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String Theory Mystery KAL 2015

May 19, 2015

mystery kal talString Theory Mystery KAL
June 7 – June 28
Cost $5

For the past few years, we’ve celebrated the start of summer with a Mystery Knitalong (KAL). This one, designed by Talitha Kuomi, may just be the best one yet!

To join in the fun, stop by the store or give us a call at 630.469.6085. 

Note: Many people start the Mystery KAL after the first clue has been released.  Feel free to be one of those people.  We would love to have you join us!

What is a Mystery KAL?

Starting on Sunday June 7th, we will email you a piece of a pattern, including pictures and helpful hints. At the end of four weeks you will have all the pieces of the puzzle and a lovely knitted …. something.
Clue 1 – June 7
Clue 2 – June 14
Clue 3 – June 21
Clue 4 – June 28
This project is easy enough for adventurous beginners but interesting enough for more advanced knitters. Our hope is that everyone will learn a little something along the way.

If you ever need help, stop by the store or check the Mystery KAL thread in our Ravelry Group.  Each clue is short enough to be accomplished in a week. Most of you will have time to work on your other projects as well.

Yarn Suggestion:
Your first challenge will be to decide on your yarn.  The project was designed with Dream in Color Canyon, a velvety soft aran weight yarn, made of 100% wool that has been grown, spun and hand dyed in the USA. You will need two contrasting colors.  Try taking a black and white picture with your camera to make sure that you have enough contrast. We’ve got lots of colors in stock and would love to help you choose.

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Welcome Michelle and Kathy

May 6, 2015

I am so excited to introduce you to two new staff members:  Michelle Enerson and Kathy Kearney.  I asked them each to tell us a little bit about themselves.

Here is what Michele had to say.



I come from a very creative family, growing up trying all sorts of arts and crafts. My mom enrolled me in a sewing class when I was quite young. In 2000 I started knitting so that I could make my brother a Harry Potter scarf. Ever since then knitting has been my favorite textile art. I used to be afraid of wearing color but knitting introduced me to how fun it can be.


My favorite things to knit are socks for their portability and tons of fun yarn choices and patterns. Sweaters, for the ability to create my own clothes, I hope to one day have a completely handmade wardrobe. And last but not least, shawls for the chance to play with yarns and patterns in a totally different way.


There aren’t many things I’d say I dislike, for fear of changing my mind (most recently I started drop spindling which I swore I’d never do) but mohair makes me itchy and complicated lace is hard to knit while reading or watching tv.

I can’t wait to get to know the String Theory community better and get inspired by all of you!

Look for Michelle at String Theory on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday afternoons.

And here is what Kathy had to say:



Knitting should be an adventure and although my mother and grandmother taught me to knit when I was 8, mine really began when a friend opened a knitting shop 17 years ago.  To show my support I went and bought a cabled cardigan pattern and the yarn to go with it. The knitting made sense to me, and I discovered that I was good at it.  


Shortly after that I was certified to teach knitting by the CYCA. I taught classes until life and four kids kept me busy and at home.  I’ve been published and love to design and alter patterns. Unusual construction or new techniques interest me.  

My favorite things to knit are socks and shawls, and my favorite techniques are entrelac, mitered shapes and short rows.

I am excited to be a part of the String Theory family, and I look forward to sharing my love of yarn and passion for knitting with everyone.

Look for Kathy at String Theory on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings and teaching classes.

I am so excited to see what Kathy and Michelle bring to String Theory.

I know you are going to love them both!

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Behind the Scenes with Sara Gresbach

April 16, 2015
lodgepole hat

Lodgepole Hat by Sara Gresbach


Sara Gresbach is bringing her favorite designs to String Theory on Sunday, April 19th. A few days ago Sara shared her design inspirations in this blog post. This time I asked her for some “behind the scenes” scoop.

Sara's Studio

Sara’s Studio

I asked Sara to tell us about her workspace.

My “workspace” is basically a pie rack my neighbor gave me. It’s centrally located in my dining room and helps to contain the project sprawl I tend to get going. I have a great desk with pretty yarn storage set up in the same room as my kids’ playroom, but it rarely gets used. It’s too far out of the way, and I’m always in the kitchen anyways.

Five Favorites

Continental or English?

Favorite Cast On?
This long-tail method

Magic Loop, two circulars or DPNs?
Magic loop

Guilty pleasure?

Favorite knitting tool?
The County Plus counting app on my phone. (an Android app)

Please join us on Sunday to meet Sara and see her fabulous designs. Everyone is welcome!

