SpaceCadet Newsletter: In Which My Sister Needs My (Your!) Help

SpaceCadet Newsletter: In Which My Sister Needs My (Your!) Help

Last week I mentioned that I had a funny story to share: it’s about a question my sister put to me, and I’m hoping you can help me answer her…

My assistant Jade and I were driving across Pennsylvania to go to Indie Untangled when my phone rang.   I answered and told my sister that she was on speaker with the two of us.  “Oh good!” she replied, “My question is for both of you…”

Now, I should start by telling you that my sister is a non-knitter — she managed a garter scarf once, with bursts of inadvertent lace in random placements along its length, and then knit until she had so little yarn left that I don’t think she ever took it off the needle.  But she is very supportive of SpaceCadet and me and, by extension, of the whole knitting and crocheting community.  And from that, she is supportive of the entire wool industry at large.  But that’s not to say that she really knows much about it.

“…So my question is, where do you buy wool?

I was confused.  Did she mean where do I get the yarn we dye at SpaceCadet?  Or where does the mill get the wool it spins?  Or where does wool come from…?  I stumbled a bit and then asked her to clarify.

“No, no, I mean, when wool is manufactured…”  (Jade and I started to chuckle) “…I mean, when they make wool, where does it go? Who makes clothes with it?”

Photo by Rod Long

Wait, when they what?!? I stopped her, trying not let her hear me laugh.  “You know that they don’t manufacture wool, right?  You know it’s a natural fiber… grown on sheep on a farm, right?”  She did, but there was a definite haziness about how the whole process works that had me and Jade stifling giggles.  No, they don’t kill the sheep to get the wool.  Yes, it’s a renewable resource. Yes, wool is an excellent fiber: warm and wicking and fire-retardant and all kinds of good things.

“So, ok, who makes clothes with it?”  Ummm… knitters do!

“No, I mean, if you’re not a knitter and you want to buy wool clothing, where do you find it?  I’ve been looking and all I can find are cotton and polyester and acrylic.  All the wool clothing seems to be for hiking, but I want wool clothes for the office.  If it’s such a great fiber, why can’t I find any wool clothing for work?”

I’ll admit, I was stumped.  I spend most of my days in a messy dye studio…  I haven’t shopped for office clothes in years.  And to my shock, I realised I couldn’t answer her question!  I certainly could teach her how to make her own lovely woolen clothing, but I had no idea where to tell her to find quality, wool office wear.

“Shouldn’t it be everywhere?” she asked.  “I mean, it’s a really good fiber.  Shouldn’t everyone be making clothes with wool?!?”

Yes, I think they should.  And I suddenly felt so bad for all the non-knitters and non-crocheters out there, in a sea of mass-produced cotton and acrylic and polyester clothing, who never really experienced the wonderfulness of high-quality wool the way all of us do every time we pick up our projects.

But I still didn’t know the answer to her question, so I’m hoping you can help.  Where can someone buy good office wear made with wool?  Whether that’s individual brands or the stores that carry them, we’d both be really grateful for your suggestions.  Where would you go to buy wool clothing?  Let me know!

But first, I’ve got a bumper crop of interesting fiber news to share with you this morning.  So grab a cuppa and get comfortable and let’s dive right in…

Newsletter

Image © Hunter Hammersen, used with permission

I adore Hunter Hammersen’s sweet knitted acorns (above), the perfect way to use up those teeny-tiny leftovers from other projects.

• You remember that, last week, I shared the links to a new app called Making Things, which offers a subscription service to “unlimited access” to thousands of knitting patterns in their library?  Well, since then, there has been an explosion of heated discussions about the app, with some very strong feelings flying around both Ravelry and Instagram.  This thread on Ravelry grew to 120+ pages in just a week(!), and Casey (one of the creators of Ravelry) shares his thoughts here and here.   There’s also an interesting thread in the designers’ forum, quite a few posts on designers’ blogs (such as Kristen Jancuk’s thoughtful post), tons of comments left on Making Things Instagram posts, and the Making Things team updated their own About page with more information to answer some of the recent questions.   All in all, it has developed into quite a controversy and the conversations around it are both fascinating and exhaustive, so I leave you to dive in (or not!) and draw your own conclusions.

• Off topic but the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh, where we’ll be vending this weekend at Indie Knit & Spin (see SpaceCadet News, below), is located on the same block as the world headquarters of Duolingo (a most excellent language learning app that is well loved in my family), so this news item caught my eye yesterday: Duolingo is adding Navajo (Diné) to its collection of lessons, to help preserve this endangered language.  Very cool!

