top of page
  • Writer's picturecflaacushing

I promised that I would tell a few stories about my designs and how they came to be. I haven’t told one since October of 2019. Sometimes the story changes course from the initial idea to the finished project. That was certainly the case with String of Purls.

String of Purls was originally created for the 2020 Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop. The theme was “Stitches in Time: Inspired by Decades.” When the shop owners met to assign each shop a decade, we randomly drew the 1960s. In previous hops, 2017 and 2018 in particular, my designs had grown out of issues of the day. But in January 2020, not only was I uninspired by the fashion of the second half of the 1960s (read: crocheted granny square vests and fringed leather jackets) I was also deeply discouraged by the state of our affairs. So I chose the early 1960s instead-- days of Camelot and the space mission and the world of Mad Men. I had originally named it “A Simple Strand of Purls”. A simpler design, a simpler time. Then the events of 2020 begged the question: simpler for whom? Answer: people like me.

String of Purls is a top down capelet, with a distinctive 1960’s style collar and “string” of bobble-ettes at the neck. It is reminiscent of the necklines of Jackie Kennedy and the pearls worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It is a design inspired by the past but (I’m listening) not blinded by it.

I'll check in again soon.

Cynthia Cushing

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Knitting at the lake, on the lake, thinking about the’s literally and figuratively where I live. Years before I actually owned my store, I had named it in my mind – Lakeside Yarn. Then in 2010, I bought the shop in Excelsior, MN, from its founder and original owner, Carri Hammett, and it was there that I started to create my own designs. But I digress a moment for a little personal background.

I didn’t start knitting until my late 20s, when an icy Thanksgiving weekend rollover on I-90 near Janesville, Wisconsin put me in a body brace for a few months with compression fractures of 2 vertebrae. Oh, it wasn’t really serious, but it definitely put a damper on the life of a fresh out of law school first year associate in a Chicago law firm. What was I to do in that body brace? I had watched my Swedish friend, Birgitta, whip out sweaters in a few days. It seemed like an immediate gratification kind of thing. (Riiiight.) So I said, I’m in, and she sat me down and taught me to knit and purl, continental style like all good Scandinavian knitters. And then life happened – the law, marriage, kids, widowhood, but always the lake. Lake Michigan, Lake Mill, Lake Cora, Big Trout, North Long, and then, Lake Minnetonka, where Lakeside Yarn found a home. I owned the storefront brick and mortar shop until June, 2019, when it morphed into a hybrid yarn shop called BE. at Lakeside, that often features Lakeside original designs. This space will introduce you to some of those designs.

For 13 years, the Twin Cities metro area yarn shops have hosted the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop, where, along with fundraising and prizes, each shop creates an exclusive original pattern and commissions a custom dyed yarn to knit and/or crochet it.

There’s a different theme every year and the character, personality, and energy of each of the shops come to life for four days in April. The themes really set the stage – “Inspired by...Art, Music, Literature, Games, and Heroes”, to name a few. In 2014, it was “Scenic Landmarks” and we at Lakeside Yarn were inspired by, you guessed it, Lake Minnetonka. The Four Seasons Wrap was created to represent each breathtaking season lived on a big, bold lake dropped right on the edges of a Midwestern metropolis. Our dear friend, Brenda Lavell, from Phydeaux Designs, created a different exclusive colorway for each season on gorgeous merino/silk fingering weight yarn — Winter Lake, Spring Lake, Summer Lake and Autumn Lake (although we did have to send her photos of a Midwestern autumn because she is a NoCal girl and did not know the magic of maple trees turning in October). The pattern calls for the yarn to be held double stranded in different combinations and progressions and creates a gradient wave from one season to another. It is our signature design.

You can find the Four Seasons Wrap on our website and at various retail shows across the country (check out our events page).

Until next time, Cynthia Cushing Lakeside Yarn

bottom of page