SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Things You Say to Me!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Things You Say to Me!

One of the things I love most about running SpaceCadet is that it allows me to interact with our customers and club members in a way that I think would simply not be possible in another type of business.  I love looking over the colour combos that our customers come up with(!) and writing a little thank you on each order.  Or drawing a smiley face and a quick “Hi!” whenever I see a familiar name on a shipping label.  And most of all, I love the conversations that come back in emails and messages.  Sometimes, when it’s super busy, I don’t get the chance to reply personally, but I am so appreciative of every one.

This week I got three that especially made me feel all warm and fuzzy:

  • From a SpaceMonster member, “Your colors make even my non-crafty husband say ‘Wow‘” (which makes me think he must be a keeper… I mean, who doesn’t love a man who loves beautiful yarn?!?)
  • From a member of the Mini-Skein Club, “I do love mixing and matching them and have made some of my favorite projects with your minis.” (I loved hearing that!)
  • And from a member of the Yarn Alliance, “I’m in again. Love your Yarn Alliance.

That last one might just mean the most to me, because when one of our club members renews their subscription, it means we’ve done something right.  So right that they want to come back and sign up again — and I honestly can’t think of any better feedback than that!  I am absolutely, completely thrilled every time a club member renews.

So you’ll know how excited I was yesterday, when I opened the secret link that lets Yarn Alliance renewers and folks on the waiting list get their spots early before the club opens on Friday…  and almost everyone who joined signed up for a full year.  One after another after another, all grabbing those 12-month subscriptions (and some even going for a double or a triple subscription! Wow!).  The fact that our renewing members are coming back like that (and coming back for the whole year) fills me with so much joy   …and gets me super excited for the upcoming seasons!

So, if you’re a renewing member or are on the club waiting list and you haven’t got your spot yet, check your inbox for an email from me yesterday.  And if you’re not, just sit tight — the Yarn Alliance will open to the public on Friday at noon (eastern).  Set an alarm on your phone now and then click here to get your spot and join us on our colour adventure!

But enough about all that… there’s been a lot going on in the world of knitting and crochet that I want to share with you!  So grab your cuppa and find a comfy place to sit and let’s take a look!…


You may use terminology such as “yoke”, “purl”, and “swatch” all the time, but have you ever wondered how these knitting words originated?  Merriam-Webster has your back!  I loved this fascinating article detailing the etymology of a ton knitting-related words…  even “frogging” made the list.

How does Ravelry make money?  In 2012, Ravelry co-founder Cassidy (formerly Casey) Forbes wrote this post detailing where their revenue comes from and, in this recent Twitter post, she updated that same info using numbers from 2018.  And the short answer to the question is more than half comes from the ads you see.

(If you found confusing that reference to Ravelry co-founder Casey Forbes as Cassidy, you may have missed the news that Casey recently came out as transgender and is now called Cassidy, and uses the pronouns she/her.  You can read her announcement here.)

I am in love (as in, in looooooove…) with this knitting- and crochet-related jewelry line The designs are so beautifully subtle that perhaps only another crafter would spot their significance, but isn’t that part of the charm? Want!

“There’s something inherently agitating, even subconsciously, when you’re pinging around through social media as opposed to kind of having a singular focus and the relaxation benefits that come with slowing down, learning about something, and then making with your hands.”  I completely agree with this statement from an article about a study that showed 77% of Americans would rather give up their Netflix subscription than their creative hobbies.  Now, the study was done by Bluprint (formerly Craftsy), so the results may not be very surprising, but it certainly matches my experience  (…what does confuse me, however, is the photo they used to illustrate the article — it’s art, I get that, but art is really weird sometimes!).

BIPOC in Fiber is a website dedicated to highlighting Black, Indigenous and People of Colour working the fiber industry, with the goals of enabling BIPOC working in the fiber industry to find and see one another, enabling event planners and publications to be more intentional, featuring a directory of BIPOC working with fiber, and pooling resources and articles designed to improve access to opportunities for BIPOC working with fiber. They are currently 80% of the way to their £20,000 crowdfunding goal.  Click here to help them raise that last 20%.

Join the Mini-Skein Club in Sept and Get a Free Copy of Circulate

You remember last week I told you about my assistant Jade’s two beautiful new patterns, Trajectory and Circulate?  Circulate (above) is a long cowl designed especially for SpaceCadet Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins to make the most of the their gentle colour changes.  And I’m so excited for its release that I’m gifting a copy of Circulate to  everyone who joins the Mini-Skein Club in September!

Click here to find out what makes our Mini-Skein Club so special and then be sure to join this month to get your copy of the pattern.

The Yarn Alliance Opens Tomorrow!