This made me chortle (despite the typo).  If you’ve ever wondered where steel wool comes from, now you know!

• The Craft Yarn Council has created a wonderful campaign called Humans That Yarn to encourage new knitters and crocheters.  There’s a bunch of tutorials and free patterns to get folks started, but the thing I like most their video introducing the (wonderfully) wide array of people who incorporate the fiber arts into their lives.  Watch it!  (And then, forward the webpage to that friend who has always wanted to join us but never quite jumped aboard.)

• My friend Sarah Jordan designed this kippah/yarmulke in response to the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.  Sarah grew up at Tree of Life and knew several of the victims, and will be donating all proceeds from the sales of this pattern to Tree of Life to aid in its rebuilding efforts.  What a wonderful way to support a devastated community.

New Colourways: We’ve Got One Name… (that’s progress!)

 

We had some amazing name suggestions for this trio of new colourways that I shared with you last week!  And I wrote on Instagram that I think I’m settled on the name for the variegated colourway in the center (click here to read the story behind it), but I still haven’t decided on a name for the purple on the left.  Lots of great suggestions have been coming in on Facebook and Instagram — if you’ve got one, let me know!

We are test dyeing these again this week to check repeatability (so important!) and then they will be going in the shop as quickly as possible.  So many of folks have replied with responses of “I want these colours!” that I just can’t wait to share them with you.  Watch this space!

Upcoming Shows:

This Sunday, Nov 11 — Indie Knit & Spin, Pittsburgh PA

Indie Knit & Spin is always one of my favourite shows to do (because it’s local and all indie), it’s even better now that it’s at the amazing Ace Hotel.  Tons of yarn, plus a great place for lunch, and hipster-made coffee.  What’s not to love?

Saturday, Dec 1 — Holiday StitchEscape 2018, Columbus OH

The Holiday StitchEscape is a day filled with beautiful yarns and classes by outstanding instructors, surrounded by others who also love the craft.  The daytime activities include classes, a marketplace, and sit-n-stitch; evening events are designed for a ton of fun.  Find out more and get tickets here.

True Colors by Melanie Berg

I was looking through Ravelry this week and this beautiful pattern popped up in my feed somehow…  I don’t even remember where or what I was looking at, but I clicked on it immediately.  It’s a fairly straight-forward design but what an impact it has!  If you’ve got a stash of our Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skeins, cast this on quick!  And if you’re not, hop aboard — we planned out the next few month’s colours and I am super excited about the colour direction we’re about to take!

Simple mittens pattern by Anna Radchenko | WoollyWood Design

Interesting texture is the making of so many great knits and I absolutely love the way the stitchwork in these mittens create a modern and yet thoroughly timeless motif.  Designed for DK, they’ll keep you interested while you make them and toasty warm once they’re done!

Lyta by Simone Kereit

When it’s cold outside (and it’s cold now here in Pittsburgh!), I find myself reaching for something warm to keep wrapped around my shoulders.  Brioche, with its squishy-thick texture is exactly what I need, so this beautiful wrap jumped out at me right away.  I love the play of the colours here: warm vs cool, rich vs soft.  To create something similar, try our “Frigia” (currently in stock on these bases) and “Honey” (in stock on these).

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’d better get my day started and I’m guessing you’d better as well.  Today, I have a meeting with the SpaceCadet crew to go over this weekend’s show and all the fun stuff we have planned for the upcoming holidays (so festive and fibery!).  I hope you’ve got a fun and busy day planned too.  And, until next time, all my best!

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Value of Yarn in Our Times

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Value of Yarn in Our Times

I have a funny story to tell you about my sister and then I have a really good question that she raised, but I’m going to share that with you next week.  This week…  well, it’s been a little tough.  The horrific shootings here in Pittsburgh and the funerals that followed have cast a pall over the whole city.  Plus I had a family funeral to attend the other day (not related at all the shootings and not a very close family member, but still quite sad).  To be honest, I don’t know that I could really do justice to my sister’s humourous story this week, so look for it in the next newsletter instead.

Mini-Skeins from June, July, and August’s parcels

But I found something interesting: when this week’s events had me falling into a bit of a funk, I found myself taking solace in my stash. Not in knitting or crocheting necessarily, but just with the yarn itself.  It may be silly or even trivial, but I found that just looking at lovely yarn actually helped me feel grounded and cheered me up.  And though in more peaceful times I might have gravitated to natural shades, this week I really wanted something particularly bright and cheerful.  Would you believe, I actually found myself arranging and re-arranging this set of bright Mini-Skein cakes over and over?  And not even with any intention to cast them on but just for the tactile pleasure of holding them in my hands and arranging them in different configurations.  Trivial as that may seem, it softened the sadness, lifted me when I felt myself going into a funk.  I don’t think anyone but a fellow knitter or crocheter would really get that.   But you do, don’t you?  I think we all do.

