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.
January 24, 2017
Ahh, knitting for loved ones. Has there ever been a creative act less selfish, yet more fraught with anxiety and disappointment? It’s interesting how that works.
How many times have you poured yourself into a beautiful, multicolored hat/scarf/cowl/etc. for someone you love…only to never see them wear it? Or a fine-gauge cable or lace piece that somehow permanently resides in a closet? How many of us have fallen prey to the boyfriend sweater curse, painstakingly working up garments for paramours only to have our hearts broken and our stash drained? Knitting for loved ones can be painful. What if it doesn’t fit? What if it fits, but they hate it? What if they accidentally <gasp> felt it?
When we knit selfishly, we know exactly what we’re getting, and loving it really just comes down to fit and whether our taste matches our style. (Man Repeller posted an article outlining the difference between taste and style. To put it simply, taste is what you like to see on other people; style is what you feel good wearing. We may explore the concept in a future post—knitting is such a time-consuming act, you really do need to love wearing what you knit!)
With Valentines Day creeping up and dragging with it the desire to make something useful for those we love, the following projects are guaranteed knockouts. Your recipient has to love these knits. If they don’t, well…we’ll never knit for anyone again (Pfft, as if). Our String staff hand-selected these four gifts as tried and true. They also checked in about their New Years resolutions. Of course, “knitting more” is universal, but some of these resolutions are also excellent tips to carry through 2017. Enjoy!
Is there anything more romantic than snuggling up under a cushy, cloudlike blanket? Loopy Mango’s Nantucket Throw is a no-brainer. A rib pattern is elegant and stately in gargantuan stitches—simple, but deliberate, and with so much style. Knit in Loopy Mango’s 100% merino Big Loop yarn on size 50 needles, this is easily a last-minute Valentines Day knit.
Cynthia’s Resolution: I spend at least 30 minutes working on an existing project before I jump on to a new one. It’s been very successful so far.
Why We Love It: The knitting community at large suffers from startitis. This keeps every project on the needles chugging along and prevents you from searching for available needles that are wasting away under other projects.
Repeat after me: if you love them, say it with cashmere. The cute All Seasons Slouchy Hat is knit in June Cashmere Lace Weight and features an easy design with unisex appeal. June Cashmere’s colors are rich, varied, and well suited to both men’s and women’s knits.
Whitney’s Resolution: My knitting resolution is to design more and actually write out the patterns for what I make. In terms of knitting for someone you love, I made my boyfriend a scarf and hat and he still thanks me almost every time he wears them!
Why We Love It: Firstly, we’re so excited to see more from Whitney, so we’re thrilled one of her resolutions is to design more! Secondly, keeping track of what you do when you’re improvising designs is so important. Always keep a small notebook near your knitting to take down gauge and stitch counts. And good for Whitney’s boyfriend for rocking his hand-knit hat & scarf! May we all be blessed with such grateful partners.
Remember what we said about cashmere? Nothing says love like cashmere. The Mistake Rib Scarf can be knit in either Classica or Classica Bulky. Either way, it’s a warm, luscious, buttery accessory for which you will be generously thanked. If you don’t see it wrapped around your beloved’s neck every day, you have our permission to snatch it back. Fair is fair.
Joan’s Resolution: I'm only going to knit what I love. Sometimes I knit what might be “interesting” in the hope that it will be a challenge and teach me something I didn't know, and in the hope that I'll eventually fall in love with it. I'm going to try harder to find pieces that I already do love, and that will still be challenging.
Why We Love It: In some ways, this goes back to the style vs. taste conundrum, in the sense that knitting is so labor-intensive, we need to feel invested in the finished product. It’s time to attack our queues with thoughtful, critical eyes and weed out those projects that don’t pass muster.
Another gorgeous hat for both men and women, the Twist Cable Hat incorporates a beguiling stitch pattern. The twist cable creates a warm and cozy fabric, and it’s a lot of fun to knit. The Twist Cable Hat is worked in Classica Bulky and is available in two sizes.
To wrap up, Joan kindly shared her “Christmas Story” of knitting gifts for her family and thank goodness, it has a happy ending! Thanks, Joan. Your family has learned well the tenets of being good gift knitting recipients.
