Newsletter: What happens when we hold Springtime meetings… 🌸

Newsletter: What happens when we hold Springtime meetings… 🌸

Planning our Mini-Skeins Colourways

A few weeks ago, my assistant Jade and I had a meeting to go over the dyeing plan for the next few months of the Mini-Skein Club.

It was a lovely Spring day — probably the first that was really warm enough to be outdoors, so we met on the porch, in the dappled light coming through the newly sprouted blossoms of the apple tree.

Photo by Kat von Wood

We sat with cups of tea and I spread a huge cloth so we could lay all the Mini-Skeins out and get a good look at the colourways that have come before. We’re both very much visual thinkers and can’t possibly plan any new colourways without piles of yarn around us — least of all the Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins!

But as we started discussing the upcoming colour flow, I was taken aback by how beautiful the yarn looked in the fresh Spring light. “Let me go get my camera!” I said.

And so our dyeing meeting turned into an impromptu photoshoot, right there on the porch, in the soft breeze and gentle birdsong.

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club: mini-skeins dropping into a bowl. So pretty!

Share Your Thoughts on Mini-Skeins

One of the things that Jade and I were discussing — as we planned our dyeing and took the photos and drank our tea — is the way that Mini-Skeins can sometimes seem a little intimidating to work with.

The truth is, it’s really just a matter of laying them out to find the right colour flow for you, and then picking a great stitch and casting on. But I know that can seem tricky at first, so we we’ve been thinking of ways we can help. And if you have a minute, please click here to share your challenges (and successes!) with Mini-Skeins.

(A quick thought: if you’re a real SpaceCadet fan, you may have spotted that the skeins being dropped into the bowl above aren’t our Ombre&Gradient skeins. But my gosh, the Multi Mix Minis were just so gorgeous in the spring light that we couldn’t help but photo them too!

The thing is, the Multi Mix isn’t nearly as popular as the Ombre&Gradient Mix but, honestly, I think folks are crazy not to go for them — they’re beautifully complex and incredibly intriguing. I have so much love for the Multi Minis! 💕)

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club: mini-skeins arranged in a bowl.

SpaceCadet Knitting News and Crochet News

The biggest news of the past week the surprise announcement by Stitches XRX that they have ceased business operations and are entering bankruptcy. As the organiser of some of the biggest yarn shows in the country — including Stitches West, Stitches SoCal, Stitches Midwest, and the Stitches at Home virtual shows — the news has hit hard for knitters, crocheters, and especially their vendors, many of whom are currently trying to recoup their booth fees for now-cancelled shows. You can read Stitches XRX’s official statement here and find conversations around the news on Ravelry here and Reddit here.

And then a few days later, publisher Annie’s announced the shuttering of Crochet! magazine. You can read the announcement here. (The take away? Oh my stars, these are pretty uncertain times for everyone in the yarn industry and I know your favourite designers and dyers really appreciate your continued support as we all navigate all these changes.)

If you need something soothing after reading the sad news above then this is just the ticket: artist Matt Taylor has created three knitting videos that are utterly mesmerizing. I could watch them for hours! You have to check them out — click here, here, and then here. My favourite is the second one… Which is yours?

My husband came home the other day and said, “Hey, did you hear that piece on NPR about the weaving-thing at Maryland Sheep and Wool?” I’ll give him credit for perfectly nailing the name of the show and let slide that he called the Sheep to Shawl competition a weaving-thing…! And then I’ll do a happy dance that a sheep to shawl event made it onto a national programme like NPR’s Consider This. Click here to read or hear the story.

The Yarn Alliance is Open to New Joiners for the Spring/Summer 2023 Season!

The Yarn Alliance is Open to New Joiners for the Spring/Summer 2023 Season!

The Thing about Dyeing for Our Yarn Club Members…

We dye a lot of yarn for a lot of people: for the LYSs who carry SpaceCadet, for the customers who wander into our online shop, and for our club members. And here’s the thing…

The folks we like dyeing for the most — no, wait, I mean the folks we really love dyeing for the most — are our club members.

Standing at the dye pots in the studio and exploring colour is just so much more exciting when we’re creating new colourways for our Yarn Alliance members. And that’s because our club members are the kind knitters and crocheters that I love most: yarn adventurers who embrace exactly these kinds of colour explorations.

They get us… and we get them!

And there’s no one who lives up to the title of “Yarn Adventurer” quite like the folks in the Yarn Alliance because, as when you become a member, you’re on a journey with us to explore colour. Yes, it’s true that you never quite know what’s going to be in your parcel and that is all part of the fun — every colourway is a surprise, a chance to stretch your imagination and challenge your creativity.

And every colourway is a direct connection between us as dyers and you as a maker — unique and new and created only for you as an adventurer with us in the Yarn Alliance.

Join The Yarn Alliance!

We’d love to have you join us! But we don’t have long — the next parcel is due to go out very soon — so if you’re ready to embark on this adventure, you’ll need to act quickly. Click the button below to learn more and join the Yarn Alliance!

Click to Learn More!

Winter Yarns and our OOAK Small Batches

Winter Yarns and our OOAK Small Batches

There’s snow coming down as I write this… big, fat flakes floating down gently from a heavy sky as if there’s no great rush to reach the ground. It looks delightful from here on my couch, curled up with a hot cup of tea and my wool slippers.
A pair of hands emerging from a very colourful shawl indeed, holding a hot cup of tea.