So while it hasn’t been the best of weeks, I know that yarn (and knitting and crocheting and spinning) are really quite soothing.  So it stands to reason that all the sorts of lovely yarn-y news I usually share would be equally uplifting, and I’ve gathered a lot for this morning.  Let’s share a nice cup of tea and dig in.  It doesn’t fix the world’s problems, but I think it’s still good for the soul.

First, I just want to share this with you…  We had an amazing time at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show two weeks ago and I got to see two awesome projects from that weekend:

A longtime SpaceCadet customer and friend, Clara, came to see us and it was such a delight to meet her!  She created this fabulous dress out of her collection of Gradient Explorers colourways and I was so excited to see the way the colours flow through such an epic project.  Aaaaaand it has pockets — so. much. awesome!!!

And a couple of days after the weekend ended, Carolina tagged me in this post showing the mitts she wore to Rhinebeck on the Sunday… out of yarn she bought from us on Friday!  This is one of our new colourways this year, Faded Dreams, and I just love how it knits up.  So pretty!  (The pattern is Wood Violet by Jaala Spiro)

(I love it when folks tag me @spacecadetyarn on their projects or come to see us at shows.  Please keep it up!)

Newsletter

Netflix disrupted the movie rental industry and Uber disrupted the taxi industry…  and now Making Things aims to disrupt the way we buy knitting patterns.  For $11.99 a month, you get unlimited access to a library of over 1,000 patterns, including lots from today’s hottest designers.   I haven’t explored it fully and it raises a lot of questions I want to ponder (…does this model support independent designers? …will a subscriber have access to the latest designs?  …how will it change the fiber arts world as we know it now?).  But if you’re keen to find out more, click here to read the FAQs and here to browse the pattern library.

All good things come to an end and Yarn Pop, makers of those sweet project bags with the little grommets for your yarn to flow through, are closing up shop.  The silver lining, though, is their liquidation sale — click here to grab the last of their bags before they’re gone.

This was a really though-provoking read: Julia Farwell-Clay reflects on her Rhinebeck experience and, more interestingly, on whether Instagram is replacing Ravelry as the place where knitters and crocheters connect.  She notes that Ravelry is created by a small team who are really dedicated to our community and Instragram is controlled by Facebook, the behemoth of our times, and asks where we would rather put our support.  The discussion in her accompanying Instragram post is (ironically enough) well worth reading.

Pittsburgh has been in the news for some really awful reasons lately, but I’d like to share something wonderful about my city: the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has employed ten goats (and one guard donkey) to clear out invasive plants from city parks before staff go in and plant native trees and shrubs.  Environmentally friendly, natural (I bet the goats leave a little fertilizer in their wake too), and an all-around awesome idea!  Click here to see the goats (and donkey!) in action.  How about sheep next?

New Colourways: Need Names!

With the turn in the weather, I find myself wanting to create a palette of soft, muted colourways like these three that I dyed the other week.  Personally, I am just loving them right now.  The one of the right  is called “Yes Dear” (because it coordinates with our colourway “Honey”), but the ones left and middle don’t have names yet.  Watch for them to go in the shop in the next week or two and, in the meantime, got any name suggestions?  Let me know!

Bound for Home: Sold Out Fast, But More Drying Now!

While we were at Indie Untangled, we released these beautiful kits for Bound for Home by Jessica Anderson. They sold out super-quick, but we’ve got more all dyed up and drying in the studio now.  Watch for them to go in the shop in the next week or so (or just go ahead and order it as “dyed to order” and you’ll be first in line!).

Oh, and we’ll be bringing them to Indie Knit & Spin too!

Upcoming Show: Sun, Nov 11 — Indie Knit & Spin, Pittsburgh PA

Indie Knit & Spin is always one of my favourite shows to do (because it’s local and all indie), it’s even better now that it’s at the amazing Ace Hotel.  Tons of yarn, plus a great place for lunch, and hipster-made coffee.  What’s not to love?

Huskadoo pattern by Joan Forgione

For me, knitting is all about texture and colour, and this beautiful design has texture in spades!  With cables that twist around each other as they criss-cross the whole hat, the effect is almost three dimensional — and deeply intriguing.  Try it in either Lyra or Astrid in the colourway “Honey” to mimic the sample, or go for “Longing” or “Feather” for a cooler look.