I rarely knit gifts for Christmas. Too much pressure, but my son is a high school senior who has played on his H.S. varsity football team for all 4 years. With 3 weeks to go before Christmas, I wanted to make him a special hat that commemorated his H.S. football “career.” So, I did. When my daughter saw me knitting it, she reminded me that I had promised her a hat 2 years ago, so after the first hat was finished, I knit hers. Then I thought, “As a good mother, how can I knit for two of the kids and not the third?” so I whipped up another one. Then I thought, how could I knit a whole family of hats and not knit one for my husband? So his was next. I finished with 2 days to spare and everyone (but me) got a new hat for Christmas.
Well, I think Joan wins the “Most Selfless Knitter Of All Time” award. Her hats are stunning—so intricate, detailed, and thoughtful. If that isn’t love, what is? Also, Joan: you deserve a hat of your own!
(And if you think you deserve a hat of your own, don't forget to join our #HatsOffKAL—the grand prize is our upcoming Hats Off! e-book, which contains patterns for some of String's most favorite hats!)
What are your knitting resolutions? Have you been burned by selfless knitting, or did someone love you for it? Let us know in the comments below!
January 10, 2017
2016 was a hard year. We lost a staggering number of creative and cultural icons, from Prince to David Bowie, Sonia Rykiel to Bill Cunningham. No matter which side of the political aisle you sat on, the slog up to the election felt, well, like a slog, and the aftermath wasn’t particularly any less a drag than the lead-up.
But, as always, we knitters knit, knit, knit our way through it all. We cast on and built our bastions stitch by stitch, investing in the meditative act that remains a steadfast and reliable retreat from reality. With the holidays now behind us, chances are good that most gift knitting is done. You may still be weaving in ends on a promised present or two, but in all likelihood, you’re looking at the wide expanse of 2017 and mulling over what to make next.
As you consider options, String Yarns is here to remind you that you deserve something, too. Cast aside thoughts of knitting for your husband, best friend, sister or son, and instead turn inward. The knitting community notoriously calls it “selfish knitting,” but that makes it sound like a negative thing, and it isn’t. You’ve probably engaged in selfless knitting all season long. Let’s reclaim our queue. It’s not selfish knitting—it’s self-care.
There are so many ways to practice self-care. Cynthia likes to start the new year with something “fun and small, like a baby sweater, or one of our String hats.” After breaking the ice, she moves onto “a big, winter-long project. Something with interesting techniques and texture and/or color.” Whitney says she’s “always excited to start that first no-pressure project as soon as holiday knitting is finished.” She said, “January is usually when winter in NYC really starts, so this year I made a pair of socks for myself.” Whitney also believes in the power of a good massage—it’s a great way to soothe those muscles after “knitting overtime and traveling with luggage.”
In the interest of self-care, we think it’s time to cast on for you. You’ve earned it, and you deserve it.
For the month of January, we’re offering the White Shadow Pullover in String Blossom for 20% off. We think it’s a spot-on selfish knit.
Firstly, String Blossom is a gorgeous, decadent blend of silk and cashmere. Soft and buoyant, it is a true pleasure to knit and wear. Secondly—and checking off one of Cynthia’s requirements—White Shadow features beguiling details and techniques that might be new to you. German short rows are employed to achieve the pretty scalloped hem. We’ve created a short, informative video for those interested in learning the technique. It’s easier than it seems! White Shadow’s simple rib design and thoughtful details make it a wonderful knit for the new year. However, if you’re aiming for something smaller first, we have something for you, too…
Join our Hats Off! Knit-a-Long! Until January 16th, every String hat is available for 15% OFF! Join our Ravelry group discussion for all the details on the KAL, including information on the prizes and giveaways. You could win a copy of our upcoming Hats Off! e-book! A simple cashmere hat is a small, luxurious treat you can give yourself—a fast, fun knit you can start wearing right away. We have over 20 hats to choose from, so there’s definitely a String hat just for you.
One more bit about self-care, if you live in the tri-state area: this upcoming weekend is Vogue Knitting Live in New York City!
Treat yourself to a trip to the city to wander the VKLive Marketplace. String Yarns will have plenty of kits and specials for our booth visitors (we’ll be at booths 999/1001/1002), and Iris Schreier of Artyarns will be with us on Saturday from 1-4pm with her beautiful yarns and kits. If you’re in the city earlier in the week, be sure to attend our String After Dark event on Thursday, January 12th from 6-8pm. Special guests Sy Belohlavek, founder of June Cashmere, and Julie Conroy of Hania by Anya Cole, will be on hand. We’re serving light dinner with yarn tastings, raffle prizes, and more. RSVP now—you don’t want to miss it!
