MiniTempo (r)
The Titian Shawl/Scarf in Nirvana & Superior (below left) is a simple piece that you can knit on a trip, or anywhere without thinking too much, just relaxing. The combination of yarns is soft, breezy, and light.
The Orient Point Asymmetrical Skirt (above right) is made with Tahki Yarns’ linen/cotton blend Laguna. This piece is easy to layer. I like the high/low silhouette because you can style it different ways—so it’s low in the front and long in the back, or with one side lower than the other. You can even wear it over your shoulders as a little cape. It’s a playful piece.
Of all your designs, which is your most favorite?
Probably the Coat of Angled Cables (below) in String Classica, but it’s hard for me to choose. I hope my best is yet to come.
What was the last thing you finished knitting?
The Fruit Stripe Pullover is the last piece I made.
Set the mood. How else do you entertain yourself when you're knitting? (Watch tv, listen to music/podcasts, drink tea, etc.) Are you currently watching something while you knit that you'd like to recommend?
I like to watch (or listen to) TV, and drink a lot of coffee.
Thank you so much, Lidia! We loved Lidia’s view on linen, her magnanimous approach to the utility of all fibers—big and small—and how much her history influences her design process.
Do you have any questions for Lidia? Which is your favorite Lidia design? Let us know in the comments below!
April 16, 2016
“Sweater” yarn, created by Spud & Chloe for Blue Sky Fiber's has become a top seller at String. As we expand the line, it is so clear that an incredible amount of thought has gone into the color palette and its texture. Together, the finished product stands out from many other fibers of this weight.
Sweater yarn shines in our minds for many reasons. The cotton/wool blend results in a super soft fiber; cozy but not too warm and a huge bonus is that it’s washable! The color palette offers a large selection of colors that work extremely well together, so the possibilities are endless.
The Tea Party Cardi joins texture and ease in a relaxed fit cardigan perfect for almost any part of your day. We see it with a tank and rolled up jeans for a walk on the beach or worn with a skirt and a favorite top and it’s perfect for a day at work. You can wear it open with a pair of slacks and a few bracelets to accentuate the 3/4 sleeve design to create the ideal outfit for a Sunday brunch or a cool summer evening party. The days ahead should feel as comfortable and soft as the spring/summer breezes.
GET THE TEA PARTY CARDI 15% OFF NOW UNTIL 4/21 ONLY.
April 09, 2016
Our light and breezy Cherry Blossom Tank is the perfect example of what you should have on your needles moving into the warmer weather. Open it up on a robust size needle, take our String exclusive Windsong, a linen/silk blend and enjoy the luxurious hand of the yarn. Let the drape of this fabric move with you as you walk, dance and run through your day. We are so much more active when the weather outside fills us with a renewed vitality and energy.
The Cherry Blossom Tank is a versatile quick knit that looks great worn over a short, long sleeve T or a collared shirt with sleeves pushed up. This multi-purpose top also transitions easily; it will look great on its own in the summer or dress it up with a pair of white slacks, a supermini to poke out of the tank or with a long billowing skirt.
At String, we pay attention to silhouette and couture because we value design details. The Cherry Blossom Tank features a unique type of drop stitch panel technique, different from the traditional one. Knit in the round until you reach the armholes, which are shaped with fully fashioned decreases and a self-trimmed armhole. Minimal finishing is required.
Our quality designs stock your wardrobe with garments that you can dress up or down because, at String, we want you always to look and feel AMAZING!
ONE WEEK ONLY - GET THE CHERRY BLOSSOM TANK 15% OFF
April 05, 2016
Whether you’re a gum-poppin’ aficionado or simply recall the catchy tune from the 90s, you’re sure to remember the juicy flavor and eye-catching stripes of Fruit Stripe Gum. It’s the first thing that sprang into our minds when we saw in-house designer Lidia Karbinech’s Fruit Stripe Pullover (below).
Available for 20% off for the entire month of April, the Fruit Stripe Pullover is knit with String’s exclusive, 100% Italian cashmere tweed Norway Sport.
Lidia’s color choices for the Fruit Stripe Pullover of course incorporated the perennially hot “grellow” (that’s grey + yellow, if you haven’t been following the color trends), but her inspiration was more precisely drawn from the paradoxical beauty of New York City’s dull grey street medians, which blossom with sumptuously colored flowers in the Spring. Great eye, Lidia! String loves to find inspiration in even the most mundane places!
A single strand of Stacy Charles Fine Yarns’ paillette-studded Flora is added to the poppy color on the back and in the sleeves, and to the yellow in the front to add a little extra eye-catching sparkle. The sleeves are knit in stockinette, while the front and back are knit in reverse stockinette, reminiscent of traditional woven ticking stripes, but in much cheerier colors!
Lidia’s Fruit Stripe Pullover is right on trend for the Spring 2016 season, which saw designers sending numerous interpretations on candy colored stripes down the runway and editorialized in magazines.
Stripes on the Runway (L-R): Gucci, Chanel, Chloe, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci
The focus is on the tropical and the floral—blooming, paradise colors—offset by whites and greys. Your standard, staid, Breton-style black/navy & white striped top will never go out of style—thank you, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn—but 2016 calls for something a little brighter, a touch bolder, and a heck of a lot more fun.
Editorial Stripes Clockwise from Top Left: Milly, Missoni, Sonia Rykiel, J. Crew. Miu Miu, Salvatore Ferragamo, Zuhair Murad, Missoni
It’s easy to make the Fruit Stripe Pullover all your own with the different color options of Norway Sport. We quickly grabbed some colors and created the 12 options you see below, but feel free to have fun with it! We love the idea of using the brown colorway with the bright poppy or purple and a neutral natural (the bottom row) for those looking for a slightly subdued striping scheme.
The Fruit Stripe Pullover is available for 20% off for all of April, so take this opportunity to embrace the Spring stripe trend!
Which colors of the Norway Sport will you choose? How are you rocking the stripe trend this season? Let us know in the comments below!