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September 06, 2016

String Yarns Master Workshop with Shirley Paden

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 01, 2016

String September KAL - Hollensbury Hat with Tanis Gray

Today is a little bittersweet. Tanis is starting her 6th and final KAL with us. We're so excited to make the beautiful Hollensbury Hat with her, but sad that it’s the last KAL.

Throughout the past year, Tanis has designed 6 gorgeous patterns for the String KALS, all the while leading our Ravelry group in learning new skills, techniques and tricks to improve our knitting and expand our horizons. This one is no exception.

Hollansbury Hat

Nothing’s better than a hat to get us started on fall knitting, and she’s designed this beauty with one of our newest yarns, Dolcetto, a 70/30 Merino/cashmere blend. Two colors, but only one in each row, so no stranding. And that Latvian braid? Wait until Tanis teaches you that…you’ll be putting it on everything! String is just so happy she’s hosting our KAL once again. I can’t wait for this one to start on September 13th.

So grab the preview of the pattern (with the yarn discount code for the yarn), grab your Dolcetto at 15% OFF, and prepare to get started (go ahead and knit that swatch). You’ll be ready to start on the 13th, just in time for fall!

How do our KALs work?

  1. Purchase your pattern on Ravelry. We can help you do this, if you’re in the store. If you sign up before the start date, you will receive the first page with all the specs and the discount code for purchasing the yarn needed for the KAL. On the morning of September 13th, an update to the pattern (which will include the entire pattern) will be sent to your Ravelry library.
  2. Gather your materials. These are listed on the first page of the pattern. You can purchase the yarn for 15% OFF throughout the KAL with the discount code (also on the first page of the pattern).
  3. Log into the KAL thread in our Ravelry group each Tuesday (beginning September 13th) during the month-long KAL and we will work our way through the cowl with detailed photo tutorials, instructions, tips and tricks provided Tanis. Tanis will be there to answer questions and cheer you on as we knit together virtually.
  4. You can post questions, comments, and pictures of your work in progress any time in the thread. We hope you’ll make new friends, learn new skills and think of the String Yarns group as your virtual knitting home.
  5. You can work at your own pace. Even though the KAL will be 4 weeks in length, Tanis will be dropping in after that to check on how you’re doing. You can still post to the thread any time.

To read about the inspiration for this hat on Tanis’ blog, click here.

August 25, 2016

Back From TNNA with New Fall Yarns

Months before each season we start thinking about what new yarns to bring to String. String Yarns owner, Stacy Charles, travels to Italy in search of the best quality and selection of cashmere. This season, we are thrilled to bring you many of his spectacular new finds.

Tahki Stacy Charles at TNNA
Tahki Stacy Charles at TNNA
In addition to the new cashmere that Stacy brings to String, our store manager, Petra and I attend TNNA (The National Needle Association) trade show every year. This year the show took place in Washington, DC. Inspired by new yarns, the String staff sends us off to look for a long list of yarns. We search for yarns that complement what we already have in stock while discovering new products to make our shelves pop with color and texture. Our ultimate goal is to come back to String with a carefully curated collection that stays in line with String's mission to feature fine quality with interesting textures, and colors that provide endless possibilities for your knitting enjoyment.

We only have 2 1/2 days to peruse over 120 vendor's yarn, notions, needles, and books. Not an easy task. We have to have our eyes on everything! See it, touch it, look at the color range, price it, analyze it, note possibilities and move on to the next booth. We want to find yarns that look fantastic in a variety of patterns stitches and needle sizes in colors and textures that wow us. We look for new companies who can provide consistent quality and promised delivery times. We want to fall in love with the yarn as much as we want you to!

Day 1, we take tons of notes throughout the day and later in the evening we prepare ourselves with lots of snacks for a long night of swatching samples that we’ve gotten throughout the day. The first night, we swatch and swatch new potential yarns comparing their behavior, their price point, their weights and color palette.

String at TNNA
At the show, we often see many people we know from the industry and we always make time for a quick hug and, “What did you see that was amazing?!" shout out as we make our way through the aisles. One of the highlights of attending TNNA is planning dinner with dear knitting friends. We discuss yarns, the industry, online retailers vs brick and mortar, social media and as many other topics as we can squeeze in. We are a group that has been raised to share knowledge and support each other.