You already know it  …but I’m still going to tell you again! (grin)  Now, set that alarm on your phone for Friday at noon (eastern) and then click here to get your spot!  Also, let me tempt you with a little scrollcandy on your way down to the next item…

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (SVFF)
Sept 28-29, Berryville VA

We’re so excited to be coming back to SVFF And at our most recent team meeting, we came up with something awesome that we’re going to premiere at the show.  So if you’ll be there too, please send us a quick email and let us know to look out for you!

Bayeux by Mindy Brown

This is not a new pattern — it came out years ago and it’s been on my website before — so I was quite surprised when I saw it suddenly climbing Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list.  Then I realised…  it was recently featured on the front page of Ravelry as Peppersock’s Wedding Dress (and what an amaaaazing wedding dress it makes!).  Designed in SpaceCadet Celeste, it’s a remarkably quick project, given that’s a full dress and would make a fabulous option for any event.  I’d love to see it as a holiday party dress in Mars or Troublemaker (with a black underskirt, just to make the point?) or a prom dress in Feather (perhaps with a Fizz-green underskirt, to make the yarn pop?)

Ritchie by Jenny F

Beautiful colourwork and texture are an easy way to my heart and so this gorgeous shawl caught my eye straight away.  Incorporating mosaic slipped stitches, a little texture, and relaxing garter stitch, it’s a great pattern too work on as the nights get longer.  Try it in cashmere-rich Aurora for a truly luxurious option (I like Longing and Sage for a wonderfully wintery green colour pairing).

Taroko Sweater by Nomad Stitches

Colourwork yoke sweaters have been wildly popular for a while now but I’ve yet to see a crocheted version as lovely as this one.  Incorporating lace sections for extra interest, it can be worked as a cropped sweater or longer, whichever you prefer.  It would work beautifully in SpaceCadet Oriana or, if you’re confident playing with gauge a little, I’d try Celeste to go a little lighter and give it a softer feel.  Mimic these colours with Yes Dear, Frigia, and Sliver, or give it an autumnal feel with Oxblood, Honey, and Fat-Free Chocolate.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got a super-exciting day ahead.  We’ve got something really special planned for our LYS customers and today we’re planning out twelve months of new colourways for it!  I’m actually bursting to tell you but can’t say any more than that (if you’re an LYS owner, get in touch and I’ll make sure you’re one of the first to hear about it).  I hope your day is just as exciting and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Announcing Trajectory & Circulate!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Announcing Trajectory & Circulate!

First, I have an announcement, and then I have a very special treat that I can’t wait to share with you!

The announcment is that my lovely assistant Jade (that’s her in the photos) is releasing tomorrow two beautiful new patterns for SpaceCadet.

Trajectory (for SpaceCadet Prism Break sets)

Circulate is a long cowl designed especially for SpaceCadet Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins to make the most of the their gentle colour changes.  And the Trajectory scarflette is its sister pattern, designed to show off the Prism Break Minis that are available through our LYS partners.  They’re both beautiful and simple and…

…And they release tomorrow!  If you’re on the SpaceCadet mailing list, I’ll be sending you a super-quick reminder tomorrow morning when they go live …and I’m  really hoping you guys will show Jade your support by hitting that heart to favourite them on Ravelry.

Trajectory (for SpaceCadet Prism Break sets)

The Special Treat

I’m thrilled about this: Jade is so excited about the release of these two patterns that she is generously giving a copy of Circulate to all of the current members of the Mini-Skein Club and a copy of Trajectory to everyone who bought a set of Prism Break Minis during our Black Friday special last year!  Isn’t that lovely of her?!? So if that’s you, keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow for a special download code.

Plus, a Free Copy of Circulate to All New Mini-Skein Club Joiners!

Just to get in on the fun, I’ve decided to give a free copy of Circulate to everyone who joins our Mini-Skein Club anytime between now and October 1.  It’s just my way of saying welcome and giving you something to make your new membership all the more exciting!  (Which is kinda crazy, because the Mini-Skein Club is so much fun anyway…  I mean, a gradient that flows from month to month to month…?  Yeah, it’s pretty awesome!)

Circulate for SpaceCadet Mini-Skein Club minis

Oh, but before those patterns release, I have lots of interesting fiber news to share with you!  So go grab a nice cuppa and let’s dive in…!


When it comes to the environment and fiber-related things, personally, I am very much in the pro-wool camp (as you know!), but I found this video from the BBC interesting, where an ethical vegan and a Welsh sheep farmer met to discuss their different viewpoints.  It has the potential to get explosive (of course) but — spoiler — I’m happy to report it all ends with cake (because…  shouldn’t everything end with cake?).

