SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Trio of Colours That Shouldn’t Work Together

SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Trio of Colours That Shouldn’t Work Together

Doing shows is one of my favourite parts of this job (I know I’ve said it before but it’s so true) because I get to meet in person so many folks who have until that point been only names on shipping labels.  When a long-time customers come into the booth to introduce themselves, to me it is such a pleasure to finally put a face to that name.  Thank you to everyone who came and said hello at our recent shows.  I had a great time meeting you, and I hope you enjoyed it too!

Our booth at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival. I loved standing in the sunlight from the huge windows in the Convention Center!

Speaking of shows, I’m thinking of shaking up our regular schedule and trying some new places we’ve never gone to before.  If there’s a show or festival  you think we ought to come to, please let me know!  Now, booth fees and travel can be expensive, so any show we go to has got to have that energy and vibe that makes it really worthwhile — you know what I mean — but if there’s one you love going to and think I should apply for, I really do what to hear about it!

And then once you’ve done that, I’ve got a ton of great fiber news to share with you. So grab your cup of tea or coffee, get comfy, and here we go…

Newsletter

(when you make granny squares out of Mini-Skeins, they somehow become doubly addictive… *cough* …ask me how I know!)

I pretty much love all things modular (mitred squares and granny squares are my happy place) so I was super-excited when I saw this tutorial for two colour spiraled granny squares.  I think I like the one on the right better.  Don’t you think it’d be awesome in a variegated yarn with a complimentary semi-solid?

This is cool: Instagram just introduced a “Focus” setting that mimics the shallow depth of field look that’s often only possible with higher-end cameras.  I can see it works really well with selfies, but will it work with project photos?  If you try it out, tag me — I’d love to see!

Umm…  ummm…  This is a big fat NO from me, but I’d love to know what other crocheters think.  Would you be into turning your fingernail into an always-on-hand (literally!) crochet hook?

Have you heard of Knit Stars? It’s an entirely online knitting event that give you the chance to learn from some truly awesome designers and instructors, and Knit Stars 3.0 (Nov 26- Dec 14) is open for enrollment now. Click here to check out the teachers and get earlybird pricing!

Ever knit a big scarf?  I bet it’s not as big as the one Jennifer Garner went out in recently!  I came across two articles about it (this one is safe for work, this one is not) and both of them made assumptions about her scarf that made me chuckle (it doesn’t look knitted to me…  and I’m not convinced it’s handmade…  and I’m really not convinced any 12-year-old is focused enough to work through all that yardage!).  But at any rate, I wonder if this is a one-off fashion statement, or will we see some sort of crazy-big scarf trend?

I’m super excited that the fabulous Corrina Ferguson, editor of Creative Knitting magazine, is using a trio of SpaceCadet yarns to create a beautiful new design.  That’s all I can say about it (shhhhh!) but I just loved this image she recently posted on Instagram of the three colourways all caked up: Troublemaker, Headstrong, and Windswept.  She’s boldly combined a semi-solid with a tonal with a variegated (never be afraid to try them together!) and what I love about this combo most is that, even though my instincts tell me they shouldn’t work together, it so beautifully mixes warm colours with cool.

image © Corrina Ferguson, used with permission

Try holding your hand over the image so you block out one cake at a time and see how that changes the feel of the whole picture.  When the rust disappears, the other two look cool.  When the magenta disappears, everything seems warm and autumnal.  And when the variegated is covered, you’ve got this awesome contrast combo.  See what I mean?  It’s so cool!

(Serious question: which out of those three is your favourite pairing?)

Gradient Explorers Combos!

This past month I’ve been so blown away by the SpaceCadet crew, who kept their focus on getting clubs and orders out even while we were away at back-to-back shows and hindered by simultaneous studio repairs (SpaceMonsters and Mini-Skein members, look for your parcels to go out at the end of this week).  But I finally got the chance to photo some colourway combinations for recent Gradient Explorers yarns and I just have to share my favourite with you!

First, this is March’s Gradient Explorers colourway, Rivulet:

And this is how it fits into a fade created with the previous Gradient Explorer colourways combined with some of our standard colourways. Even though I came up with about a dozen different combos that I shared with the Gradient Explorers members (once I got started, I just couldn’t stop!), I think this one is my absolute favourite because I just love a fade where the colours alternate perfectly between semi-solids and variegateds.  Don’t you agree?

This kind of gorgeous mix-and-match flow is exactly what the Gradient Explorers is all about! There are a few spaces available in the Gradient Explorers but it might be too late in the month to open those spaces up. If you’ve been wanting to join, click here and get on the Gradient Explorers mailing list, so you’re first in line if I do a special limited opening before the end of the month.