As we head into the coldest, deepest part of winter — when the world outside turns shades of black and white and grey — I find myself reaching not just for the thickest, warmest yarns in my stash but for the most colourful.

Because although the rhythm of the stitches through my fingers feels as meditative as the snow drifting silently past my window, I get a little jolt of pure joy each time I look away from the view outside and back at my knitting.

The world may be monochrome, but my project is bursting with technicolour. And that makes me so happy!

Do you feel the same in the darkest part of winter?

You know we love to experiment in the dye studio (as in, we loooooooove to experiment!).

And this past month, we created some deliciously painterly Small Batches dyed on some smooshy winter-thick yarns.

As with all our One-of-a-Kinds and Small Batches, these are unrepeatable colourways and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

So if any of them have caught your eye, put your name on the list and I’ll make sure you get first notice when they go live next week.

(If you don’t see a form here to enter your email, it may be due to a popup blocker. Please disable your popup blocker for this page so you can get on the list.)

Also, at one point, Jade was about to rearrange one of the piles of yarn as I took some photos when she suddenly lost her balance and…

…Luckily, smooshy yarn is really good for breaking falls!

SpaceCadet is looking for Test Knitters & Crocheters!

SpaceCadet is looking for Test Knitters & Crocheters!

I wish you could hang out with us sometime when my assistant Jade and I are having a dye meeting.

We’re supposed to be developing recipes for new colourways but the truth is, once the two of us get going, we spend at least half our time just ricocheting ideas off each other for new pattern designs! 

A close up of hands making design notes in a notebook, surrounded by balls of green yarn and some knitting, to indicate that SpaceCadet is looking for test knitters and crocheters

Honestly, it’s loads of fun.  And you’ve seen some of the resulting designs here on the website (and maybe on your needles too?).

And really, we usually come up with way more ideas than the two of us could complete in a lifetime.  But for the ones that we do move forward with, we need some folks to help us with the test knitting and crocheting.

a pair of hands knitting with some grey and maroon yarn, to indicate that SpaceCadet is looking for test knitters and crocheters

We’re looking for Test Knitters & Crocheters!

So if that sounds like fun to you, and you’re interested in being a test knitter or crocheter for us, please click the button below and give us your details.

Click here to apply to be a test knitter or test crocheter

Introducing the Pixelated Trees Cowl

Introducing the Pixelated Trees Cowl

Working with a new designer is always intriguing.  Sometimes the designer sends us a proposal, complete with schematics and a timescale.  And we send yarn off to them in the firm knowledge that we know what and when it will become the design it’s destined to be.

And sometimes, the whole process is much more fluid.  We meet a designer at a show or an event, they fall in love with a colour combination, and we send the yarn off with them with nothing but… well, blind faith and happy anticipation, with no idea what the designer will make with it.

And honestly, I’m never really quite sure how that will turn out… But sometimes the results are simply fantastic!

That’s exactly what happened when Tanis Gray, author of the official Star Wars and Disney knitting pattern books, came to our booth at a yarn show back in… oh let me see… all the way back in 2019.  She smooshed two lovely skeins of Lyra in Thrive and That’s What She Said, and asked if she use them in a design.

And naturally, we said an enthusiastic yes and sent them home with her!

Then the pandemic happened and, I’ll admit, I completely forgot about those two skeins and the potential they held…

Until Tanis got in touch to tell us the pattern they were destined for was ready at last! And when I saw the pictures, I was over the moon!  A gorgeous colourwork cowl that brings out all the very best in both colourways.  And which has inspired us to create sets in three more colour combos too!

Collaborating with designers is always fun, no matter what form it takes. But sometimes, when it’s both spontaneous and heartfelt, it is just amazing.

And when the result is as beautiful as the Pixelated Trees Cowl, it’s always, always worth the wait!

When Mini-Skeins Grab All the Attention

When Mini-Skeins Grab All the Attention

Shooting these photos in the graffiti’d underbelly of one of Pittsburgh’s many bridges, a middle-aged guy walks past us. ⁠ He takes one look at my model, overdressed amongst the broken bottles and remnants of late-night meetups, and I brace myself for a catcall as he opens his mouth and yells…⁠


A gorgous multicoloured shawl knit with SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, worn by a model standing under one of Pittsburgh's bridges

Well. ⁠That was not what I was expecting. ⁠

But honestly, he’s right. Because this shawl is so eye-catching that it’s what got his unsolicited attention. ⁠

And so I yelled back “Thanks!” as my model and I carried on with the photo shoot, and the sun shone through the old ironwork and the gentle breeze blew all my tension away.⁠

Looking up at the underside of the bridge where we photographed the shawl knit with Mini-Skeins

Now it’s your turn…

My assistant Jade knit this stunning wrap with 2021’s Mini-Skein Club gradient and I’m trying to convince her to write up the pattern.

What do you think — should she release it as a pattern?

A gorgous multicoloured shawl knit with SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, worn by a model standing under one of Pittsburgh's bridges

Mini-Skeins Colour in a New Direction

You may remember that a few months ago, I shared this photoshoot with you, where we laid our Mini-Skein Club bundles from January, February, and March.

And there’s just so much rich, warm, tropical colour!

My assistant holding a set of blue Mini-Skeins and smiling at them.

Well, fast forward only two months, and you won’t believe where the colours are now.  From warm melons to cool Caribbean blues — just like that!

And you may wonder if that colour changing was jarring?  But I promise, it all blends beautifully.

In fact, we’re laying those new colours out today to do another photoshoot, so you can see for yourself over the coming the weeks!