June 27, 2017
It’s a week into summer and we’re already dreaming about the vacations looming on the horizon. ‘Tis the season for trips! While we certainly get excited at the prospect of dozing sun-kissed and pool adjacent, or exploring new corners of the world, or dreamily snacking, book in hand, at tree-canopied picnics, for knitters the most exciting part comes at the beginning—packing for vacation crafting!
Packing is undoubtedly the hardest part of vacation for most people. Raise your hand if you pack too many outfits and think three pairs of shoes are necessary for a 7-day trip. Now raise your hand if an indescribable joy pervades your senses when contemplating your vacation knitting. Knitters: we make packing fun. It seemed impossible, but we did it.
It’s the perfect opportunity to take stock of small project dreams and necessary notions. There’s nothing worse than finishing a beautiful tank while on vacation only to find you left your tapestry needle at home (raise your hand if you’ve tucked loose ends into single stitches on the wrong side and then bravely worn your garment anyway).
String Yarns wants you to be prepared, so our staff has shared their must-have tools and tips for vacation crafting. We have lots of gorgeous accessories and notions on site if you need to pick up something last minute.
As long as you aren't flying (or don't mind packing these in your checked luggage), the Precision Snips are a gorgeous option for travel scissors
Cynthia – I always carry the following when I travel: a tiny crochet hook to catch dropped stitches, a lead pencil with eraser, a row counter, a tape measure, a piece of random yarn for marking, basting, etc., a Chibi darning needle, scissors, and a needle size up and down from the needle size suggested in a pattern (if I have not started the project yet)
Joan – I like to keep it small and light: socks, shawls, mittens and hats are all great projects for travel knitting, as you can often do them on one needle (especially, if you're "magic-looping") and often with only one skein of yarn.
The Mahalo Shawl in String Windsong is a great travel knit. It's a quick, enjoyable, summery knit worked on US 10.5 needles.
Lisa – I love the GoKnit bags from KnowKnits that we carry. They are perfect to keep my project clean while traveling. I use the tab on the side to hang the bag from the side of a chair or even the airplane seat tray lock so my yarn doesn't roll onto the floor. When I get home from a trip with a completed project, I throw the bag in the washing machine.
I always throw my set of ChaioGoo needles in my bag if I plan to visit knitting stores. Then if I buy yarn, I will have an assortment of needle lengths and sizes on hand.
Whitney - I always travel with a little pouch with everything I might need so I don't get stuck on a project. It always has scissors, stitch markers, cable needles, a counter, measuring tape, stitch holder, and a crochet hook.
Vera – I’d like to suggest my own top, the Downing Top. It’s a very fast and easy knit in Tahki Stacy Charles cotton-linen blend Nina. I love it’s flattering fit and minimal shaping.
Petra – I never travel without a Clover Knitting Accessories Kit. It has everything you need—measuring tape, stitch markers, tapestry needle, stitch holders, row counter, needle gauge, and needle holders. To complete the kit, I always add a yarn cutter pendant. It’s travel friendly and fits on a key chain, necklace, bracelet, or can be stashed in the kit.
Flossie – Stitch markers are my life. I have them in various forms all over my house, but my favorites are the Clover Locking Stitch Markers. I have them in the hundreds. They’re so useful for everything—marking increases/decreases, keeping track of row counts (just place them every 5-10 rows), separating sections of your knitting, catching a lone dropped stitch, marking the right side of your knitting. I hook them into necklaces, bracelets, keychains. They are indispensable and multifunctional.
Every String Yarns staffer agreed that the most vital travel accessory is, without a doubt, an awesome project bag. Luckily, we just received an adorable project bag in the store that celebrates our favorite city, New York. Get one now to hold your projects in style this summer!
As a special bonus to travel knitters, we’re offering a 2 for 1 sale on all our available Ravelry patterns. Simple put 2 of our patterns in your Ravelry cart and the lower-priced pattern is free! This special offer expires on Friday, so start browsing the 22 String Yarns patterns on Ravelry now!
What is your must-have notion when you travel? What’s your favorite project to work on while traveling? Let us know in the comments below!
June 16, 2017
With Father’s Day here again, it’s a good time to reflect on Dad, and why it sometimes feels so hard to craft and shop for him!
For knitters and crocheters, the standard gifts for Dads are hats, scarves, gloves if we’re feeling up for fiddly finger knitting, and, of course, sweaters. Hats and scarves are the safest bets in terms of proper fit and, frankly, wearability. But how many hats and scarves can Dad really wear?