Ecliptic by Hunter Hammersen

What Hunter does with creative stitch patterns blows me away every time, and this beautiful hat is no exception.  And while it may seem like an odd time of year to knit a hat, Spring still hasn’t convinced me that it’s yet sprung, and when the stitchwork is this intriguing and the project is quick, casting on is a no brainer!

 

Atyria II by Alasdair Post-Quinn

We partnered with Alasdair Post-Quinn at one of our recent shows and, as I flipped through his beautiful books and smooshed his lovely samples (he knit this one in Lyra), I couldn’t help but fall in love.  This hat was one of those samples that customers picked up again and again and again, because the double-knit design is so instantly appealing.  I just had to share it with you here!

little v hat by Jenny F

But if what you really fancy is some straight forward stranded colourwork, then I love the way this beautiful design combines it with just a little bit of texture for a completely intriguing knit.  Work it up in a monochromatic colour pair or go for a really bold contrast.  Either way, it makes for a fun, fast, and thoroughly enjoyable knit!

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

Ok, I’ve got fun day ahead of me, filled with lots of lovely yarn photos to take, and dyer’s notes to write, and maybe, if I’m lucky, a little dyeing as well.  I’m so glad to have been able to share all of this fun fiber stuff with you and hope you’ve enjoyed it too.  And, until next time, all my best!

Newsletter: The Effect of New Paint on Our Dyes

Newsletter: The Effect of New Paint on Our Dyes

Something kind of amazing happened this week.  If you’ve been following the saga of our leaking studio roof, then you’ll be glad to hear that the contractors finished replacing the ceiling and walls this week, and the studio is back up and running again.  Hoorah!  But that’s not to say everything is back to normal exactly…  the contractors tried to put everything back the way it was but it’s actually quite comical where things ended up …and we have found ourselves having to stop work and hunt for important items in some pretty illogical places!

But here’s what’s amazing: the studio has been completely repainted and, instead of the dark army green it was before (yep, that’s what the previous owner went for…), we now have a beautiful light grey on most of the walls and the first thing we noticed is how much it changes the light.  And not just from an HGTV  “wow, the room seems so much bigger” point of view, but it actually changes the way the yarn looks as we’re dyeing it!

I suppose that’s perfectly logical when I think about it, but we were just so used to the old wall colours (and actually didn’t have the option of changing them) that, after a while, I don’t think we noticed anymore.  But with the new paint so much lighter and more neutral, it’s easy to see that the old wall colour had an effect on how the dyes looked to our eyes.  Now the dyebaths fairly glow and the skeins seem so much brighter.  It’s exciting!

Oh, one other thing that made me laugh.  The new wall colour is actually called Olympus White but when I couldn’t remember that, I opened my handy Sherwin-Williams app and took a picture of the wall.  Here’s what colour it told me it was…   I can’t think of anything more appropriate!

Ok, I’ve got a bunch of great stuff to share with you this morning, so let’s get go ahead and jump in.  Grab a cuppa and find a comfortable spot, and here we go!

Newsletter

Last week I shared Dot Matrix (below) with you, a beautiful new pattern from Corrine Walcher that uses our Linking Sweater Sets and features true seams and set-in sleeves.  Knowing how to properly seam a garment is an important skill for a knitter to have but if it’s got you a little spooked, this wonderful tutorial from Amy Herzog is just what you need to guide you through every step.

There are lots of excellent knitting magazines out there, but very few dedicated to men’s knits so I’m excited to come across Rib Magazine.  Describing itself as “an ever-evolving, inspirational library of men’s knitwear patterns that highlights the renaissance of men returning to the craft and art of knitting,” I think it’s a wonderfully intriguing addition to the knitosphere!

This article in the Telegraph (of London) reports on calls for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) to start prescribing knitting as a treatment to lower blood pressure, reduce depression, and slow the onset of dementia (key question: does quality fiber content improve medical results?).  I have no doubt that anyone’s health can be improved with the addition of knitting or crochet, but the two things that really caught my eye were further down in the article: first, the inspiring work of the charity Knit For Peace and, second, the comment about how “little known the research is” on the health benefits of knitting.  (…*cough* hands up everyone who already knew knitting and crocheting are good for your health!)

What’s the biggest project you’ve ever made?  A sweater?  A blanket?  Maybe a whole sweater-coat?  Be prepared to be blown away by this fiber artist who crochets* whole people (plus their entire outfits!) who are amazingly accurate to the people they are modeled on.  Absolutely stunning!  (*they look crocheted to me — do you think so?)

