SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Trouble with my Tensioning

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Trouble with my Tensioning

The Yarn Alliance closed to new subscriptions this week and I just want to take a moment to welcome all our new and renewing members.  It’s been thrilling to see everyone jump on board and I am so excited about the upcoming season!  We’ll be sending out welcome emails shortly but I wanted to take a moment right here to give my warmest personal welcome.

Now, I want to ask you a question: how do you tension your yarn?  I’ve discovered that the way I tension for knitting is… well, complicated.  Here’s what I’ve always done: yarn going over the back of my right hand and down between my thumb and forefinger, wrapped around my little finger, and then under my ring and middle finger before wrapping once clockwise around my index finger.

Yeah. I know. Read it again if you have to.

I have no idea when or how my tensioning became so complicated.  I’ve been doing it for years and never given it a second thought but, just recently, I’ve been wondering if my way of holding my yarn was the most efficient option.  So I’ve been watching videos to see how other folks do it, googling images, and asking the rest of the SpaceCadet crew…  But oh my stars, when I play around with different ways of tension my yarn, I can’t believe how hard it is to get my brain to handle it.  It fights me every. step. of. the. way.  I can’t hear it screaming at me that it doesn’t like this, it doesn’t like this, and can’t we please just go back to the way we’ve always done it?!?  Old dogs and new tricks and oh how I am failing!

I’d love your tips and suggestions if you have them.  Does anyone else tension their yarn in such a complicated way?  Have you tried a few different techniques and found one you like best?  Can an old dog learn new tricks?  I’d love to hear!

In the meantime, I’ve got great stuff to share with you, including this gorgeous new shawl from Simone Kereit (scroll down to my pattern picks to see it!) and kits in these beautiful colour combos.

But more on that in a minute.  First, let’s start with some interesting fiber-world tidbits…


Newsletter

I was a knitter before I was a crocheter so, when I finally learned how to wield a hook, I was amazed to discover that I was accidentally adding stitches onto the edge of each row instead of moving up to the next row at the right spot.  Not so easily done in knitting but a common mistake when learning crochet!  So I loved the promise in this article about how to crochet a straight edge every time.  Just the photos alone inspire confidence of forever-straight crochet!  But it doesn’t mention using a locking stitch marker to mark the first/last stitch in each row, which is what I do now.  Hmmm… is that crochet cheating?

Last week I shared a nifty tutorial on how to darn a sock but a lot more things than just sock heels wear through and need mending — and it’s not always possible to make those repairs invisible.  So the solution is to turn them into miniature works of textile art through visible mending!  This rather awesome pictorial guide shows you how to do it with woven fabrics (looks so good on old jeans!).  And here’s how Hunter Hammersen turned holes in a cardigan into a garden of flowers.  I love it so much!

The weather is turning (at last!) and the light feels somehow clearer, which makes me start to itch to spring clean but it’s a job that I always find so overwhelming (where to start?!?).  So I googled Spring Cleaning 101 to see if I could find some tips…  and the first one was this from Martha Stewart, which suggested (as tip #2) that I dust my lightbulbs.  Oh my stars, I think Martha and I might live on different planets!  Good for a laugh though.  Anyone have any good tips for spring cleaning efficiently?  I’d love to know — and would love to share them in a future newsletter too!

Do you have a go-to increase you use all the time?  Mine is Make One (right or left, depending) but I learned a new one in this little guide to six essential increases every knitter should know: number 2, the Twisted Yarnover Increase.  I’ve literally never seen it before (anyone else? or just me?) and I’m keen to try it!

Nothing to do with knitting or crochet, but I am currently obsessed with completing this logic puzzle each day.  It took me forever at first, but now I get all four done in about five minutes and feel all accomplished (it doesn’t take much, clearly!).


Briochearrow by Simone Kereit

Simone Kereit’s gorgeous new design, Briochearrow, designed to play up the amazing, colour-shifting possibilities of brioche knitting.  This beautiful asymmetrical shawl uses a semi-solid of SpaceCadet Lyra as the main colour and variegated contrast colour to dramatic effect, and we’ve put together kits in gorgeous colour combos that will bring out the best in Simone’s design.  Click here to see them all!