Will we see you at VKLive? Are you participating in our Hats Off! KAL? If so, which hat are you making? Let us know in the comments below!
December 20, 2016
Every year, String Yarns produces a flurry of new knit garments & accessories. A melting pot of inspirations fuels their designs, with elements pulled from sundry sources: tiny garment details spotted in Manhattan’s storefront windows; silhouettes that have sashayed in recent runway collections; prevailing trends in the knitwear community; the moods and seasons of New York City. All aspects coalesce to inform our design aesthetic—it’s a process of which we’re extremely proud.
Before the year 2016 officially fades into a brand new 2017, we thought we’d take a moment to look back at the year that was. Our fearless leader, Stacy, with the help of the rest of String Yarns’ staff, picked out the following designs. Some of these designs were fresh creations for 2016; others are long-standing String Yarns’ favorites whose popularity cannot be denied. We hope you’ll enjoy this list. May it inspire a bright new year of knitting!
Now, in no particular order, here are String Yarns Best Patterns of 2016!
The Asbury Coat in String Dolcetto
Stacy’s favorite for the year, The Asbury Coat in String Yarns cashmere-blend Dolcetto, is a popular garment for so many reasons. The cables on the chest and upper back create a swingy, A-line silhouette that flatters the figure. Corollary cables in the sleeve hems replace the standard ribbing that has become so commonplace in sleeves. As Stacy said, “it appears traditional, but the fit is anything but. The cabled bodice and the fuller body are flattering to most shapes and sizes. I think a coat like this is the perfect piece for in between fall and winter seasons.”
Cabled Cashmere Hat in String Classica
The Cabled Cashmere Hat in String Classica may not be new for 2016, but it has definitely been one of String’s most popular kits since its release. Stacy calls it “the quintessential NYC headgear.” A thick ribbed brim ensures warmth and a comfortable fit while wide cables traverse the body of the hat to its peak, where a perfectly matched fox fur pom pom tops it all off. As Stacy says, “Cables are always fashionable!”
PRO TIP: Buy the Cabled Cashmere Hat kit for 15% OFF using the code HATSOFF and join us for our Hats Off Knit-A-Long for a chance to win some great String Yarns gifts! Full details can be found here.
Cookies & Cream Cardi in Spud & Chloe Sweater
The Cookies & Cream Cardi might be the cutest kids garment we’ve ever seen. Our customers really love it! Knit in fisherman’s rib in the soft, superwash Spud & Chloe Sweater, the C&C Cardi is a fast, unisex knit your little one can wear through the seasons.
Yin and Yang Pullover in String Classica DK or Filatura Di Crosa Zara
It’s no surprise to us that the Yin and Yang Pullover was popular this year. It’s so classically chic and timeless, it could very well wind up on our Best of list for 2017 too—we’ll just have to see! The center panel of Yin and Yang falls slightly askew for a modern take on a traditional stripe motif. With all the colors of String Classica DK and Filatura Di Crosa Zara available, it’s incredibly easy to make this top your own.
Riviera Pullover in Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Flora and Filatura Di Crosa Superior
Stacy Charles Fine Yarns’ sequin-studded Flora and Filatura Di Crosa’s cashmere/silk-blend Superior are held together in this beautiful, lightweight Riviera Pullover. Featuring a deep v-neck, flattering A-line silhouette, and generous front pockets, the Riviera Pullover shimmers with Flora’s sequins and is next-to-skin soft in a blend of cotton, cashmere, and silk.
Her Fringe Shawl in Loopy Mango Merino No. 5
The Her Fringe Shawl is a perfect knit for right now. Worked in 4 balls of Loopy Mango’s soft, squishy Merino No. 5 and finished with a thick, long curtain of fringe, the Her Fringe Shawl is a statement piece you’ll have off the needles in no time. Did we mention it’s worked on US size 35 needles?
String Opera Coat in String Breeze, Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Flora and Stella, and Tahki Yarns Tandem
Lidia Karabinech designed the String Opera Coat this past spring and we were instantly in love. Inspired by Missoni and immediately evocative of spring, the String Opera Coat features Tahki Yarns multicolor Tandem and Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Flora and Stella in the lacy, leaf-like lower body. The upper body is worked in String Breeze for a wholly lightweight and luxurious coat.
