SpaceCadet Newsletter: I Have a Favour to Ask…

SpaceCadet Newsletter: I Have a Favour to Ask…

 

Before I say anything else, I want to tell you how excited I am!  The SpaceMonster Club closed on Sunday and I was so filled with delight because we had such an amazing response and so many new joiners.  Welcome to all of you, new and renewing — we’re going to have a great season!  If you haven’t already, please come over to our Welcome thread and say hello.  I’d love to get to know you!

Speaking of getting to know you, we’re going to two new-to-us shows this autumn that I’m super excited about too: Shanendoah Valley Fiber Festival (SVFF) in September and Indie Untangled (near Rhinebeck) in October.  I find the most daunting thing about going to a new show is knowing how to plan the booth sight unseen (or in this case, site unseen) — especially for SVFF because it’s our first outdoor booth.  So I have a special favour to ask: if you’ve been to SVFF before and have any photos on your phone of the outdoor booths that you’d be happy to share, please could you email them to me?  It’d be so handy to have a visual for guidence.  And if you’re planning to go to either of those shows this autumn, let me know — I’d love to see you there!

Ok, but enough of that — the weather is perfect, I’m going to drink my tea on the porch and watch the day get started, and let’s share this week’s fiber news!  Ready?  Here we go…

Newsletter

In a recent issue of Yarn Market News (the yarn industry magazine), there was an article asking if Millennials are more attracted crochet than knitting (I admit I never got a chance to read it…  must go back and do that).  And then I spotted this article in Forbes magazine asking if the crafting industries are ready for the wave of Millennial crafters.   It’s all quite intriguing, and I’d love some feedback.  If you’re a Millennial, what crafts do you gravitate toward?  And do you feel like your generation is welcome in the crafting community?  Hit “reply” and let me know.

This video brought tears to my eyes.  The Magic Yarn Project creates stunning yarn wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy that are designed to draw them back into the world of play and imagination.  Every wig costs $50 to make but is entirely free to the family who receives it and the Magic Yarn Project works with at-risk youth and their local women’s correctional facility to make the wigs.  It’s a truly inspirational use of fiber arts skills.

Yarn bombing on a tiny scale looks… well, amazing.  Artist Ester Traugot crochets textile “skins” (on what appears to be an incredibly tiny hook) to wrap around seed pods, tree trunks, eggs, and other natural objects.  The result is beautiful… somehow so calming… but also a little odd.  What do you think?

The owner of an LYS was once meeting me in a Pittsburgh coffee shop to discuss a collaboration when she got hopelessly lost.  And, when I realised where she was, I couldn’t think of any good way to explain how to get where she wanted to go.  This city’s layout is so complicated that if you ask for directions, it’s not uncommon to hear the reply, “Yinz can’t there from here,” and this awesome print of Pittsburgh’s intersections makes it clear why — and made me laugh out loud!  With three rivers and more bridges than any other city in the world, it’s really not for the faint of heart.  Is your city listed?

 

Break Out Your Mini-Skeins!

I just have to share these photos of April, May, and June’s Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skeins!  The thing is, I know our minis look adorable in their bundles, all perfectly twisted and tied together, but you just don’t know how fabulous they are until they come out of their sets and get to really shine.  And even better, breaking them out of their bundles lets them show off how fantastic they look with the Ombre & Gradient bundles that came before and after them.  Look what I mean…

Aren’t they sweet?!?  You can see why I couldn’t stop taking photos!  And look how amazing these three months look when they’re broken out of their bundles and allowed to mingle.  It’s so inspirational!

Each month for our Mini-Skein Club, we dye an Ombre & Gradient Mix that flows from last month’s colours into the next month’s colours and into the next, to create a Never Ending Gradient.  And I’m so excited about where the colour is going in the coming months — I’ll be sure to share more photos!

 

Novel-T by Laura Nelkin

I spotted this pattern one afternoon sitting on my porch in the summer heat and my first thought was, “Hey, Laura designed a top with air conditioning!”  But more seriously, those lace panels add such punch of style to a simple tee and the side-to-side construction lends interest.  Looks like a fun summer knit!

winterbird by Emily Connell

Speaking of air conditioning, this great crocheted shawl lets a little breeze flow through with those sweet circles and openwork sections. Work it in a super light fingering, like Celeste or Maia, to keep it feeling summery.

Sleepy Sheep Socks by The Chilly Dog

Did you smile as soon as you saw these sweet socks?  Ellen and I met at TNNA (trying to get coffee from a Starbucks that closed at noon! What?!?) and she was such a pleasure to chat with that I just had to check out her designs.  These socks put a grin on my face as soon as I saw them.  Try them in SpaceCadet Oriana — it’s a great sock yarn — in Sliver and Dark Skies.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, it’s time for me to head down to the studio — we did some super fun dyeing yesterday and I can’t wait to see how it looks once it’s spun out and starting to dry.  I hope you’ve got something exciting planned too and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Little Good Luck!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Little Good Luck!

