String Celebrates Two Years
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.