How the Trip to Stitches West Went Wrong!

How the Trip to Stitches West Went Wrong!

The Saga of Ol’ Yeller

Sometimes the stuff that is the hardest work is the most exciting, right?  We packed up the truck for Stitches West on Friday and it was hard work — hard and cold — but pure excitement can keep you energised and keep you warm, and it was so exciting to know that all our lovely SpaceCadet yarn was about to start its journey to California!

The whole SpaceCadet booth, all packed and sealed up tight!

And what a start it was!  There are eight awesome east coast vendors all making this journey to Stitches together: SpaceCadet, Ross Farm Fibers, Destination Yarn, Artisanal Yarn, ShirstyCat Designs, Yarn Culture, Dragonfly Fibers, and Neighborhood Fiber Co.  On Friday, we all met up and loaded our pallets onto the truck…

Our second pallet was the last to be loaded and…  it didn’t fit!  WHAT?!?  It turns out that although the pallets were the right size to fit the truck, everyone’s yarn had expanded over the edge of the pallets just a little bit.  And by the time you add an inch or two onto every pallet, there wasn’t enough room for the last one.  So, my assistant Jade and I hopped up onto the lift gate and broke open our carefully constructed pallet-load, and squeezed everything willy-nilly into the last little space on the truck.  …And it fit!

Trying trying trying to our last pallet on the truck

We all took a moment to stand in awe at the sheer amount of gorgeous yarn in that truck.  And then we all waved goodbye to our drivers, Amy and Scott of Ross Farm Fibers, and went home exhausted.  And at about 10pm, I got this message:
“Hey! Guess what? The truck died on the highway 30 miles west of Columbus! We get to meet NEW FRIENDS! They’re sending their local tech guy to troubleshoot it in 45 minutes. We are 18 mins from our hotel.”
It had been such a long day and now this…  oh, I felt so bad for them!

Amy and Scott had nicknamed the truck “Ol’ Yeller” and, sadly, it lived up to its name: the tech guy decided it had to be put down.  Or at least taken away and replaced, meaning everything we’d loaded had to be taken off the truck right there in the cold and reloaded onto a new vehicle.  When I told my husband, he said, “Well, at least everything is neatly palletised so nothing will get lost.”  I thought of our second pallet and cringed.  I’m sure it’s all ok, I’m sure it’s all ok, I’m sure it’s all ok…

RIP Ol’ Yeller!

The next morning, Amy and Scott were back on the road.  The new truck was named “Goldietrucks” and they were soon passing through Illinois… and then Missouri… and Oklahoma… and onto Amarillo.  Just think of all those knitters and crocheters the truck has been passing on its way, and they have no idea all the smooshy goodness that is flying past them with such determination to make it to Santa Clara!

Follow the Yarn Across America!

You can follow the yarn truck on Instagram as it makes its way across the country, using the hashtag #StitchesWestorBust (and when you do, please keep your fingers crossed that it’s smooth sailing from here on out).

And if you are in the northern California area, I so hope you will come and see all of us east coast dyers at Stitches West this weekend.  We’ve brought a ton of yarny goodness clear across the country for you!


Thurs Feb 23 to Sun Feb 26
Santa Clara Convention Center
Show Information: click here
Marketplace tickets: click here
Floor plan: click here
For classes: click here

The East Coast Dyers Coming to Stitches West:
SpaceCadet — Booths 906-908
Ross Farm Fiber — Booth 910
Destination Yarn — Booth 217
Artisanal Yarn — Booth 701
ShirstyCat Designs — Booth 1340
Yarn Culture — Booths 407-411
Dragonfly Fibers — Booths 706-710
Neighborhood Fiber Co. — Booths 506-508 & 605-607

Stitches West Show Exclusive Colourways!

Stitches is such a big show that we’ve dyed not just one but two show exclusive colourways!  One is fiery and warm, the other cool and sublime — and both of them are gorgeous!   We’ll be putting one out on Friday and the second on Saturday, and they’re sure to go fast so be sure to come to booth 906-908 as early as you can!