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Meet the Designer: Sara Gresbach | April 19, 2015

April 14, 2015
Meet the Designer: Sara Gresbach | April 19, 2015

Soul Happy

Soul Happy

Meet the Designer: Sara Gresbach
Sunday April 19
12 – 4
at String Theory Yarn Company
Everyone welcome!

We are so excited to have Sara Gresbach join us this Sunday. She is bringing loads of her favorite designs. There is really nothing better than seeing knitwear in person!


Rocoto in Malabrigo Sock


Sara has 73 patterns on Ravelry, including the Knitter’s Apothecary collection she did for Malabrigo.

Which of your designs is your favorite?
As far as wearability and something that I constantly grab to throw on, I would have to say Powder Hill. I just love the Mecha around my neck and the stitch patterns are super fun to knit.

How do you decide what to name a design?
I give this so much thought. Sometimes it just hits me, and other times I agonize forever. I love language and words, especially words that evoke a specific feeling, so I often go that route. I also love to name my designs after places that are special to me, so many of my pieces are named for locations I love.

Sneak Peek of Sisterhood

Sneak Peek of Sisterhood

Sara designed Sisterhood especially for us. What was your inspiration?
“Sisterhood,” is named for many things…..the relationships I have made with so many knitting friends, far and near, my own sweet sister (who doesn’t knit!), and my Grandma and her identical twin sister who were both knitters. Just that one word brings so many things to mind for me, and I hope it reminds knitters of the special people that have come into their lives through knitting. I also had the camaraderie of local yarn shops in mind when I named it.

What do you like best about this design?
I love the stitch pattern, it’s fresh and modern, yet classic. It’s light and airy, perfect for slightly warmer weather, yet a generous length, so it can easily transition to the cooler months. It has as fun little edging that is worked first, and I really enjoyed knitting that special little touch.

Covington Blanket

Covington Blanket

What is on your needles now?
Oh goodness, let’s see…..I’m finishing up a worsted weight summer sweater in a cotton/linen blend that will be published soon and written for 4 weights, from lace to worsted. I’m really excited about this one. I also have a kids version of the same design on the needles in lace weight for my daughter. I took on the challenge of making the Beekeeper’s Quilt, so I always have a hexipuff on the needles, and I’m about to cast on for a small Covington blanket for my niece who is having a baby in June.

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String Theory is Hiring

March 19, 2015


String Theory is Looking for Additional Staff

If you are:

  • Friendly, outgoing and a great listener
  • Knowledgeable about knitting and/or crochet, yarn gauge and pattern terminology
  • Passionate about good yarn
  • Adept at multi-tasking
  • Self-motivated
  • Savvy with Social Media

We offer:

  • A fun place to work with fabulous co-workers and the best customers
  • Employee discounts
  • Flexible part-time scheduling
  • A creative and collaborative environment

Job tasks include:

  • Assisting customers in the selection of yarn, projects, books and tools
  • Assisting with pattern reading and fixing mistakes
  • Creating beautiful product displays
  • Labeling and restocking inventory
  • Working accurately with our POS system
  • Maintaining a clean and tidy store

Because of the nature of retail you must be able to work some weekends and evenings

String Theory is a small independent business,which strives to improve our community both locally and around the globe.

To Apply:

Send your resume and cover letter to janet AT

Please include your Ravelry name and Instragram ID


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Oops, I did it again!

March 16, 2015

I often hear new knitters longing for the day when they stop making mistakes. I don’t really know how to respond to that. I don’t want to discourage them, but really, you aren’t going to stop making mistakes unless you stop knitting. You will eventually learn how to fix your mistakes, but I don’t know anyone who has stopped making them.

travel knitting

travel knitting

Here is my latest. The other day on the plane to Seattle, I was knitting Deep End by Heidi Kirrmaier in a glorious custom colorway of Cheshire Cat mini skeins. I knew I had messed up one of the increases, but I was in the middle seat in the middle of a fascinating discussion about the life of a tattoo artist and I couldn’t imagine pausing to take tiny stitches off of slippery metal needles to fix it, so I knit on.


knitting at conferences = heaven

I decided to live with that particular mistake. The next day, as I was joining my yarn for the next color I had this brief thought that maybe I should look at the pattern again, but I was in the middle of listening to a fascinating presentation on marketing and so I knit on.


