SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Lowdown on Wool Clothing

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Lowdown on Wool Clothing

You remember a few weeks ago, I told you about my sister wanting to buy wool clothing for work, and not knowing where to get it?  (Or even how to ask about it!…  “when they manufacture merino…“)  I asked you guys to suggest places for her shop, and the response was fantastic!  So many folks emailed in and with such excellent suggestions that I not only was able to put together a great list of resources for her but, even better, I was reminded anew of what a wonderful community we have here.

So, first, thank you so much to everyone who wrote in or left a comment!  And second, quite a few folks asked if I would also share the compiled information here, which I think is a terrific idea.  So here’s the full list, with several companies getting duplicate mentions (which I think is a great sign) and a few companies that were completely new to me.  I know that you and I can make our own wool clothing (because: we are awesome) but I’m delighted to have such a great list of additional options.  (And just thrilled to pass so many suggestions on to my sister — thanks again!)

Photo by Kai Pilger

Where to get wool clothing:

• from Holly: Pendleton and Eileen Fisher.
• from Pamela: Talbots
• from Deborah: LL Bean, Woolrich, REI, Pendleton, Johnson Woolen Mills, and Eddie Bauer
• from Grace: Lands End, Winter Silks, LLBean
• from Paula: Brooks Brothers
• from Lillian: Banana Republic, or Anne Taylor. Nordstrom, or Nordstrom Rack
• from Melissa: Banana Republic, J. Crew, Gap, Brooks Bros. Boden is one of my favorites (search by “wool”).
• from Deb: Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL.
• Elizabeth suggested high end consignment shops
• from Elizabeth B: LL Bean, Land’s End, Macy’s, and Pendleton
• from Lisa C.: Eileen Fischer or Garnet Hill
• from Joanna: Land’s End and another from LL Bean
• from Stacey: Pendleton, Cos (https://www.cosstores.com/), Jcrew (you can search on their site by fiber content), Nordstrom (https://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-dresses-shop/wool)
• from Susan M: Pendleton.
• from Pat: Talbots, Pendleton, I’ve bought wool clothes in Macy’s
• from Beth G: Kühl
• from Mary Ellen: Eddie Bauer
• from Alison: Brooks Brothers, Bon Worth, Pendleton, Banana Republic
• from Rebecca: Orvis
• from Emmie: Orvis, Talbots, Woolrich, Lands’ End
• from Kate: Pendleton
• from Cisela: COS
• from Jocelyn: Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms, J Crew, or REI for hiking.
• And I got this suggestion as well, which I thought was excellent:
The ready to wear lines by most designers do include classic components made of good quality wool (Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Lauren used to…). Check Canadian manufactured goods…they’ve been the most reliable for affordability, outstanding construction and fabric quality as of late.
Ideally, find a good tailor. Tailors are not just for men and they know how to cut and drape fabric to be most flattering . Imagine a jacket or skirt or slacks that actually fit and you can be comfortable sitting through a tedious meeting. You can start off with a jacket and skirt or pants and then add complementary pieces as you go. They will keep swatches and measurements on file so if you want a pair of chalk line slacks to go with your new charcoal blazer for a more relaxed look, they’re on it. They have access to a myriad of fine quality wool, wool gabardine, wool silk blends etc. There are wools so lightweight they are gossamer and the drape will make you swoon.
Keep in mind these will be well constructed pieces and if well cared for can last many many years. (I took apart some of my Dad’s suits and recut them for me and then my daughter did the same with them when I was done wearing them…third generation and they look brand new.)
I use the CPW formula when deciding on a higher cost purchase. Cost per wear. How many times a month will I wear this? How many years?  Great question from your sister!

Isn’t that a fabulous resource list?!?  Thank you all so much.  I can’t wait to share it with my sister!