We’re Doing Two Shows Simultaneously!
Come see SpaceCadet at Indie Knit & Spin in Pittsburgh on Saturday Feb 25

When you have a series of great shows year after year, there’s always the possibility that, one year, they’ll be scheduled on the same weekend.  And this year it happened.  But when I told the SpaceCadet crew that Indie Knit & Spin, an awesome local show focused entirely on indie and handmade, and Stitches West were on the same weekend, they surprised me by proposing that we do both.

We’ve never done two shows simultaneously before.  It hadn’t even occurred to me!

But after sitting there gobsmacked for a moment, I suddenly realised that of course we could do both.  It would take a lot of planning, to be sure, but we really could do it!  And I love that the SpaceCadet team is so positive and up for adventure — even stuff that I haven’t thought of.  They’re such a great crew.

This is Where You Come In

So, while Jade and I are going to be working Stitches in California (with help from our friend Fatima), my assistants Jill (the one who answers all your emails) and Sara (the one who packs all your lovely parcels) will be doing Indie Knit and Spin.  This is the first show they’ve ever done on their own and, between you and me, I think they’re a little nervous.  I know they’re going to do a great job but if you are going to the show, please stop by and say hi to them.  Seeing friendly faces and chatting with customers is really what makes a show fun for us, so your coming by the booth will make them both feel so much more at ease.

Pittsburgh Indie Knit & Spin
Sat Feb 25, 10-4
Free Entry!
Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square
7604 Charleston Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Show Information: click here
For a map, click here

Show Exclusive for Indie Knit & Spin

This is a one-day show so there’s only one show exclusive but, oh!, it is a stunner!  It’s called Pretty Puddles and if you’ve ever seen all the colours in the puddles we post on Instagram, you’ll get an idea of how multifaceted and amazing it is.  I have no doubt it will fly, so be sure to stop by the booth early!

What I Really Want for Valentine’s Day

What I Really Want for Valentine’s Day

Every shop I went into this weekend is decked out for Valentine’s Day: there are hearts and roses and teddy bears and chocolates and on and on…  Can I tell you it feels a little silly to me?  It really does — I haven’t wanted much of any of this stuff since I was about fourteen years old.  …Ok, maybe the chocolate but not in that huge quantity, thank you very much.

For me, on Valentine’s Day, I don’t need anything big and showy.  In truth, it’s just about what really matters: the strength of the emotion and the yarn.

Valentine's Day Yarn: the SpaceCadet's Valentine's Day Mini-Skein Collections

The what?  The Valentine’s Day yarn, of course.  There’s always yarn on Valentine’s Day, right?  There should be yarn on Valentine’s Day!  I don’t see how anyone could possibly devise a holiday that’s about love and swooning and being swept off your feet and somehow not have yarn involved…  That doesn’t make any kind of sense!

So to celebrate Valentine’s Day the way it ought to be celebrated, we’ve put together three absolutely gorgeous Valentine’s Day Mini-Skein Collections.  They are sweet and bite-sized, the perfect way to a knitter or crocheter’s heart If you know someone who is might get muddled and give you a teddy bear with Mylar balloons, these Valentine’s Day Mini-Skein Collections are a super-easy way to put them on the right track!

(…Maybe just send the link to this page? Sometimes subtlety can be over-rated).

Valentine's Day Yarn: the SpaceCadet's Valentine's Day Mini-Skein Collections

And if Valentine’s Day fills your heart with anything but love, we created colourways to that have got you covered no matter how you feel about the holiday:

  • Love Is Forever: a romantic collections of pink, red, purple, and chocolate brown
  • Envy: a selection of jealous greens, yellows, golds, and browns
  • Bite Me!: a moody palette of  teals, blues, purples and earth-browns

 

Valentine's Day Yarn: the SpaceCadet's Valentine's Day Mini-Skein Collections

All The Details

Available in limited quantities and only until Feb 14th, but our last ordering day to ship for (domestic) Valentine’s Day delivery is Wed Feb 8th (before 5pm est), so click here to order straight away!