I just want to share with you a bit of good news.  Earlier in the week, as we were finishing dinner one evening, a storm rolled in (yet another one!) —  and it looked ferocious.   After all the storm damage to the studio this past winter, and then the way another storm soaked our carpet just two weeks ago, I looked out at that dark sky with real sense of foreboding.  It looked as bad as the others had but, surely, it couldn’t happen again?  Our luck couldn’t be that bad?  Oh I hoped not, but my mother says things like this always come in threes…

There’s some sort of weather watch alarm on my phone that goes off with such a shriek that it always makes me nearly jump out of my skin but, when it went off this time, it didn’t surprise me at all.  The clouds were moving fast, rolling over themselves as they went, and the sky was rumbling with thunder and crackling jagged flashes.   I went out to the the porch and sat down to wait for the rain to come.

this is actually how the sunset looked — no filter!

And as I waited and watched (and knitted of course), and though the rumbling and flashing continued and I fully believed we were about to get pelted with rain, to my surprise, the storm seemed to slowly begin to turn.  Little by little, all the thunder and lightening headed north and while we got the spectacular light show of a big summer storm, there was only the slightest sprinkling of rain.

And then, once the weather had moved on, it left us an incredible sunset (so gorgeous, I actually gasped), like a kind of celebration.  I was thrilled at this little big of good luck: in all the time I’ve lived in this house, I’ve never seen a storm turn like that.  But, with all the hassle that storms have caused us this year, I’ll take it!

Today might be a little stormy too but, before we even think about that, let’s take a little time for something far more important: starting the day with yarny goodness.  I’ve gathered a bunch of fun news and patterns for you, so grab a cup of tea (yes, I drink tea even at peak summer!) and let’s drive right in…

Newsletter

I am deeply intrigued by this new knitting and crochet app, called Placemarker, designed to completely change how we interact with our patterns on mobile devices.  They’re about halfway to their Kickstarter goal and have less than a month to raise the rest — click here to check it out!

The architecture of sleeve caps and armholes always blows my mind (to be honest, I find the turn of a sock heel wildly exciting too…  maybe I don’t get out enough?).  Anyway, I absolutely love Carol Feller’s video walk-through of creating sleeves using short row sleeve caps.  It’s kind of like magic.

If you’re going on a one-week summer trip, how many projects do you bring with you?  Three? Five? More?!?  Choosing travel projects is notoriously tricky, so I was glad to see Kim Werker’s musings on Packing for a Crafty Road Trip.  Then I saw her list of tools and materials…  ‘Nuff said.

Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice is a firm family favourite in my house (the book first, then the 1995 BBC version, and never ever the Kiera Knightly abomination, thank you very much), so I squealed with delight when I found these absolutely fantastic P&P page flags in a local shop (cough… it may have inspired an all-night knitting binge with the aforementioned BBC version that very evening).  In the same set there’s also page flags for Emma, Anne of Green Gables (squeal!), Little Women, Wuthering Heights, Les Miserables, and the list goes on.  If you’re a bullet journaller or notebook lover as I am, it’s worth checking out all of their page flags — they’re so pretty!

Quick Calendar:

  • Sunday July 8: The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club subscriptions close

The SpaceMonster Club Closes Sunday July 8

I’m so excited about the upcoming season of the SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club, because we’ve had so many new and renewing members join and I know it’s going to be a ton of fun!  But subscriptions close on Sunday so, if you’ve been thinking of getting in on the fun, now is the time! 

I can’t decide what I like more, the amazing colourways or the awesome gifts…

Want to join us on this colour adventure?  The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, because big squishy yarns are smooshy and soft and so much fun to work with (they’re so quick!).  I mean, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  If you feel the same way I do, and you love colour like I do, click here to join us in all this lovely squishy yarny fun!

 

Laci Cardi by Rebecca Velasquez

It has been exceedingly hot lately, so hot that I’ve almost not felt like knitting or crocheting (I know, I know, but when its in the 90s and with 200% humidity, it’s really pushing it).  When times are like that, there’s nothing better than designers from even hotter climates to find patterns to inspire.  Laci Cardi by Rebecca Velasquez is a gorgeous example: based in Texas, Rebecca knows hot and, with its gorgeous lace openwork (just look at how the sunlight passes right through it!), this cardi is the perfect summer cover up.  Try it in SpaceCadet Pyxis for a light hand with bold colour.

