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As the hot, hot heat of Summer begins its slow, sweaty retreat, String Yarns is looking forward to the crisp promise of a cool Fall and the exciting events on String’s agenda.

First up—our brand new Master Workshop series! We have an impressive roster of leading knitwear teachers scheduled for the remainder of 2016. Slotted for the Fall and Winter—knitting’s high season—these classes aim to guide you through the various steps needed to create gorgeous, polished knitwear. The topics range from incorporating stitch patterns into garments to correcting errors to working with multiple colors.

String Yarns is hosting a rare cadre of nationally renowned designers, authors, and artists from the fiber universe. We start in mid-September with the incomparable Shirley Paden, an internationally respected knitwear designer whose work and writing you’ve seen in Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Knitters, Family Circle, and Knit It. Shirley also has a popular online class Handknit Garment Design hosted by Craftsy, and has been featured on HGTV, Knitting Daily TV, and in the British magazine The Knitter, where she was included in the list “Who’s Who In North American Knitting.” Most hardcore knitters need only look to their libraries to recognize Shirley’s thorough, expertly executed reference on knitwear design, Knitwear Design Workshop. As if she couldn’t possibly be more prolific, Shirley also owns Shirley Paden Custom Knits, an exclusive, custom-knit clothing line.

So the question is: can you really afford to miss a master workshop with this queen of textiles? Shirley is offering two master workshops exploring colorwork techniques in knitting—the first, on September 17th, will focus on Intarsia, while the second, on September 24th, will focus on Stranded Color Knitting. If you aren’t totally convinced, check out some examples of Shirley’s beautiful colorwork patterns…

Figure 1 Clockwise from top left: Timeless Fair Isle Sweater from Interweave Knits; Cunningsburgh Star Jacket from Color Style: Innovative to Traditional, 17 Inspired Designs to Knit; Winter Wren Cardigan from Interweave Knits, Mosaic Coat from Vogue Knitting; Sleeveless Jacquard Dress from Vogue Knitting; Cabled Fair Isle Cardigan from Vogue Knitting

We sat down with Shirley to get her thoughts on her upcoming workshop series. If you’re (somehow?!) unfamiliar with Shirley’s work, hopefully her words will inspire you to delve deeper into her pattern archive… and sign up for her exclusive workshop!

Why do you think education is important to the hand-knitter or crocheter?

As with any art, if a knitter or crocheter has found enjoyment to a degree where their skills have become a true creative outlet, growing in knowledge will enable them to achieve mastery of many of those skills. Learning and understanding as much about the different aspects of these needle arts as they can will provide them with a continued sense of accomplishment and fulfillment for many years in the future.

What do you want your students to walk away with when they leave your class at String Yarns? 

It is my hope that students will walk away with a more in-depth understanding of many different aspects of the technique that they came to study. I also want them to feel that they will be able to begin successfully applying the techniques learned in class immediately.  

In what ways have you found a live classroom situation to be more beneficial to knitters/crocheters than, say, learning online, from texts, etc? 

It is like going to a live performance vs. seeing it on television or reading about it. All ways of experiencing the performance are enjoyable. However, there is nothing like being in the audience and experiencing not only the performer, but also the energy of the crowd and the excitement in the room. Learning in a classroom feels the same way. It is a complete and shared creative experience.  

What should students expect in your workshops?

They can expect me to share with them not just the knowledge that I have on the subject they came to learn, but also any additional knowledge about other techniques that may be linked to the techniques being taught. I feel it’s important that students take away a deeper insight into the complete art, that they not simply learn how to work a technique with their hands, but that they fully “see” and understand how the various elements being taught come together to form the technique. In that way they will be able to most successfully work when alone.

What inspired you to begin teaching other crafters? 

After years of studying from all the craft books that I could find, and trying many different ways of working numerous knitting and crocheting techniques to teach myself, I felt that I had put in the study hours, made the requisite mistakes, and acquired sufficient knowledge to effectively help other knitters and crocheters to go further and faster with their projects with fewer mishaps. I began teaching with my Advanced Knitting Techniques Class where students were taught 60 techniques in a 4-session class. That was over 20 years ago.

How has being a teacher influenced your own life and work as a knitter/crocheter? 

Currently I teach 17 different classes. Therefore, I am constantly exposed to a vast array of knowledge through studying the latest releases on various techniques, listening to questions that come up in the classes and problems that people ask for my help with as they work through their projects. As a teacher, I feel that I never stop learning and never stop being creatively and intellectually stimulated.  


Thank you, Shirley! We are beyond excited for her upcoming Master Workshops—sign up now for Intarsia on September 17th and Stranded Color Knitting on September 24th! Shirley will also be signing her famous book, Knitwear Design Workshop, at String Yarns on September 24th at 1:00pm!


Additional Upcoming September Events

September 23

Stacy Charles’ Presentation on Fall Fashion Trends – 6:30pm

September 23-29

Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Trunk Show

September 23-25

NYC Yarn Crawl

September 24

Shirley Paden Knitwear Design Workshop Book Signing – 1:00pm


Don’t forget to check out our other Classes & Events and subscribe to the String Blog to never miss a post!




September 05, 2016


Amy Chin:

Are there any upcoming events with Shirley Paden again? I’m attempting to try my hand at the Sparkle dress pictured above and would love some tips/pointers. Not only just to learn from her in general and just meet her.

April 08 2017

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