While we’re on the subject, click here and then on the circle marked “Forage Tech” to see Joanne Devaney’s Instragram stories fact-checking some common myths about wool production and shearing (note: this is also from an Irish point of view where, like in Britain, the bottom has completely fallen out of the wool market, so it makes the point that Irish/British farmers rarely turn a profit on their shorn fleeces — a fact that isn’t true elsewhere in the world).  It makes for interesting watching…  and the rest of her Instagram feed is pretty lovely as well!

As you know, F+W Media (the company that owned Interweave Press) has recently filed for bankruptcy and the future of its craft magazines remains in question.  But three fiber arts industry veterens have come together to form a new company, Long Thread Media, and have bought the rights to Spin Off, PieceWork, and HandwovenClick here to read more details.

The issue of free vs paid patterns is one that can get heated quickly.  I recently came across this thread in which celebrated designer Woolly Wormhead talks honestly about the impact that copy-cat patterns and unauthorised pattern sharing has on her business… and her life.  And Danielle Holke makes the link to the larger issue of how we value activities usually seen as “women’s work”.  Interestingly, I came across this debate via a post from the editor of Knitty, a magazine that publishes patterns for free… but here is the catch: their being free is the designer’s decision — and I think that makes all the difference.

Vogue Knitting is having a book sale!  Get 40% off on over 100 titles between now and Sept 8.

Yarn Alliance Opens on Fri Sept 13!

Remember last week I said we do our best dyeing for our clubs?  This is a great example: Apothecary and Remedy, the colours for January’s Yarn Alliance parcel.  Combining shimmering gold with a soft lavendar shouldn’t work (they should turn muddy where the two colours meet) but we really wanted to create something special for our Yarn Alliance members, so we worked and worked until we werre able to make this colourway turn out right.  …And I think it really did, don’t you?

The next season of the Yarn Alliance will be opening to new members on September 13, so mark your calendar now so you don’t miss out!  And I’m super excited about what we’ve got planned — lots of intriguing colourways and new adventures.  If you’d like to join us, click here to get on the club mailing list for a heads up and early access when the club opens.

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (SVFF)
Sept 28-29, Berryville VA

We’re so excited to be coming back to SVFF And at our most recent team meeting, we came up with something awesome that we’re going to premiere at the show.  So if you’ll be there too, please send us a quick email and let us know to look out for you!

Confundo by Barbara Benson

I love the cleverness that comes out of Barbara Benson’s head, and this beautiful shawl is no exception.  It combines her signature slipped stitch mosaic with gradually changing colours to create a stunning effect that completely masks the simplicity of its construction (in mosaic colourwork, you are never working with more than one yarn on a row, and simply knitting stripes that use slipped stitches to create the illusion of more complex colourwork).  Designed in DK, I think it’d be an excellent candidate for SpaceCadet Minis held double, which would have the added bonus of making the colour changes doubly intriguing!

Frontier Shawl by Samantha Casale

There’s something about filet crochet’s wonderfully graphic nature that always intrigues me, so this lovely light shawl caught my eye straight away (and it’s still delightfully warm enough in Pittsburgh so I’m still loving lacey shawls!).  Worked in sport, it’s just enough weight to give it a bit of substance, while still letting all the lovely openwork shine.

For Granny by Jenny F

Don’t look now, but there’s cooler weather on the horizon!  If you live in a place where throwing something warm and cozy around your shoulders makes the autumn chill so much more welcome, then I think this may be the perfect project for you.  And if you’ve go a stash of gorgeous SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, this is an amazing option to really show them off!  Knit on the bias, it has an interesting shape and intriguing construction that make it fun all the way from cast on to bind off.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, my cup is empty so I guess that means its time to get my day started!  I hope you’ve got a lovely fiber-filled day planned (or, if not, at least a few yarny breaks).  And, until next time, all my best!




SpaceCadet Newsletter: Our Very Best Dyeing is Only For…

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Our Very Best Dyeing is Only For…

If you’ve been following my Instagram and Facebook posts, you’ll know that I’ve come to realise we do our very best dyeing for our clubs. Our standard colourways (the ones available on the SpaceCadet website) are beautiful and really lend themselves to sweater-knitting, to mixing-and-matching, and to the amazing patterns our designer friends come up with.  But I have to be honest: our most adventurous, most drool-worthy dyeing is always the colourways we create for our clubs. ⁠

And when I sat down and thought about why that is, I realised that it’s because I know our club members have agreed to come on a journey — a colour journey — with us, without realllly knowing where it’s going to lead but confident that we are going to take them someplace wonderful.  And in return, I know I want to make that journey as exciting an adventure for them as I can!