Lines and triangles by Jenny F

And here’s a wonderful example of the magic of colour — such a simple design that’s still incredibly intriguing!  If you’ve never tried colourwork, this could be the perfect little project to dip your toes in.  And if you’ve got a collection of Mini-Skeins, it’s a wonderful opportunity to mix and match to create a truly stunning combination!

Fair Winds and Following Seas pattern by Melissa Kemmerer

But wait, what if you’re not in an area that’s cold enough for hats? (or hat hair…!)  If you live somewhere balmy, then I’m loving this beautiful laceweight cardigan that lets the light (and the breeze) flow right through.  Knit top-down in one piece, with no seaming or picking up stitches, it’d work beautifully in SpaceCadet Pyxis.

all images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got a super-busy day ahead of me.  Last week, I was under the weather after our show and, this week, it’s my assistant’s turn to come down with something, so I’ll be trying to catch up for both of us!  I hope you’ve got a lovely day ahead of you and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Three New Colourways!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Three New Colourways!

Most mornings when I write to you, I’m taking it a little bit slow and easy: enjoying the start of the day with a hot cup of tea and a little quite time before things get busy.  But not today! Instead, this morning the car is all packed with yarn, my duffle is (nearly) packed with clothes, and I am putting together last things before we head up to Saugerties, NY to vend at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show on Friday.  I’ve heard so many good things about this show and I’m so excited to be a part of it.  If you’re coming, please do email and let me know — we’ll keep our eyes open for you!

But in the meantime, I have a little time before we get on the road and I have a lot of fun stuff to share with you, so I actually am going to sit down with that cup of tea and do just that!  Now, you know I normally start with all the interesting fiber news I’ve come across in the week but today I’ve got something I’m just bursting to share with you, so I’m going start with that.  Are you ready?  Here we go!…

Introducing Three New Colourways: Steadfast, Dalliance, and Becalm

Pottering about in the studio and experimenting with colour is what makes my heart sing, and so I couldn’t be more excited to share with you these three stunning new colourways we’re adding to the SpaceCadet line-up!  (And then you can scroll down for a beautiful new pattern that makes them look amazing…).

These three new colourways (and their companions) will be going in the shop on Friday at 12:30pm(eastern).  Set a timer on your phone to get them fresh and hot!  (And if you’re coming to Indie Untangled, don’t worry, you’ll see them there as well)

Steadfast is beautiful shade of teal and chocolate brown, flowing into deep charcoal grey and natural cream for a colourway that is both exciting and also somehow comforting.  It pairs perfectly with SpaceCadet’s other colourways Feather, Dark Skies, and Fat-Free Chocolate.

Dalliance is Steadfast’s sister colourway, with those same wonderful chocolate hues blending into the charcoal grey and natural cream, but this time paired with a shocking berry pink.  Vibrant and still grounding, it blends with Troublemaker, Dark Skies, and Fat-Free Chocolate.

Becalm is fresh and crisp, in wonderful shades of grey-green overlaid with icy blues, deep turquoise-teal, and earthy sage that all flow into one another in beautiful harmony.  It goes with SpaceCadet colourways Wilt, Frigia, Crisp, Sliver, and Feather.

And Introducing Bound For Home by Jessica Anderson

To celebrate our beautiful new colourways, Jessica Anderson has designed this scrumptious shawl, Bound for Home Knitted in Lyra, our delightfully smooshy sport yarn, it’s got a wonderful squishiness that feels amazingly comforting on these chillier days (…seriously, I wish you could feel it  …during the photoshoot, none of us could stop smooshing it!).  Here’s what Jessica says about the design:

Nothing makes my heart sing quite like color and textured paired together in perfect harmony. Like a calling from the distance, making your head turn towards home, this shawl beckons you into cozy comfort. Created for Space Cadet yarn, this triangular shawl takes a perfectly paired bundle of yarn and brings it home into your new favorite shawl. Whether you are headed off into the woods and want to stay cozy until you return, or whether you just want something to keep you warm while snuggling in front of the fire, Bound for Home has got you covered. Grab your bundle from SpaceCadet today and you’ll be bound for home soon!

And we’re doing kits! Available Friday at 12:30pm
Choose from one of three gorgeous colour sets to get all the yarn you need for this stunning shawl — and I’m including the pattern as my gift (that’s a $7 value)!  The kits will go in the shop tomorrow at 12:30pm (eastern), so set a timer on your phone and then click here to get one first.