Thankfully, the ultimate Father’s Day gift has finally received the crafter’s makeover—knit neckties are in vogue! (Side note: knit wool neckties were last in style in the 1920s, so we’re living in a very lucky era, indeed. The haven’t been in for nearly a century!)
Knitted neckties are a hot item in men’s fashion and especially perfect for spring and summer. Touted as perfect for business casual and the ultimate necktie alternative for wedding season, knitted neckties are trending. Designers the likes of Burberry, Brooks Brothers, Timmy Hilfiger, Thom Browne, Charvet, Paul Smith and more are exploring the look in a range of colors, textures, patterns, and widths.
Brooks Brothers Knit Neckties
Lucky for us, we don’t need to drop $195 (yowza!) on a knitted Burberry necktie, and we aren’t beholden to the colors, textures, and patterns available ready made.
Knitted neckties are fast (read: satisfying), easy, and perfect templates for textured stitches and color patterns. And unlike hats and scarves, Dad can’t have too many of them. Not only can you bang out a few of these in all his favorite colors, but you’re helping Dad be on trend and in fashion. Call it two gifts in one?
Tommy Hilfiger Knitted Neckties
In honor of Father’s Day and to help update your favorite guy’s summer season wardrobe (remember—you don’t have to be a Dad to receive or wear a tie), String has created 3 fabulous necktie kits using two of our favorite spring yarns.
For this week only, the 3 tie kits featured below are each available for 15% OFF as part of our weekly String Special. Like several of the upscale designs we reviewed online, our ties are knit with silk—only the best for our guys.
With options for both knit and crochet, there’s a little something for everyone. The above tie, Susan B. Anderson's Wedding Necktie, is knit in double seed stitch in cashmere-silk String Blossom, while the below Skinny Tie is knit in seed stitch in String Yarns Angel, a DK-weight, 100% silk yarn with gorgeous luster and a soft, smooth finish. Both show off the beautiful texture and sheen of Blossom and Angel.
The Men's Crocheted Tie, below, builds on rows of half double crochet crochet to achieve a wider profile, very reminiscent of the 1940s and classic in its shape.
Get any or all three of the above necktie kits this week for 15% off!
Father’s Day may be over, but your father/brother/boyfriend/husband could always use an on-trend knitted necktie. To be perfectly frank, anyone could rock these ties. If you think neckties are just for men, behold:
Uh oh, boys. They might look better on us!
Would you rock a knitted necktie? Did you buy Dad a tie this year? Let us know in the comments below!
May 30, 2017
NYC weather is as temperamental as its inhabitants. On a late day in April, many a woman is still pulling on boots over tights and eking the last wears out of a favorite sweater. Then, boom! Temperatures explode and it’s 85 degrees in May. It happened just two weeks ago. It was 65 degrees on a Tuesday and 95 degrees on Friday. NYC weather is potently unpredictable.
So when the temperatures finally do skyrocket overnight, NYC knitters know how important it is to have a few sleeveless knits on hand. The virtues of knitting tank tops and tees can’t be undersold. Firstly, NO SLEEVES. Let me repeat: sleeves need not apply. You’re either knitting a front and a back or one piece in the round, and then you’re done. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s oh so gratifying.
Secondly, the most divine warm weather materials are used for all these sleeveless wonders. I know we love our woolens, but cotton, silk, bamboo, linen, and mixed blends have come a long way. These are not dishtowel cottons. Warm weather fibers are just as supple, luxurious, and soft as your favorite merino wools and cashmeres. They also boast antibacterial and moisture-wicking abilities to boot.
We have a few tanks up our nonexistent summer sleeves to get you through this season, and they utilize some of our finest warm weather fibers. One of our choices is a #StringSpecials for the week, so do read on…
Versatile and timeless, the Cherry Blossom Tank’s simple but sweet details ensure it will remain in heavy wardrobe rotation. Drop stitches line the bottom edge, giving the hemline a swingy shape and enhancing the natural drape of String Yarns Windsong, a blended cotton-linen tape yarn. A deep v-neck bordered in ribbing is modestly flirty and über feminine.
The Seta Mia Tank is a classic shell and another wardrobe staple. Knit with String Seta Mia, a bulky gauge 100% silk tape yarn, the Seta Mia Tank is knit on smaller needles to form a tight fabric. This reins in the natural drape of the silk, providing a structured fit without sacrificing the airy quality of the yarn. It’s a quick, elegant knit you’ll want in every color and find yourself layering in the fall/winter.