Line Art by Jennifer Dassau

Sometimes simple is absolutely amazing, and this shawl from Jennifer Dassau is case in point.  She’s knit her sample in neutrals but here’s what I’d do: work the main body in Ombre Mini-Skeins, changing colours halfway between the contrast accent lines, and then knit those accent lines in either a boldly contrasting skein or in the same Ombre worked in the opposite direction.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

In the Library with the Candlestick by Barbara Benson

Barbara Benson does this amazing thing, Mosaic Lace, that sounds like it totally shouldn’t work but which really really does.  And if you love colourwork but find it too heavy for summer days, her designs are exactly what you need.  Take this gorgeous shawl for example, with its fun contrasting colour play and beautiful open stitchwork that lets the sun (and the breeze!) flow right through the work.  Designed in DK, I think I’d be included to play with my gauge and go a little lighter this time of year, and knit it in Celeste, perhaps in Troublemaker and Headstrong, Tickled and How Dare You!, or Fizz and Look Up!

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got to get down to the studio (before the heat of the day kicks in?) because we dreamt up an awesome new dye recipe this week and I can’t wait to try it.  I hope you have a wonderful (and air-conditioned!) day ahead of you too and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Things Have Gotten Kinda…  Funky.

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Things Have Gotten Kinda… Funky.

So, can I tell you what a studio with a rainwater soaked carpet smells like after a week?  Nooooo… no, I don’t think I can adequately describe it.  The word “funk” comes to mind, and not in an awesome 1970s Stevie Wonder kind of way.

The good news is that the carpet is no longer squelching underfoot, and it (and most of the smell) is confined only to the packing room, and it is definitely coming out! (just as soon as the insurance company has done all their stuff).  But you know what?  There are folks just down the road from us who lost everything, so I count us lucky.   And the weather is warm:  we can open the windows and doors, we can hold our meetings in the park nearby, we can even pack parcels at my house if the smell is too bad.  This is totally do-able!

the latest SpaceMonster Colourway, “Determined” and our awesome gift, a bracelet loom from Purl&Loop

In the meantime, we are dyeing up a storm (because the smell of wet wool is delicious and beats out over the funky competition!), developing some beautiful colourways, and spent the last week sending out a ton of orders and awesome club parcels (did you see the most recent SpaceMonsters‘, above?).

You know what else I did?  Gathered some fabulous fiber updates for you!  So before the day gets all busy, let’s grab a nice cup of tea and find a comfy spot, and let me show you what I found…

Newsletter

We hosted double-knitting wizard Alasdair Post-Quinn in our booth at a spring show and I was blown away by his amazing designs (and, by the number of people who swooned when they saw them, I wasn’t the only one!).  He emailed last week to let me know that his book Extreme Double-Knitting has been revised and re-released, and is available now for pre-order.  Ready to try double-knitting?  Click here to get on the list!

note: yonote: you do not need to be a fire-breather to conquer double-knitting but it might help

One thing about doing bigger shows (like TNNA last weekend) is that you often have to sit in a long line waiting for your turn at the unloading dock.  And what does a knitter do when she’s stuck waiting in her car?  Yep,  you know it.  So I enjoyed reading this article about a trucker who rekindled a childhood knowledge of knitting in order to fill time waiting in his truck cab –and to quit smoking.  Excellent!

I was absolutely delighted when Dayle, a teacher at Georgia Elementary & Middle School in  St Albans VT and longtime SpaceCadet club member, emailed to share this heartwarming story of how second graders at her school incorporated knitting into their learning.  As well as gaining invaluable knitting skills, the kids learned perseverance and problem-solving and, when their projects were complete, they were donated to an awesome cause.  Scroll to the bottom of the page for a video that is totally worth watching!

Yarn bombing always makes me smile but when it’s as big and powerful as these crocheted portraits of iconic women in history, it’d probably stop me in my tracks.  Love Across The USA is a series of installations by the artist Olek, who brings teams of (hundreds of) crocheters together to create the massive portraits of key women in US history.  Her goal is to install one piece in every US state over the next two years.  You can make your own mini-portrait by clicking here or even design one of your own using the Love Across the USA pattern maker here.

Instagram just introduced IGTV, their answer to YouTube.  The idea is that videos can be much longer and are permanent, organised into “channels” like on television.  I’m intrigued but not really sold yet…  now there’s a feed to check, plus stories, plus IGTV…   It’s all starting to feel fragmented to me.  Thoughts?  If you’re sold on IGTV and want to share why, I’d love to know!