(But wait, what if you already have yarn in your stash that would be perfect for Bound for Home?  Then you can get the pattern on its own with a 30% discount!  Use the code HOME during checkout on Ravelry, anytime between now and November 1.)

Our Upcoming Shows & Events

 

Newsletter

One trend I’ve been noticing is that wall-hangings seem to be everywhere at the moment.  It reminds me of the time my sister showed me her first knitting project (a garter scarf, of course, with some… erm… inadvertent lace sections).  She had knitted right up to the last four inches of yarn and didn’t have enough to bind off.  I told her she’d have tink back a couple of rows, but she didn’t want to.  So I suggested she could just hang it on the wall by the needle and call it art!  Who knew wall hangings would become a trend a few years later?  If you’re looking to stashbust,  click here for inspiration, or if you’d rather let someone else do the work, check out the beautiful work from the Midnight Weaver, based right here in Pittsburgh.

Remember a few weeks ago, I shared that Pantone had chosen a purple as their Colour of the Year and Sherwin-Williams had gone with a 1970s-inspired clay-brown?  Benjamin Moore is joining in with their Colour of the Year for 2019: a silver grey called Metropolitan AF-690.  It makes sense that a home interiors company is going to go for a more neutral option and, aside from the fact that that “AF” in the name made me laugh out loud (this is nsfw but here’s what it means), I really do like this choice as the perfect backdrop for any colour scheme — in either housewares or knitwear.  If you do too, try our colourway “Sliver” for a similar option in yarn (currently in stock on these yarns).

The US Navy is making a change in uniform from the iconic (woolen) peacoat to a modern (synthetic) parka — and the Save The Navy Peacoat campaign is taking issue with it.  They cite economic impact on small businesses in the US wool and textile industry, the loss of an icon, and the form and function of the peacoat as their reasons for a petition to convince the Navy to reverse their decision.  Click here to take part in their survey or sign their petition.

This week, Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update suggested that the way to get white women to care about climate change is to tell them that they lose all their yarn.  Clara Parkes wrote a passionate Instagram post about the underlying stereotypes of that message and the resulting debate in the comments is full of strong feelings.  Interesting reading.

If you’re headed out to Rhinebeck this weekend or any of the other wonderful fall fiber festivals going on, you’ll want to check out Mason-Dixon Knitting’s Fiber Festival Cheat Sheet to help you plan the trip and (key concept!) control the overwhelm.

Abraço by Filipa Carneiro

The interesting yoke of this lovely design is what caught my eye first but I had to smile when I read the description. “Abraço” means “hug” in Portuguese and, when the weather turns chilly, what could be more inviting?  Designed in fingering yarn, this is a great choice for your Mini-Skein Club stash, or for incorporating a wildly variegated yarn for a big impact without colour overwhelm.

Hither by Hunter Hammersen

And if the weather is turning colder where you are like it is is here in Pittsburgh, you might need some mitts to keep your hands warm.  This lovely pair is quick to knit up (they are mitts, after all) but the beautiful leaf-motif keeps the process interesting and creates a real stand-out effect.  Here they’re in a soft grey (similar to Sliver, in stock on these yarns) but I think I’d fancy them in a nice autumnal rust, such as Headstrong (in stock on these yarns).

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, the car is all loaded up and it’s time to get on the road to upstate New York for the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show.  It’s about seven hours each way so it’s going to be a looooong drive but I’m so excited to see everyone at the show.  I hope you have a great day planned (with a lot less driving!) and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Dyeing for a Special Event!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Dyeing for a Special Event!

This is such a funny time of year.  This morning, it’s nearly 70F already and I get to sit on my front porch, gazing over rolling hills covered in trees that are still green, and enjoying the weather as if it’s mid-summer.   But tomorrow, the temperature is going to drop twenty degrees and it will feel like autumn (literally) overnight.

And as sad as I am to see the warm weather disappear, I doubt there’s a knitter or crocheter on the planet who doesn’t secretly thrill at those first cool mornings.  With tomorrow’s temperatures, it will be time for hats and mitts and cowls and all the lovely knits that colder weather brings.  And I’ll be watching to see if the trees change right on cue too.  Welcome sweater weather!

But for now, here I am, dressed in summer clothes and drinking my coffee in perfect comfort.  And I’ve got a ton of fun fibery stuff to share with you so why don’t you go grab something to drink and find a spot to curl up…  and here we go!