Each Valentine’s Day Mini-Skein Collection is comprised of four 20g (approx) mini-skeins in an assortment of SpaceCadet® fingering yarns in coordinating semi-solid and variegated colourways.  Each skein’s yardage depends on the type of yarn — click here for yarn and yardage details.  Each set’s colourways are one-of-a-kind and will differ slightly from those pictured here.

Valentine's Day Yarn: the SpaceCadet's Valentine's Day Mini-Skein Collections

 

 

 

Creating a World that Supports Women

Creating a World that Supports Women

The other day I saw a post on Instagram that said, “A business can be a prototype for the world you want to live in.”  And that sentence really stuck in my head.  We all know that businesses can be about making money, about filling a need or finding a niche, or doing some good in the world.  But about creating a prototype for how you want the world to work?  As I went through my day, that idea kept coming back to me – something about it felt very familiar.

We make some really beautitul puddles: Creating a World that Supports Women

Through this blog and social media, I get to share with you how I spend most of my days: creating amazing colourways and playing with yarn, taking beautiful photographs, making gorgeously colourful puddles on our dyeing tables(!), and writing messages to our customers all over the country and the world.  It’s an awesome way to make a living, and I’m so grateful to get to do it.

But there’s another part of SpaceCadet that I don’t often share — and maybe I should – something that’s incredibly important to me but, up until now, I hadn’t really thought would matter to anyone else.  That quote I saw on Instagram is exactly right: within this tiny company, I have been building the world I want to live in.  And that world is one where women are employed in a way that respects the realities of their lives and the unique demands they face.  Through SpaceCadet, I get to create a workplace that is flexible enough to meet their needs.

In truth, the differences don’t feel all that big to me.  Some of them stem from my experience of spending my whole working life in Britain: we get paid once a month instead of every two weeks (because that never made sense to me…  all our bills come once a month, so why not our pay?) and, when one of my assistants mentioned the possibility of having another baby, I told her without hesitating that I’d hold her job for a year.  It’s what I was used to and I knew I could make it work.

Laying out a year of Mini-Skeins: Creating a World that Supports Women

But the other changes are simply what work for us as team of women who are all mothers managing busy family and home lives.  Instead of having set hours, everything is based around getting the job done, which allows a lot of flexibility in where and when we do the work.  As much as possible, work can be done from home, and I’ve set things up so that we can easily track what we’ve completed — even if we get interrupted by small people fifteen times in the process!

And I’ve tried to build an enormous amount of flexibility into the time we spend at the studio, so we can adjust our schedules to our busy lives.  My assistants can come in and work the hours that suit them – whether that’s daytimes during school, evenings after dinner, or sometimes ridiculously early in the morning before anyone is awake.  And I try not to require anyone to work weekends (except for when we go to shows), but if weekends suit their schedules better, that’s fine by me too.  So long as everything gets done, I can make room for that kind of flexibility.

And then there are the curveballs that life throws – there’s nothing you can do about those!  People get sick, kids get sick(!), cars break down…  there’s always stuff like that.  But what makes me really happy is seeing that, because we’re already used to working in such a flexible way, we can adjust things without too much difficulty.  It’s awesome to watch my assistants come together to cover for one another (or me!) when one of us needs some time off.  They’ve even looked after each other’s children at home when one was so sick she just needed some time to sleep.  That kind of mutual support just blows me away!  And I think that has to be the best part of being able to set up a workplace like this: when it goes beyond just the job and creates a team that truly care about one another.

A team that really cares about one another: Creating a World that Supports Women

The world has seemed a very unsettling place in the last twelve months and it feels like we are all headed into uncharted territory.  But then that quote comes back to me and I realise that, as a business owner, I have the chance to shape a little part of the world into a good place to live, one that employs women with respect and support for the realities of their lives.  And then I am reminded that, more than all that, it’s you — when you choose to support a business like ours — that actually makes that possible.

And I am so grateful that it is possible.  Onwards.