Day 2, we hit the floor running, almost literally! We forge new relationships, orders get placed and deals negotiated. We choose colors very carefully, there is no time for dawdling; we must be confident in our choices and be efficient with our limited time. Any loose ends are tied up on Day 3.

During this trip in particular, we were looking for more hand-dyed yarns. We are very excited to extend our line of Anzula and Koigu yarns and we are so pleased that we found a few new lines to introduce to you this season. We will also have a new String New York exclusive lace weight and dk weight yarns, so stay tuned!

Petra at TNNA
One of the bonuses of this trip was watching Petra find and fall in love with a new yarn. She is like a kid in a candy shop. I know exactly how she feels… when you find something you love, you want to bring home every color to share with our knitters, but unfortunately that’s not always possible. The task of creating a color palette from all the possible options is a hard one for knitters who love color.

Petra and Cynthia at TNNA
Petra and I are knitters just like our customers. We want to come into work every day and be amazed and excited with the yarn choices String offers. We make our choice based on many factors, but our customers are at the front of our final decision-making process.

All in all, at the end of this trip, we were exhausted, exhilarated and full of new design ideas and experiences to bring to you. This fall, our weekly design specials will introduce you to some of these exceptional yarns so that you get a chance to try them out as soon as they arrive at String.

Let us know which new yarns and designs you love most, we love hearing from you! Reach us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or write to us at info@stringyarns.com. Happy knitting!

June 21, 2016

Meet String Yarns’ Events Coordinator, Joan Forgione


You might ask yourself: how do we successfully wrangle all of our fantastic classes & events?

To answer that, we once again turn inward to interview one of String Yarns’ very own staff members, Joan Forgione

Joan is a local middle school reading teacher and knitwear designer whose work has been featured in every knitting publication you can think of—Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knit Simple, you name it. She is also String Yarns’ classes & events scout. She delivers all the best teachers, knit-a-longs, and in-store events String Yarns could hope for. So how does she do it? Well, let’s find out!

Let's start at the beginning - where are you from?  

I'm from Plainview, New York, on Long Island, about 40 minutes east of Manhattan if there's no traffic on the LIE—which never happens.
Editor’s Note: The LIE is the Long Island Expressway, for non-New Yorkers.

When did you start knitting?  How did you learn to knit? 

I started knitting when I was in college. Although my grandmother was an expert knitter, my mom never wanted to learn. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away when I was 4, so I never had the opportunity to benefit from her experience. I am self-taught. I learned from books in the beginning, but then I started taking classes. I'm a reading teacher by profession so those two things—books and education—are what I love.  

What do you love about knitting?  

Almost everything. I love that it’s a marriage of art, craft, and math. I love that I’m creating something with my hands. I’m also a bit of a math geek, so I love playing around with all the numbers involved in patterns.  

What are your favorite fibers to work with?   Do you have a least favorite fiber?  

My favorite fibers are wool, alpaca, and cashmere, but I love all animal fibers.  Hemp is probably my least favorite, but if it’s blended with something, it’ll do.

Are you a picker or a thrower—do you knit continental or english style?  

I'm a continental knitter (picker) usually, but I pick and throw when I do colorwork.
Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in how to “pick and throw” for colorwork, this instructional video is very helpful. Employing both techniques makes for faster knitting and ensures color consistency in the finished fabric.

How many WIPs do you currently have on the needles?

Currently I have 4. Two are designs I'm working on for magazines (unfortunately, those are secret until publication) and two are things I’m doing for fun. I try not to have more than that going at the same time. I’m working on a shawl called “Care to Dance?” (below). It’s crescent-shaped with a lace and cable edging, which I’m in the middle of working right now.  Unfortunately, all shawls look scrunched before they're properly blocked. 

Care to Dance? Shawl

What is your favorite thing to knit?  

I love to knit lace and colorwork, but if you're asking about types of garments, then sweaters, shawls, and hats (in that order).

What do you look for when choosing classes and events for String?  

As a teacher, I know that the teacher can make or break the class. I also know that knitters love to learn new techniques while creating something beautiful. So those are the things I look for. We want to create an environment where knitters can learn from experts in the field and a very experienced staff, but where they feel supported at whatever experience level.  

Which upcoming classes/events are you most excited for?