Stacy Charles Fine Yarns’ Bethune Tank is perfect for adding chic summer shimmer to your outfit. Knit using two strands of Stacy Charles Fine Yarns crimped metallic Celine, Bethune features an abbreviated silhouette—very on trend for the season and perfect for equally on-trend high waisted pants and shorts. Thick ribbing at the neckline and armholes frame the figure, while a vented garter hem flatters the waistline and travels up the sides. It’s straightforward, but still detailed and interesting.
Last but most certainly not least is our #StringSpecial for the week, the Sheridan 2-Way Vest. Available for 15% off until the end of the week, Sheridan is knit with Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Ariana, a worsted weight linen tape yarn in a gorgeous array of jewel tone colors. Sheridan offers so much versatility as a summer knit—and frankly, not just for the summer. It can be worn with the buttons to the front or the back, and can be layered—90s style, which is very in—over a cap tee or 3/4-sleeve shirt now or a collared long sleeve shirt in the fall/winter. A vertical rib and vented hems compound its versatility with a lengthening, slimming effect.
Do you love knitting for the spring and summer? What are your favorite spring/summer knits? Let us know in the comments below!
May 16, 2017
String Yarns is a full-service experience. From the moment you walk through our doors, you’re treated to a sensual delight. Windows run the length of the store, inviting natural light to bathe our vast selection of luxury yarns and fibers and ensuring you pick just the right hue for your particular tone. Our staff is knowledgeable and curious, well versed in the latest techniques and patterns to act as the perfect guides toward your next WIP. We help with custom fit and finishing and conduct classes like Lisa Hoffman’s Directed Knitting, which encourages individuals to bring whatever unique project has currently tripped them up for a helpful session at our communal table. Lisa also helps knitters choose their next project, as well as a suitable yarn.
Lisa assists attendees of Directed Knitting
If you’re in New York—whether you live here or elsewhere—we love to see you. Our store is our home, but we’d like it to be yours, too. Your home away from home, stocked with as much yarn as you hopefully have stashed back at the place you rest your head.
If you’re not in New York, we still want you to feel a part of the String Yarns experience. That’s why we launched String@ last year, a program that brings our signature luxury fibers and fashion-forward garments to your LYS. The String@ collection is currently available at 13 yarn boutiques across the country, including String Yarns.
We’re so excited to announce that String@ now has a new spring collection, refreshed with chic designs and gorgeous warm weather fibers. The Spotlight Collection features 10 new seasonal styles and 2 new yarns for spring, as well as additional colors in existing yarns Blossom, Breeze, Cashseta, Classica, and Windsong.
Angel is a DK-weight, 100% silk with a smooth luster and a soft hand. Silk is wonderful for spring knits. It’s lightweight but strong, offering drape, breathability, and next-to-skin softness. Angel is offered in nine chic, subdued colorways that feel modern and yet timeless—garments knit in Angel will never go out of style.
Bonsai blends cotton and linen in a tape yarn and features the same elegant colors as Angel. A bulky yarn, Bonsai’s blend of cotton and linen, and especially its tape construction, will lend itself to breathable fabrics and sharp stitchwork with just a touch of drape.
The spring String@ collection features garments in newcomers Angel and Bonsai as well as String favorites Blossom, Breeze, Cashseta, Classica, and Windsong. The palette is perfectly harmonized, showcasing a universally appealing and flattering wardrobe template. These are garments you’ll find yourself reaching for season after season and layering in the fall and winter. You can see the entire collection on the String Yarns website here.
This Sunday, String will be releasing a weekly #StringSpecial garment featuring Angel. As with all our String Specials, this surprise garment will be 15% OFF for one week only—you won’t want to miss it. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter and keep an eye out on Sunday! Sneak peek the texture of the surprise garment below…
Is your LYS a String@ oasis? What’s your favorite String Yarns yarn for spring? Are you dying to try one of our String@ yarns and or patterns? Let us know in the comments below!
April 25, 2017
Knitters, rejoice! This year openwork knits exploded on the runways. Lace, mesh, netting, drop stitches, eyelets, you name it—if it showed a hint of skin, it walked down the runway. Usually, there are only one or two designers upon which we can rely for blown-out stitchwork (like Rodarte, shown above), but not so for 2017. Designers embraced the look for spring, and what better time for it? We’ve relegated our beloved winter layers to the cedar chest until autumn. Lacy, openwork knits in warm weather fibers are airy and light, allowing you to continue layering through the seasons. Best of all, they impart a subtle, subdued sexiness.
The Spring 2017 runways awash with openwork pieces
Lace and openwork fabrics are a cinch for knitters. What knitter hasn’t partaken in the meditative k2tog-YO sequence to produce a simple, sheer scarf, shawl, or top? Upon reaching the end of a knit, who among us hasn’t delighted in the final act of dropping several stitches to deliberately rupture sections of their project? We create fissures between lines of ribbing, perforate hemlines with delicate eyelets, and marry large needles and laceweight yarn to easily craft sheer fabric. We are the masters of this technique. This trend was made for us!