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Behind the Scenes at a SpaceCadet Photoshoot

Behind the Scenes at a SpaceCadet Photoshoot

I used to work in an office — lots of spreadsheets and financial submissions and stuff that I now realise was a really bad fit for me.  These days, I find joy in the fact that no two days are ever the same, and I get to bounce from one interesting activity to the next…  and I get to call that “work”!  (To be fair, my accountant insists I also do my taxes.  I supposed there’s never a total escape from desk work).

Much of the time, my creative work involves actual dyeing.  I love standing in front of the dyepots and coaxing out new colour combinations.  Did you know we create a minimum of 12 new colourways every month?  (and often more?)  It’s true! Ten for the Mini-Skein Club, two for the Yarn Alliance or SpaceMonster Club, and then any Limited Editions (or just playing!) that we do that month.  I love having that creative outlet.

But working at the dyepots is only one part of what makes up the workday.  These past few weeks, we’ve been doing a lot of photography and, even though it’s completely different from dyeing, I find it equally satisfying.

…Satisfying, but ridiculous too.  See the photo above?  For this photoshoot, I had to lay half-flat on a table — one leg up, one leg down — without shaking the backdrop, which was held in place mostly with tape and about to fall down.  My right arm was going tingly, I had to hold my breath to get the shot…  But the result was totally worth it.

There is something so fun about taking this thing you’ve created and capturing it perfectly in an image to share with the world.  Take this adorable Yarn Crayons Mini-Skein Collection.  This was an idea we came up with just last week as we were packing our Holiday Limited Editions Mini-Skein Collections (above, which sold out in one hour!).  The colours in those Mini-Skeins were so beautiful that we kinda didn’t want to let any of them leave and then, suddenly, an idea popped into my head…  We always say that we think of our Mini-Skeins as “Yarn Crayons”…  What if we put together a special collection of our Mini-Skeins in a rainbow of crayon colours?!?

It was ridiculously late to prep a holiday gift idea but, once the idea was in our heads, we all wanted to do it so much that there was no way to put it on hold until next year!  With an idea this exciting, the dyeing happened super quick…  we gathered all the colours into rainbow bundles…  and then the last step was the photography.

Yarn Crayons Mini-Skein Collection

Perfect for holiday gift giving, these sweet tubs of “Yarn Crayons” contain ten 20g (approx) Mini-Skeins of assorted SpaceCadet fingering yarns, in a variety of one-of-a-kind gently variegated colourways in the full RoyGBiv spectrum (that’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet), plus brown and black/charcoal.  So you’ll have the whole rainbow at your fingertips!

Available in limited quantities and only until Dec 24th, but our last ordering day to ship for domestic holiday delivery is Mon Dec 19 (before 5pm est), so don’t delay.

I’m so chuffed with these Mini-Skein collections came out — and the way these pictures came out too!  They were exactly what I’d hoped.

The SpaceMonsters Club December Parcel

(spoiler warning: if you’re in the SpaceMonster Club and haven’t got your parcel yet, you may want to skip the next section)

Ok, so you’ve seen a little behind-the-scenes of our photoshoots…   want to see something really meta?  Here’s the behind-the-scenes of our photoshoot of our photoshoot!  This is my camera, taking a picture of my assistant Jade taking a picture of December’s SpaceMonster coordinating skein…

Ok, I feel a bit silly admitting this, but I think we had nearly as much fun taking photos of our photoshoots as we did just taking the photos in the first place.  We’d actually dismantled the pile of yarn when I said, “Wait, let’s get a shot of what we were just doing!”  And we had to dive back into the yarn and pile it back up again…  It was a hardship, I tell ya!

Here’s what it looked like through my camera…

And do you want to see what we were photographing?   It’s the December SpaceMonster Club parcel.  Here’s the yarn in the club members’ packages, our worsted yarn Vega in beautiful colourway called “Reserve”.

(To get that shot, I stood right over the yarn and shot straight down.  It’s a really weird angle to do, but I think it’s worth it.)