Quick Calendar:

  • TOMORROW at noon (eastern): A very limited number of spaces in the Gradient Explorers open!
  • Sunday July 8: The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club subscriptions close

Gradient Explorers: Very Limited Spaces Open Friday!
Literally only a handful of spaces available

Each month in the Gradient Explorers, we dye a stunning colourway that flows into the next month’s colour… and into the next month’s colour …and into the next.  With limited availability, we open new spaces only when they become available and, this month, we have a handful spots free!  I’ll be opening them up on Fri June 29 at noon (eastern), and there are so few spots available that I think they’ll go quickly, so mark your calendar and, if you’re on the Gradient Explorers mailing list, you’ll get a 10 minute headstart!

The SpaceMonster Club is Open until July 8

The SpaceMonster Club opened last week and the response has been amazing — so many new joiners and I’m thrilled to have you with us!  I’m already thinking about your first yarn — I want to make sure it’s extra special!

Would you like to join me on this colour adventure?  The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, because big squishy yarns are smooshy and soft and so much fun to work with (they’re so quick!).  I mean, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  If you feel the same way I do, and you love colour like I do, click here to join us in all this lovely squishy yarny fun!

 

It’s really full-blown summer at last and so the thing that keeps catching my eye is everything light and lacy.  Here are three patterns I’m really loving…

Namorita by Lotta Groeger

image ©Fleischer, used with permission

Tiny little shawlettes are great for summer and when it’s as pretty and detailed as this one, it’s perfect!  Named after a Marvel heroine and princess of Atlantis, it’s designed in laceweight but, if that’s not your thing, you could easily modify to fingering and get a slightly larger finished piece.  Try Pyxis for a lace version or Celeste for a light fingering version.

My Autumn Flower by Corrina Ferguson

image © Corrina Ferguson, used with permission

So, I know it’s not really the season for cowls but when I see one as light and airy as this, it feels less about warmth and more about showing off gorgeous stitchwork and amazing colour.  Designed in light fingering, it’d work perfectly in SpaceCadet Maia or perhaps those Maia Mini-Skeins from May’s Mini-Skein Club parcel.  Either way, it’s sure to make any summer outfit look amazing!

Love & Madness by Simone Kereit

image © OwlCat Designs, used with permission

Can I tell you want really caught my eye about this pattern?  I’m used to seeing stockinette in a semi-circular shawl, sure, but always at the beginning of the work.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one that starts with a big, bold lace section, then chills out into a stockinette section, and then finishes with a lace edge.  It’s unusual but so effective.  Click through to see how amazing it looks all spread out!

Ok, its time for me to get  to work.  I’ve got some paperwork to sort through, then down to the studio and get a little dyeing done and, while I’m there, I’ll organise yarn for a really exciting holiday project we’re putting together.  Sounds like a busy day!  I hope you’ve got a great day planned too (with lots of yarn breaks) so, until next time, all my best!

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Bad News…  That’s Kind of Good

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Bad News… That’s Kind of Good

I feel like I have soooo much to tell you! TNNA was amazing: we’ve got orders from some wonderful new shops, met so many wonderful people, and we’re collaborating with some fantastic designers on really cool projects.  So much good stuff!  But you’re not going to believe what I’m actually about to tell you…

We got home from TNNA late on Sunday night.  I took a much-needed day off (sleep! and recover!) and then we jumped right back in to pack all the parcels for the Storm Damage colourways that had been drying while we were away.  I am so grateful to all of you for supporting us as we got our studio repaired from the damage of all the rain pouring through the ceiling, that I wanted to get your yarn out asap.  And there were so many orders that it actually took two days get them all boxed and labeled!

the little creek across the road from our studio — see the crushed vegetation and the debris deposited in the safety fence?

As I pulled into the post office parking lot just before closing on Wednesday, I looked up at the clouds darkening rapidly.  One of the postal workers helped me unload my car and she spotted them too. “That’s quite a storm coming.”  It made me chuckle a little to realise that I was dropping off yarn inspired by one storm under the dark skies of another storm rolling in.

But Wednesday night’s storm was no laughing matter.  It dumped a colossal amount of water and caused flash floods all over the area — so much that our township and the ones surrounding have declared a state of emergency.  There’s damage all over the place, and the little creek outside our studio became a raging (and I do mean raging) river that burst its banks and flooded businesses and homes up and down our street.

When they cleared the debris yesterday enough to open the road, we headed to the studio to see how it fared and, as we drove, the damage actually made me gasp.  But though I could see that the creek had crossed the road and covered three-quarters of our parking lot, the watermark showed that it had come to a stop just feet short of our front door.

Sadly the rain came under the door and our carpet in the first room is completely soaked.  I think it was probably just the sheer force of the water, and its now squelchy underfoot and smells of fish and muck and yuck.  We spent the afternoon hauling ruined shipping boxes out to the dumpster and moving bags of undyed yarn (thank goodness it was all in bags!) to higher ground.  And I just couldn’t believe it had happened twice in one year.