I can’t wait for Whitney’s Quicksilver KAL class beginning on June 28.  The “knitalong” is one of my favorite types of class anyway because it’s social and educational. I'm especially excited about this one because Whitney chose a shawl by Melanie Berg (below), who designs incredibly beautiful shawls. Whitney is working this up in 3 colors of Anzula Squishy, which is just as its name implies: soft and luxurious (It's a wool/cashmere/nylon blend). I can’t wait for this one.

Quicksilver by Melanie Berg

What makes classes/events at String Yarns unique/different from other LYSs?   

Our staff classes are unique because every single one of us is a designer in her own right. Our design experience means we’ve learned to anticipate where students might have difficulties in a pattern. All of us have knit lots of different things and learned lots of different techniques (sometimes even more than one way to do the same thing, i.e., short rows). We’re prepared to help with knitting-related difficulties that might come up in a class because we’ve either experienced it ourselves or have helped one of our customers with the same issue. It’s a perfect symbiosis, actually, because when we invite instructors we like to call our Master Teachers (see below), we, as educators, are able to provide the necessary back up to their teachings. Our staff classes marry beautifully with a lot of our special master workshops.

How does being situated in New York City influence the kinds of classes/events String Yarns can offer?   

We’re so lucky to be in NYC because we have a wealth of talented designers right here, a taxi ride away. Our Master Workshop Series this fall features 3 New Yorkers—Shirley Paden, Melissa Leapman, and Patty Lyons.


What was the last thing you finished knitting?

The last thing I finished knitting was a piece for Knitscene to be published in Spring of 2017. I can’t send a picture, but I can tell you it’s a lace top. But I finished this cabled pullover, The Crossings (bottom of page), knit in one of Tahki Yarns’ great new summer cotton/linen blends, , two weeks ago and another pullover, Policy of Truth (below), with a high/low bottom edge almost at the same time.
Policy of Truth by Joan Forgione

Set the mood. How else do you entertain yourself when you're knitting?

My other passion in life is reading. Since I haven't figured out how to knit and read simultaneously, and I've come to realize that I'll never have enough time to knit all the things in my queue of read all the books I want to read, so I've compromised and do a lot of audio books. Currently, I'm reading The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. I don't watch much TV, but I love old movies and the History Channel.

The Crossing by Joan Forgione
Thank you so much, Joan! We loved hearing from you and can’t wait for all of String’s upcoming events! Visit our classes and events page to see what else we have in store this Summer.

Which String Yarns class are you most excited about? Which event? Is there a teacher you’re dying to learn from? Let us know in the comments below!



June 14, 2016

New Classes at String!

New Classes at String Yarns

Around here, June marks the end of the school year, but at String, we’re just getting started!

Over the past few months, we’ve been working diligently to revamp our education program because we truly believe knowledge is power, especially when it comes to knitting and crocheting. Education gives you an opportunity to become better at what you love. You’ll be able to expand your range of pattern choices, minimize your frustrations and increase your fun.

Although I’m a published designer, I’m also a bit of a knitting class junkie and curious by nature. Not only do I love to take classes to discover new ways of doing things I already know how to do and add new skills and techniques to my repertoire, but also because I love the camaraderie among my fellow knitters during class time. It gives me an opportunity to socialize with my favorite kind of people – knitters and crocheters. 

The summer/early fall schedule is here where you’ll find out a little more about the details of the class and sign up online. We’ll be adding new classes all the time, so check back often.

 Here’s a preview of our upcoming classes:

  • Directed Knitting

And back to my knitting curiosity…as the Education Coordinator at String, I’d love to hear from you and find out what kinds of classes you’d like to take.  We’ve come up with a survey for you to take here to let us know.

(As a thank you for completing the survey you’ll receive a 10% OFF coupon for you to use on your next String purchase online or in-store.)   

And I’d love to hear from you, too. You can write to me at jforgione@stringyarns.com with any questions or special requests. I can’t promise that I know the answer or even be able to arrange for a specific class, but I can promise that I’ll try. Hope to see you in one (or many) of our new classes. 

June 14, 2016

Anzula Pop-Up Trunk Show - June 24th

Anzula Yarns

When Anzula Yarns visited String last year, our customers were bubbling with excitement. After their visit, your enthusiasm for Anzula convinced us that we needed to carry a number of Anzula’s lines in the store, (see Anzula Squishy). Those lines have received an overwhelming response. So we’re thrilled to announce that Anzula will be coming to String once more! 