Falls Ravine Vest by Robyn Chachula

Don’t you love it when a design looks all fancy and difficult but it’s really straightforward and simple to make?  Robyn’s crocheted lace vest is made from a quickly repeating wave pattern that looks deceptively complicated and will get tons of compliments, but without you pulling your hair out in the process! Designed in fingering yarn, I’d work it up in sparkly Lucina or drapey Oriana, in Feather, Drizzle, or Sage.

Simple Seed Stitch Beanie by Kirsten Holloway

There’s nothing like a hat to work up quickly for that feeling quick satisfaction!  And when the pattern is as beautifully textured as this one, it’s double the fun.  Designed in worsted weight, I’d make it in SpaceCadet Vega or Cressida. Oh, and see that little foldover tag on the hat in the photo?  If you’re in the Yarn Alliance, that’s what you latest gift is for!  Doesn’t it look cool?!?

images © the respective designers, used with permission


Today I’m photographing some great colour combo ideas for the latest Gradient Explorers colourway, and then I’m dyeing some yarns for one of our clubs.  It’s going to be a busy day so I’d better get moving.  I hope your day will be just as fun and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: No Rest for the Wicked (or me)

SpaceCadet Newsletter: No Rest for the Wicked (or me)

We had the best time at our recent shows — I love getting the chance to chat with everyone who comes to see us and especially to see their finished objects (big wave to everyone who brought something to show us!).  But, boy, do shows really wiped us out.  When we got home from the last one (at 2am, no less), I went to bed and, honestly, I didn’t get up again for another 36 hours!

But while I was sleeping, the world kept doing its thing and, in the space of only two weeks, three stunning new patterns designed in SpaceCadet yarn were released. I’ll tell you what, that got me back out of bed!  And I can’t wait to show them to you.

But first, I have a bunch of fun fiber news to share!  Oh, and to everyone who stopped by at the shows to tell me they enjoy reading these newsletters, can I just tell you how much that meant to me?  Writing these is an absolute labour of love and it totally makes my day when someone tells me they enjoy them.  Thank you so much!

Ok, are you ready? Go grab a cup of tea (I’ve got mine) and let’s dive in…

Newsletter

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but pink is really having a moment this season.  The colour is turning up everywhere right now and, if you haven’t spotted it, check out this round-up of all the pink dresses on the Oscar’s red carpet this year and you’ll definitely be able to see the trend.  Fortunately, SpaceCadet dyes some awesome pinks that will keep your knitting and crochet looking hot.

If darning your knitting has felt a little intimidating — especially for bigger holes — I loved this simple photographic tutorial that makes it easy to see what to do.  Click the arrow on the right of each picture to walk through it.  And soon you’ll be literally creating fabric in thin air!

I am absolutely terrible at these one-thing-a-day challenges (you know, like taking a photo every day for a year or writing a poem every day for a month) but I know a lot of crafters who love them.  So I thought you might want to hear about the 100 Day Project (#The100DayProject), a free art project about spending 100 days exploring your creativity.  Sounds like fun!  It started on Tuesday but, hey, click here to get involved anyway.

This is fascinating: there’s evidence that humans didn’t actually see blue until modern times.  Given that blues & purples are my happy colours, I almost can’t even comprehend this news but this article makes for really intriguing reading, especially the exercise in spotting the one differently-shaded square of green (which I totally failed — let me know how you do!)


The Yarn Alliance is Open to New Members NOW!
(but… only until next week!)

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways and shared with a wonderful community of fellow club members who are all part of the adventure too.  Plus we create beautiful coordinating skeins to double the fun.  And each parcel contains a wonderful club gifts created exclusively for the club by our community of amazing handmakers.  Oh, and a 15% coupon!

Spaces close in less than a week so if you’ve been thinking about joining, now is the time!  Click here.


I am so excited!  Three patterns in our yarn all out at once.  And they’re all fabulous.  Come see!

Bespeckle by Hunter Hammersen

Image © Hunter Hammersen, used with permission

The thing that tickles me most about this gorgeous hat is that it didn’t start out as a hat at all!  Hunter was creating a series of tutorials on pom-poms — how to make them, how to customise them — and she decided to do a plain hat to go with it.  Except that I’ve never known Hunter to anything plain and so, instead, she created this eye-catching hat by innovating a new way to work colour and add speckles that’s gorgeous to look at and so addictive to knit.  The pattern comes with ten pages of step-by-step photos and information on pompoms and four pages of step-by-step photos and information on how to create and place speckles — and you can get it with an introductory 10% discount using the code SPECK during checkout.