 

Newsletter

If there’s a crocheter on your holiday list, top crochet designer Robyn Chachula (Crochet by Faye) has created a pop-up shop to sell her awesome Love Laugh Crochet range of t-shirts, mugs, bags, and other great gifts.  Everything is in very limited quantities, so don’t wait!  (I’ve already nabbed two mugs and a backpack for a couple of crocheters on my list)  Bonus: Robyn is offering us an exclusive 20% discount with the code LOVE.  Woot!

Speaking of woollen clothing, if you follow Clara Parkes on Instagram, you’ll know she’s been waging a campaign for winter-clothing manufacturers to use natural and appropriate fibers in their products (that is, fewer synthetic fibers and no cotton, thank you).  It’s been entertaining to watch her daily posts and stories but this one (where she penned an open letter to Deluth Trading Company deriding their ad claiming “Fleece-Infused: No Smelly Animal Fur Here, Just… Polyester Fleece” — under a drawing of a sheep!) created a bit of a firestorm in the comments.  Well worth reading!

And then Quintin McEwan, a shepherd at Cedar Grove Farm in Ontario spotted a Lucky Brand sweater with a tag claiming (…wait for it…) that “The World Needs More Fat Sheep” and “Not a Single Sheep was Sheered in the Making of this Garment”  (yes, you read that right).  He wrote a wonderful open letter to the company explaining that sheering sheep is a *necessary* part of good animal husbandry, and inviting representatives of the company to come to his farm and see for themselves.  Click here to read it and here to see the company’s (disappointing) response.  The good news?  They included their contact information (email and phone) and seem keen to… receive feedback.

Tis the season for those amazing holiday-themed stranded colourwork sweaters and that always makes me think of Scandinavian patterns.  If you’re the same, this article giving the history of that classic motif, the Norwegian Star, makes really interesting reading.  Make sure it’s snowing outside and you curled up next a roaring fire.

Ok, the clock is ticking and you are stuck for gift idea, you could always consider this.  It seems like a fairly quick knit and… erm… it’d certainly be a unique present.  ( Or scroll down, I’ve got great gift ideas below)

 

Ok, I’m going to be very honest here — the last couple of weeks have been both fantastic (you guys, what a response to our Holiday Specials!) and exhausting (a bazillion orders to ship out, plus a show last weekend).  And add to that the fact that a couple of weeks ago, our main skein-twister and parcel packer, my assistant Sara, slipped on the ice and broke her hand, and so the whole crew has been doubling down to cover the work she can’t do until her hand heals.  All this to say that the dates below may need to be a little flexible to accommodate things.  Keep your eye on your inbox, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.

The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club Opens Monday Dec 10…  Maybe.

It’s nearly SpaceMonster time and I couldn’t be more excited!  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, or have someone on your gift list who would love to get in on the fun, click here and get on the club mailing list to make sure you’re the first to hear how to subscribe!

(Why “maybe”?   Well, things have been so crazy-busy that I may need a few more days to prep everything and open the club, so I’m allowing myself a little leaway.  Get on the list and keep your eye on your inbox, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.)

Prism Break Sets Available as Sweater Sets and Individual Skeins

When we put the Prism Break Mini-Skein Sets in the shop as our Black Friday Special, they sold out so fast it made my head spin(!) and lots of folks never got the chance to get one before they were gone.  Well, that special may be over but I’ve got good news: the same colourways are available as full-sized skeins, in either Sweater Sets or as individual yarns!

And using them in a sweater is easy.  The grey that runs through every skein allows them to flow into one another effortlessly: no jarring joins, no alternating skeins… You just change from one yarn to the next and they flow beautifully!  Choose from either our Radiant Spectrum or Deep Spectrum, on Celeste, Ester, Oriana (all fingering), or Lyra (sport), Astrid (DK), Vega (worsted) or Elara (bulky).

 

Flickering Light by Lisa K. Ross

No doubt you saw this beautiful shawl last week when I released SpaceCadet’s kits for it and they absolutely flew out of the shop.  They went so fast, in fact, that we had to quickly dye a couple of small batches just to have enough to bring some to last week’s show, and now there are only a few left in the shop.  An absolutely delicious project with intriguing details, it’s design in Aurora, our sumptuously soft 20% cashmere yarn.  Grab a bundle before they’re gone!