Join us as we welcome owner and dyer of Anzula Yarns, Sabrina Famellos, for a special one-day trunk show on June 24 from 12 - 2 pm. She’ll be on hand to share with us her beautiful hand-dyed yarns in the luxurious fibers that Anzula is known for. Sabrina will also be showcasing some wonderful garments and accessories created with and for Anzula Yarns. Her ideas will spark your summer knitting wishlist.

Anzula Yarns at String Yarns

Anzula Yarns at String Yarns

Squishy Anzula Yarns at String Yarns

Don’t miss out on this wonderful, exclusive afternoon with Anzula!

June 07, 2016

Trend Report: Sartorial Sparkles & The Riviera Pullover

(L-R, all Spring 2016) Giorgio Armani Privé, Lanvin, Temperley London Spring, Tibi, Badgley Mischka

If you’ve kept an eye on the runways and red carpets and peeped the latest looks on the city streets, you’ve probably witnessed this twinkling trend on the rise.

(Clockwise from top left) Gucci SS2016, Taylor Swift Vogue May 2016, Rihanna Vogue April 2016, Michael Kors Marie Claire Australia February 2016, L'Officiel May 2016 Mia Wasikowska in Valentino

Sequins are having a moment. Not only are sequin-studded garments & accessories wildly popular for 2016, but the look is also considered one of the most wearable, so now is the perfect time to embrace blinding onlookers with your sheer brilliance.

(Clockwise from top left): Rachel McAdams, Saoirse Ronan, Brie Larson, Alexa Chung, Ciara, Naomi Watts, Kylie Jenner, Nicole Kidman

Adding a little sparkle to your knitting with sequins is a fairly simple endeavor—and no, you don’t need to thread the little buggers onto your yarn. The yarn industry has blessed knitters with myriad options for yarns that have been embellished with sequins, paillettes, and metallic fibers. String Yarns has made it even easier to find shimmering yarns by choosing “sequins” from our fiber dropdown menu or you can find using the “Search” function.

Since we are, after all, lovers of all things fashion and fiber—and we consider ourselves a shining beacon for crafters on the Upper East Side—we have our own take on the trend.

The Riviera Pullover was designed by Lidia Karabinech to embrace adding a little sartorial sparkle to your wardrobe. A marriage of chic European style and sophisticated Manhattan sensibilities, Riviera has a figure-flattering A-line silhouette, subtle shaping, and a décolletage-framing V-neckline.


Riviera isn’t just a marriage of style, it’s a relationship between two delicate fibers: Filatura Di Crosa’s Superior, a lux, laceweight cashmere-silk-merino blend, and Stacy Charles Fine Yarns’ Flora, a laceweight cotton kissed with sequins.

We talked a little bit about how the properties of different fibers shape the behavior of a finished garment in a recent blog post, and those ideas come to bear here. Superior’s blend of cashmere, silk, and merino lends Riviera a beguiling softness and decadent drape with just the hint of elasticity, while the cotton in Flora adds breathability and stability. And of course, the sequins add a gorgeous shimmer that catches the light without being totally overwhelming. Riviera is a wonderful entrée into the sequin trend for anyone interested in adding a little sparkle to their wardrobe—it’s universal and timeless.

It’s also easy to dress up or down with Riviera. It looks as lovely paired with cuffed jeans and sneakers as with a diaphanous maxi skirt and sandals. While it may feel like sequins are only appropriate if you’re Cinderella on her way to the ball, the sequin trend is surprisingly easy to style—for some inspiration, check out the great examples below. Shorts, sneakers, skirts, heels, jeans—anything goes!

(Clockwise from top left) Pinterest, Pinterest, Stylecaster.com, Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest

The Riviera Pullover is 20% off for the entire month of June! Browse the different color options for Superior & Flora and consider whether you’re a woman who loves to coordinate or contrast!

Do you love this year’s hot sparkle trend? Do you own anything that sparkles? Have you worked with sequined yarns? Let us know in the comments!

May 26, 2016

Prism Yarns Trunk Show!

From June 3rd through June 15th, Prism Yarns, one of our favorite hand-dyes, will be at String with a trunk show. Only two weeks away – I can’t wait!