And we’ve done kits (of course we’ve done kits!) in some amazing colour combos to make it super easy for you!

Tudor Windows by Corrine Walcher

Image © Stephanie Alford

I don’t even know where to start when describing how much I love this cardigan.  Its stunningly beautiful texture combines with a supremely wearable shape to create a knit you’ll never want to take off.  I’m not kidding — Jade absolutely did not want to give it after the photoshoot!  Designed in SpaceCadet Lyra (sport/DK), the roundness of the yarn gives incredible stitch definitions that really make those cable pop.  The colour is one of our newest, That’s What She Said, but I want to see it worked in Yes Dear, Plume, or Sage.

Rib Vault by Emily Connell

Image © Edsger Studio for Knotions Magazine, used with permission

This beautiful shawl incorporates cables into a stitch pattern designed with crisscrossing intersections and cables to mimic the architecture of rib vaults in cathedral ceilings — and look just gorgeous on a shawl!  Designed in SpaceCadet Capella, our snuggly single-ply worsted, the yarn has softness that makes for absolutely delightful knitting.  I can’t decide if I’d rather see it knit up in something soft and ethereal like Breathless or vibrant and bold like Troublemaker.  Either way, it will be a showstopper!


Ok, I’ve got a busy day ahead of me so I’d better get down to the studio and get it all started.  I hope you’re day is full of fun plans — and those quiet moments to sit and knit or crochet too — and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Gah! I Forgot!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Gah! I Forgot!

It’s Set-Up Day at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival and the SpaceCadet crew is about to come round and start packing up the cars with everything to go in our booth.  So I was sitting here, drinking my coffee (its a lotsacoffee day!) when I realised…  gah! We’ve forgotten something!

(One thing we didn’t forget to do? Create a bunch of gorgeous One-of-a-Kind Fades for our shows
this weekend in Pittsburgh and next weekend at Homespun Yarn Party.  Come see us!)

Every time we do a show, the situation is different — different booth size, different configuration, different access, and always different lighting needs.  This show is in a hotel ballroom  and, while I know it’s going to be lovely, ballroom lighting can be a little odd. It’s often a little dim (perfect for balls, I suppose, but less so for yarn) and often a little yellow.  So we bring our own lighting if we can to make sure that, not only can you see the yarn, but it’s actually the colour you think it is.

And I’ve just realised we totally forgot to plan for our lighting.  Just completely forgot.  Which you might not think is a problem but, in truth, lighting is the first part of the booth that we set up, so we have to know how we’re doing it before we can do anything else.  And this time, it’s even more crucial because our booth size for this show is unusual — it’s 9′ x 13′ — and so we’re doing a completely new booth configuration and… I just don’t know how the lighting will work with it.

Those fades though!!!

So I’m going to pour myself another cuppa and sit down with some pens and graph paper and see what I can work out.  Please cross your fingers for me!  But before that, I’ve got a lot of fun stuff to share you this week, so let’s dive in…

Newsletter

The wonderful designer Hunter Hammersen has something super-fun up her sleeve (and we might just be prepping some gorgeous kits for it…) but you can get an sneak peak of what she’s up to here.  And there are pom-poms! Woot!

View this post on Instagram

Yeah, so yesterday I told you you weren't using enough yarn…today I want to tell you you aren't taking enough time trimming your pompoms. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ When they come off the form, they ALL look a mess. It's only after you trim and fluff and trim and fluff and trim and fluff and steam and fluff and maybe do on or two more tiny snips that they really look their best. Like you should expect it to take at least half an hour of futzing about with it before it looks just right. I often set mine down and come back the next day for a final trim. But it's totally worth it. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ That second picture is what this looked like straight off the pompom maker, just to show you the difference some careful attention there at the end makes! ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ I'll show you some more here in the next few days, but I mostly as examples of 'no, really, keep trimming them, they get so much better if you trim them!⁣⠀ ⁣

A post shared by Hunter Hammersen (@hunterhammersen) on

 

 