Judy’s Rainbow Scarf by Lindsey Stephens

If you got one of our awesome Prism Break Mini-Skein Sets on Black Friday, then you’ve already seen this simple-but-addictive design that Lindsey Stephens created specifically for them.  But even if you didn’t, this is the perfect project for that kind of depth-of-winter comfort knitting we all crave, and a fabulous way to use up your stash of SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, no matter the colour!

Ithilmar by Heatherly Walker

The temperature in Pittsburgh today is not going to get much above freezing, so warm warm socks are an essential.  But does that mean they can’t be beautiful?!?  I love the delicate stitchwork and the colour.  Try it in SpaceCadet Ester in Sliver, Drizzle or Dark Skies.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, it may be freezing outside, but it’s time I got to the studio and got some work done.  Today I’m dyeing some gorgeous club yarns and if I get a chance, I may just take a little time to play with a special colour I’ve had in mind to celebrate mid-winter (I’ll let you know how it goes!).  In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful day ahead of you and, until next time, all my best!

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: This Industry…

SpaceCadet Newsletter: This Industry…

There’s something I want to tell you about this industry.  A couple of Sundays ago, we did Indie Knit & Spin, which is a fab little show here in Pittsburgh that is totally focused on indie makers like us.  The vibe is great, the show is fun, the location super-cool, and the customers are like friends because they’re all from our own local community.  I can’t help but walk away from the end of a day like that feeling great!  And then the next day, I met up with one of the other vendors — a fellow dyer who lives several states away and that I get to see only a few times a year — for lunch at a restaurant downtown.  It was a lovely afternoon and, as I headed home, I was on a total high from the effects of the two days together.  All the good feels.

But wait…  my lunch date…   she’s a direct competitor, right?  What’s up with that?  Well, yes, she is my competitor.  And maybe in another industry, we wouldn’t be laughing and talking at lunch as if we were coworkers in the same company.  But this is a really special industry.  It’s made up almost entirely of tiny businesses with just a few employees — even the biggest yarn companies are still quite small and family-run.  And the people in this industry are real.  There are very few corporate salaries, very few perks — we’re all in it because we love yarn (just like you do!), because we are all knitters and crocheters first, and because we love sharing our work directly with our customers and seeing what they make with it.  I honestly can’t think of another industry like it.

Here’s the thing: everything is about to get crazy, right?  At the end of this week, the retail world will explode with ads and emails and a million other ways of telling you to buy buy buy!  It’s going to be a little overwhelming.   And I’ve got some fun holiday offers as well, so there will be messages from me too, but as you’re choosing your holiday gifts, I hope you’ll think of what a special industry this is, how it’s made up of people who create things by hand and with passion, and who rely on customers like you who value that kind of personal connection.  And as we head into Thanksgiving, before all that craziness begins, I want you to know how grateful I am for you — that you read my (long!) newsletters, that you buy our yarn, and that you support this tiny little business that we love so much.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, before we jump into the good stuff — this week’s fiber news — I just want to draw your attention to a couple things:  First, we really do have some fantastic holiday offers this weekend that I don’t want you to miss, so be sure to check out the SpaceCadet News section for the all the details, ok?  And then second, this season is about giving, and there’s someone in our industry who really needs your support, so please do read down to this week’s pattern picks to find out what I’m talking about.  Ok, are you ready for the latest news?  Here we go…

Newsletter

• I read with interest this article about a researcher who studied 400,000 knitters and “discovered what turns a hobby into a business” and, while I found it a little light on deep insight, what it did reveal is that most entrepreneurs in the knitting and crochet industry got started because of the encouragement of their crafting community.  And that, I think, is the takeaway and something we all know deep down: knitters and crocheters create incredibly supportive communities.