But do you know what?  I don’t mind one bit!  We’ll pull the carpet out and paint the concrete underneath and it will be fine.  Compared to the damage we had earlier in the year, this is easy.  Compared to the damage faced by so many others around us, this is an absolute blessing.  I am grateful that pulling up some carpet is all we have to do.

So that was this week: from all the excitement and fun of TNNA to squelchy carpets and weird smells!  And after all that, I’m ready to indulge in a little fibery good news, aren’t you?  I’ve got a ton to share but, before I do, just one really important thing:

You guys were so generous when I create the Storm Damage colourways to raise funds for the studio repairs and I loved having the opportunity to earn that support by doing what we do best.  That was important to me.  Now, we don’t need to do repairs like that this time but I just wanted to say that the thing that really supports our studio month in and month out is our clubs.  More than regular yarn sales and or orders from LYSs, it’s the clubs that give us the kind of reliable income that keeps everything in the studio running.  The SpaceMonsters Club opens today at noon — if you love the work that we do and the yarn we create, I hope you’ll join us and let us continue to earn your support!

Newsletter

I think of handknitting as a thoroughly modern craft but it has ancient roots and the larger knitting world (read: industrial machine knitting) has really fascinating modern applications.  This article explores the latter and it’s so interesting to see behind the scenes of the production of the fabrics we all use every day.

Not about fiber arts but still about making, I was kind of blown away by the simple solution this rolling pin presents for an age old problem: how to make sure your pastry is even and exactly the right thickness? You just roll until the edges touch your tabletop.  Now, at nearly $50 per pin, I’m not sure my only-occasional baking habit can justify buying one, but I sure can recognise genius when I see it!

When you knit or crochet, do you do it to blend in or stand out?  Carolyn, an awesome member of the SpaceMonster Club, sent me the link to this amazing collection of camouflage knitwear.  And when I say camouflage, it’s not what you think.  Really, really cool.

I always find that the more I knit, the more knitting ideas I have (to the point where I have a very very hard time finishing my projects because I’m always rushing to cast on the next idea!).  Are you the same?  I found this article about What Happens In Your Brain When You Create to be fascinating.  And suddenly it makes sense: the more you create, the more creative you are.  Cast on!

This picture cracked me up.

Quick Calendar:

  • TODAY at noon (eastern): The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club Opens!
  • Friday June 29: A very limited number of spaces in the Gradient Explorers available

 

The SpaceMonster Club opens TODAY at noon!

I’m going to tell you more about the yarn above next week but, when you look at it, and you see all those colours, can’t you just tell how much love (and determination!) went into it?  That’s because it’s a SpaceMonsters colourway and there’s something really, really special about dyeing for the folks who join our clubs.  They’ve agreed to come on a colour adventure with us and, to me, that’s an amazing honour!

Would you like to join me on this colour adventure?  The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, because big squishy yarns are smooshy and soft and so much fun to work with (they’re so quick!).  I mean, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  If you feel the same way I do, and you love colour like I do, set a reminder on your phone now and click here at noon (eastern) TODAY to join us in all this lovely squishy yarny fun!

Gradient Explorers: Very Limited Spaces Open June 29!

Each month in the Gradient Explorers, we dye a stunning colourway that flows into the next month’s colour… and into the next month’s colour …and into the next.  With limited availability, we open new spaces only when they become available and, this month, we have a handful spots free!  I’ll be opening them up on Fri June 29 at noon (eastern), and there are so few spots available that I think they’ll go quickly, so mark your calendar and, if you’re on the Gradient Explorers mailing list, you’ll get a 10 minute headstart!

Lindy Pop by Meghan Jones

I met Meghan Jones at TNNA this past weekend and absolutely loved her.  She’s warm and down-to-earth and brimming with creativity — I’m looking forward to working with her in the future!  But in the meantime, let me share this fabulous wrap with you and the thing that I love about it most: instead of weaving in allll those ends, Meghan turns them into a fringe that emphasises the bold colour play!  Designed for sport weight yarn, it would be gorgeous in Lyra or even more amazing in SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins held double.  Go dig through your stash and find some colours to pair up!

Fire Circle by Simone Kereit

So, you have that stash of our gradient Mini-Skeins and you’ve been looking for the perfect pattern — something that will really do them justice, right?  Welllll… I think I might’ve just found it for you!  Choose one gradient bundle for the main colours and then a contrasting mini to make them pop and cast on.