Cherry Blossom Tank in String Windsong
The Cherry Blossom Tank is the kind of top you can live in all spring and summer and layer over in the fall. Knit in String Windsong, a blend of linen and silk, it’s Cherry Blossom’s simple, straightforward details that give it charming appeal. Windsong creates drape that skims the figure perfectly, and small details like a deep v-neck and elongated-stitchwork hem keep it eternally stylish.
Did your favorite String garment make our ‘best of’ list? What did we miss? What did you love? Let us know in the comments below!
December 06, 2016
We’re closing in on yet another turn around the sun, which can mean only one thing in the northern hemisphere: it’s time to cast on for chunky knits. The winter solstice is just two weeks away, and we can already feel it in New York City. The days are short, the shadows are long, and the nip in the air is developing into quite a bite. Cozy, comfort knitting takes precedence now more than ever—it’s every knitter’s greatest weapon against the approaching winter freeze.
There are several reasons why high fashion designers, String Yarns, and knitters in general love chunky knits. Aside from scratching the itch for instant gratification, get-off-my-needles-and-into-my-closet garments, chunky knits are often inherently timeless. Stitches of Brobdingnagian (ie, large!) proportions are often best left to speak for themselves, without the noise of fancy or complicated stitch work. An oversized stitch benefits from clean, simple lines. Minute details, by virtue of their effortless air, nicely juxtapose large, architectonic stitch work. We love all the chunky knits we’ve seen from Brunello Cucinelli, All Saints, Acne Studios, and more—they perfectly employ the elegant restraint that best serves a chunky gauge knit.
(Clockwise starting from top left) HunkyDory, Brunello Cucinelli, Stella McCartney, Acne Studios, All Saints
This season, chunky-knit inspiration struck after String Yarns’ in-house designer Lidia Karabinech browsed the gorgeous fashions in the windows on Madison Avenue. Armed with String Yarns Classica Bulky, a buttery soft, bulky weight cashmere, Lidia designed the Lodge Vest. The Lodge Vest embodies the classic silhouette and understated details of an immaculate chunky knit. It’s the kind of garment you can cuddle up in while knitting by the fire in, say… a relaxing mountain ski lodge!
Worked in easygoing garter stitch and thoughtfully detailed with slimming slip stitches, the Lodge Vest is a warm and on trend winter layer. Deep, generous pockets and an oversized fit up the cozy factor and extend the Lodge Vest’s utility. It’s still warm enough now to wear it alone over a long sleeve shirt, but as the winter progresses it will prove useful over a boiled wool coat or as an extra layer. A tidy garter stitch back nicely rounds out the vest and looks especially striking against the garter stitch in the collar and sleeves.
String Yarns Classica Bulky ensures the Lodge Vest is a fast, luxurious knit with flawless stitches and beautiful drape. The 100% cashmere content means that while you’ll be thrilled to wear the Lodge Vest all season long, you’ll be equally sad once you’re finished knitting it. To the question of whether you’re a product or a process knitter, the Lodge Vest unequivocally answers: both!
Right now and for the rest of December, the Lodge Vest in Classica Bulky is available for 20% OFF! It’s such a fast, enjoyable knit, if you cast on now you’ll likely wear it by New Years.
What color Lodge Vest do you crave? Do you have a favorite chunky knit you wear during the winter? Are you a product or a process knitter? Let us know in the comments!
November 22, 2016
As proud purveyors of all things cashmere, String Yarns was so pleased to recently announce we would be distributing June Cashmere yarns. Not only do we adore beautiful, luxurious, all-natural fibers, but we also love fibers with a good story. The June Cashmere brand supports several different local industries, including that of Kyrgyz farmers, who have been producing gorgeous, high-quality cashmere for generations. We take pride in both their product and in the ways in which their product moves from sheep-to-shearer and mill-to-maker.
Our fearless leader, Stacy Charles, was responsible for this brand new relationship. He met Sy Belohlavek, a frequent traveler to and worker in June Cashmere’s home of Kyrgyzstan, almost a year ago. Sy presented his concept for June Cashmere to Stacy, who admired “his dedication to his work and his desire to help the villagers of Kyrgyzstan.”
Stacy said, “This is an incredible story of Sy’s commitment and passion to help local farmers in Kyrgyzstan become self-sufficient and bring cashmere from farm to market.”