If you’ve never knit an openwork garment or accessory before, never fear. String Yarns has an excellent, approachable beginner’s project that is perfect for spring. Experienced knitters will love the meditative dropped stitch lace pattern—it's meditative and whips up quickly, so you'll be wearing it in no time! And just to sweeten the deal, it’s 15% until the end of the week!
The Bedford Top in Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Stella
You couldn’t ask for a better openwork spring garment than the Bedford Top. Knit in Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Stella, a worsted weight silk-metallic yarn, Bedford is knit on US size 11 needles, so you know it’s a pretty fast (i.e. satisfying) knit. Bedford is worked from the bottom up in the round until the armholes, and then the front and back are worked flat. The lacework pattern creates a subtle garter stripe effect—additional wraps on one row are dropped on the next, revealing the sheer sections. It’s a quick and easy knit, and it exudes a chic elegance in shimmering Stella. Bedford can be layered over anything—a bikini by the pool, a tank top and jeans, a light, strappy dress—and it will instantly elevate the outfit.
From now through April 29, get the Bedford Top kit for 15% off! We have 21 colors of Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Stella to choose from, including brilliant summer brights and staid neutrals.
April 16, 2017
Like a bountiful bouquet of flowers, bold beautiful colors bloomed all over the spring 2017 runways. Designers deepened their commitment to color this season, marrying vivid hues—whether contrasting, clashing, or coordinating—to dazzling effect. Colors were blocked on the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal, and some designers even played with geometry and asymmetry.
Different color blocked looks from the spring 2017 runways
Is color manipulation truly a trend? Stripes have been around for decades, and color blocking has been “in” for so long, it’s hard to remember a time when it was “out.” Certain colors come and go—our love for hues sometimes lasts only as long as the latest Pantone announcement. But through it all, our love for color is abiding.
String Yarns loves color. Our store, an airy aerie overlooking Lexington Avenue, has windows that stretch the length of our corner perch. Inside, everything is painted white. We harness the sun, bathing our favorite yarns in natural light, highlighting the vast selection of colors like an illuminated artist’s palette. We believe in investing in the finest fibers with a full spectrum of colors—yarns like String Breeze, featured in our monthly special below, offer up to 35 color choices, ensuring no two knitter’s projects need be alike.
Available until the end of April at 20% off, the Sutton Place Cardigan (above) celebrates the color block trend (and, if you make it in the prescribed colors, the denim trend). A classic cardigan with smart details, Sutton Place features a notched collar and cuffs and deep ribbing throughout. It’s a go-to layer, easy to accessorize with your existing wardrobe, and perfect for early spring days.
Sutton Place can be knit in String Breeze, a perfect spring blend of cashmere, silk, and cotton, or Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Nina, a blend of linen and cotton. String Breeze offers 35 different color options, which means (if we did our permutations correctly) there are 630 possible color combinations to choose from!
And if color blocking isn’t your fancy, no worries—just choose the same color for both top and bottom and you’re good to go.
As a treat in celebration of color blocking and beautiful warm weather garments, String is offering a special discount on the eternally stylish Donna Poncho Top (below) in Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Nina. Purchase the kit now and one of the balls of Nina is FREE! With 20 hues of Nina to choose from, the color blocking possibilities are endless.
Have you experimented with color blocking in the past? What are your favorite color combinations? Let us know in the comments below!
March 28, 2017
The snow is melting in New York City and it seems winter might finally be behind us. This can be a melancholy time of year for knitters, who must doff their best sweaters and stow them away until the seasons change again.
But now that the sun is finally out again, let’s look on the bright side (literally). Why not take stock of your projects and root around for something other than the perfect pullover? Spring is the optimal time to knit for your home, and thankfully, knitted home décor is decidedly in—so don’t put the wool away just yet.
(Clockwise from top left) Ralph Lauren, UGG, Brunello Cucinelli, Brunello Cucinelli, Tommy Hilfiger, Gorsuch
Blankets and pillows are easy, meditative knits that can be appreciated all year long. They’re wonderful canvases for practicing new techniques, whether you’re just starting cables, lace, or an intricate variation of knit and purl. Perhaps best of all, they’re seasonless, so if they wind up in your UFO pile for a while, well, it’s not a big deal—finish them in the spring, summer, fall, or winter; it doesn’t matter.
