Meet StevenBe

Meet Steven

“BE INSPIRED. BE BRILLIANT. BE LIMITLESS.”

Steven Berg is a fiber artisan that is armed with a wealth of experience, a daring sense of style, and a firm belief in the transformative power of creativity that knitting or crocheting offers to all who are brave enough to push the boundaries.

Berg began his career early as a young boy, furiously knitting lines of sequin dresses for a discerning clientele of Barbies in Wisconsin.  This naturally led him to become a star student in fashion design at both Parsons and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Following graduation, Berg found inspiration in the beautiful, fashion capitals of the world for many years, as a VP of design at Perry Ellis. His creative work experiences brought him back to his favorite medium again, the one that always inspired him the most, the imaginative world of fiber arts.

In a 6,000 square foot, 1800’s restored Firehouse, among a treasure trove of objects devoted to the fiber arts; this is where you will find Steven today. Encouraging his knit-crochet-fiber loving friends to push the limits, hosting a party at his eclectic store and always pouring out his latest designs. Steven’s knitwear designs of ‘chunky funky’ creations have caught the attention of Hollywood celebrities and stylists.

Steven reminds all fiber aficionados: ‘The possibilities are endless.’ ‘There are no mistakes, only variations.’ And always remember to ‘Glam it up!’

Faux Fair Isle

Fair Isle is a beautiful and traditional knitting technique but it can be time consuming and tricky to master. For those that love the look but don’t have the time or patients, self-patterning yarn, or Faux Fair Isle yarn is the answer. The yarn is dyed to create a pattern when knit up.

The most common faux fair isle is sock yarn: 

 

 Ravelry user JoeysHouse made a baby sweater.

Arne and Carlos created a teddy bear  

Arne and Carlos designed their yarn by pulling inspiration from traditional Norwegian fair isle patterns and colors. They also designed the self patterning yarn in this hat:2dbbbdfc-e813-4afc-97c5-9583435974a6

This hat, along with Norwegian knitting techiniques, will be taught  by Arne and Carlos at StevenBe’s on September 25th. Register now!

If you’re feeling ambition and want to create a fair isle piece the traditional way, here’s a good place to start. You can design your own fair isle design here. In honor of Arne and Carlos visit, StevenBe is hosting a social media ball designing contest. We will pick two winners, one for the best ball and one for a Stevenbe’d ball. That means we want to see you go balls to the wall with your crazy designs and excess flair.

Send us a picture of your finished balls by tagging @Stevenbe and #ShowStevenBalls via Instagram. Stay tuned for more details on dates and prizes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arne and Carlos

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Arne Nerjordet and Carlos Zachrison are two Norwegian designers, textile artists, and authors well known for their colorful designs that put a twist on tradition patterns.

AC-HageBok-421-823x450This method of pushing the limits of a tradition craft falls right into StevenBe’s area of expertise. Knitting is such an old art and it’s important to fine find new ways to bring it into the modern scene of fashion and design. Arne and Carlos have “StevenBe’d”, or taken a piece a little bit further than it was intended to go by adding their own creativity and art,  many traditional Norwegian motifs.

 

2dbbbdfc-e813-4afc-97c5-9583435974a6This world-famous, knitting duo is returning to StevenBe for a fabulous Sunday of knitting fun and inspiration September 25th. Join us for a workshop where Arne and Carlos debut a hat design from their newest collaboration with Schachenmayr. While knitting up your hat, Arne will share with everyone his technique for knitting and purling the Norwegian way. Learn more on our calendar.

Fuel your Fiber Arts

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IMG_6289Steven’s  fascination with perfectionism was initiated in Rosemont with the founding of the yarn garage. As a small business owner, he loves to support and promote small local coffee shops but, sometimes you just have to stop at Starbucks and, of course, he has to do it the “StevenBe Way.” 

Steven’s favorite drink is 50% caramel drizzle at the bottom with 4 shots of espresso stirred with a spoon in a Venti cup with extra ice and skim milk. Of course he calls his creation The StevenBe. Most baristas respond to this bizarrely specific order with blank stares or huge sighs but he always gets it made perfectly. Do you have a very specific go to drink order? 

583StevenBe has it’s own custom line of fair trade coffee exclusively blended by the Velasquez Family in Honduras, this smooth cup of joe is a blend of roasts including espresso—sure to set your synapses sparkling!

Here’s a gorgeous video from the Velasquez Family about their coffee: http://www.ashlivin.com/blog/2016/6/9/velasquez-family-coffee-video

 

Drink your coffee in style and let everyone know how you’re really feeling with one of these mugs!

Halos of Hope

IMG_20160705_155027StevenBe is the new Halos of Hope Ambassador!

IMG_20160710_174107The love and support knit, crocheted, sewn, or woven into every hat not only provides cancer patients with comfort and warmth but it also lets them know people are keeping them in their thoughts and supporting them from afar. Halos of Hope has a list of recommended yarns best suited for sensitive skin. If you aren’t attending Stitches this year, you can learn more on how to donate here.