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image © Becka Rahn, used with permission

I came across Becka Rahn’s hilariously witty knitting and crochet themed pins this week and, oh my stars, they are perfect.  There is not. one. pin that didn’t make me chuckle and I keep trying to figure out which is my favourite but, really, I just want them alllllllll.  Becka tells me that the “High in Fiber” sheep was the first one she ever designed and folks are still buying it twelve years later!  If they make you laugh as well, you can find them in her shop here.
(Serious question: which one is your favourite?  I honestly can’t decide)

If you were planning to crochet a Halloween costume for a child in your life, please do not make this one. Just don’t. Ok?

F+W (the company that now runs Interweave) is closing down four of their magazine titles, including the fashion-forward Knit.Wear.  There’s an excellent analysis here of the company’s changing direction over the past few years (including the shuttering of Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet magazines).

Remember that last week I shared that video of a sheep stuck in a tire swing?  This week, the SpaceCadet crew has been laughing at fainting goats (and maybe we shouldn’t laugh at them, but we have).   And if your 1980s featured the drum fill from Phil Collin’s “In The Air Tonight”, you need to see this video.  I have watched it at least 20 times over and am in tears every time.

Our Upcoming Shows & Events

Coming Soon — a Special Holiday Offer with Designer Lisa Ross!

This is all still super-secret so I can’t say much about it yet but we’ve got something wonderful cooking up with one of my favourite designers, Lisa Ross of Paper Daisy Designs.  She does amazing colourwork (see what I mean here) and we’ve poured our hearts — and our dyes! — into some very special kits (see the sneak peeks below), so be sure to keep your eyes on future newsletters for all the details.

 

Are You Coming to the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show?

We are doing last minute dyeing and prepping the booth set up…  and getting super excited!  The trunk show is a fabulous collection of 31 indie fiber-arts vendors all gathering on Friday Oct 19 at the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory (169 Ulster Ave., Saugerties, NY  Click here to get driving directions).  Tickets have been sold out for months but if you’ve got one, we are so looking forward to seeing you! We’ll be booth 18 — make sure you say hi!

Damejakka Loppa / Flea – A Lady’s Cardigan pattern by Pinneguri

Last week I shared a sweater with a super-modern colourwork yoke and, this week, I found myself drawn to this beautifully traditional version.  I love how the tiniest, most delicate stitch motifs are juxtaposed against such bold colour combinations.  And, because it’s designed in fingering, the pattern is a perfect way to show off the colours of your Mini-Skein collection — just make sure you go BOLD with your colour choices!

Akame pattern by Angela Tong

Sometimes you just want to let texture take center stage and I absolutely love the way this beautiful shawl does exactly that.  Starting with a garter stitch body with a beautiful lace edging, it is worked sideways from one end to the other until the lace edging is expanded across the bottom of the shawl.  Try it in Celeste in Faded Dreams, Faded Promises, Troublemaker, or Headstrong.

Winter is Coming by Kathryn Senior

If winter is coming, this colourful crocheted shawl may just be one of the happiest ways to welcome it.   Using a simple but uncommon crochet stitch, the edc (esc), it creates a squishy shawl that can be customised by changing the number of stripes, widening the stripes, or just doing five colour blocks.  I’d love to see it in Lyra in Feather, Frigia, Crisp, Wilt, and Honey (such a pretty combo, right?).  And bonus: the pattern is 50% off through the end of today!

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, there’s still so much to be done(!) to get ready for our upcoming shows, so I’d better finish my coffee and get down to the studio.  Today we’ll be dyeing sweater sets and maybe even creating a show exclusive colourway — it’s going to be fun!  I hope this email has got your day off to a colourful start and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: You Guys Were Right!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: You Guys Were Right!

This past weekend, we vended at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (SVFF) in Berryville VA and it was awesome!!!  What a wonderful festival!  I’m being perfectly honest when I say that I have never worked a show with such a lovely atmosphere, such friendly and happy customers, and so many absolutely lovely fellow vendors.  The trees were shady, the weather was perfect, and the whole weekend was an absolute delight.  Thank you to everyone who told me to apply for SVFF — you were so right!

What made it especially fun was the number of customers and newsletter readers who came out to see us.  I loved chatting with you all and seeing your projects!  And I especially want to share this project: Jaimie brought her WIP to show off how she’s combined four past Yarn Alliance colourways to create this beautiful So Faded.  I think she did an amazing job!  And the coolest thing about it?  The four skeins she used in it are not only all completely unrelated (that is, they’re from different years and months and weren’t purposed designed to fade) but they’re also four different SpaceCadet yarn bases — and yet they work together perfectly!  From top to bottom, they’re Winter Fade Spring Rise (Aurora, Mar 2015), Sugar Plums (Oriana, Nov 2017), Skyfall (Celeste, Mar 2018) and Burst (Ester, May 2017).