String has several blankets and two beautiful pillow patterns to choose from. While many of the following blankets are sized for babies, the patterns are easily modified to make them any size you want, and the designs are refined enough for adults. Just let us know the dimensions you desire and we’ll make sure it comes out to your specifications. However, spring is also baby season—hopefully you know a special little one on the way who could benefit from a snuggly, sophisticated blanket!
Blankets like Lisa’s Sampler Blanket are no-brainers to modify. Composed of 30 textured squares knit in strips of 5, it’s simply a matter of making an additional strip or two, depending on how large you’d like to go. It’s a great blanket for practicing your stitchwork technique, and you can even create graphic textured stripes if you opt for more than one color.
Loopy Mango’s Her Baby Blanket is dead simple and easily customized. Knit in two colors of Loopy Mango Merino No. 5 on US size 36 needles, it’s a quick meditation in garter stitch. Several neutral colors are available for an adult-friendly lap blanket option.
Worked in 3 colors of String Breeze, the Star Stitch Baby Blanket is almost too sophisticated for a baby—almost. Your choice of colors determines whether this blanket will be cuddled in a crib or spread out over a bed. Regardless, it will be the centerpiece of any room.
Friend getting married? Having a baby? College graduation? Whatever the moment, the Happy Moments Pillow is here to celebrate it. With options for cashmere Classica DK or merino wool Zara, this little pillow is a quick, fun knit. If you just want a nice pillow, leave off the embroidery—the texture alone is delightfully scrumptious.
The Heirloom Baby Blanket features an elegant arrangement of several different stitch patterns that can easily be sized up. Knit in Classica Bulky cashmere on US size 11 needles, this is fast knitting at its best—never boring and beautifully chic.
The Slip Stitch Blanket can be worked in either cashmere Classica or merino wool Zara—either way, it feels modern and posh. An easy slip stitch pattern creates a reversible blanket that is deeply textured on one side and subtly striped on the other. Check out this ravelry project page to see it in black and white.
The Nantucket Throw DIY Kit has everything you need to make a giant, cozy blanket—1 skein of Big Loop Yarn, a set of US size 50 needles, and the Loopy Mango pattern. A simple rib pattern and large knitting needles make this a speedy weekend knit.
The Home for the Holidays Pillow is so polished and refined, friends will be hard-pressed to believe it’s handmade. You might have trouble believing it as well. Perfect for a beginner to colorwork, the Home for the Holidays Pillow features easy fair isle sections punctuated by simple stripes. Tahki Yarns Scotland provides the solid background while Artyarns Beaded Mohair & Sequins adds shimmer to the fair isle. Big, fluffy tassels finish the corners, tying it all together.
What's on your spring knitting docket? Share your favorite spring knits in the comments below.
March 14, 2017
Insane weather patterns notwithstanding, spring is winding its way to New York City (And given the insanity of the weather patterns, we’d like to gently remind you of the incredibly versatile Simple Lines Cardigan in String Classica—a true bastion of utility when temperatures turn temperamental and it’s snowing in the morning but sunny in the afternoon. It’s available for 20% off until the end of the month.)
Unfortunately, String Yarns doesn’t possess the power of Persephone and can’t coax consistent spring weather into existence, but we can channel our longing for warmth into a look at the runway’s hottest trends for spring. Maybe, if we all think spring fashion hard enough, like children clapping for Tinkerbell, we can breathe some life into the season. Or, you know, just enjoy looking at some pretty clothes. Either way.
There were dozens of trends that popped up on the runway, but we’ve only included our favorites here (for example, robes—as in bathrobes—are trending; as comfy as they might be, we left them off our list).
(L-R From Top) Chanel, Givenchy, Valentino, Prabal Gurung, Gucci, Delpozo, Balenciaga, Bottega Venetta, Topshop, Hermes, Kenzo, Salvatore Ferragamo
Pink was a huge trend on the runway. Why do we love it? Unlike previous years, when a single color dominates and strictly adheres to a single hue, this year saw pink in every variety. Cotton candy, flamingo, hibiscus, fuchsia, salmon, coral, rose, watermelon, blush, magenta, cherry blossom, strawberry, bubblegum—2017 is in love with all the pinks, which is good news for everyone. Whether you’re cool or warm toned, there is a pink out there for you.
(L-R From Top) Zuhair Murad, Topshop, Balenciaga, Topshop, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Isabel Marant, Kenzo, Rodarte, Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Gucci
Many of us are old enough to remember the 80s, and sometimes not too fondly (stirrup pants, please never come back). But the runways this season brought an 80s redux we can get behind. Bold shoulders, animal prints, pussybow shirts, and mini skirts are all having a moment, but our favorite aspect of 80s fashion is easily the generous use of metallic fabric. Spring is a fabulous time to grab sequin-studded and metallic yarn and knit up something fun and reflective.