The craft industry seems to be constantly going through major changes but the news that the parent company of Interweave Press, F+W Media, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sunday has really sent big waves through the knitting and crochet world.  The fallout will impact Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Knitscene, and Spin Off, amongst a stable other craft magazine and book titles, as well as future events of the Interweave Yarn Fest, and the many writers, editors, designers, and teachers who work for and through F+W.  I first heard about it in this Instagram post from designer Miriam Felton, where her fellow designers and teachers discussed in the comments their concerns about collecting outstanding payments from the company.  And then I came across more info in this Forbes article and some really good analysis of F+W’s management history in this very enlightening Craft Industry Alliance article. How about you?  How do you feel about this news?  Does it seem like a big deal for such a giant of the industry to be in this position or is your knitting and crochet focus directed elsewhere?  I’d love to know your thoughts!

I loved this slo-mo video of a sheep being shorn that Clara Parkes posted on her Instagram feed this week and the thing I found most interesting was her point that the shearing process has never successfully been automated, meaning that “…every ounce of wool you see out there, every inch of that sock or that sweater, contains fibers that a human being… removed by hand.”  That’s something that sets wool apart not only from manufactured fibers like polyester and acrylic, but even from other natural fibers like cotton. And it’s a concept that took a few minutes for me to really let sink in!

I came across these cable-needle rings the other day and I am so enamoured of them!  Yes, cable needles you wear on your finger as rings, like the knitting badass you are.  Genius!


The Yarn Alliance Opens to New Members on March 21!
(woahhh…  that’s next week!)

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways and shared with a wonderful community of fellow club members who are all part of the adventure too.  Plus we create beautiful coordinating skeins to double the fun.  And each parcel contains a wonderful club gifts created exclusively for the club by our community of amazing handmakers.  Oh, and a 15% coupon!

The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year, and we always give early access to folks on our waiting list. There’s not much time, so click here and make sure you’re on it.  You’ll get an email a few days before subscriptions go live so you can join us!

Upcoming Shows

This weekend!!! The Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival in Greentree PA
(probably even with lighting!)

Next Weekend! Homespun Yarn Party in Savage MD

 


Anker’s Sweater – My size by PetiteKnit

Colourwork yokes have been all the rage lately but sometimes simple is stunning, and I absolutely love the simple focus on texture in this beautiful sweater.  It’s designed in fingering weight held double but also works with DK, so you’ve got a lot of options.  And if you wanted to add colour, I’d love to see a slow colour progression that would come from using our Mini-Skeins held double but changing colour one at a time.  Wouldn’t it be stunning?

Wabash Bridge Convertible Shawl by Robyn Chachula

There’s so much about this crocheted shawl to love!  First, that it’s inspired by one of Pittsburgh’s iconic bridges. Second, it’s got buttons along the edge so you can wear it like a little cloak.  And third, it’s by the lovely Robyn Chachula, who has created some wonderful crochet kits in SpaceCadet yarn that she’ll be bringing to the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival this weekend.  I can’t wait to see how they turned out!

Mini Maximization by Sarah Jordan

Mini-Skeins are wonderful fun but, sometimes, they look so delightful that you aren’t sure what to cast on with them.  This pattern is designed specifically for that problem, by combining two sets to create this eye-catching shawl.  And if you’re a member of our Mini-Skein Club, the gradient is built right in — so getting a stunning result is super-easy and almost guaranteed!


Ok, I’d better finish this coffee and get going, because I’ve got to get those lights figured out before the SpaceCadet crew gets here.  In the meantime, I hope you’ve got a great day planned (with lots of knitting or crochet time in your schedule) and, until next time, all my best!

 

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Defeated by Purple

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Defeated by Purple

Here’s something I found surprising when I first started SpaceCadet: photographing purple is hard.  It’s hard. I mean, it’s my job to make sure every colour on our website is true life, insomuch as I’m able, and purple tries to defeat me every. single. time.  Apparently, this is a known thing amongst photographers (and one of them once kindly wrote in to explain the technical reasons for it and I can’t remember them now) and it’s not just me, which I found a relief to know.  But to be honest, that doesn’t make it any better when I am desperately trying and trying to get an accurate photo of a purple yarn and it just refuses to cooperate!