Carol’s Amazing Pooling

I spotted this amazing sweater last week on Instagram and just had to share it with you.  It’s knit in a custom colourway we dyed for River Colors, a wonderful LYS in Cleveland, and I so enjoyed creating that red, yellow, and black theme.  But the thing about this photo that stopped me in my tracks is the way the colours pooled into an amazing pseudo-argyle pattern in the body of the sweater.  Isn’t it stunning?!?  And look how different it looks from the sleeves.  Gauge makes all the difference with any variegated yarn.  And sometimes, when the gauge is just right, magic happens!  Click here to show Carol a little colour-pooling love!

 

 


Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival
David L Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown Pittsburgh PA
(Click here for directions and parking info)
 
Marketplace Hours:
Friday, April 6 – 12:00 Noon to 7:00 PM
Saturday, April 7 – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sunday, April 8 – 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Featuring books by double-knitting master Alasdair Post-Quinn!

 

Shoreline Scarf by Rebecca Velasquez

There’s a story behind this beautiful design: originally, Rebecca started it with a skein of SpaceCadet Thebe in Honey and when she realised she needed a second skein, we had that age-old problem of mismatching dyelots (which means, it happens to everyone — even top-notch published designers!).  Fortunately, we were able to sort her out with Feather, this beautiful teal blue, and the design took shape at last! A simple scarf for a new crocheter, it only uses three stitches for an easy crocheting experience. Check it out in the April issue of I Like Crochet magazine.

Sunnydale Cowl by Katy H. Carroll

Variegated yarns are so pretty in the skein, but they can sometimes drive you bonkers if the colors and stitch pattern are competing. So I love this cowl, which is specifically designed to showcase wildly variegated yarns,  and uses a combo of elongated and dropped stitches to create a lightweight, open fabric that works with a crazy skein of fingering beautifully.  Try it with Molten Cool, Windswept, or Vortex.

Meditation on the Beach Shawl by Brenda Castiel

Look closely at this shawl and you’ll see that it’s worked up in stockinette short row sections and garter stitch stripes, created to flow through a gradient fade for an intriguing knit with a stunning result.  Designed for a sport weight yarn, I’d actually love to see it knit in our Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skeins held double, because two fingering yarns together are a good DK/Sport substitute, and the colourways blend to produce an amazing mottled effect.  So grab two bundles from your stash and cast on!

all images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’d better get going because we’re setting up for the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival today, so I’ve got a long and exciting day ahead of me.  I hope your day is just as exciting (and maybe a little warmer?) and, until next time time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Water Damage, the Fix, and an Unexpected Cost

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Water Damage, the Fix, and an Unexpected Cost

You remember a couple of weeks ago when I showed you photos of our studio ceiling doing some very scary things after the rain made its way through the roof?  Well, this week, it’s all getting fixed!  The contractors are in, ripping out the ceiling and the walls and the studio looks… well, it looks like nothing I’ve seen before!

The good news is they’re replacing everything with new, mildew-resistant materials that are going to make the studio even better than it was before.  The interesting news is that they discovered a whole bunch of weird things about the studio that I’m really glad they’re going to fix (including the fact that our HVAC duct work actually didn’t have an end cap and so the furnace has been just pumping most of our heat out into the ceiling and wall cavities!).  And the bad news is that some of this weird stuff means we’ve run into some additional expense. *sigh*

Unexpected costs are never nice so I was trying to think of a way to bring some good out of this bad — perhaps by creating a beautiful new colourway to inspired by the studio damage and repair, that could raise the funds to cover this extra expense!  What do you think?  I talked about it this week in a video on my Instagram Story and on Facebook — if you haven’t see it, click here to check it out.  And then please do jump into the conversation and help me decide what colours to dye! After seeing the studio all ripped apart like that, I’m really looking forward to getting it back up and running, and getting some yarn in the dyepots to create this new colourway.

(Oh, and lots of folks got in touch to ask how they could help — thank you so much, that’s just lovely of you!  Honestly, the best way to help is by buying yarn or joining the Mini-Skein Club or the Yarn Alliance  — so we raise the funds by earning them and by sending you wonderful yarn)

But before anything else, it’s time to do what you and I do every week: grab a nice hot cuppa and relax with a bit of fibery goodness.  So get curled up in a comfortable spot and let’s dive in!