So we come up with at least thirteen new colourways a month for our clubs. Thirteen! (That’s two for the Yarn Alliance or SpaceMonsters, one for the Gradient Explorers, and ten for the Mini-Skein Club)⁠  That makes… let me count… 156 brand-new colourways that we come up with every year. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX!!!  (And that’s just for our clubs, not counting any new standard colourways and one of a kinds)

Oh my stars, I don’t think I’ve ever really let that number sink in! But while that’s a huge mental and creative challenge for us, it’s also so much fun (I mean, this is why we do what we do after all)!  And it means that the special folks who have signed up to one of our clubs — who have jumped on board to take this creative journey with us — are the ones who get to share our very best work.  I am so grateful for you all!

But wait, what about all our other customers?  Well don’t you worry, because we’ve got some great stuff up our sleeves…  There are new colourways on the horizon …and they are so gorgeous!  They just need their photographs taken and then I can share them with you.  And through the encouragement of one of our wonderful yarn shop customers, we are coming up with something extra special for the LYSs who carry SpaceCadet yarn.  I can’t wait to share it with you!


During our SpaceCadet crew meetings, there’s usually at least one set of needles clicking and, quite frankly, I’d struggle to work anywhere that that was seen as a detriment, but I know most folks’ workplaces don’t accept knitting or crochet as the true meeting-concentration aids that they are (and they really are!).  So I really enjoyed reading this article about how much knitting helped one woman concentrate during boardroom meetings.

Last time, I shared with you how you can use Tiny Cards to learn all kinds of interesting things, including sheep breeds (so cool!).  This week, I discovered this deck of cards to learn colour names — super handy if you want to be the most well-versed crafter at your LYS!  (Or if, like me, you always always always think cerise is green not pink.  I mean, it sounds like celery, right?)

Speaking of colours, Behr has just announced their 2020 paint colour of the year, a light, yellow-tinted green called “Back To Nature” (above).  Of course, home interiors is on a different track to fashion, but I don’t doubt you’ll see versions of this colour in clothes over the upcoming seasons.  The other paint companies and Pantone will be announcing their colours soon and it will be interesting to see if they all follow a theme.  In the meantime, if Back To Nature is making you itch to cast on a lovely organic green, check out SpaceCadet Sage and Wilt.

True to the company name, one of my favourite summer activities is sitting outside on a warm evening to gaze up at the stars. Here in Pittsburgh, it can be hard to see them through all the light from the city (unlike the village I lived in in Norfolk, England, where it was often so clear that you could see the Milky Way). But I was happy to come across this article recently with tips on how to successfully stargaze from absolutely anywhere, no remote location or fancy equipment required. If the summer sky is calling you too, check it out!


Yarn Alliance Opens on September 13!

Remember I said we did our best dyeing for our clubs?  I can tell you that our Yarn Alliance members went nuts for their May colourway, which was completely inspired by summer fun: Chalk Doodles (think sidewalk chalk!) and Ice Cream Truck.  See how beautifully they mirror each other?  The upbeat colours of Ice Cream Truck are blended into the soothing grey of Chalk Doodles.  Every Yarn Alliance colourway has an optional coordinate, so you can really play with colour and create an even more exciting project!

The next season of the Yarn Alliance will be opening to new members on September 13, so mark your calendar now so you don’t miss out!  And I’m super excited about what we’ve got planned — lots of intriguing colourways and new adventures.  If you’d like to join us, click here to get on the club mailing list for a heads up and early access when the club opens.

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (SVFF)
Sept 28-29, Berryville VA

We’re so excited to be coming back to SVFF And at our most recent team meeting, we came up with something awesome that we’re going to premiere at the show.  So if you’ll be there too, please send us a quick email and let us know to look out for you!

Incline’s Ascent Cowl pattern by Sarah Jordan

If you’re from Pittsburgh, you’ll know exactly why this design jumped out at me.  It depicts the Dusquene Incline, a pair of cable cars that climb Mt Washington and give a breathtaking view of the city nestled at the confluence of its iconic three rivers.  And I can’t imagine a better holiday gift for anyone who loves the steel city.  Double-knit and fully reversable, it’s designed in DK, so I’d try it in SpaceCadet Astrid and go for Mars with Feather with a high-contrast option, or Honey with Dark Skies for a real City of Champions feel!

The Wisteria Cardigan by Rachel Misner

There are some patterns that I look at and just think, “I want that!” and this cardigan is 100% that kind of pattern.  I love the boxy shape, the drape, and the way the stitch pattern is both lacey and a little weighty.  Using two identical panels seamed together keeps the construction simple, and the almost-sleeves are perfect for warmer weather, but I think I’d be inclined to crochet around the armholes and create boxy sleeves to adapt it into a great three-season option too, in either warm Honey, the rich rust of Headstrong, a cool grey like Drizzle, or an attention-grabbing red like Mars.