Proof positive you should never ever be afraid to mix your yarns.  Something magical could happen!

Newsletter

As much as I love colourwork, I rarely talk about intarsia because it just doesn’t seem so popular these days (unlike the 80s, right?).  And I think that’s because, these days, folks don’t like the idea of working with a bunch of balls or bobbins attached to their work (for the record, my first attempt at intarsia was a baby sweater in a geometric stitch pattern I designed myself and which had no fewer than eighteen bobbins at once!).  But Heidi at Hands Occupied makes the case for not managing your intarsia ends at all and, instead, letting them hang free.  Scroll to the second video here to see what she means, though I’m not sure her “pull through” method would have worked so well with a tangle of eighteen ends!

If you’re ready to start thinking about Halloween (and every store I’ve been in for the last three weeks thinks we should be!), you might get a kick out of this spider web poncho.  It’s kind of awesome.  (And, with a bit of tulle underneath, I think it’d make a seriously cool circle skirt, don’t you?)

I’ve been a big fan of Woolly Wormhead’s designs for a long time and was lucky enough to chat with her at TNNA a few years back, so I was excited to read that she is coming to Rhinebeck this year and will be stopping in at Indie Untangled, where we will be vending.  If you’re also a fan and will be at Rhinebeck, she’s arranging a meet up that you won’t want to miss.  Click here for the details (and check out the new hat she’s designing for the weekend too!)

In the category of Things I Shouldn’t Laugh At (but ohhhh I did!): a sheep got itself stuck in a tire swing and the result is exactly as hysterical as you’d expect.

Our Upcoming Shows & Events

Additional Indie Untangled Tickets Available!

The Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show is open to ticket holders only and I can’t tell you how many people have mentioned that they couldn’t get their hands on one before they sold out.  Well, I have exciting news: a very small number of tickets have become available for the 3-5pm, 5-7pm, and 7-8pm shopping sessions. They go on sale Sunday, October 7 at 1pm (eastern) and they’re sure to go fast, so if you’d like to join us at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show, set a reminder on your phone now and then click this link on Sunday to get your tickets!

Umi Nami by Angela Tong

Proving that lace shawls don’t have to be fussy, this eye-catching design from Angela Tong incorporates just enough lacework to look delicate while its stockinette ridge body adds simple colour contrast.  And I love how the picot edge on one side plays against the feather-and-fan on the other!  Designed in fingering, I’d love it in Oriana in Sliver and Dark Skies, Longing and Wilt, or Feather and Frigia

Imagine – Utopia Project 1st Edition pattern by Luisa M

Yoked sweaters with amazing colourwork are all the rage at the moment but the angular, graphic nature of Luisa’s design really sets this sweater out from the rest!  And I love how the motif repeats slightly differently on each wrist — click through to see what I mean.  Worked in fingering weight yarn, it’s not too bulky and perfect for those chilly-but-not-really-cold days to come.

Harvested Tee pattern by Rebecca Velasquez

We may be gearing up for cooler temperatures here in Pittsburgh but if you live someplace warmer (or just head there in the winter), check out this gorgeous crocheted tee by the lovely Rebecca Velasquez.  I love that it almost looks like tracery around a stained glass window or the detail in an ornate medieval ceiling.  But in reality, it’s a light and airy top that creates serious impact!

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, there’s still lots to be done to get ready for our upcoming shows so I’d better get down to the studio and start dyeing!  (It’s a hard life, I tell ya…)  I hope you have a great day ahead you  too so, until next time, all my best!

 

 

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Sabotage! (Almost)

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Sabotage! (Almost)

This week, we packed up the last parcel in the current season of the Yarn Alliance and, to be honest, it was bittersweet.  Why?  Well, maybe because this season is coming to an end or…  maaaaaybe because we all love the colourway so much. So much.  It’s beautiful and, without giving anything away, it’s exactly the favourite colours of a couple of members of the SpaceCadet crew…  who just may have threatened to sabotage packing day so that the parcels couldn’t go out and they could keep all the skeins to themselves.  I’m not kidding.

(Don’t worry — they got themselves under control and didn’t sabotage it and all the parcels went out in the end.  Though it was close there for a minute!  And I can’t wait for our current members to open their boxes and see this colourway because it is rich and layered and nuanced and gorgeous!!!)