Newsletter

Photo by Dinh Pham

I thought this was really interesting: Heather at Closet Case Files spots a runway trend for quilting and patchwork motifs during the fashion week shows and speculates that we’ll be seeing the same inspiration hitting ready-to-wear in the coming year.  And so I’m wondering how that will translate into knit design…  will we see more patterns for modular knitting? (I hope so — I do love me some mitred squares!)

Quick: what’s the difference between “pick up 5 stitches” and “pick up and knit 5 stitches”?  If you don’t know the answer immediately, this excellent and exhaustive tutorial from the wonderful Kate Atherley is exactly what you need to feel completely confident the next time your pattern calls for either one.

I came across this video of a highly incompetent sheepdog getting schooled by a flock of sheep the other day and it had me in stitches (ok, it’s not actually a sheepdog, but still).

There are so many patterns these days that move through colour changes knit in the round and I love this tutorial on how to use Helical Stripes to blend two skeins without a join at the change.

The latest issue of 6 Bit Storybooks, Remain, is out (I highlight a beautiful pattern from it below) aaaaand… it contains an article I wrote about the way crocheting a blanket for my sister’s new baby connected me to my own grandmother.  It was a joy to write — I hope you enjoy reading it.

It’s been awesome welcoming so many new and renewing members to the Yarn Alliance, and I am so looking forward to the upcoming season!  If you’ve been meaning to join in the fun, this weekend is your last chance to grab a spot.

So first let me share with you a quick look at the yarn from the last parcel of the current season (just to whet your appetite…  *wink*) and then click the flying saucer to learn more and join in…

The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is our premiere yarn club, all in fingering yarn and all about bold adventures in colour.  Exploring great new colourways is tons of fun… and even better when you do it with friends! The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is your a chance to dive into amazing exclusive SpaceCadet colourways and share it with a fabulous community of folks who are just as excited as you are!

Upcoming

Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival
Fri-Sun, April 6-8
David L Lawrence Convention Center
Downtown Pittsburgh PA
Featuring books by double-knitting master Alasdair Post-Quinn!

 

Dot Matrix by Corrine Walcher

image: © Stephanie Alford

I am so excited about this design, I can hardly tell you.  When I sent one of our linking Sweater Sets to Corrine earlier this year, I had no idea what she would do with it: a sweater? a shawl? something crazy? something wild?  Instead, she chose to let the colour change speak for itself and picked a beautiful but intriguing overall eyelet pattern to create visual interest.  The result is simple but stunning, a cardigan to be worn time and again… and again… and again.

Two things you need to know about this pattern… First, she’s discounted it by $1 off until 03/30, no code needed.  And second, because this is designed specifically for our linking sets, there’s no worry if you need an additional skein to make a larger size: every linking set starts and finishes with one of our standard colourways so, even though the set works through a complicated colour progression, it’s easy to add an extra skein or two to the set!

Dignity by Mel Ski

© 6Bits Storybooks, image used with permission

They say it’s all in the details and this sweater raises the stakes from simple stockinette to something far more intriguing through a beautiful colour choice and amazing stitch details.  Designed in SpaceCadet Lyra in Nine Stones, the subtle colourplay is shown to full effect in the main body but it really comes into its own in the slipped stitches along the textured cuffs and hem.  Part of 6 Bits Storybooks latest issue, Remain, it’s available as a standalone pattern but, when purchased as part of the ebook, it comes as part of a full magazine of filled patterns and wonderful articles.  Well worth reading!

Cooperish Cowl by Katy H. Carroll

© Katy Carroll, used with permission

Chevrons always make me happy!  So do patterns that can be cast on and memorised quickly so I can just kick back and enjoy the knitting.  But most of all, patterns that are perfect for stash-busting SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins make me very very happy.  This charming cowl fits the bill perfectly and can be customized to any number of colour changes, hues, and striping combinations.  Click through and check out the different versions Katy created!

Ok, that’s it.  I’m heading down to the studio shortly to check the progress.  And then, because I can’t dye, I think I might sit down  and just enjoy the opportunity to knit for a while (…or I could finish my taxes…  hmmm… knit or taxes? knit or taxes…?).  I hope you get a chance to pull out your project bag and knit or crochet today.  And, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Coping with the Lack of Spring!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Coping with the Lack of Spring!

Oh my stars, are you having as crazy a week as I am?!?  Not only are we right in the middle of three back-to-(almost)-back shows (so fun but also, so hectic!), but we’re also dyeing like mad before the contractors come in next week to rip out and replace our water-soaked ceiling and dry walls in the studio.  And then, just for fun, winter made a remarkable return (on the first day of Spring, no less!) and dumped 7″ of snow on us yesterday!