Ursa Minor by Jacqueline Cieslak

If you can feel sweater weather in the air(!) and are ready to get things rolling, there’s nothing like a beautifully simple design in big yarn to get you to bind off in record quick time!  This lovely pattern is a great choice, knit from the top down with raglan sleeves and a v-neck, and sized up to a 66″ bust.  Cast it on in SpaceCadet Elara and you’ll have something to snuggle down in the minute the weather turns!

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, it’s time for me to get to work.  I’ve got some fun stuff to dye today (yay!) and then some less fun paperwork (not so yay, but necessary).  I hope your day has some fun stuff planned too and, if not, just make sure you get some time to knit or crochet.  And, until next time, all my best!


SpaceCadet Newsletter: Tons of Autumn Plans!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Tons of Autumn Plans!

Oh my stars, the responses I received to the story in my previous newsletter about my sister cutting her knitting in half were so hilarious that they had me stitches as I read them.  Thank you thank you thank you for sharing in my shock and incredulity that that whole scenario was even possible!  You made me feel so much better.

Photo by Krisztina Papp

Every month, the entire SpaceCadet crew gets together for a meeting that gives us a chance to really bounce ideas off each other and brainstorm.  This time of year, we tend to hold them at the local park in the dappled shade of a tree (why be inside if you don’t have to be?!?) and that must really help get our creative juices flowing because, at our meeting last week, the team started firing off so many fantastic ideas for this autumn and winter that I honestly don’t know how we’ll be able to do them all.

But I really realllly want to, so we’re going to try!  Keep your eyes on the newsletter for progress reports, ok?

In the meantime, I’d really love your help.  Last year, we went to SVFF (Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival) because so many folks wrote in and told us it was a great show to do — and they were right!  And this year, I’m looking for more recommendations.  If there’s a show that you know is great (for both vendors and customers!) and that we ought to apply to, please get in touch and let me know.  Your recommendations mean so much!

Ok, are you ready to jump into the latest fun fiber news?  Go grab a cuppa and here we go…


If you’ve ever knit or crocheted a shawl that wasn’t quite big enough to drape the way you wanted, this schematic (and the accompanying text) might be a useful guide to better sizing.

Did you know Granny Square Day is tomorrow, August 15? It was making my first granny squares that finally got me feeling comfortable with crochet (after years of feeling ridiculously uncoordinated with a hook!) so, if you want to learn to love crochet too, check out Simply Crochet’s Daily Granny Square, published free every day in August until Granny Square Day! Click here to get started with the first one and check out their tutorial, or here to quickly catch up all the granny squares they’ve posted so far.

Oh my stars, I love granny squares so much!

This summer, one of my goals is to brush up on my German and I’ve been using Duolingo’s flash cards (and Duolingo itself) to improve my skills — and I’ve just realised there are user-created flashcard decks for a ton of different subjects besides languages, including knitting, crochet, and sheep breeds.  So cool!

I am soooo wishing I could go to the upcoming Kaffe Fassett exhibition at Anthropologie as part of the London Design Festival. If his name isn’t familiar to you, his decades-long career in knit design, quilting, and needlepoint has been instrumental in raising those crafts to the level of fiber arts, and he is a god of colourwork. If you are anywhere near London in September… go and see him!


Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (SVFF)
Sept 28-29, Berryville VA

We’re so excited to be coming back to SVFF!  And at our most recent team meeting, we came up with something awesome that we’re going to premiere at the show.  So if you’ll be there too, please send us a quick email and let us know to look out for you!

Yarn Alliance Opens in September!

Wait, did I show you the latest Yarn Alliance colourway, Magical?  I love it — and its coordinating colourway, Alchemy — so much I can hardly say and I was sooooo excited to send it out to our club members.  And from the responses we’ve been getting, I think they loved it just as much!!!

The next season of the Yarn Alliance will be opening to new members in September and I’m super excited about what we’ve got planned — lots of intriguing colourways and new adventures.  If you’d like to join us, click here and get on the club mailing list for a heads up and early access when the club opens.

Fleur Dress by Samantha Casale

Everything about this dress feels perfect for summer!  I love the granny square motif, the simple straps, and the sweet lacing up the back.  The pattern allows you to calculate how many squares you will need to make for your size and the granny squares are easy join-as-you-go.  Fabulous!

Rift by Jacqueline Cieslak

Simple shapes make the best wardrobe staples, but this “basic tee” pattern elevates that idea with instructions for two necklines, optional bust darts, and a custom fit bicep, and includes a split high-low hem in twisted rib, just to keep things interesting.  Designed in sport and sized up to a 72″ bust, it’d be fabulous in SpaceCadet Lyra — go for Crisp for a cool summer colour, or Tickled for something super bold!