The story of June Cashmere is fascinating. All of June Cashmere’s 100% cashmere fibers (btw, June is the Kyrgyz word for animal fiber) are gathered from Kyrgyz farmers who live in Central Asia along the Silk Road. (Fun fact: The Silk Road was a major cultural trade route during the Han Dynasty, used for transporting silks, philosophies, new technologies, and other goods and products.)
A farmer in Kyrgyzstan
The small enclave of Kyrgyz family farms in Kyrgyzstan depends on june to sustain their way of life. The cashmere of Kyrgyzstan is incredibly soft—a result of the region’s exceptionally cold climate. An interest in bringing Kyrgyzstan’s special, 100% cashmere to the states propelled Sy to learn the language and forge relationships with the farmers, for whom he developed training programs so that they might learn how to properly collect the best cashmere fibers. The Kyrgyz farmers actually individually hand-comb from each goat, ensuring only the best cashmere is gathered.
Photos of the process from the June Cashmere website
This close, personal relationship with the farmers ensures they are fairly compensated for their work, thus enabling their rich june relationship to continue into the future. June Cashmere is a true investment in not only sustaining an eco-friendly cashmere industry, but also in a community with a deep and storied history. Through June Cashmere, Kyrgyzstan farmers now have access to the international market.
From Kyrgyzstan the cashmere fiber is then shipped to Europe, where it is cleaned and spun. It is then organically dyed using sustainable, eco-friendly processes at the Saco River Dyehouse in Maine.
String Yarns is incredibly proud to carry both June Cashmere Laceweight and June Cashmere DK. A quick glance at the color offerings is all the siren song you need. The hues are rich, unique, and highly covetous.
June Cashmere Laceweight
On Thursday, January 12, 2017—right before VKLive!—String Yarns will host "String After Dark," an event running from 6-8:30pm. Guests include Sy from June Cashmere as well as Julie Conroy from HANIA by Anya Cole. Get ready for some nibbles, drinks, fun kits, exclusive looks at June Cashmere, and more. Lots of surprises are in store!
Are you knitting with cashmere this season? Have you knit with June Cashmere? Let us know in the comments below!
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November 08, 2016
We certainly don’t mean to alarm anyone, but there are only six more weekends until Hanukkah and Christmas. If most of your holiday knitting happens on Saturday and Sunday, that translates to 12 more days of concentrated holiday knitting.
Don’t panic yet! Last year we gave you our list of 12 Last-Minute Knits (still a fantastic resource), but this year we turned to String Yarn’s knowledgeable and knitterly staff for some personal suggestions. The following knits are time-tested by us—we’ve knit them, love them, and trust them as suitable for last-minute knitting. All of these patterns are readily available for download and the kits can be purchased on site, which means you can get those needles clicking immediately!
Cynthia picked the Robin’s Island Hat by Joan Forgione. Knit in String Yarns Classica DK, a soft, giftworthy 100% cashmere, this little hat plays with cascading cables mixed with ribbing for an interesting, fast knit. Consider this a great unisex hat, with options available for either a slouchy or cap version and elective pom pom.
Joan’s pick, the Excursion Slippers by Hunter Hammersen, are a no-brainer holiday knit. As Joan said, “They're worked flat, quicker than socks, and I'd love to get these as a gift because my hands and feet are always cold.” Joan is using Anzula For Better Or Worsted for friends and String Yarns Classica (100% cashmere) for that “extra special someone.”
When it comes to knitting deadlines, a quick textural cowl can’t be beat. Lidia loves the Mistake Rib Cowl because it’s even faster than you might think. Knit on US size 15 needles with two strands of String Classica Bulky held together—which also opens up so many color possibilities—the 100% cashmere Mistake Rib Cowl is a great choice when you’re really down to the wire. Cast it on the last week of December and you’ll still be done in time for the holidays!
If you’re looking for an ultra-fast last-minute hat, look no further than Ellen’s Parisian choice, the Les Petit Beret. Knit in the 100% cashmere String Classica Bulky on size US 10 needles, Les Petit Beret knits up in a flash. And with String Classica Bulky available in 20+ colors, you can easily make this sweet little hat for several people on your list.