(I’ll be honest with you — even though the snowstorm did a number on everyone’s schedules, I absolutely loved being in a snow-globe world again.  The flurries were swirling around and around in circles as I looked out the window and, in the morning, I realised that the accumulated snow actually mimicked the spirals of a candy-cane.  Here, take a look at what I posted on my IG story yesterday…)

(how cool is that?!?)

Ok, it’s time to get to this week’s fiber news but, before we do, I just want to share something that means so much to me…  The InterStellar Yarn Alliance opened last week and we’ve had a bunch of new members join (so awesome, so glad to have you aboard!).  But here’s what really got to me:  we’ve also had a whole bunch of our existing members renew and looking down their names, I suddenly realised, most of them had renewed for the full twelve months!  Whoa!  Do you know what that means?  It tells me that we are doing something right, and they are really enjoying being part of the club!  And, seriously, that means the world to me.  Thank you all for being on this colour adventure with us!

Ok, ready for your weekly fiber update?  Snow or not, grab a nice hot cuppa and here we go!

Newsletter

Whether you knit, crochet, or spin, this quick post called “Why Plying with a Center Pull Ball Doesn’t Work for Me” is well worth reading.  I’ll be honest, I’ve never been able to work from the center of a cake (it always falls into a big tangled mess on me!) and I’ve felt like that somehow made me less skilled.  But reading this gives me a legit reason to work from the outside. Awesome!

(that’s Lyra in Troublemaker)

Pom-poms are so popular right now, but multicolour pom-poms that mimic spring flowers?  Yep, I’m on board for that.  This easy tutorial gives you a wrap-by-wrap recipe to make yours come out perfect!

You know those little silica packs that come in new shoes and handbags?  I’ve always thrown them out but, after I read this article with a ton of ideas for reusing them, I changed that old habit.  The one idea they didn’t come up with is using silica packets to help keep yarn and finished objects moisture free in humid climates.  I think I’ll be throwing a few in amongst my stash once the summer temperatures hit!

Photographic knitting tutorials are all well and good but I do love a well drawn illustration so I can see things really clearlyThis article on different types of increases is a perfect example — it’s so easy to tell what the stitches are doing.  I’ve book marked it for future reference.

The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is open to new subscribers right now!  This is our premiere yarn club, all in fingering yarn and all about bold adventures in colour.

Because exploring great new colourways is tons of fun… and even better when you do it with friends!  The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is your a chance to dive into amazing exclusive SpaceCadet colourways and share it with a fabulous community of folks who are just as excited as you are! 

(Ooh, two other quick things about the Yarn Alliance.  First, lots of folks have asked if they can use a credit card instead of PayPal and the answer is… yes, I’ve been able to make that change! Woot!  And the other great thing is that, because of the wonderful success of this club, I’ve actually been able to lower the price a little — not by much, but a bit and I’m delighted to be able to pass that savings on to you.  Because, honestly, that just feels right)

So, doesn’t the Yarn Alliance sound like fun?  (It is SO much fun! Click here and join in now!

Upcoming Shows

Indie Knit & Spin
Saturday, March 24
NEW COOL LOCATION: Ace Hotel
120 S Whitfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 5206
Admission is FREE!
Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival
Fri-Sun, April 6-8
David L Lawrence Convention Center
Downtown Pittsburgh PA
Featuring books by double-knitting master Alasdair Post-Quinn!
(Live in the Pgh area? Check your inbox for a special discount on a class with Alasdair!)

 

When the weather is as crazy as it’s been lately — from early Spring’s chill to Winter’s cold and back again — a cowl is suddenly my best friend.  Here are three I’d love to wear this week…

Consilience by Hunter Hammersen

Hunter Hammersen’s intricate and subtle stitchwork makes for a cowl that is perfect for spring.  And the shaping creates piece that softly hugs your shoulders as well as draping around your neck.  And what’s more, to celebrate her (excellent) blog’s ninth birthday, you can download this pattern for free when you join her mailing list!

Trelliswork by handmade by SMINÉ

This beautiful crocheted cowl caught my eye for two reasons.  First, I love what the the openwork trellis stitches do with a variegated yarn, moving the hues around and creating stunning colour-texture.  And second, it’s got that amazing contrast colour lining, meaning its doubly warm and can be worn two ways.  Wonderful!

vesica piscis cowl by Jenny F

And if the ground where you are is still as snowy as it is here, this might be the perfect cowl for you.  Stranded colourwork makes it extra warm and a modern motif brings it right up the minute.  Just the thing to help you hold out until Winter finally (finally…) loosens its grip!

all image © the respective designers and used with permission

Oh, one quick thing before I go — we had a ton of folks come up and introduce themselves at Homespun Yarn Party last week and it was just lovely!  To all of you who did, thank you so much — it was so nice to see you!