(L-R From Top) Victoria Beckham, Fendi, Jason Wu, Alexander McQueen, Miu Miu, Prada, Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo, Balenciaga
Florals are a no-brainer for spring and have been a mainstay for several seasons now. However, 2017 wants to see us awash in florals, dripping in flower prints from head to toe. Florals this season are bright, bold, and sometimes brash, rendered in both gentle pastels as well as vivid colors reminiscent of the 70s. We love any excuse to play with color, and it’s good to know that something as simple as the natural beauty of flowers never goes out of style. Speaking of color…
(L-R From Top) Elie Saab, Gucci, Missoni, Proenza Schouler, Ermano Scervino, Lacoste, Miu Miu, Salvatore Ferragamo, Rosie Assoulin, Sonia Rykiel, Fendi, Carolina Herrera
Stripes have also enjoyed a prolonged popularity on the runways, which have been populated with their graphic simplicity for several seasons now. For 2017, the stripe goes multidirectional, mixing vertical and horizontal configurations, veering into borderline color blocking, and even playing with dimension and perspective for an optical illusion effect. We love stripes because as knitters, any excuse to play with color is a welcome one. Bold color pairings and interesting stripe patterns set our hearts aflutter, so the more stripes, the better. Lucky for us, 2017 saw one more big color trend…
(L-R From Top) Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Etro, House of Holland, Oscar de la Renta, Etro, Acne, Alberta Ferretti, Diane von Furstenberg, Roberto Cavalli
Bold prints set the runways aflame this season. Not only did designers celebrate seemingly incongruous yet delightful splashes of robust colors, but there was also a lot of pattern mixing—stripes marrying paisleys, florals linked with checkers, bohemian prints paired with patchworks. There was so much knitterly inspiration for stitch pattern interpretation, and the colors were incredibly stimulating—especially the ways in which they were coupled together. It’s a veritable inspiration goldmine for knitters.
(L-R From Top) Christian Dior, Tadashi Shoji, Simone Rocha, Giambattista Valli, Fendi, Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, John Galliano, Jason Wu, Jason Wu, Chanel, Burberry
Our final favorite for spring 2017 is the sheer trend. At once feminine and evocative of warm weather, these diaphanous, ethereal looks floated down almost every runway this season. Spring and summer demand lightweight garments, but these looks went above and beyond. They conjure thoughts of delicate knits in lace and sock weight yarns. We’d certainly not go bare like the runway models, but gossamer-fine tees, tanks, and even pullovers are a joy to knit and layer in the warmer months, especially in heat wave-friendly cottons, linens, silks, and bamboos.
What were your favorite trends for Spring 2017? Let us know in the comments!
February 28, 2017
Dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers know access is one of the greatest benefits of living in the Big Apple. Whether you are attuned to the lullaby of Broadway and its shows, relish the smorgasbord of ethnic delicacies spread out like a buffet across the boroughs, or simply enjoy padding around a walking city in which north to south, east to west, the persona and characteristics can shift drastically in the space of a few blocks, New York is a grab-bag of adventures and opportunity.
With the weather warming up and a new year freshly underway, we thought now might be a good time to take a peek at New York’s fashion and fiber-related happenings. The following list should help both New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers alike—if you’re visiting, this is a great list to pad out your off time outside of String Yarns (because, of course, we expect to see you in store as often as possible on your visit!). Museums are a fabulous New York retreat. We aren’t just the fashion capital of the world—we have a more-than-fair number of intriguing museums as well. The exhibitions listed below provide myriad options for a fun day in the city.
Gilded New York - Museum of the City of New York, ongoing
Gilded New York celebrates New York bling at its finest. The ongoing exhibit “explores the city’s visual culture at the end of the 19th century, when its elite class flaunted their money as never before.” Think Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Gould, and more. Consolidated to a single room at the Museum of the City of New York, expect to see evening dresses by Maison Worth of Paris, ruby, sapphire, and diamond encrusted jewelry, and extravagant fabrics and furniture pieces. With approximately 100 pieces to peruse, it’s a guaranteed decadent experience. Consider it living vicariously through the original one percent.
Paris Refashioned, 1957-68 – Fashion Institute of Technology, February 10 - April 15, 2017
Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968 examines the role Paris played in the world of fashion in the late 50s to late 60s. Paris’ influence on fashion in the 1960s changed the face of fashion forever. A young Yves Saint Laurent was just going to work as creative director for Christian Dior, who had only just passed away in 1957. Yves Saint Laurent introduced his groundbreaking A-line “trapeze” dresses at Christian Dior. Paris Refashioned explores the works of Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and more, documenting the shift from haute couture to ready-to-wear. Expect to see fabulous pantsuits and suits, cocktail dresses, day dresses, and accessories including hats and shoes.