• Speaking of community, the first kind of community we all have is our families, but the current political climate can strain those bonds, especially around the holidays.  This cool interactive article uses a bot — yes, its own bot — in its aim to help you have a more peaceful holiday season by improving your skills navigating those tricky conversations with family members with differing political viewpoints.  You assign Angry Uncle Bot (“I have LOTS of opinions!”) a liberal or conservative bias and then start your conversation, choosing your best responses as you go along.  A fun exercise, even if I’m still not confident I want to wade into politics over the turkey this week.

• Or we can just rely on a good dog video to cut the tension, right?  I don’t know if I think this sheepdog is so dumb that he doesn’t know how his job is supposed to work or if he’s a genius who’s found the easiest way to get it done but, either way, he totally cracked me up.  Especially at the end.

• It’s nearly time for the annual Indie Design Gift-a-long, a great chance for you get discounts on patterns from awesome designers, participate in a huge KAL/CAL, play games and win prizes.  If the whole thing is new to you, Kristen Jancuk explains it all here, so read up and get ready — Nov 23 is nearly here!

Holiday Special Offers — This Weekend!

Black Friday (at noon eastern): The release of our new Prism Break colours and Special Prism Break Mini-Skein Sets.  Because you love those bright rainbow colours but then you somehow always seem to buy grey, right?  Don’t worry, we have a fix for that!  Keep an eye on your inbox.

Small Batch Sunday (at 2pm eastern and onwards through the day):  We’ve been dyeing some beautiful small batch colourways for truly unique gift-giving.  Watch for them to release on Instagram and Facebook throughout the day!

Cyber Monday (at 7:30am eastern): We’ve created kits for a very special holiday collaboration with designer Lisa Ross (below).  Watch your email inbox for all the details!

Upcoming Shows:

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.

This week’s pattern picks are a little different, because one of our own knitting community is amongst the thousands who have lost everything in the wildfires in California.  I first met the designer Heatherly Walker at TNNA, where she was helping out in another friend’s booth.  And when SpaceCadet went to our first Stitches West and discovered our booth fixtures didn’t fit together the way they should, it was Heatherly, along with three of her six children, who came to our rescue: cajoling the stubborn fixtures, hanging up yarns, and helping us clear up the mess as the clock ticked down (too fast!) to the show opening.  She has designed beautiful patterns in SpaceCadet yarn, and photographed them amongst the soaring pines and scenic views around her home in Paradise.  So when I saw the name of her lovely town in news the other week, my heart stopped.

Her family got out — all the children and both she and her husband are alive and safe — but they have, of course, lost absolutely everything.  Two days after they escaped the fire, someone smashed the back window of their car and stole her 12-year-old daughter’s backpack, containing nearly all she had left in the world.

When tragedies like this strike, it can be hard to know what to do.  How do you help someone impacted by a disaster so far away?  What do they need?  What can you do?  Sometimes the answers aren’t so clear but when  the person in need is a designer like Heatherly, there’s a wonderfully easy way to show your support: we can simply buy her patterns!  It raises much needed funds and boost her designs on Ravelry, all while she is busy sorting out her circumstances.  Plus, you get some excellent new patterns too!

Heatherly’s work ranges from beautiful shawls to intricate colourwork (check out her mittens!) to her delightfully detailed socks.  These are the ones that jumped out to me when this week, but do click here and explore her whole catalogue. And then do the good by treating yourself to a pattern or two (or more!), knowing that you are part of a community that really is that supportive when one of its own is in need.

Tesseract by Heatherly Walker


(This stunning shawl deserves a little sparkle! Try it in SpaceCadet Lucina in Drizzle, Frigia, or Breathless)

Tridium by Heatherly Walker

(The perfect yarn for these socks: SpaceCadet Celeste in Dark Skies and Sliver)

Uru by Heatherly Walker

(Try knitting this gorgeous texture with SpaceCadet Oriana in Longing)

all images © Heatherly Walker, used with permission

Ok, there is so much to do before tomorrow so I’d better get going and get the day started!  I hope you have a great day ahead of you, I wish you a most wonderful Thanksgiving, and I’ll be in touch with fun stuff this weekend!

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!

Newsletter

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!