When Lisa first showed us the gorgeous collection of Paige Mitts she knit, we just about plotzed (non-native New Yorkers and Yiddish neophytes: ‘plotz’ is Yiddish for ‘burst’). Fingerless mitts are such a fantastic gift for anyone on your list, and these fair isle beauties by Melynda Bernardi have a decidedly unisex charm if you keep them in neutral hues. Lisa knit hers in String Yarns Classica DK, a 100% cashmere, but she said String Yarns’ customers have also made them in Tahki Yarns Alden.
The All Seasons Slouchy Hat is a gift-knit you’ll want to start ASAP. One of Petra’s favorite, go-to recommendations for knitters, the All Seasons Slouchy Hat by Elizabeth Elliot is knit with one skein of June Cashmere Lace Weight, making it as delightful to knit as it is to wear. We can’t promise you won’t have trouble giving it away when you’re done!
Vera recommends her very own Vera’s Shawl, which uses self-striping 100% cashmere String Yarns Strata and Artyarns Beaded Rhapsody & Silk. The result is a decadently soft, sparkling shawl with generous fronds of fringe. Your mother, sister, grandmother, daughter, or niece will love this on-trend shawl. It’s a chic, always-hip accessory garment that can be worn multiple ways.
Last but not least, Whitney chose the Seed Stitch Cowl & Floral Pom Pom Hat in Tahki Select Poppy. This hat & cowl set is perfect for anyone age 5-12 on your list. One skein each of Poppy is used to make the hat and cowl on US size 15 needles, making these great ‘final countdown’ knits. The flowers in Tahki Select Poppy are moveable, meaning you can easily customize either accessory with thoughtful flower placement. They can be scattered as shown, ringed in the brim or crown, or placed in a diagonal line twisting upwards—feel free to use your imagination!
Which of these holiday knits is your favorite? Do you have a go-to holiday pattern? Let us know in the comments below!
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October 25, 2016
Our Master Workshop series continues this Winter with the Be A Better Knitter workshop series with Patty Lyons on December 17th.
Seats are still available for her 9am-12pm Improve Your Knitting Technique course, but act fast—there are only 3 spots left! Patty’s 1-4pm Knitting ER: Tragedies & Treatments class is full, but you can still put yourself on the waitlist.
For those not in the know, Patty Lyons is one of the most sought-after knitting teachers and technique experts in the country. As she says on her website, she’s “known for teaching the ‘why’ not just the ‘how’ in her pursuit of training the ‘mindful knitter.’” We love the idea of empowering knitters to knit masterfully and correct their own mistakes.
Like most knitters, Patty is a maverick. She began her career as a stage manager on Broadway before leaving to follow her bliss as a knitwear designer. She was the Studio Director at Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City for five years. Patty now teaches nationally at guilds and knitting shows like Vogue Knitting Live, Knit and Crochet Show, STITCHES, and online at sites like Craftsy.com. Her patterns have been published in every knitting magazine under the sun: Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knit Purl, Knitter’s Magazine, Knit Style, and more.
We checked in with Patty about her upcoming courses at String Yarns in December. If you haven’t taken a course with Patty before, we’re certain her thoughts will inspire you to sign up today. Check out her pattern archive on Ravelry and start queuing up your favorites!
Why do you think education is important to the hand-knitter or crocheter?
There’s so much to learn in knitting. One new skill opens up so many new project possibilities.
What do you want your students to walk away with when they leave your class at String Yarns?
For Knitting ER: Tragedies & Treatments, I’d like students to know that ripping is not the only fix. When something goes wrong there are so many ways we can take control of our own knitting and not feel like our knitting has control of us.
For Improve Your Knitting Technique, I’d like students to know that no matter how long you’ve been knitting, going back to the basics of stitch construction can make your knitting faster, more comfortable, and more perfect!
In what ways have you found a live classroom situation to be more beneficial to knitters/crocheters than, say, learning online, from texts, etc?
The biggest difference is when I teach online, you can see me, but I can’t see your knitting. Nothing replaces a teacher walking around the room and making personal suggestions and keeping each student on track.
What should students expect in your workshops?
In Improve Your Knitting Technique, students can expect to learn techniques that will help polish the look of their knitted fabric. I will help students perfect their gauge so that their purl stitches match their knit stitches. We’ll explore how the quality and character of different fibers affect tension. They should also expect a return to the basics—examining cast ons and bind offs, edge stitches, and other fundamentals.