Oh, and while you’re at it, let me just tell you that Simone is another designer who is simply a lovely person, so grounded and fun to chat with.  I mean, when you’re putting your all into a gorgeous project like this, it’s nice to know it comes from good people, right?

Granny diagonal block sweater by Ana D

Yesterday was the summer solstice and when the days are long and warm, I do love a lacy crochet top.  And when it comes to crochet, it’s hard to beat the ease of a granny square.  I love how this top takes that traditional granny square stitch and turns it on its side (almost literally!) to create a corner-to-corner look that’s super eye-catching.  And crocheted garments always work better in a yarn with a little drape, so I’d recommend either Oriana or Maia to soften the stichwork and allow this sweater to really flow!

all image © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, it’s time I finished my coffee and got started with the day.  I’m headed to the studio to see if anything is any drier(!) and then dyeing some fun colourways (because dyeing yarn feels like the cure for just about anything as far as I’m concerned).  I hope your day is going to be great too and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: When We Dye with Real Passion

SpaceCadet Newsletter: When We Dye with Real Passion

Ok, I have to be quick because we are about to get in the car and head to Cleveland for one of the industry’s biggest events of the year, TNNA.  If you’re not familiar it’s THE tradeshow where hundreds of yarn shops from around the country and around the world come to buy their new stock for the upcoming season, and it’s an amazing weekend!  If your local yarn shop is going to TNNA, do tell them to stop by and see us — we’re in booth 247, in the first row right as they get off the escalator.

our full palette of colourways, all laid out to go to TNNA — don’t they look amazing all together like that?

But that isn’t what I wanted to tell you!  What I wanted to share with you was something that occurred to me this week as we were prepping the club shipments for the SpaceMonsters…  Maybe I’ll elaborate when I have more time next week but, as we packed up the SpaceMonster’s colourway and I looked at the huge pile of gorgeous gorgeous yarn (and it really is gorgeous — I can’t wait for the club members to see it!), I realised what a wonderful creative outlet our clubs are.  Seriously, the clubs are where we get to really stretch ourselves and dye with…  well, with passion!  I love all our regular colourways, of course, but the clubs are different — creating their colourways is a really special thing.  Next week, I’ll share with you the SpaceMonsters colourway we just sent out so you can see what I mean!

you can’t see it (because this image is black&white) but there’s a lot of complexity in this colourway!

Ok, we’d better get onto this week’s fiber news before I have to hit the road.  I’ve got coffee today (lots and lots of coffee — it’s going to be a long day!) and, if you’ve got your cuppa too, let’s go!

Newsletter

We have a checklist at the studio to make sure that everything is turned off before we leave, and I find I have peace of mind later that evening if I first say the date out loud and then call out the number of each dyepot as I check it’s off, even if I’m alone.  I know that’s a little odd, but reading this article made me feel a lot better: I guess I’m not the only one who worries later that the stove isn’t turned off!

Ok, I know you’re a whiz at knitting or crocheting (or at least, you’re on your way to whiz-dom), but how are your finishing skills?  It’s buttons that always get me, so I love this tutorial on how to expertly attach the perfect button for your FO.

Speaking of which, I was chuckling the whole time I watched Issac Mizrahi explaining the history of buttons.  Did you know people used to “wriggle into clothes”? LOL!

We use a lot of those blue Ikea bags at the SpaceCadet studio.  They’re handy for everything: moving yarn around the studio, taking equipment to shows, I even use them at home instead of laundry baskets.  But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a use for those blue Ikea bags that’s as pure genius (and genuinely hilarious) as this.

 

Quick Calendar:

  • This weekend: TNNA! We’re booth 247 — if you’re going to the show, come see us!
  • June 22: The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club Opens
  • June 29: A very limited number of spaces in the Gradient Explorers available
  • The Storm Damage colourways are dyed and drying…

 

The SpaceMonster Club opens for New Subscriptions on June 22

The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, and I absolutely love dyeing for it, because big squishy yarns are… well, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  They knit up so quick, they’re so much fun to hold, smoosh, snuggle, and wear.  If you feel the same way I do, make sure you’re here on June 22 at noon (eastern) to join the rest of the SpaceMonster members in all that lovely squishy yarny fun!

 

Gradient Explorers: Very Limited Spaces Open June 29!

Each month in the Gradient Explorers, we dye a stunning colourway that flows into the next month’s colour… and into the next month’s colour …and into the next.  With limited availability, we open new spaces only when they become available and, this month, we have a handful spots free!  I’ll be opening them up on Fri June 29 at noon (eastern), and there are so few spots available that I think they’ll go quickly, so mark your calendar and get on the Gradient Explorers mailing list to get a early reminder.