And this is the coordinating colourway, called “Blue Note”.  I’m absolutely in looooove with it!

And this is the gift for the end of this SpaceMonster season: a fabulous hand-thrown travel mug from Pawley Studios.  I am so stinkin’ excited to send the club members such an awesome gift!!!

(If you’d like to join the SpaceMonster fun, the club is open for subscriptions until Dec 24.  Click here for all the details.  And it makes an awesome gift that you can order right up until the last minute — you don’t have to worry about shipping dates because we’ll send your gift recipient a welcome email so they know they’re in the club.)

So there you have it: a little behind-the-scenes look at the studio photoshoots we’ve done in the past few weeks.  Sometime soon, I’ll show what our on-location shoots look like — they’re even more fun!  But either way, on location or in the studio, taking photos or working at the dyepots,  I am so grateful to have a job that gives me such a wonderful creative outlet.  And allows me spend all day playing…  and call it work!

Stop Press!  New Colourway!

We’ve been working on some new colourways for spring and summer but when I saw this one, I knew exactly what I wanted it to be: a celebration of the solstices, my two favourite celestial events!

And if it’s about the solstices, there seemed to be no point in holding onto it until spring (and the equinox), right?  So we quickly dyed a very limited run of this colourway just so we could share it with you in time for the solstice today!  Available on 4 bases,Oriana, Lyra, Capella, and Cressida.

We are continuing to develop our upcoming seasons’ colourways so, when we reintroduce Solstice Sky later in 2017, we may have altered the recipe somewhat.  But honestly, I am loving the way it’s coming out right now and, if you do too, now’s the time to get it.


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The SpaceCadet’s Last Minute Gift Guide

The SpaceCadet’s Last Minute Gift Guide

So it turns out my sister has done all her holiday shopping already — she’s all set.  A couple of my friends mentioned that they’re done too.  Even my husband has a little pile of gifts stashed away in the closet.

I am woefully behind.  In fact, I could count the gifts I’ve got taken care of on…  two fingers.  And do you know what?  There’s only a couple of weeks left!  Augh!  So here to help you, I’ve put together a little last minute gift guide for knitters and crocheters.  Every item on this list is in stock and ready to ship out right away, so all you have to do is click and your holiday shopping is done!

last-minute-gift-guide


The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club (from $99)

spacemonster-club-holiday-opens-today-525x237-for-mailchimp-2

Opening for subscriptions today and available for only two weeks, the SpaceMonster Club makes a very special gift indeed.  All about the smooshy softness of big yarns, your gift recipient will recieve regular parcels containing a worsted or bulky skein an exclusive colourway and my notes on how it was created, plus the chance for a gorgeous coordinating colourway, and a fabulous SpaceMonster gift every third parcel.  The perfect treat that stretches the holiday fun right through the new year, you’ll want to grab a membership quick while there’s still the chance!

Availability: instant availability until Dec 24 or until spaces are filled

 

The Sexy Knitter’s Tool Tin (starting at $20)

The Sexy Knitter’s Tool Tin has everything a knitter needs in his or her project bag.  The perfect stocking stuffer, choose from the Lite version ($20) or the Standard Version ($30) to customise the contents.

Availability: in stock now

 

Virtual Permutation Kit (from $51)

permutations-collage-640

Create your own kit for Hunter Hammersen’s gorgeous Permutation hat by choosing one skein of SpaceCadet Cressida for the background colour and one skein of Capella for the contrast, and then entering the code VirtualPermutationKit during check to get the pattern for free (while stocks last).  Put them together under the tree and you’ve got an easy gift that will make any knitter swoon!

Availability: limited quantities in stock now

 

Cool SpaceCadet Stuff from our Swag Shop (from $10)

Any SpaceCadet fan will go nuts for a little swag!  We’ve got custom bags from Knerd, screenprinted project bags and custom notions tins from HipStrings, some excellent circular needle boxes, and mugs from Pawley studios.  All with our SpaceCadet grinning away!  To see the collection, click here and then click the “Swag” button.