Along with the hat donation, this year StevenBe, Halos of Hope, and Knitting Universe is running a crazy hat contest called Beyond. The challenge is to create the hat you believe most celebrates life Beyond cancer. It’s time to turn your knitting up a notch and be inspired to make the craziest, most outrageous hat imaginable! Use color, beads, feathers, glitter, in any combination of style and fashion that you think demonstrates a celebration of life. Listen to Steven talk to Marly Bird about the contest in her Yarn Thing podcast.

Beyond will bIMG_20160713_204418e a year-long event kicking off on August 5, 2016 at Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, Illinois and championed by StevenBe. Hats can be donated from August 5, 2016 through July 1, 2017 either directly to Halos of Hope or at a participating Halos of Hope or StevenBe booth during a Stitches Event until July, 2017.

IMG_20160728_162417All hats meeting the criteria of the BEYOND campaign will be on display and considered entered into the final contest  with winners announced during the Stitches Midwest event in 2017. They will be auctioned off to raise funds for Halos of Hope to continue sending hats to cancer patients. Learn more about the contest and start your creative engines on the official Beyond Page.

Visit Steven at Stitches Midwest From August 4th to 7th and drop off your donations, your contest entry, or just to see which hat Mama Christa is sporting. StevenBe will also be selling kits with in an exclusive hand-dyed yarn by Three Irish Girls in DrawFour Designs’ Perfectly Pooled Hat Pattern. Can’t wait to see everyone at Stitches Midwest!

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

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Do you ever get that feeling that you want to be the very best, like no one ever was? Now you can be the best fiber artist and Pokemon Trainer because StevenBe’s is a Pokemon Go gym! We’ve set up a trainer lounge so you can take a break from the heat and see which Pokemon are lurking in the between the skeins.
jigglypuff on yarnOdds are, even if you aren’t on a quest to catch ’em all, you have a Pokemon trainer in your life. Today’s post offers inspiration on how to mix your hobbies with your husband /daughter /grandchild /coworker. You can knit or felt them something they love as they trample across town mumbling made up words like “Vaporeon” and “Garados” excitedly under their breath.

 
IMG_20160721_110915Draw Four wrote this incredible Catch ‘Em All Cap pattern and we built kits (that come in an adorable Pokeballesque container that will also work for blocking). We offer the kits in the three team colors: Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), and Valor(red). If you come into the store and your team currently owns the gym, your kit is $5 off! It’s a quick project to knit for the trainer in your life.IMG_20160721_152809

Stephen West has a Vulpix shawl. For those unfamiliar, Vulpix is a fox like fire Pokemon. His shawl channels the colors and pointy ears of this adorable Pokemon.

IMG_20160724_205832If knitting isn’t your craft of choice but you want to get in on the Poke-crazy try needle felting. We have a needle felting kits that will walk you through the steps to make a small wool creature. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can translate those skills to create anything you want! Pick up a kit here!

 

If Pokemon is not your chosen fandom and you prefer to nerd out over Dr. Who, Sherlock, Firefly, or others, we still have you covered. We offer a whole line of yarns inspired by the nerdy things we all love.

We also have a time set aside each week for all the Minneapolis geek to get together, knit, chat, and watch movies. Join join us every Thursday for a Geek Chic Movie Night.

From Couch to Closet

Ever pick up a blanket and wish you could carry the soft fabric next to your skin all day? Steven has. StevenBe has been offering the Feza Baby Gradient Blanket Kit online and in our store for a while. It uses the soft Feza Baby Hand-Dyed Yarn 50% Cotton and 50% Viscose and beautifully changes from white to color.

IMG_20160717_214416Steven, and his eye for fashion, found new potential in that Baby Gradient Blanket. Between the perfect size, the subtle color shift, and the drape of the yarn, Steven saw a Poncho. The pattern was written, colors more appropriate for street wear chosen, and tassels were added, completing the blanket’s transformation from to happening. Get the kit here!IMG_20160717_213616

IMG_20160714_152139Fashion and design are integral parts in Steven’s creative process. Steven has been designing since he was a young boy which led him to study fashion design at both Parsons and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Tassels, along with fur pompoms, are currently on Steven’s favorite things list, as you can tell if you’ve been in our store in the past few weeks.IMG_20160718_092521

How have you modified a pattern to give it new life? What have you been adding tassels to? Or maybe a better question: why haven’t you been adding tassels to everything?

Spend your Summer with StevenBe!

Summer is the hardest time to pick up your needles but we’ve got you covered. Sign up for an exclusive StevenBe class or drop by for some group knitting to find your motivation. We know you’ll wish you had finished that Ponchini come fall weather. Here’s what’s coming up this month:

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July 12th, 11 to 7 : Halos of Hope Charity Knitting Event

Come to StevenBe’s and knit for a cause! Halos of Hope is a nonprofit organization committed to providing volunteer crafted hats to cancer centers. Stop by any time and do some knitting! Yarn will be available for a minimal fee.

We are also offering a chance to destash for the cause. Bring in your unwanted yarn, full or partial skeins will be accepted, in balls, cakes, or skeins. Sort it up and bag it up! You’ll receive $1 per pound on store credit and 15% off your yarn purchase July 12th.