Ok, that’s it for this week.  We are dyeing yarn for one of our favourite yarn shops today and then packing for Indie Knit & Spin this weekend, so I’d better get going.  I hope Spring is in the air for you at least a little (and maybe for us here in Pittsburgh too!) and, until next time, all my best!

 

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The (Amazing) Things People Say!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The (Amazing) Things People Say!

Even though I rarely get to meet them (you!), I always feel an intrinsic connection with the knitters and crocheters who use our yarn.  I absolutely love the creative process of standing in front of the dyepots and bringing some abstract colour-idea come to life but, to me, the story of the yarn never seems complete until I get to see the project that it eventually becomes.  Because there lies the continuation of my work as it flows into our customers’s projects, our creativity merged with yours.  When I hear from our customers and can close that circle, it’s such a satisfying feeling.

And I mention this because the past week has been just wonderful in that way.   This week, I received some emails that have just made my heart so happy: I’ve heard from members of the Yarn Alliance renewing  their subscriptions and customers who are coming to see us at our shows, and the things they’ve said have been absolutely lovely to read…

“Can’t wait to see you and your crew… Selecting which of my fabulous SpaceCadet yarn garments to wear is my biggest challenge”
“I can’t tell you how much your weekly newsletter brightens up my life… Do know that you have a number of fans out here.”
“Woohoo! I’m SO happy to sign up for another year! Thanks to you all!!”
“I love the yarn I’ve received. I often interrupt a project to start a new one with SC yarn!”

So first, I wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time to write in and say hi — it completely changes the way the workday feels!  And I want to pre-thank (is that a thing?) everyone who will be coming to see us at our shows — can’t wait to see you.  And I especially want to thank everyone who is part of our clubs, because dyeing for you guys is the most fun (and interactive) of all.  Standing at the dyepots is a pretty great way to spend your days, I’ll admit, but when it’s because you’re dyeing for customers who feel like friends, it’s downright fantastic.

Please stay in touch, won’t you? By email, Facebook, our Rav group, and (best of all for photos) Instagram.  And of course, another way we stay in touch is through these newsletters — I love getting the chance to share all the great fiber news I’ve come across with you!  So grab a cup of tea or coffee (after the clock-change this week, mine is definitely coffee) and let’s dive in.

This week, I’m changing it up and starting with SpaceCadet news because there’s exciting stuff!  The InterStellar Yarn Alliance opens to new subscriberss today!  This is our premiere yarn club, all in fingering yarn and all about bold adventures in colour.

Because exploring great new colourways is tons of fun… and even better when you do it with friends!  The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is your a chance to dive into amazing exclusive SpaceCadet colourways and share it with a fabulous community of folks who are just as excited as you are! 

(Ooh, two other quick things about the Yarn Alliance.  First, lots of folks have asked if they can use a credit card instead of PayPal and the answer is… yes, I’ve been able to make that change! Woot!  And the other great thing is that, because of the wonderful success of this club, I’ve actually been able to lower the price a little — not by much, but a bit and I’m delighted to be able to pass that savings on to you.  Because, honestly, that just feels right)

So, doesn’t the Yarn Alliance sound like fun?  (It is SO much fun! Click here and join in now!

Upcoming Shows

HomeSpun Yarn Party
THIS WEEKEND! Sunday, March 18
Historic Savage Mill
8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763
Just off I-95, plenty of parking!
Admission is FREE!
Indie Knit & Spin
Saturday, March 24
NEW COOL LOCATION: Ace Hotel
120 S Whitfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 5206
Admission is FREE!
Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival
Fri-Sun, April 6-8
David L Lawrence Convention Center
Downtown Pittsburgh PA
Featuring books by double-knitting master Alasdair Post-Quinn!
(Live in the Pgh area? Watch your inbox for a special discount on a class with Alasdair!)

Newsletter

Next month sees the first annual Local Yarn Store Day, a chance for knitters and crocheters to show their support for the shops (and shopkeepers!) who foster and grow the love of fiber crafts in each local community, and a chance for those LYSs to celebrate the customers who make it all possible.  Here’s a list of shops participating, or check with your LYS to see what they’ve got planned.  And then stop by your LYS on April 21 to have some fiber fun!
(And if your LYS doesn’t carry SpaceCadet, I’d be so grateful if you’d recommend us to them!  As I always mention at the end of my newsletters, we’ve met some of our favourite shops because our customers asked them to carry our yarn. If you recommend us to your local yarn shop, please do email and tell meI’d love to get in touch with them to follow up!)