 

Availability: in stock now

swag-collage-550

 

Melissa Jean Buttons (from around $3)

When you need to give only a small gift but want it to be incredibly special, handmade is the way to go.  Melissa Jean’s buttons are hand-crafted of very durable porcelain and then painted by hand.  The result is something akin to jewellery for your hand-knits — and totally irresistible.  The perfect stocking stuffer.

Availability: in stock now

 

Four Month Gift Subscription to the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club (from $136)

imagine-a-box-of-yarn-crayons-squareOur Mini-Skein Club is crazy-popular and a ton of fun  …and now you have the chance to give a one-time gift subscription to your favourite knitter or crocheter — or try it yourself!

Working with mini-skeins is like drawing with yarn, and each little bundle of colour becomes a new and exciting addition to your palette! Our Gift Subscription allows you or your gift recipient to join in with our regular club members from January to April 2017.  Available for only a limited timeclick here for all the details.

Availability: instant availability until Dec 24 only

 

StarKnits Yarn or Spinning Buckets (starting around $20)

Designed to hold spinning fiber, these fabric “buckets” work just as well for your yarn and WIP.   Made of thickened fabric that stands on its own, they’re perfect for two colour knitting or any number of other uses.  Check out StarKnits’ box bags too!

Availability: in stock now

 

SpaceCadet Gift Cards! (from $10)

gift-cards-sciWhen all else fails, go for a gift card, because every knitter or crocheter loves the chance to choose their own yarn and they can save the day all the way up until Christmas morning!  Click here to give one.

Availability: instant download available until the very last minute!

 


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Permutation: A Truly Stunning Hat

Permutation: A Truly Stunning Hat

There’s a reason Hunter Hammersen is one of my favourite designers…  well, there’s lots of reasons (she’s such a lovely person, she’s organised and a joy to collaborate with, her designs are divine…) but one of them is that the way she writes about her work always brings a smile to my face.  This week she released her newest pattern in SpaceCadet yarn, a hat called Permutation that had the whole SpaceCadet crew and sample knitters swooning with delight.

a2-copy

It’s one pattern that comes with a ton of options — we made samples in five different styles and colour combinations, and I honestly couldn’t tell you which one is my favourite. It sounds like Hunter feels the same way.  In her write-up about the pattern on Ravelry, she says,

And then — and this is the bit that made me chuckle — down at the bottom of the pattern information, she says,

See what I mean?  Just like her designs, the way Hunter writes always brings a smile to my face!
permutations-collage-640

Permutation is designed in SpaceCadet Cressida and Capella.  With all the various colour and design combinations you can create from it, it’s a pattern you can use again and again.

(How the code works: We have a limited number of pattern downloads to give away, so using the code VirtualPermutationKit allows us to keep track of how many customers to send it to.  When you order, it will show up as a discount code of 0% off, which seems silly but what it’s actually doing is letting us know that you get a free download of the pattern)

 Shop Update: Today at Noon!

With the chilly weather arriving, we realised that two of our wonderful worsted yarns, Capella and Cressida, were disappearing fast.  So we’ve dyed a bunch more and they’ll go in the shop today at noon.

They’re the same yarns used in Hunter Hammersen’s beautiful new pattern, Permutation, so we’ve dyed the colourways she chose for her hats in the photo below (from left to right): Breathless, Windswept & Fat Free Chocolate, Time Traveller & Longing, Flow & Feather, and Tantrum & Dark Skies.

BONUS:  While stocks last, if you buy the yarn to make Permutation — a skein of both Cressida and Capella in one order before Dec 24 — you can use the code

VirtualPermutationKit

to get a download code for a FREE copy of the pattern and create your own Permutation Kit!

(How the code works: We have a limited number of pattern downloads to give away, so using the code VirtualPermutationKit allows us to keep track of how many customers to send it to.  When you order, it will show up as a discount code of 0% off, which seems silly but what it’s actually doing is letting us know that you get a free download of the pattern)
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