 

July 13th, 5-7: Sock It To Me: Sock Knitters’ Group

If you’ve fallen head over heels for sock knitting, join us for our sock knitters night. Knit and bond over all things sock with other knitters. Make sure to register! Each knitter will have his/her name entered in a very special drawing to kick off our first meetup!

July 17th, 1 to 3: Beginning Knitting Meetup

Let us take you through the basics of creating your first knitting project. Learn yarn and needle basics, cast-on, the knit stitch, and a simple bind-off. In this 2-hour session you will be well on your way to your first cowl!

Beginner kits are available at the store, and if you purchase one, your class fee will be refunded.  If you would prefer to purchase supplies elsewhere, you will need a size US 11 circular needle with a 24″ length, and a bulky yarn with at least 109 yards.  Check in with the store for information about the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th project requirements.

We are so excited to help you begin your knitting adventure! Register here!

 

July 19th, 5:30 to 7:30: StevenBE Creative Series- Find your Color Calling and Embrace your Fiber Future  

Fiber futureStudents will examine their color choices to determine their favorites and the ones they avoid. In the class they will discover new color
combinations and learn to make color work for them by exploring different techniques. Combining color into their work by alternating rows of color or holding two different colors together in their work. They can take it a step further by combining different textures along with different colors to add interest to whatever project they are knitting.

Register on our website!

 

Reoccurring Events

RX for Your Knits – Monday July 18th and 25th, 5-7

Do you need help reading a pattern, or deciphering the designer’s directions? Is there a technique you want to try, but don’t know where to start? Stop by StevenBe from 5-7pm for a prescription for your knitting ailments. Judith and Mary will be here to help you through your knitting trauma. No question too big or too small. We’re here to help!

Geek Chic Movies and Knits- Every Thursday, 5-7

Nerdy knitters unite! Join us for snacks, knitting (and crocheting!), and a screening of one of our favorite shows or movies. We’ll feature some of our favorite geeky patterns and nerdy yarns (they exist!) and invite you to bring your nerd knits for show-and-tell.

Chair fee is $5.00 or free for StevenBe Members.

Which class will we see you at? What classes, workshops, and get-togethers would you like StevenBe to offer?

Blocking Thoughts

IMG_20160705_135332Knitting used to be a necessity and now it’s a luxury. People use nicer yarn instead of the cheapest scratchy acrylic they could find. Each yarn has it’s own properties to consider so I don’t always block the same way. Every product is unique in its own right depending on the type of fiber, the stitches, and the shape of the garment. There are three type of blocking I use: steam blocking, damp blocking, and wet blocking.

stocking_soakBefore I block, I always make sure I have luke warm water, pins that don’t rust, and Soak on hand. I always use Soak. It’s my favorite garment wash, it’s not like the detergent we used to use to block our pieces. I used to use detergent like Cheer and I would have to thoroughly wash it out, all that washing isn’t always what a piece needs, but Soak doesn’t need to be rinsed out like that.

I like to do my blocking in steps. I start with steaming and see how the fabric changes. If I like it, then I’m done. No need to overwork a piece that is already done. If not, I move on to damp blocking, and then finally to wet blocking until the piece looks the way I want. Wet blocking is the most extreme. You have to submerge your piece completely and completely saturate it. It will totally alter your project, changing both fit and drape.

No matter how you do it, blocking is an important step in turning your piece into a polished finished product.

-Steven

 

Steven shared these thoughts during a blocking class. Bummed you missed it? His classes aren’t just for tours stops! All summer Steven will be hosting classes, workshops, and meetups in store to expand your fiber arts skills. Check out our calendar for more events!Screenshot 2016-06-30 at 2.26.43 PM

Novelty Yarn: Then and Now

When I started the yarn shop business it was a heyday of fun fur and eyelash yarn. People would come in and buy baskets full every week and knit these fluffy scarves. 

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Cable Drape Shrug in Rick Rack

Now, the market has swung to the opposite extreme with completely flat yarn. For years, we’ve been working with tons of fingering and hand-dyed flat yarns.

So today, novelty today means texture. For me, that’s not the extreme like fun fur and god knows what coming off the strand but more elegantly textured yarns mixed in with flat yarns in the proper ration or proportions.

 

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MONDOFIL textured yarn project

 

Companies like Habu, Bart & Francis, and MONDOFIL are providing these nuances that can elevate basic knitting once again into an art form.

Are you haunted by fun fur horrors from the past? When was the last time you used texture yarn? How do you balance the novelty with flat?

 

World Wide Knit in Public Day

World Wide Knit in Public Day was created in 2005 and was picked up by knitters across the world as a day to promote the craft and to meet others who share in the same hobby. This year, StevenBe hosted a meet up at Betty Danger’s, one of his favorite places in Minneapolis.

Watch what Steven has to say about WWKIP in an exclusive interview at the event. Forgive the background noise, the restaurant was packed!

How did you celebrate? Do you often knit in public? Let us know in the comments!

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