Force of Nature - Fashion Institute of Technology, May - November 2017
Force of Nature examines the influence of the natural world on fashion and design. With more than 75 objects from FIT’s permanent collection that date all the way back to the 18th century up to the present, Force of Nature documents examples of ecological fashion, with inspirations drawn from flora, fauna, geology, as well as philosophies that encourage a return to nature. Garments like Alexander McQueen’s Darwin-inspired dress (above) serve as potent reminders of our indissoluble relationship with the natural world.
Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond - Fashion Institute of Technology, March 7 – April 1, 2017
If you’re unfamiliar with costume design, you might not know the name Gilbert Adrian. However we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on planet earth who doesn’t immediately recognize the iconic ruby-red slippers from The Wizard of Oz. You can thank Gilbert Adrian for designing those unmistakable slippers, which literally and figuratively transported both wearer and viewers to a magical world just beyond the rainbow. Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond showcases Adrian’s costume as well as his read-to-wear collections. Gilbert Adrian was known for his masterful fabric manipulations (draping, pleating, applique, mitering, etc), an aspect explored in depth at this FIT exhibit.
Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo is the focus of The Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition. Known for avant-garde designs that defied the feminine and challenged notions of what was fashionable, beautiful, and even wearable, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons at the Met features approximately 120 pieces from her womenswear collection for Commes des Garcons. Including garments from her first 1981 Paris runway show to her latest works, the central theme is Kawakubo’s revolutionary acceptance of a binary existence and her quest to break down the defining divisions of male and female, old and new.
Judith Leiber: Crafting a New York Story is a fabulous trek for handbag lovers—so all of us, essentially. Leiber founded her eponymous company in 1963 at the age of forty-two, proving it’s never to late to start doing what you love. The Judith Leiber: Crafting a New York Story charts her handbag work from 1963 up until 2004, when she designed her last handbag. Her exploratory use of diverse materials should be especially interesting for crafters. Leiber used Swarovski crystals, recycled vintage fabrics, beads, sequins, leather, feathers, precious stones, seashells, and plastics like Lucite to craft her unique creations, which were inspired by art, indigenous crafts, travel, opera and more.
We wouldn’t say we saved the best for last, but this final exhibit in our list directly relates to working with fiber. In the 1960s, Françoise Grossen explored outside the bounds of traditional weaving on a standard loom to create large-scale rope forms made of loops, knots, braids, and twists. Visitors to Francoise Grossen Selects, A MAD Collection POV will be treated to several rope sculptures as well as other woven creations made of fiber, metal, and wood.
February 14, 2017
You’ll pardon us if we’re feeling particularly amorous—this time of year does things to us. And no, it’s not just because it’s Valentine’s Day, although that certainly helps.
This is a special time for String Yarns. This week marks another year at our 74th street location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Can you believe it’s been two years? We can’t! It seems like time has flown by faster than we can mark it, but so much has happened to let us know how far we’ve come.
It’s hard to recount all the changes. In response to your request for single pattern downloads, we started releasing one String Yarns pattern from our prodigious catalogue to Ravelry every month on Thursday in the spirit of #ThrowbackThursday. This month’s throwback was the Criss Cross Vest, seen below.
String welcomed Julie Conway of high fashion knitwear label HANIA by Anya Cole, inviting our friends to take a peek behind the curtain of runway-level design. We also began stocking June Cashmere, which hails all the way from Kyrgyzstan (you can read more about June cashmere here). Our friend and brilliant knitwear designer, Tanis Gray, hosted several Knit-A-Longs this year. We invited some of the best instructors in the industry to teach fabulous, one-of-a-kind Master Workshops at String, including Patty Lyons, and Shirley Paden. If you missed out on any of these wonderful visits, not to worry. More are coming soon, including our upcoming workshop with Kirsten Kapur scheduled for March 4th.
As Cynthia said, String Yarns has truly been “a labor of love.” She remarked: “Sometimes, with everything that is going on in the world and in life, we forget about the love and energy we keep in the store. It holds that energy there for us, an oasis and stronghold against the world outside our doors.”
It’s important to remember where we were, where we are now, and where we would like to go as a store. Cynthia remembers String Yarns from the very beginning—initially, the store transitioned as a means of keeping the grand old dame of knitting alive on the Upper East Side.