Richland by Dee O’Keefe

It was the beautiful texture of this triangular shawl that made it jump right out at me.  Pairing a chevron lace panel with a stockinette and Estonian star stitch body pattern, the pattern is designed in DK but could be worked in fingering or a heavier weight.  Personally, I’d love to see it in SpaceCadet Astrid in the deep and rich colours of Honey, Headstrong, or Mars to really lift up that gorgeous texture.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Well, I’ve got a busy day ahead of me — there’s orders to go out to some of our LYSs, all those autumn plans to nail down, and maybe a bit of dyeing too.  I hope you’ve got an exciting day ahead of you too and, until next time, all my best!


SpaceCadet Newsletter: When My Sister Cut Her Knitting in Half…

SpaceCadet Newsletter: When My Sister Cut Her Knitting in Half…

I am now going to tell you a story you are not going to believe…  a horror story…  Prepare yourself.

You may remember I’ve mentioned before my sister-who-doesn’t-knit…?  Well, to be honest, she has knitted in the past but it’s never really stuck and the only thing she ever created was a scarf with a cast on edge that was so tight it was half the width of the rows that followed it, with random inadvertent lace sections, and which she knit until there wasn’t enough yarn to bind off and so, instead, hung it up on the wall, still on the needle, as a sort-of garter-stitch wall-hanging.  As far as I knew, she never picked up the needles again.

Then a few months ago, out of the blue, an order came through for a skein of Thebe, our silk and linen laceweight, and when I looked at it, I realised the customer was my sister.  I phoned her straight away: why was she ordering yarn…?  why was she ordering laceweight…?

She said had been thinking of taking up knitting again for stress relief (yes, it’s very good for that, I assured her) and she thought silk and linen sounded nice (yes, indeed it is, but laceweight is not going to be an aid in stress reduction).  So I cancelled her order and refunded her money (bless her but, I mean, she’s my sister!) and caked up a lovely skein of Astrid, which a nice newbie-friendly DK, and sent her that instead.

Fast forward to this past month, when I went to visit her for a few days.  We had a lovely time, drinking tea and chatting and watching movies.  And when I pulled out my knitting, she went and got hers as well.  What could be more perfect than two sisters knitting together?  And then she casually asked if I could please do that stitch for her that knitters do when they cut their knitting…?

**sound of a record scratching**

When they… what?!?

She held up her project.  It was that original fingering weight scarf, now with the new DK skein added on where the original yarn had run out.  But she was holding it in two pieces, one in either hand, and each piece with a nasty, jagged edge of loose yarn and live stitches.  “I wanted to take my knitting with me on our last trip, but it was too bulky.  You know I like to pack light.  So I cut it in half.  Could you please do that stitch that you guys do to put it back together when you cut your knitting?”

I was speechless.  Utterly lost for words.  She had literally taken a pair of scissors and cut through her knitting — roughly and across rows — in the full confidence that this was normal and there was some stitch that could easily put it back together again.  When I finally began to laugh, it started with a whooshing noise because I’d actually stopped breathing, and then became so out of control I sounded almost hysterical.  The more I looked, the more I laughed, and I just couldn’t stop.

“When knitters cut their projects…?” I repeated.  “When they cut them?”  Like, when burn down their own houses?!? Or they murder their own children?!?  I was crying with laughter now. “I… I… I can’t put it back together.  There is no such stitch!”

She was totally chill in the face of my incredulity.  “That’s ok. If you can’t fix it, I’m ok with it as it is. I just like to knit.”  Ladies and gentlemen, this is process knitting leveled up.  But there was no way I could leave my sister knitting on a project with live stitches untangling along a jagged edge, no matter how relaxed she was about it.  So I picked up stitches on the original scarf and ripped back until I had enough yarn to bind off properly.  And then I unwound the new yarn she’d joined to it and cast it on afresh.  “Here you go,” I said as I handed it back to her, “you’re all set now.”  She thanked me and turned it over in her hands.  It looked so lovely and tidy now.  And then I said words I never, ever thought I’d utter…

Please, please, don’t cut your knitting again.


I may be just a wee bit head-over-heels about these new knitting needles from Furls Crochet.  They are just soooo pretty!

Ever wanted to live on a remote Scottish island and look after sheep all day?  Boy oh boy, today is your lucky day!  The North Ronaldsay Trust has a vacancy for your dream job as a Sheep Dyke Warden.

