Newsletter: Taking the Studio Apart…

Newsletter: Taking the Studio Apart…

When I sent out my recent email about SpaceCadet’s COVID-19 plans, I had no idea what a wild week was in store for us (more on that in a minute) but I did say that I intended to keep sending out these newsletters because, even though I know this is an odd time to focus on something as frivilous as yarn, I also feel that there is a need amongst all this stress and uncertainty for a few moments of lightness.  And so I am writing this newsletter in the hope of bringing a little levity to your day.  I always tell you to grab a nice cuppa and join me, and I mean that especially today.  If your week has been at all like mine, I think we both need it.

Now, let me tell you about my week.  But as I do, I’m going to share photos of this lovely design, because loveliness really helps at times like this, doesn’t it?

This is Celestial Seas by Corrine Walcher.  And we have kits!

As you know from my previous email, we’d already implemented some pretty stringent protocols to reduce our exposure to COVID-19 but, late last week, the our governor ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their operational premises by 8pm that same night. And so the SpaceCadet crew and I scrambled to get down to the studio (coordinating ourselve to be there only one-at-a-time) and collect as much of our stock and equipment as we could so we can continue mailing out yarn to our customers and club members from our houses. It was a surreal experience to see the studio go from full to nearly completely empty in just a few hours, and I felt so unsettled by the whole situation as I turned off the lights and locked the door that it almost made me want to cry.
And though things were still in complete disarray, we had the SpaceCadet Studio 2.0 set up within a few hours, now split between three separate houses: dyeing in one, Mini-Skein breakdown in another, and stock and shipping in a third.  I knew it would be weird to work this way — not to mention quite a bit slower — but I was honestly blown away by the way the team pulled together so quickly and opened their own homes to make it happen.  I know I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again (and again): I work with really good people.

Just look at that lovely yoke shaping!

Then just a few days later, the governor placed our county under a stay-at-home order, which means we are no longer allowed to leave home for anything other than essential tasks such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy.  And with our dyeing process now split between three of our houses… well, that creates a real challenge as to how we move the yarn through that process.  And to be honest, it’s one we’re still trying to resolve but, if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that our customers and club members are just about as awesome as my team.  You have stood by us before (when the studio flooded! when I had pneumonia!) and I have no doubt you’ll support us now as we find our way through this unprecedented situation.  I’m so grateful your patience and understanding as we work hard to get your yarn to you as quickly as we can.

Knit in fingering, Celestial Seas is just right for Spring! (Did I mention we have kits?)


I remember just recently reading a social media post from someone who was saying how it is often much better for larger busted women to learn to add darts to their sweaters rather than knit larger sizes overall.  And then a few days later, I came across this useful article about manipulating darts (in sewing) to fit your body.  Serendipity?  I think so!

You might remember there was uproar a few months back in the fiber arts world when Disney forced designer Allison Hoffman to discontinue selling an amazing baby Yoda crochet pattern that she had designed.  I found really interesting this article, which explores the deeper legal ramifications of Disney’s approach to the baby Yoda copyright issue within the larger crafting community. (In related news, that same designer has recently released an adorable amigurumi elephant pattern that, along with her previous bear cub pattern, it also includes instructions for elongated bunny ears.)

There’s lots of designers creating special offers and designs to keep us all entertained as we socially isolate, and I was pleased to see that the designer, teacher, author, and Knitty editor Kate Atherley has re-released her Knit Accessories: Essentials & Variations pattern book.  It’s all about knitting from stash: patterns for key accessories – scarves, cowls, hats, mitts and socks. And for scarves and cowls, there’s a guide to designing your own!  Find it here.

I’m sharing this article for no other reason than the fact that someone expertly knitted a ton of (unnecessary) desk accessories but then failed to tell the model how to hold her needles for the photo.  The juxtaposition of those two things cracked me right up!

This is really interesting: this article about how colour changes the perception of interior spaces walks through nine different ways to paint a room to affect how large or small it looks.  But I couldn’t help thinking about how those same concepts apply to knitwear design, particularly how we can use colour placement to make patterns more flattering.  Worth a read!

As I’m sure you know, all of our spring shows cancelled due to the pandemic, and with that we lost so much revenue that we rely on after the post-holiday quiet period.  Fortunately, quite a few folks in our wonderful community have been stepping in to lend us some support, from the organisers of Homespun Yarn Party, who hosted a really wonderful virtual show to help fill in that gap, to some of our own customers who placed orders almost as soon as the situation became apparent.  I am deeply deeply grateful to you all.

And then there is my lovely friend Melissa, the designer behind Encourage Better and A Knit With Me Podcast, who has taken her beautiful pattern for a hat called Drizzle, designed in SpaceCadet Lyra, and made it available to you for free!  And the point, of course, is to encourage you to order your own skein of Lyra to knit it in, giving you something lovely on your needles while you self-isolate… and giving us a chance to make some of that lost revenue in the best possible way — by sending you beautiful yarn!

(Drizzle takes just one skein, it’s a super-addictive knit, and I think it would look fabulous in sublime Sage, delightful Crisp, bold Tickled, or rich Oxblood)

Reversible Step One Cowl by Mary W Martin

Mary specialises in reversable knits and her latest foray does not disappoint.  Incorporating reversible slipped stitch cabling over two-colour garter stitch, just look how the stitchwork makes the colours pop against each other!  Even better, there’s a matching hat (and the set of two patterns are 50% off until April 13) and also The Reversible Step Series eBook to walk you through three different ways to create these beautiful cables.

House Dressing by Chantal Belisle

I’ve shared this fabulous design with you before but Chantal, the designer, works in the restaurant business and just lost her job, so I can’t think of a better time to share it again.  That and the fact that it’s one of my favourite designs ever — I mean, just look at those sweet little houses around the skirt!  The neckline is simple and flattering, the waist is beautifully shaped, and the capped sleeves make it perfect for spring. Designed in sport, choose a cheery colour in either SpaceCadet Lyra or Astrid and cast on!

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’d better get the day started.  Even though we’re all stuck at home, there’s still so much to do!  I’ll be spending the day packing parcels, tagging skeins, and checking in with the SpaceCadet crew.  And I hope you get to spend some time with your knitting and crochet too.  Most of all, I hope you and yours stay safe and healthy, and if you are one of the people doing what needs to be done — the doctors, the nurses, the EMTs, the grocery store workers, pharmacists, everyone working in an essential service right now — I want to thank you, personally and from the bottom of my heart.

Until next time, all my best.  Stay safe and be well.

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