yeah! I’m on the third color

I brought this project because it was social knitting. The point was not to have to check the pattern. So I knit on through more interesting presentations and a drink with friends and on the bus during the yarn crawl. The colors are spectacular together. The feel of the yarn in my fingers is smooth and bouncy. I was loving every minute and still that voice whispering “I think you should look at the pattern” would not be silenced.


no stair step edge

So after a few days of knitting on, just before I packed up my things to check out of the hotel, I finally took a moment to look at the pattern. Oops! Before I join a new color, I’m supposed to bind off several stitches of the old color to create a stair step edge. This isn’t the kind of mistake that you can fix. I could have ignored the pattern and considered my error a modification, but I really like the original design. So I ripped and ripped and ripped.


might as well rip back to my increase mistake

Not much to show for four full days of knitting, but if I’m not knitting this, I would just be knitting something else.

Anyone else making mistakes? Leave me a comment. Misery loves company : )

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Knitting Bags from Re:new

March 15, 2015


Re:new Bags at String Theory
Saturday, March 21 10am – 5pm

Need a new bag to carry your projects or gather your notions? Come Saturday to String Theory. The great people from Re:new are bringing a wide assortment of their bags to sell. Pick some up for yourself and your friends.


Re:new bags are made by refugee women supporting their families in DuPage County.



Carry the Story of Refugees in Our Community

Re:new artisans are refugee women from 14 countries who have survived war, persecution, or natural disaster and resettled in America. As these sewing students and artisans work at Re:new, they improve their sewing skills, gain workplace experience, and are able to practice the English language in a safe environment. These skills are valuable as they integrate into a new culture. Take a look here at their video.

As a fiber artist yourself, you will recognize and appreciate their fine craftsmanship.

Your Purchase Makes a Difference


Please stop by on Saturday and bring your friends. Your purchase helps Re:new make our community a better place.


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An Evening with Dream in Color

March 13, 2015


Tables piled high with luscious hand dyed yarns you haven’t seen before…open skeins that you can try before you buy…racks of shawls and sweaters to inspire you…a room full of people who enjoy this as much as you do.

Canyon - wool raised, milled and hand dyed in the US

Canyon – wool raised, milled and hand dyed in the US

An Evening with Dream in Color
Wednesday, March 18 at 7pm
Tickets $35







The story behind the colors and the fibers and the company. We are so lucky to have Nancy and Veronica, the masterminds behind Dream in Color, join us for the evening. Be sure to get their advice on which yarns work best for you and the projects you have in mind.

Join Us…

It’s a party with refreshments and prizes and good company. Invite your friends. I do hope you can make it.

Register Here (or call the store at 630 469-6085)

Please do this now so you don’t miss your chance.

Stricken in  Dream in Color Jilly

Stricken in
Dream in Color Jilly

Robin's Lullaby in Dream in Color Everlasting DK

Robin’s Lullaby in Dream in Color Everlasting DK

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Golden Needle Awards 2015 | Winners

March 1, 2015


Wow! We had some beautiful projects this year in the Golden Needle Awards. Thank you to everyone that brought your masterpiece in for display. We are so inspired!

It is so gratifying to have helped you find the pattern or select the yarn and then see the finished product as beautiful as we imagined it would be.

Every year we celebrate the creativity and skill in our own community with the Golden Needle Awards. Our customers submit entries and then whoever drops by the store during the event gets to vote. As soon as we get it put together you’ll get to experience the whole event via YouTube. In the mean time, the winners are…. (click on the pictures for pattern links)

Michelle made this sweater during our 2014 NaKniSweMo.

Favorite Sweater: North Shore by Michelle Everson

Favorite Sweater: North Shore by Michelle Everson

Debbie makes a lot of adorable toys, so I’m glad she entered this year. These are part of a woodland themed nursery.

Wee Woodland Wuzzies by Debbie Bush

Favorite Toy: Wee Woodland Wuzzies by Debbie Bush

Jan’s cowl is done in a tube, like a hat and then grafted together. Manos Fino knit densely is one of my favorite fabrics.

Funchal Moebius by Jan Jones

Favorite Scarf/Cowl: Funchal Moebius by Jan Jones

Christine made this adorable baby sweater for her granddaughter.

Provence Baby Cardigan by Christine Rachke

Favorite Baby Item: Provence Baby Cardigan by Christine Rachke

Tobi saw the cowl that Kristen crocheted for the store and liked it so much that she made one for herself. Gorgeous!

