SpaceCadet Newsletter: Barking at Sheep and Other Adventures

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Barking at Sheep and Other Adventures

If you aren’t on Instagram every day, you might not have spotted that the recent discussions around race and inclusiveness have expanded to conversations around pattern pricing and accessibility for all incomes.  It’s been fascinating and thought provoking to say the least, with some distinctly differing viewpoints emerging in teh conversations, and something I’d really like to share with you.  But, because it’s on Instagram and mostly being discussed in IG Stories (which aren’t easily sharable or linkable), much of the discussion is really hard to reference outside of IG.

So, if you’re curious, I suggest you explore IG (and especially the stories) for yourself. I know it will feel like jumping into a fast-moving conversation that’s already in mid-flow (because that’s exactly what it is) but that’s probably the best way to catch up on the debate.  In the meantime, I am collecting linkable sources around this conversation (blog posts, regular IG posts, and so on) to share with you in an upcoming newsletter.  And if you have seen any particularly interesting posts that you think are worth sharing too, please do send them to me — I’d really appreciate it!

Ok, I’ve got a nice cup of tea and a bunch of stuff to tell you about, so go find a comfy place to curl up and let’s jump right in, ok?


Years ago, I was on holiday with friends in the west of Ireland when we came across a lamb that was stuck in a peat bog and separated from its mother, both of whom were bleating pitifully and continuously to one another but completely unable to reunite.  We debated for several minutes as to how to help them and came up with no solutions when, without thinking, I walked toward the lamb, crouched down, and started barking loudly like the meanest dog you ever heard.  It did the trick.  The lamb, who had been thoroughly stuck, was suddenly very much unstuck and at its mother’s side in a heartbeat, and the two trotted off together, very happily and relieved.  And I had completely forgotten about that until I watched this rather hilarious video of a man in California who left his back gate open and, upon discovering his garden had been invaded by scores of sheep, didn’t know how to get them back out.  He tries to convince and cajole them (and eventually succeeds) but I found myself thinking, “Just start barking!”  And my very favourite part of the whole story?  The sheep grazing behind his house are brought in by the local government to clear overgrowth in an effort to curb wildfires.  Brilliant!

I was completely intrigued when I came across this recent Google Doodle depicting Ruth Asawa creating what appeared to be crocheted hanging… lamp shades? artworks? bug-catchers? I wasn’t sure so I clicked through and was so glad I did.  Ruth was a Japanese-American artist whose looped wired pieces were inspired by “plants, the spiral shell of a snail, seeing light through insect wings, watching spiders repair their webs in the early morning”.  Her life story is inspiring, and well worth a read.

The knitting/crochet/weaving pattern website, Patternfish, is closing its doors.  It will stop selling patterns at the end of this month, and keep customer’s purchased patterns available for download until the end of June. If you’ve got patterns stashed there, be sure to download them before then.

Ok, I’m a little biased because Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is here in Pittsburgh but I cheered when I saw this news item about how researchers used knitting to create “soft robotics.” The goal was”to design robotic form factors that are lower cost, less dangerous and in some cases even wearable.”  They do it by sewing innovative “tendons” (otherwise known as… ahem… lifelines!) into the fabric and attaching them into motors that then pull to reshape the fabric.  Watch the video, it’s interesting stuff!

One of the things I really love doing is taking photographs of patterns designed in SpaceCadet yarn.  If dyeing is my creative outlet, then photography is a creative outlet on top of my creative outlet! At any rate, Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs sent me her Briochearrow shawl (you remember it from a few weeks ago?) and we got such lovely shots of it that I really want to share them with you.

The thing I like about these photos most is that I think they really let you see the beauty of those brioche stitches, and the way the variegated colourway (Molten Cool) shifts and changes.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Have you tried brioche yet?


Tudor Windows Pullover by Corrine Walcher

image © Stephanie Alford

If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu, it’s because designer Corrine Walcher was so impressed when our model wore her beautiful Tudor Windows cardigan backwards that she has reworked the pattern into a pullover.  And I think it’s absolutely lovely!  I mean, I know your eye is drawn to that cable panel but do zoom in on the raglan shaping — it’s so beautiful!  Designed in SpaceCadet Lyra for its incredible stitch definition, it’s shown here in Yes Dear, a wonderfully versatile green.  Click here to see the full range of colours.

Various by Hunter Hammersen

image © Hunter Hammersen, used with permission

I am such a sucker for a really great hat crown, and this one certainly fits that bill!  There’s something about it that’s so organic, it’s almost irresistible.  Knit with only one colour at a time, the intricate patterning is created through clever use of slipped stitches.  I’d love to see it with in a beautifully busy variegated, such as Windswept, against a deep semi-solid, like That’s What She Said.

Castle in the Sky by Lisa K. Ross

image © Lisa K Ross, used with permission

Now, the inspiration for these socks has something to with Jack and the Beanstalk but, living in Pittsburgh — the city that has more bridges than anywhere else in the world — you know I immediately saw those same steel and stone structures in its stitchwork.  Whether you think it looks like beanstalks (no) or bridges (yes), you have to admit, they do look like a lot of fun to knit!  Try them in Fizz or Crisp for a bright result or in a more subdued Longing.

Ok, there’s a lot of stuff on the agenda today (dyeing, a little bookkeeping, and our TNNA booth to design!), so I’d better get a start on things.  I hope you have a wonderful day ahead of you (no bookkeeping!) and, until next time, all my best!

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