The Storm Damage Colourways: Update

We had our Storm Damage Dyeing Day at the end of last week and there were so many orders that we actually had to dye all through the weekend too!  And everything was so busy with yarn and pots and dye mixtures everywhere that, of course, I completely forgot to get pictures.  Whoops!  But no matter — the yarn is dyed* and hanging up to dry.  Once we get back from TNNA, we’ll start twisting and tagging it, and then schedule a packing day and get all out to you guys!

*except for one batch that had QC issues. Sometimes that just happens with hand-dyed yarn.  We’ll redye that as soon as possible and, if it’s going to delay any orders, I’ll get in touch.

Kronblad by Verena Cohrs

When I saw this gorgeous design, just one thing popped in my mind…  well, ok, two things.  The first is just how much I love the graphic quality of the yoke design.  There’s something about those crisp lines that completely revolutionises the whole look of a colourwork yolk sweater and I am just crazy about it!

And the second thing is — stay with me here — what if this was knitted in one of our ombre sweater sets*…  so the body of the sweater works it way evenly through the colour flow with, say, the darkest colour at the bottom and the lightest colour at the yoke…  but then, you saved some of that darkest colour and used that for the contrast colour in the yoke?  And used some of the lightest colour as the contrast in the hem and the sleeves.  Wouldn’t that look incredible?!?  Somebody pleeeease, knit that!!!

(*I think Audacity, Infatuation, Transcendence, or Downpour would work best.)

image © Ricarda Schueller, used with permission

iSea by Gretha Mensen

Talk about eye-catching!  This gorgeous shawl jumped right out at me as I was looking through patterns this week.  The construction is simple but those gorgeous stripes create visual complexity and wonderful texture.  Designed for fingering yarn, it’s a fabulous stash-buster for SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins or that amazing variegated yarn you haven’t been quite sure what to make with.  Or recreate the look here with our gorgeous greys Sliver and Dark Skies.

image © Gretha Oceaan, used with permission

Hocus Crocus Beanie (DK) by Lisa M. Barnes

Sometimes the best part of a simple is design is the way it lets the colour shine.  I’m a sucker for purple and green together, for mesh lace, and for quick knits, so this sweet hat is a natural fit!  Designed in DK (try Astrid or Lyra), it’s also available in a worsted version.  What colour combo would you go for?

image © Lisa M. Barnes, used with permission

Ok, my coffee is gone (what?!?) and it’s time we got on the road.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us at TNNA this weekend — that it is as productive as it is fun — and I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned as well.  And until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Knitters on an Adventure!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Knitters on an Adventure!

Do you ever have those times when it feels like life has revved up to 10million miles an hour?  This week feels like one of those times, and my head is swirling with excitement and a little trepidation.

First, the thing that’s sending shivers of nervousness down my spine: next week, we are headed to TNNA, the knitting industry tradeshow, and there is still so much to do.  I’m super excited about it — I love the chance to meet with designers and suppliers and, most of all, to show off our yarn to LYS owners planning their stock for autumn and winter — but it’s such an important show and such a big endeavour that I get really nervous about it.  What if we don’t do as well as I’d hoped?

There’s a way you can help with that, and I’ll tell you in a minute, but first, the other thing that’s making my week super-busy, and this time it’s something that fills me with warm-fuzzies: Friday is our big Storm Damage Dyeing Day!  That’s when we’re laying the colour on all the yarn that you guys purchased to enable us to raise funds to cover the unexpected costs from the storm damage our studio suffered earlier this year.  And the reason I’m excited about it, besides just the pure fun of creating these beautiful colourways and sending them out to our lovely customers, is because it gives us the opportunity to earn the support you guys are giving us — and that means so much to me!

Ok, back to what you can do to help us with TNNA: it’s super simple, just tell your local yarn shop you’d like to buy SpaceCadet in person and to please stop by our booth when they come to TNNA.  We’ve gotten our best yarn shops through customer recommendations (seriously!) and it feels amazing when a shop owner says that their customers told them about us.  So please do let them know we’ll be at the show and that we’d love to meet them!

But first, let’s get to the serious stuff: it’s time for our weekly dose of fibery goodness.  So grab your cup of tea or coffee (it’s tea for me today), get comfy, and let’s get started…

Newsletter

My lovely friend, the designer and podcaster MelSki, is leading an intrepid group of knitters on a Mini-Skein adventure as they use SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins to test knit a new design of hers during their annual summer retreat. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?!? And we all get to follow their progress on this journey and cheer them along on Instagram.⠀Mel shared this post  (above) and I want you to see the amazingly beautiful effect she is creating with one of our Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skein sets. Look how perfectly the colour flows — there’s a secret to it, can you guess? And the best bit is that, when the adventure is complete, Mel is giving this pattern as a free gift to the members of our Mini-Skein Club!  Make sure you are following me and her on Instagram to see how this adventure unfolds.