Photo by Eric BARBEAU

You know how I love curling up with a nice cuppa when I knit?  And I have lovely memories of visiting my Italian friend Valeria and drinking coffee she made in her moka pot, so reading that the original Italian moka pot manufacturer is struggling for business — even as the market for coffee has exploded — has made me so sad.  And makes me want one of my own!

So many readers shared with me the Heavy Metal World Knitting Championships that I’m thinking you might have already heard about but, just in case you didn’t, here’s their website and here is a summary of what might be the weirdest mash-up of interests every conceived.  Then again, it takes place in Finland, where their cold weather, long winter nights, and famous love of heavy metal does make this an oddly logical combo.  Ah Finland…  ever since Lordi won Eurovision, I’ve had a special place in my heart for you!

And in another story that a couple of readers shared (thank you, Fatima and Susan!), this father knit his newborn son’s sleep patterns into a baby blanket.  I am impressed with this on so many levels: not only that he managed to keep such good records during that year of sleep deprivation(!) but that he formatted the data and translated it into stitches, and then double-knit the whole thing.  What an incredible keepsake for his son!

Welcome to our New Gradient Explorers Members

The Gradient Explorers opened to new members last Friday.  There were only a handful of spaces and they went quickly (as they always do!), so I just wanted to take a moment and welcome our new members.  I’m so excited to have you aboard!

Gradient Explorers colourways from Oct 2018 to June 2019

Here’s a look at the fade created by the Gradient Explorers colourways over the last few months.  Where do you think the colour adventure will be taking us next?

The Mini-Skein Club Goes Sun-Bleached

As we headed into summer, the Mini-Skein Club’s colours have taken a turn toward the kind of beachy, sun-bleached colours that feel so right this time of year.  This is my assistant Jade’s Northeasterly that she’s been knitting with all of 2019’s Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins, and I think it looks so amazing to see the colour progression through the whole year, don’t you?

The Mini-Skein Club 2019 colourways up to June

The Mini-Skein Club is so easy and flexible: join anytime you like and leave whenever you have enough Mini-Skeins for your project.  And it’s open now!  Click here to learn more.

A Good Scarf by Barbara Benson

I love it when a simple but clever design creates an outsized result — and this pattern is a great example!  Barbara told me, “I was trying to see how completely simple I could make a pattern while still maintaining interest and style. The end result is A Good Scarf (named so after the store I work at)…  It is completely reversible and unisex and I think would make a great gift for just about anyone who needs a scarf.”  Designed in two skeins of DK weight yarn, it would work well in either SpaceCadet Astrid or Lyra.  Or for added colour play, try holding two differently coloured fingering weights together.  Beautiful!

(And if A Good Yarn is your local yarn shop, get ready to get excited because we’ll be sending a ton of yarn their way this autumn!)

Shalane by Corrina Ferguson

I’ve always been a sucker for stitchwork that looks like flowing water so this beautiful pattern jumped out at me immediately!  And the generous silhoutte and simple tee shaping makes it perfect for summer.  Designed in DK, I think I’d knit it in two strands of Maia held together for amazing sheen and drape — and I know I’d go for a blue and green (maybe Frigia and Stroppy?) to really play up that watery feel.  What colours would you choose?

Sleepover by Melissa Kemmerer

Boxy sweaters are really having a moment, aren’t they?  And I kind of love that because they’ve got such nice simple shaping that you can work on them anywhere: at knit night, at a baseball game, during the scary parts of a movie(…!).  This lovely design is made more interesting with some beautiful detailed stitchwork that runs from the shoulders down each sleeve.  Designed in DK, I’d knit it in SpaceCadet Astrid, in either Nine Stones (a soft, heathered grey) or Headstrong (a beautiful heathered rust).

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got a bunch of orders to prep today, so I’d better get moving.  I hope you have a lovely, yarny day planned and, until next time, remember you…  don’t cut your knitting!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Launched From a Slingshot!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Launched From a Slingshot!

At this time of year, I always feel like I’ve been launched from a slingshot.  It starts in May as we finish our spring shows and turn our focus to prepping for the TNNA tradeshow in June — and then suddenly, the show is upon us (too soon! every year!) and it’s a wonderfully exhilarating/exciting/exhausting weekend and so much fun and so much work and so little rest.  As soon as we get home, we take a few days off for some much needed sleep (zzzzzzzzz….) before we get busy dyeing alllll those orders for the LYSs that we met at the show.

Everything else practically comes to a halt: the newsletter goes on a little break, social media comes to a stop (my social life comes to a stop), and everything that isn’t necessary slows right down while we focus on making sure our customers get their yarn.  And then all of a sudden, I look up and it’s the middle of July.  How did that happen?!?