Prism Yarn

If you don’t know Prism, you should! Prism has a well-deserved reputation for their beautiful, rich, saturated colors, innovative yarns (like Stuff – a combination of over 30 color-coordinated, hand-tied yarns in varying lengths) and wonderful kits that knit up into show-stopping garments and accessories. 

My personal favorite Prism yarn is Merino Mia, a sport-weight 100% Merino dyed in lush, tonal colors. I was thrilled when Prism told me that they now have Merino Mia in gradient kits -- eight skeins of a color family in each kit. And we will get some!

Prism Yarn gradient

Laura Bryant, the genius behind Prism Yarns, is an artist who has authored six books on knitting with hand-dyed yarns. Laura personally dyes all the yarns with the assistance of her staff. Every dyeing season, she develops new colors and styles that produce amazing effects –Ikat, Shades, and Layers are just some examples.

Although Prism is a line we carry at String, we’re excited to bring something special to our Lexington Avenue store this spring. We invite you to come in June 3 - June 15 to discover for yourself why String loves Prism. 

We’ll have sample garments from Prism’s newest books (84 and 85), open stock of Tencel Tape, Petite Madison, Radiant Petite Madison, Delicato and Windward, as well as Merino Mia gradient kits. 

Prism Tencel Tee

If you’re unable to join us for the in-store show, you can still get a taste of Prism in the new Broken Arrows Tee kit. Knit in Tencel Tape, a cool, non-wool, tape “yarn” that’s perfect for the spring season, this tee is a signature Prism piece and will be offered online and in-store at 15% OFF during the first week of the show.

We’re looking forward to hosting Prism, and we’d love to see you during these two very special weeks. I suggest you get there early before I snap up all those gradient kits!

Joan, Education + Events Coordinator

May 24, 2016

4 Surefire Steps to Making Your Dream Garment

Depending on yarn weight and needle size, it can take quite a long time to craft a knitted sweater. While knitting may be your favorite past time and the best means of relaxation, it is not a meager investment—of time or resources.

And yet, there are still instances—with even the most practiced knitters—when a garment doesn’t live up to expectations. Whether it’s a sweater that ate one of Alice’s teacakes and grew six sizes larger in the wash or a shape that looked so flattering on the model but so frumpy on our form, there are plenty of things that can go wrong.

Never fear! String Yarns is here to help rescue you from the Land of Mis-Fit Sweaters (get it?) with 4 easy steps.

Step 1 – Pick the Right Yarn! 

So you fell in love with the subtle sheen and soft drape of a worsted weight, 100% bamboo yarn. Who could blame you? Luscious fiber l’amour is what keeps us in stitches! The problem arises when that love fools you into thinking a worsted weight bamboo can do the job of an aran weight wool.

Fibers are as beautifully unique and specifically charactered as people. It’s the old adage of “square peg, round hole.” We can’t force the cool drape of bamboo to behave like the buoyant warmth of wool. Know your fibers. Learn how to substitute smartly. Here’s a quick primer:

Wool has exquisite memory and elasticity. As long as you don’t give it a forceful blocking, it will snap back to shape after a light wash. It’s incredibly warm but also breathable. Alpaca is even warmer than wool with the bonus of offering drape, but there’s less memory, so your finished sweater may grow and relax a bit after wash and wear. Cashmere, our favorite love affair, is incredibly soft, warm, lightweight, and has gorgeous drape. It’s a fantastic yarn for heirloom knits—handle it delicately, care for it properly, and it can last forever.

Cashmere Goat (R) and Wool Sheep (L). They may look alike, but the fibers they produce are slightly different.

Silk, Linen, and Bamboo have natural drape, a smooth, soft hand, and gorgeous breathability. These qualities result from a lack of memory—stitches don’t stick together, but rather open and relax with wear. Linen and Bamboo have a tendency to grow under their own weight, but they breathe like a dream and have a beautiful sheen. Cotton is also inelastic, but is quite strong and durable—a characteristic shared with Linen, but less so with Silk and lesser still with Bamboo.