I came across the knit Texxture app this week, a growing stitch dictionary in digital form.  It’ll never replace the romance of a holding a real book full of beautiful stitches, but I love having a stitch dictionary in my pocket.  And I love that it’s ever growing.  (Serious question: what’s your must-have knitting or crochet app? I’m always looking to grow my collection!)

I am convinced we can achieve world peace through knitting and crocheting (can you imagine if everyone at the G20 meetings were knitting? They’d be so chill!).  But we’ll never get the whole world hooked* if we don’t represent!  This Saturday is World Wide Knit in Public Day, so get your project ready and click here to find a nearby event.  Or, heck, just get out there and knit!  (*pun intended)

Lots of people start their knitting adventure by making socks, but lots of other people are kind of intimidated by them (and then there’s Clara, who just blew my mind).  If starting socks has always made you a little bit nervous, I love this simple tutorial as a great way to get started.

 

Quick Calendar:

  • Today: Last chance to order the Storm Damage colourways
  • June 22: The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club Opens
  • June 29: A very limited number of spaces in the Gradient Explorers available

 

Today: Last Chance to Order the Storm Damage Colourways!

As you know, our studio suffered storm damage a couple of months ago and so I dyed two colourways to raise funds to help cover the extra costs we incurred while the contractors repaired our water-logged ceiling and walls — creating something beautiful out of all that ugliness!  The result was Water Water Everywhere, inspired by the rain coming through our ceiling, and Alien Invasion, inspired by… wait for it… the mold and mildew they found all over the wet insulation inside our studio walls.

But today is the last day to order them before they are gone forever.  You can jump in on fun and support our studio repairs at the same time by clicking here before midnight tonight! 

 

The SpaceMonster Club opens for New Subscriptions on June 22

The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, and I absolutely love dyeing for it, because big squishy yarns are… well, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  They knit up so quick, they’re so much fun to hold, smoosh, snuggle, and wear.  If you feel the same way I do, make sure you’re here on June 22 at noon (eastern) to join the rest of the SpaceMonster members in all that lovely squishy yarny fun!

 

Gradient Explorers: Very Limited Spaces Open June 29!

We sent out the latest Gradient Explorer yarns this week and I am so excited for our members to see the next stop in our colour adventure!

Each month in the Gradient Explorers, we dye a stunning colourway that flows into the next month’s colour… and into the next month’s colour …and into the next.  With limited availability, we open new spaces only when they become available and, this month, we have a handful spots free!  I’ll be opening them up on Fri June 29 at noon (eastern), and there are so few spots available that I think they’ll go quickly, so mark your calendar and get on the Gradient Explorers mailing list to get a early reminder.

Over the weekend, I came across Paola Albergamo’s work on Ravelry and fell in love!  You’ll be able to see why…

Nereid by Paola Albergamo

The first thing that caught my eye is that amazing colourwork, inspired by sea nymphs and the swirling waters they swim in.  While it looks incredibly complicated, the spirals are knit in modules, worked using just one color at a time and joined seamlessly while knitting.   And the best part?  It’s actually designed to for Mini-Skeins!  If you’re in our Mini-Skein Club, do a stash-dive and find as many sea-inspired minis as you can, and then pair them with a skein of Honey.  And if you’re not in the Club, click here.

Nereid is one of the patterns in Paola’s Happiness Make-A-Long, which runs from June 1 to July 31

The Prism Effect by Paola Albergamo

As I may have mentioned(!), I’m a sucker for modular knitting, so this pattern absolutely leapt off the screen at me.  Worked in consecutive vertical strips made of short row triangles joined as-you-go with no seams, it’s a deceptively simple pattern that creates a seriously eye-catching result.  And for a knockout colour combo, I suggest Lyra in Dark Skies or Drizzle paired with Windswept, Molten Cool, Tantrum, or Vortex.

Reptile Skin by Paola Albergamo

And then there’s this beautiful creation in oh-so-hot-right-now brioche!  Completely reversible, it incorporates double increases and decreases to force the fabric into three-dimensional shapes and an intriguing texture that resembles reptile skin.  Sound like fun?  For a cool-toned colour combination like this one, I suggest Oriana in Crisp and Feather; for a warm combo, try Honey and Headstrong or Blood Moon.

all images © Paola Albergamo, used with permission

Ok, well, with all the stuff going on this week, I’d better get to it!  First thing on the agenda: heading down to the studio to see how a new club colourway I dyed looks once it’s dry (that’s always a moment of truth!).  I hope you have a lovely day ahead of you too and, until next time, all my best!