As former String Yarns owner Linda Morse prepared to retire, Stacy Charles felt the store was such an important part of the knitting world and it would be a big loss if it didn’t continue. He decided to purchase String and add his own flourishes. He wanted to keep the NY knitting community flowing.
String wanted to make sure to have plenty of areas for different kinds of knitting. We offset a larger table near the entryway and overlooking the avenue so people could join together and knit. We placed a smaller table towards the back of the store but cradled by gorgeous cashmere on all sides—it’s a wonderful, inspiring spot for a private knitting moment when there’s more need for quiet and concentration, i.e. lace knitting, counting stitches, etc. In all aspects, we wanted it to be a very warm and welcoming space.
Our quiet knitting corner with cashmere inspiration
The communal knitter's table as seen from the street on a snowy afternoon. Cynthia’s fondest memory: It was snowing very heavily and it was so cold outside. I popped out to get some soup and on the way back, I looked up and the snow was falling in front of our awnings. It looked so magical inside. There were people all around the table laughing, knitting, and enjoying each other. It was the warmest and coziest image and I was so proud we had created this moment.
Our windows are so large, you almost feel like you are in a nest up above the city. It’s a beautiful, colorful environment, both inside and out. You can knit and let your mind wander over the gorgeous garments and yarns we have on display, or watch the busy city outside from this peaceful place. We really wanted to encourage guests to sit and watch the world go by while they were knitting, so we found cushioned bar stools. It gave our space a modern feel that worked perfectly with our warm-toned wooden counter top. Both infused the shop with this feeling of being at home. People can bring a snack, listen to music or a podcast on headphones, look out the window and enjoy the rhythm of the city as they knit.
The comfy stools where you can sit, knit, and watch the world drift by
The chandelier that hangs over the communal knitting table was our most favorite find. You can actually see it from the street. We hope it sends the message String had in mind: when the light is on, then you know we’re home. Come sit and knit with us. All are welcome at our table.
We want people to know String is a welcoming environment. The more people come, sit, knit, develop relationships with other knitters, and share projects, the closer we are to making our dreams for this store come true. Classes like Directed Knitting, which Lisa hosts, encourage knitters to visit String Yarns for help with anything they’re working on. We cherish the relationships we have with the knitters of New York and look for any opportunity to foster that connection.
It’s wonderful to see old customers frequent our current location, because we know how close the Upper East Side came to losing a wonderful yarn store. We love meeting all our new customers that come from far and wide. Petra, who was with String at the old location and followed us to 74th street, has understandably become a beacon for the knitters of New York. She is a staple of our knitting experience. A consummate multi-tasker, she juggles the daily maintenance of the store alongside teaching, assisting with pattern help, and guiding new knitters to a love of the craft.
So many of them have expressed their feelings of not wanting to miss anything going on in String. With that in mind, we greatly expanded our String online offering. All of our yarns, knitting tools, and anything else we feel knitters need or should know about are now available on our site.
Notions, needles, and accessories available at String Yarns
Our Ravelry presence has exploded thanks to Joan’s hard work—we’ve grown from 216 Ravelry members to 750! We constantly bring our daily String life to everyone via our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter communities, and we aim to communicate with our audience twice monthly via this blog (written by Flossie, our resident raconteur and lover of fiber, especially cashmere, although she'll take anything, really, so feel free to send her some freebies 😉 ). The interaction between in-store and online is truly creating one big community.
A wall of color and inspiration at String Yarns
We continue reaching out to learn how we can make String the best experience for the community. String Yarns follows the fashion ready-to-wear world and examines how our customers move through the day. Their lifestyles inspire our creation of exclusive designs with the finest yarns. Our goal is to make sure you are in style, feel comfortable, and that you can transition your knitted piece from day to night, because that is the life of today’s woman. Our in-house designer, Lidia, helps steward the gorgeous designs from the runway to the page so that String Yarns’ customers can ‘get the look’ all on their own, and to their specifications.
Our Colors of Fall Pullover from this past Fall was directly inspired by a sweater from Etro's runway show
We have Whitney to thank for capturing the essence of String Yarns’ beauty in her striking photography (used throughout this blog and on the website). Aside from infusing the environment with a hip, youthful attitude and strategizing our presence online, she has truly tapped in to the look and feel of String Yarns.
To be surrounded by walls of the most brilliant colors, to feel the finest textures and engage with our friends and family while crafting, it’s our way of sharing the love of knitting.
In the spirit of sharing the love—and in celebration of our 2-year anniversary—we’re offering the Ruched Ruffle Scarf as a free pattern download today only (February 14, 2017). Simply use the code “stringlove” to download it on Ravelry.