Molecule Cowl by Tobi Davis

Favorite Crochet:Molecule Cowl by Tobi Davis

Sharon made these for her mother. What a gift!

Ballet by Sharon Wussow

Favorite Accessory: Ballet by Sharon Wussow

A couple of weeks ago I shared this pattern link on Facebook. Cathy took on the challenge and was up until 1am the night before our Golden Needle Awards finishing up.

Darwin by Cathy Fey

Favorite Shawl: Darwin by Cathy Fey

Christy will tell you that she won best of show because there was no “Home” category, but we know it was because her blanket is beautiful and grand and it took 4 years to finish. Christy also mentioned that you can trace her journey to becoming a yarn connoisseur, since the yarns used towards the end of the project are nicer than the ones she started with.

Sock Yarn Blanket by Christy Becker

Best in Show: Sock Yarn Blanket by Christy Becker

A very special thank you to those that came in to “oooh” and “aaah” – you were key to the festivities.

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Ann Weaver Workshops in April

February 20, 2015


People are still raving about the Albers Cowl Workshop they took with Ann Weaver last September.

“I will never look at a painting in the same way again.”

Other workshops were entertaining, but “I learned so much with Ann Weaver.”

“Janet, you need more lights and darks so we can combine color the way Ann taught us.”

I’m very excited that we are able to bring Ann back to teach us more. This time we’ve got two new options for you to choose from. Take a look below and decide which one(s) are right for you.

You can register online or stop by or call the store. Space is limited, so don’t delay.

modular mitts

Mixology Workshop
Friday April 10, 2015
7:00 – 9:00pm
Cost: $75

Would you like to feel more confident about your color choices before you start a project? In this workshop, Ann Weaver will show you how to figure out what kinds of colors a project needs and how to pick out a palette you will love, even after all the knitting is done. Please join us!

Modular Mitts, designed by Ann Weaver, is a perfect opportunity to experiment with color by using small amounts of yarn and simple techniques. Inspired by the color studies done by Johannes Itten and his students at the Bauhaus school, these mitts are designed to showcase the interactions among colors.

The goals of this workshop are to expand your color vocabulary and confidence in color combination choices and to teach modular knitting techniques like picking up and knitting stitches.

Skills needed: ability to cast on, knit garter stitch comfortably and bind off are required.

Since it is a Friday night, Ann said she would show us how to make a great cocktail. Did you know she is also a bartender?

Click to Register for the Mixology Workshop

Chitagong Square Shawl

Chitagong Square Shawl

String Theory Getaway: Shawls from the Inside Out
at the Clarus Center in Warrenville
Saturday April 11, 2015
10:00am – 3:00pm
Cost $125

Come spend the day with Ann Weaver! Learn to make good color choices and master the techniques needed to make one of Ann’s shawls from the inside out.

We have an incredible day planned for you at the Clarus Center in Warrenville. We want you to feel like you’ve spent the day at a spa or a luxury resort, so we are taking care with every detail. The setting is beautiful, the food delicious, and the knitting will be full of laughter and inspiration.

Anns Mom traffic furnitureEveryone will start with a square shawl, creating a customized shape, textures, and color combination. For example, Ann’s mom (pictured at left) is modeling a square shawl Traffic Furniture. Then, those that are interested can start a circular shawl based on a workbook Ann created.

We will have lots of yarn available on site to help you design your shawl based on what you learn about color and texture and a consult with Ann, if you like.

Ann will also have many, many samples on hand to inspire you.

All we need now, is a fun loving group of knitters. Please join us.

Skills needed: knit, purl, work in the round and increase

If you are coming from out of town, please consider spending the night at the Hilton Garden Inn, one block from the Clarus Center. Then on Sunday, you can stop by String Theory on your way back home.

Click to Register for the Getaway


ann weaver Crazy shawl_2

Ann Weaver has created things her whole life. She learned to knit when she was seven, learned to read a pattern at 22 and started sharing her designs through various forms of publication in 2007.

Since graduating from New York University with majors in Art and English, Ann has worked as a deli associate, Harvard graduate student in Assyriology, Macy’s cosmetics counter manager, teaching fellow, assistant curator, state bureaucrat, temp, Akkadian instructor, medical secretary, assistant office manager, barback, commercial bread baker, and proofreader, among other things. She is always looking for a new adventure.

Ann’s design work reflects this quest for adventure; while retaining a clean, wearable aesthetic, Weaverknits designs experiment with asymmetry, unusual color and yarn combinations, and androgyny.

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