Now, I can’t share a photo of it here because it would spoil the surprise (but look for it on my Instagram feed over the weekend) so I’ll share a few from our previous parcels instead.  And really, they’re pretty darned nice too, don’t you think?

The Yarn Alliance is open for subscriptions through this weekend only, so if you’ve been thinking about joining, this weekend is your last chance!  Click here or scroll down to the SpaceCadet News section for all the details.

Today looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day and I’m not sure how many of these lovely mornings we’ll have before the weather turns, so I’m heading out to the porch with my coffee to watch the world wake up.  In the meantime, I’ve got a bunch of fun fiber news to share with you so grab yourself a cuppa too and let’s start this day right!

Newsletter

This just blew me away: fiber artist Andrea Hunter creates felt artwork out of wool that is simply breathtaking and I’m amazed by the effects.  Some of her pieces look like oil paintings, some like watercolours, some like chalks.  Check them out here.

Photo by Mikaela Shannon

You’ve heard the battle cry for pocket-equality, right?  Clothing manufacturers have long refused to include pockets in women’s clothing designs or, where they have added them, made them so small as to be nearly useless.  This (visually fascinating) article illustrates the problem perfectly and lends impartial evidence to something we all know to be infuriatingly true.  (Bonus: here’s a cute “coatigan” pattern that features integrated pockets!)

I think knitters and crocheters can all relate to the need to keep our hands busy, right? When security stopped a woman  from bringing her knitting needles into the court room of the Paul Manafort trial, she turned to finger knitting instead.  “My hands always have to be busy. I hate to waste time, I have to be productive,” she said.  I can relate! (But I have to admit, the way the article uses the terms “knitting”, “crochet”, and “sewing” interchangeably made the story a wee bit confusing for me)

After I linked to an article about yarn bombing, a reader named Lisa emailed to share her thoughts on the impact of yarn bombing on the natural environment and wildlife, and particularly on the impact of acrylic and synthetic yarn.  I found her points persuasive.  “How do I feel about yarn bombing? Although it is pretty to look at, I now view it as litter and a form of vandalism. Wildlife can easily become entangled… Acrylic yarns are much worse than natural fibers, but even wool with a high twist is dangerous.”  And, she asked, what becomes of old yarn bombings? Who is responsible for maintaining them or  removing them when they become shabby?  Interesting questions — if you have thoughts on it too, I’d love to hear them!

Also interesting is the whole concept of synthetic fibers: acrylic, polyester, nylon, and the like.  Even though they are everywhere and we rarely give them a second thought, Lisa points out, “Polyester is plastic…   how long does [it] take to break down?”   Looking at the alternatives, I was fascinated by this article about new “biodegradable textiles grown from living organisms” such as bacteria, algae, yeast, and fungi.  And while these exciting new possibilities solve some practical problems, I have to admit I’m partial to one of the original (and best!) biodegradable textiles from a living organism: wool!

Our Upcoming Shows & Events

The Yarn Alliance Open Only Through Sunday!

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways 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 nifty 15% coupon!

So if you want to join our Yarn Alliance community, click here to get your spot.  I can’t wait for you to come aboard!

Syncope Shawl by Veera Välimäki

I don’t know what it is about this shawl but I am just crazy about it!  It’s so simple — just two colours — and yet so high impact.  Garter stitch blended with syncopated brioche creates and amazing contrast that is downright mesmerising.  I’d go for Gobsmack with Sliver, Frigia with Dark Skies, or for a really bold option, Fizz and Look Up!

Mindfulness by Elena Fedotova

There are several key elements that can make a design instantly compelling and this one has two of the best: great texture and the chance to combine colours beautifully.  Designed in fingering weight, its thick stripes give plenty of space for the stitchwork to shine without being lost in the colour changes.    Here its shown with a strong colour contrast but I think I’d be inclined to try it in colours more closely related, such as Headstrong with Blood Moon, Breathless and Frigia, or Wilt and Thrive.

Dragonfly Bandana Cowl by Maria Bittner

Every day this summer, I’ve watched dragonflies dancing in the sun spot right in front of my porch, as many as ten at a time, and so I couldn’t resist the sweet dragonfly motif on this lovely crocheted cowl.  Designed in these bright and happy stripes, it looks just as adorable (maybe more so?) in a semi-solid.   I’d try it in Stroppy, Feather, or Thrive.

all images © the respective designers, used with permission

Alright, today I’m headed down to the studio to check out the yarn we’ve been dyeing for SVFF and our other upcoming shows, so I’d better finish up and get going.  I hope you’ve enjoyed starting your day with me and, until next time, all my best!