In Knitting ER, we’ll discuss picking up dropped stitches, unknitting, fixing mistakes in a wide variety of stitch patterns, and other techniques that will help students fix mistakes easily and quickly.
What inspired you to begin teaching other crafters?
I was inspired by a desire to share what I love. I never always need to understand the “why” of everything I do and that is how I teach.
How has being a teacher influenced your own life and work as a knitter/crocheter?
I learn from my students all the time. Watching a student “get it” is always inspiring.
Thank you, Patty! We can’t wait for Patty’s upcoming Master Workshops—sign up now for Improve Your Knitting Technique and get your waitlist spot for Knitting ER: Tragedies & Treatments, both on December 17th!
Upcoming October Events
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October 11, 2016
The leaves are changing here in New York City as once again the seasons turn, turn, turn. New Fall knitwear collections are slowly hitting newsstands and the internet as we all prepare for the deep, dark days of Winter ahead of us. There is nothing so inspiring during this time of year as a comfy, toasty-warm Fall layer that is as joyful to make as it is to wear. It settles us into the season and becomes our warrior wear against the coming cold weather.
Which brings us to String Yarns October special, the Asbury Cardigan in String Dolcetto, which might be our best Fall/Winter layer to date. We don’t think there is a more perfect Fall layer, but really, this is a cardigan for all seasons and occasions. A flexible, versatile garment, it’s not quite a cardigan, not quite a coat, but something in between—with all the benefits of both!
The Asbury Cardigan in String Dolcetto
20% off for the month of October, the Asbury Cardigan capitalizes on two very hot cold weather trends—embellished knitwear and longline cardigans.
The former trend graced several runways this season in the form of fringe, beads, leather straps, satin ribbons, and yes, cables.
Clockwise from top left: Altuzarra Fall 2016, Christopher Raeburn Fall 2016, Delpozo Pre-Fall 2016, Joseph Fall 2016, Belstaff Fall 2016, Pringle of Scotland Fall 2016, Red Valentino Fall 2016, Laura Biagiotti Fall 2016
Strategically placed cables (as opposed to a fully cabled sweater) are the user-friendliest embellishment for knitters—no need to purchase anything additional! Resident in-house designer Lidia Karabinech thoughtfully placed cables in the upper front and back of the Asbury Cardigan. They wind all the way to Asbury’s high-neck collar, which is a welcomed bulwark against the cold winds of the season. She added matching cables to the forearms for a stunning symmetry. They look all the more striking when the sleeves are pushed up (see below).
(L-R) The Asbury Cardigan and a Delpozo Fall 2016 sweater. Notice the similarities—both in the style of the cables as well as their placement over only half the garment.
Longline cardigans have been a hot trend for a few years now. Maxi cardigans are slimming, comfortable, and well suited for Fall and Winter layering. The Asbury Cardigan is a fabulous length, with the lower half blooming outward from where the cables end, giving the silhouette a swingy, figure-flattering drape. String Dolcetto’s blend of cashmere and merino wool creates beautiful stitch definition and a warm, luxurious, and relaxed fabric.
Maxi Cardigans clockwise from top left: Ulla Johnson Fall 2016, Sportmax Fall 2016 RTW, Les Copains Fall 2016 RTW, Laura Biagiotti FW2016-17, Diane von Furstenberg Pre-Fall/Winter 2016, Ryan Roche Fall 2016, Milly Pre-Fall 2016, Totti Fall 2016
A zipper closure lends an air of sophistication to the Asbury Cardigan, elevating it above the standard longline cardigan. This is where Asbury can easily pass for a coat—that extra finishing (pun intended!) touch really takes it from simply being a cozy Fall garment to an elegant, office-appropriate statement piece.
Zipper detail on the Asbury Cardigan
Inspired by these two very hot trends, the Asbury Cardigan in String Dolcetto is at once au courant and eternally stylish. Cast it on for Fall 2016, but wear it forever—whether you finish it in time or not, it’s a look you’ll always cherish.
Get the Asbury Cardigan NOW for 20% off. This deal is only good until the end of October, so don’t wait!
What color will you choose for your Asbury Cardigan? What do you love most about this design? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our other Classes & Events and subscribe to the String Blog to never miss a post!
Upcoming October Events
October 13, 20, 27
Two Color Brioche KAL with Vera Keller – 6-7:30pm
Tahki Yarns Trunk Show