This made me laugh out loud: right there in the Guggenheim, right under everyone’s noses, a toilet is yarn-bombed.  And not just decoratively, but in a way that makes a real artistic statement.  It’s pretty awesome.

We all know that the field of machine learning is moving forward at an incredible pace, but it appears there are limits.  When a neural network was trained to create knitting patterns and they were then test knit by members of Ravelry, the results were perplexing, intriguing and hilarious!  Click here to read the rest (and, even better, see the swatches).

 

Winter Romance by Elise Dupont

Sometimes pattern names leave you scratching your head and sometimes they are just perfect.  This beautiful shawl, with its oh-so-delicate edging and sweet, sweet embroidery-style colour (it’s actually “woven” in while you knit) is absolutely the latter.  A perfect use for your Mini-Skein collection (choose the softest, sweetest shades) and a beautiful neutral such as Sliver, Drizzle, or Gentle, the result is a project as delicate as springtime.

 

Agamenticus Cowl by Beatrice Perron Dahlen

I don’t know what it is about this shawlesque cowl, but I want to wrap myself up in it forever.  Is it the eyelets?  Maybe.  Or the way it falls over the shoulders so cosily?  Perhaps.  Or it might be the grey — always a perfect choice.  Work it up in SpaceCadet Sliver, Drizzle, or Dark Skies for that same sublime feel.

Cables are Cool by Barbara Benson

I have one assistant who adores cables and another who has recently fallen in love with colourwork.  …Might this be the perfect project for the two of them?  Even better, the colourwork in this pattern does not involve stranding yarn. Knitting stripes with strategically slipping stitches creates the illusion of two separate cables weaving in and out of each other.  Sound intriguing?  I think so too!

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

Aren’t those great patterns?  Each one of them just jumped out at me this week and I had to share!  But now I’ve got to run — we’ve got a busy day of packing for Homespun Yarn Party this weekend (I’m always so worried I’ll forget something important!) and then I’ve got some fun dyeing to do this afternoon.  I hope your day is just as exciting (but without the worry about forgetting things) and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet’s Newsletter: In Which Our Ceiling Looks Ready to Come Down!

SpaceCadet’s Newsletter: In Which Our Ceiling Looks Ready to Come Down!

Did you notice that no newsletter arrived last week?  I kept trying to sit down and write it but it turned out that the week had different plans for me…

A few months ago, a tree came down on the hill behind our studio and, while it was moved and made safe, what no one realised at the time is that the branches had actually reached down and pierced the waterproof seal of our roof.  After that, we did have rain and some snow but nothing seemed amiss in the studio.  But then about two weeks ago, a series of huge storms brought Pittsburgh some incredible, torrential rains and…  the holes in the roof suddenly made themselves known and the studio began to act like a giant sponge!

Here’s how the studio ceiling looked when we walked in.  What you can’t see from the photos is just soft the ceiling and walls were.  If you pressed your fingers against them, they actually sank a little into the drywall.  Yeeeeeahhhhh….   that’s not good.  We all backed up slowly.

Fortunately, we have a great landlord whose first concern was keeping us safe, and quickly got to work putting the roof  right.  Now that that is all done (yay for no more leaks!), there will be a contractor coming in to replace the ceiling panels, remove the damaged drywall and carpeting, look for mold, and then replace it all again with better (moisture resistant) materials.  I’m excited to get the studio back in shape again!

The contractor says that the work will take a week and we should be able to keep using the studio during that time (but you and I both know that things rarely go that smoothly!).  We are working hard right now to get as much dyed as possible before the repair work begins and then I’m hoping to be able to leave the contractors to do their work in peace.  This might be mean some delays to club parcels in the coming weeks and, if it does, I will let you know.  But if you would kindly keep your fingers crossed for us, we’re going to knock as much of that dyeing out as fast as we can before the studio gets pulled apart!

Ok, enough about our adventures in studio spongedom(!), it’s time to dive into all the fun fiber news in this week’s newsletter.  Grab your cup of tea or coffee, find a comfortable stop, and let’s go…

Newsletter

Crochet can be daunting if you think of yourself primarily as a knitter but, really, it’s like riding a bike — not in that you never forget but in that there’s a moment when it clicks and then it’s awesome and fast and so much fun!  If you’d like to improve your crochet skills with a great instructor to cheer you on, check out Kim Werker’s new class, Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples & Waves.  And click here to find out how you can win one of three free spaces in the class!