This year’s TNNA was amazing — our best ever — and I put that down to how many of our customers reached out to their LYSs and asked them to stop by and see us!  So many yarn shop owners told us they had come to see us because of a customer recommendation.  Thank you so very much for making that happen — I cannot tell you how grateful I am.  Or how excited I am to send lovely SpaceCadet smooshiness to an LYS near you! Woot!

But while we’ve had our noses to the grindstone at the studio, lots of interesting stuff has been happening in the world of yarn and fiber.  So grab a nice cuppa and a comfy place to sit, and let’s dive in…


Just in case you’ve been living under a rock (as I have!), Ravelry recently introduced a new policy banning posts in support of the Trump administration. The news made the national and international papers, and late night talk shows.  You can read the policy in full here, and Ravelry’s Mary-Heather further clarified their position in a July 1st post on the front page.  There have been a lot of strong feelings and discussion about the situation on social media — most of which, to be honest, I missed completely but, after I caught up a bit, I shared SpaceCadet’s position here.

Yarn overs are probably the simplest of increases, so I didn’t think there would be all that much to say about them.  Boy, did this article prove me wrong.  All you ever (ever ever) wanted to know about YOs  …and then some!

Knitting yarnovers into April’s SpaceMonster colourway

This cracked me up: reading a random article (that popped up on a feed somewhere)about behind-the-scenes secrets of airline pilots, I wasn’t surprised that they are not allowed to read on long flights… but it made me laugh that the article also specified that they aren’t allowed to knit.  Is that just the author being funny, or has that really been an issue?  I’m seriously hoping for the latter!

This doesn’t surprise me in the least: research from New Zealand shows that wearing wool is better for your skin’s health — including eczema — than wearing synthetics (and better for the environment, but you knew that already).  To test it, the researchers “created special garments that had the upper back portion split in two, with one half made from wool and the other polyester,” which volunteers then wore for weeks.  Interesting reading!

I’ve followed Brother Aidan (the knitting monk) on Instagram for a long time and so was really interested when I came across this article profiling him (and others) as part of the slow fashion movement within religious communities.

Open Now: The SpaceMonsters Mega Yarn Club!

We recently sent out the last parcel of last season’s SpaceMonster Club and I was reminded just how much I love creating colourways for our club members.  This latest colourway and its coordinate, Refresh and Renew, had the whole SpaceCadet crew swooning and the SpaceMonster members snapped up the extra skeins superfast (and we’re dyeing even more for them right now!).  You can see why we love it so much, right?

And the SpaceMonsters members get a gift each season and, this time, it was this absolutely fantastic backpack, custom screenprinted for us by the awesome folks at Commonwealth Press here in Pittsburgh.  Perfect for carrying a project (and a ton of other stuff) on summertime adventures!

Subscriptions for the new season of the SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club are open for only a few more days (closing on Mon July 15th at midnight).  The SpaceMonster Club is an awesome way to explore fabulous colour on our smooshy worsted and bulky yarns in gorgeous club-exclusive colourways. Subscriptions are available only twice a year, so click here now to join in on the fun! ⁠

All images shown here are of past colourways and are for illustrative purposes only. Yarns, colourways, and gifts for new subscriptions will be different (but still awesome!).

Spring Quartet by Anna Johanna

Warm days call for simple practical designs that are fun to knit but not too heavy — on either your body or your brain capacity(!).  I love this super-cute cardigan with its sweet eyelet motif and easy shaping.  I’d make it in either our lightest merino fingering, Celeste (with a whopping 490 yards/100g!) or our bamboo-rich Maia, that drapes like a dream and is so light it practically floats.

cancun boxy lace top by erin kate archer

When a design combines super simple shaping with fun stitchwork, the result is perfect for summer, and this top is a great example.  I love that even though it’s nothing more than two rectangles joined together, the constantly changing lacelike stitchwork keeps it interesting and creates enough “air conditioning” to keep things cool.  Designed in DK, I think I’d actually be inclined to hold two strands of fingering together, maybe (again) Celeste and Maia, but this time in the same colourway because the two yarns together create a matte/sheen effect that play off one-another gorgeously (see three examples below).

Maia & Celeste paired in the same colourway

One Skein Shrug by LeRoo Crochet

I love shrugs because they hit that summertime sweet spot of just-enough-and-not-too-much, whether you need a little warmth in an overly air-conditioned office or something to throw over your shoulders when the temperature drops as the sun goes down.  What makes this design nicer than most shrugs is that it comes in four sizes for a better fit.  And a lovely mesh texture to keep things light and airy.  Designed in fingering, I’d crochet it in SpaceCadet Oriana for a cotton-like drape.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got another busy day planned today — we’ve got orders to fill and club colourways to dye — so I’d better get the day started.  I hope you have a few fun things planned for your day too.  And until next time, all my best!