Sometimes, the holiday season frenzies the public to the point where people forget the necessities; iPad Minis, Wii U’s, and Furby toys take precedence over winter attire. At some point, however, these gadgets do not matter, and staying warm and helping others are what comes out of the season.
For its fourth straight year, String Theory Yarn Company in downtown Glen Ellyn is selling scarves donated by customers to benefit a local charity throughout the holiday season. From now until December 29, people can purchase a handmade scarf at the store, with proceeds being donated to the Du Page Homeownership Center.
After raising over $13,000 in the past three years, and with last year’s chosen charity of the People’s Resource Center receiving approximately $4,000 alone, owner Janet Avila’s charity project has taken on its own identity and attracted knitters from all over the country to donate to the cause. In addition to the majority of scarves coming from knitters and artists in the area, some of them have come from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well. “Someone else from the East Coast stumbled upon our website when she was researching yarn shops for an upcoming trip to Chicago. She read about the Scarf Market and sent us several scarves,” says Avila.
The donated scarves for Scarf Market are not just any scarf purchased at the local big-box store and then given to the store to be resold; these are all handmade with fine yarns, much of which were purchased at String Theory for the purpose of making a scarf for donation. Each scarf is one-of-a-kind, and since they are handmade they are all different than even ones made from the same donor in the previous year. Scarf prices range from $25 to $75. “Many people don’t appreciate the hours and expense involved in making a scarf with quality yarn, so we work at educating them,” says Avila. Every cent gets donated to the DHOC, an organization which helps homeowners in default or foreclosure stay in their homes through lender negotiation and resolution.
The String Theory Yarn Company as a whole has long since been involved in charity and sustainability. Open since 2004, Avila chooses yarns to sell that are both socially responsible and environmentally friendly. Also, by choosing a new charity beneficiary each year, the company is doing its part to keep the public aware of the needs of its area. “Individuals, knitting groups and church groups all contribute. It is a community effort.”
The scarves available for purchase in the store during regular business hours, found on the store’s website. If you see a scarf you like but it is not still available at the time of purchase, String Theory offers knitting lessons so students can learn how to make scarves on their own. The three-part beginner’s class costs $60, and it includes materials.
Scarf Market may have the perfect gift for a loved one, and the guarantee the customer receives from buying one is the all-around satisfaction that the item was made with love. The same cannot be said for a Wii or an iPad Mini.
(Click on the “Subscribe” button to have the Chicago Knitting Examiner’s articles emailed directly to your inbox.)