If you use Pinterest for knitting and crochet inspiration, they came out with a bunch of cool new features that let you reorder your pins how you like, organise your boards alphabetically, and archive old ones.  Click here to see all the new stuff you can do.  (And hey, while you’re at it, click here to follow me on Pinterest and get lots and lots of awesome pattern inspiration!)

Did you see this?!? Last week on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, “Jessica Jones” star Krysten Ritter brought needles and yarn on to the show and taught Stephen to knit — on air!  Well, she tried anyway.  He went into the stitch the wrong way, wrapped his yarn around backwards, and didn’t successfully complete one stitch, but it was seriously cool and highly entertaining nonetheless.  I was both cheering and chuckling at the same time!

My sewing skills are poor at best but I have a much-loved pair of jeans that really really want me to read this and this in great detail and repair them with all the skill demonstrated.  Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such invisible mending!

Non-fiber arts, but still:  I just finished reading Death in the Air, by Kate Winkler Dawson.  While the writing didn’t blow me away, the subject matter was fascinating — and did me no good whatsoever (I’m prone to nightmares: click here to read exactly how it did me in).  Next up I’m taking a break from the macabre and reading Internal Time : Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired by Till Roenneberg, and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam.  Serious question: I’ve never really found a satisfactory way to hold my pages open so I can knit while I read.  What do you do?

 

The Yarn Alliance Opens on March 15!

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways (that you can’t get enough of!), and shared with a wonderful community of fellow club members who are all part of the adventure too.  Plus we create beautiful coordinating skeins to double the fun.  And each parcel contains a wonderful club gifts created exclusively for the club by our community of amazing handmakers.  Oh, and a 15% coupon!

The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year, and we always give early access to folks on the club mailing list. There’s not much time, so click here and make sure you’re on it.  You’ll get an email a few days before subscriptions go live so you can nab yours before anyone else!

In the meantime, please feel free to drool a little over some past yarns..

Upcoming Shows

HomeSpun Yarn Party
Sunday, March 18
Historic Savage Mill
8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763
Just off I-95, plenty of parking!
Admission is FREE!
Indie Knit & Spin
Saturday, March 24
NEW COOL LOCATION: Ace Hotel
120 S Whitfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 5206
Admission is FREE!
Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival
Fri-Sun, April 6-8
David L Lawrence Convention Center
Downtown Pittsburgh PA
Featuring books by double-knitting master Alasdair Post-Quinn!
(Live in the Pgh area? Watch your inbox for a special discount on a class with Alasdair!)

 

Illusion, Squared Cowl by Marianne McKinnon

Here’s what caught my eye about this cowl… First, it’s so eye-catchingly graphic. Second, it’s the kind of stranded colourwork that I like best: simple, easy to memorise, and with delightfully short floats.  And third (and most important), if you look closely, the sample is knit in two variegateds, which sounds counter intuitive but they work so well together.   A great option when you’re looking for a pattern for a wildly-variegated yarn from your stash: find a contrasting gently-variegated yarn and cast on a swatch.  You might be surprised how well they work together!

Sidereal by Hunter Hammersen

Its the stitchwork I noticed first about this hat…  intriguing, innovative, and so delicately beautiful.  And then I loved the sweet way it spirals to the left and creates movement across the body and, of course, a perfectly formed crown.  But the thing I love most about this hat?  The name!  Sidereal (adj) – of or relating to distant stars or constellations.  I mean really, how could I not?

 

12 Pains Scarf by Corrine Walcher

I love this scarf (and hat and mitts) for busting right through your Mini-Skein collection!  Here, it’s a riot of colour, so imitate it with your Multicolour minis but imagine it in our Ombre & Gradient minis, either with a semi-solid as the coordinating colour or even with a second set of contrasting minis flowing through in the opposite direction.

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

Just want to share this quickly: over on Ravelry, Samantha is in search of a few yards of Lucina in the colour Breathless to finish a project, and Michelle is hoping someone has a spare skein of the Yarn Alliance colourway Grounded so she can increase the width of her scarf.  If you have either of these in your stash and could help them out, please hop over to the ISO thread on Ravelry and help them out.

Ok, it’s time I got myself down to the studio.  There’s lots of dyeing on the schedule for today  and I’m working on two new colourways that I’m super excited about, so I’m ready get started.  I hope you have an exciting day planned as well and, until next time, all my best!