When blended with one another, all these fibers can lend and borrow desirable qualities for your finished knits. A wool-silk blend, for example, can offer crisp stitch definition (wool) with delicate drape (silk). When substituting a yarn, pay attention to the fiber’s inherent qualities to use it to its best advantage. Look at the fiber content of the recommended yarn in the pattern you want to make and think of how the fiber knits up. Regardless of what you may assume about the fiber, the real key to discovering how a yarn will behave is in our next tip…

Step 2 – Knit a Swatch… and WASH IT!

Do not overlook this point —you MUST knit a swatch! And not a slip of fabric that neatly fits in the palm of your hand, no. When we say swatch, we mean a serious swathe of fabric.

Ball bands ubiquitously advise knitting a swatch measuring 4 inches x 4 inches square, but we don’t abide this recommendation. Unless you’re making a log cabin blanket, you aren’t knitting squares. You’re knitting huge prairies of fabric. You relax into your knitting and take on a rhythm, which affects your knitting.

Our advice is to double down and knit at least an 8x8 swatch. It’s also important to wash and dry your swatch. If you’re going to wash your garment, you have to wash your swatch. Otherwise, you have no idea how the fabric will behave after it gets wet. As we said above, certain fibers grow.

Note that a smaller needle was used for the upper half of the swatch, while a larger needle was used for the lower half. PRO TIP: The length of yarn left over from casting on was knotted 8 times to correspond with and keep track of the US size 8 needle used!

Important Tip: Swatch for the way you will knit. Don’t swatch flat if you’re knitting in the round, and vice versa.

Step 3 – Flatter Your Form

We’re big advocates for wearing whatever you want—for too long women have been fed an unhealthy diet of propaganda about what they can and can’t wear because of their age and weight.

However, we do know that we feel better in certain shapes and fits. There’s no denying that for some women, a form-fitting sweater feels better than an oversized caftan. Amy Herzog is quickly building a personal empire around knitting to your shape. Knowing what looks great on you, and what you’re comfortable wearing, is important to knitting a long-lasting wardrobe. You’re simply more likely to wear it if you feel good in it.

Image by Corporate Fashionista

The Corporate Fashionista has some great visuals and tips for discovering flattering shapes for different body types. We’re each endowed differently, so look over the pattern you want to make to ensure it has the waist/bust shaping that best flatters your body—you can always make shaping alterations if need be (bless you, Amy Herzog, for these fool-proof instructions!). Better yet, if you’re a NYC local, come into String and let Lidia and our other professional staff members help ensure a perfect fit.

Step 4 – Measure a Garment You Already Love

You should always take your measurements— the Craft Yarn Council provides some good instructions, and you can also visit String Yarns and have your measurements taken by us!—but the next best thing is to find a garment in your wardrobe that already fits you like a dream, and measure that.

 Lay your dream garment flat and take some measurements. You don’t have to go crazy—just take those measurements that contribute to what you love about the garment. Do you adore the length of the sleeves or the way the cuffs hug your wrists? The waist shaping? The length at which it hits your hip? These are important measurements. Thoroughly look over the pattern you want to make and take note of the shaping, and whether it has any. If it doesn’t, figure out how difficult it would be to add some shaping—a simple stockinette sweater would be easy to alter, a sweater with shifting cable-and-lace panels, not so much. 

What did you think of our tips for making your dream garment? Do you have a favorite tip to ensure the perfect sweater?

May 16, 2016

TSC Trunk Show & Yarn Sale!

The Tahki Stacy Charles Spring/Summer Trunk Show was a huge success! We enjoyed a presentation from our very own Stacy Charles as he discussed fashion trends, yarns and the fantastic TSC Collection. 

Stacy Charles at String

"I popped into the store and found it was buzzing with knitters -- knitting, chatting, noshing and looking at and trying  on the pieces. The store really felt "alive."  There were so many garments to look at, you didn't know which way to turn. (And... I was excited to see my pieces again.)" Joan 

TSC Trunk Show at String

"As soon as you enter the store, there is an explosion of color and texture all around. This trunk show has been great inspiration for us." Cynthia

Stacy Charles at String

TSC Trunk Show at String

See more behind the scenes photos from Stacy's visit to String [HERE]. 

TSC Yarn Sale

You can still experience the collection now through 5/20 and don't miss 15% OFF select Tahki Stacy Charles garment yarns [HERE]. Sale ends 5/19. 

Don't miss another String event! Subscribe to receive event updates [HERE].