(l-r: Yes Dear, Fred While You’re Up, and That’s What She Said)

So, having learned this about purple, I had to laugh when I saw designer Corrine Walcher’s Instagram posts this week.  She’s designing a sweater in SpaceCadet Lyra and we sent her the yarn in our beautifully rich new purple “That’s What She Said”.  She sent me a direct message to say how much she liked the colour and that she would start posting photos.  And then…  purple did its thing.

 

 


Oh my stars!

“…and it looks absolutely nothing like I could get in this picture,” she says.  And then later, “…I really just have to stop trying to capture the color of this. It’s never gonna happen.”  And I couldn’t help chuckling, because I feel her pain.  Sometimes purple just will not cooperate and it’s good to know it’s not just me!

Still though, doesn’t it look like it’s going to be an amazing design?  I can’t wait to see it.  And if you want to watch her continued progress (and continued fights with purple), be sure you’re following her on Instagram at @gingyknits.

And if you need to see again what that purple really looks like, here it is…

(l-r: Honey, Yes Dear, Longing, and That’s What She Said)


Newsletter

  • If Instagram isn’t your thing but you’ve been wondering about the ongoing discussions there around race and inclusion, this article is a great place to start.  Or to catch up if you got a little behind — some of those conversations developed fast and the nature of Instagram stories sometimes made it easy to miss things and get lost.

 

  • This article from Ysolda Teague is a really useful guide to understanding what size to knit, including how to correctly take your measurements and even comes with a handy printable measurements chart!

 

  • Reading this article about knitting being used as the framework in concrete structures, I came across the sentence “Knitting is the new 3D printing” and it cracked me right up. Surely it’s the old 3D printing?  Or maybe just the cooler 3D printing?  Yeah, it’s definitely that.

 

  • I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, but it’s almost never knitting or crafting podcasts* (I don’t know why…  I’ve tried…  but I don’t like to knit to someone talking about knitting and I always end up turning back to something about economics or politics).  But Vogue Knitting has just started a new podcast called Knitter Views and I’m going to give it a try.  They’ve got an interview with Kaffe Fassett that I’m looking forward to — when I started knitting in the early 90s, he was my absolute hero.

The Yarn Alliance Opens to New Members on March 21!

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways and shared with a wonderful community of fellow club members who are all part of the adventure too.  Plus we create beautiful coordinating skeins to double the fun.  And each parcel contains a wonderful club gifts created exclusively for the club by our community of amazing handmakers.  Oh, and a 15% coupon!

(this is the yarn & coordinate from January’s parcel — isn’t it lovely?!?)

The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year, and we always give early access to folks on our waiting list. There’s not much time, so click here and make sure you’re on it.  You’ll get an email a few days before subscriptions go live so you can join us!

Upcoming Shows


Sagostad by Sofia Kammeborn

image © Sofia Kammeborn, used with permission

Here in Pittsburgh, it just keeps snowing — in a really sweet way, if I’m honest, with little flurries that make the world look like a snow globe.  And so when I spotted these adorable mittens, named “Fairytale Town” in Swedish, they seemed to capture everything that is delightful about this time of year.  Designed in fingering, I’d go for SpaceCadet Ester because it’s a wonderfully hard-wearing Merino/nylon combo, in Dark Skies for the main colour and maybe some of my Mini-Skeins for the coordinating colours.

Double Brim Coffee Beanie by Amy Leclerc

image © Amy Leclerc, used with permission

Few things are as satisfying as whipping up a hat in record-breaking time!  This lovely beanie incorporates crocheted seed stitch for textural interest and looks adorable with an added pom-pom.  Designed in worsted weight, I’d work it up in SpaceCadet Cressida in either Fat-Free Chocolate (because I love the combo of coffee and chocolate!) or Longing

Fading Waves Cowl by ChiWei Ranck

image © ChiWei at One Dog Woof, used with permission

I love the way this long cowl uses a mixture of colorblocking and fairisle stranded knitting to work one colour into another. This version uses strongly contrasting hues to make the transitions pop (click through to see a photo the cowl opened up) but I think it would be a lot of fun knit it in more blended colours.  Perhaps Look Up!, Feather, Frigia, and Sliver?  Or Longing, Sage, Wilt, and Honey?  So many possibilities!


Ok, I think it’s time I head down to the studio and get things started.  Today we’re going to take all of our amazing One-of-a-Kind colourways and create some gorgeous fades with them for our upcoming shows.  It’s going to be a ton of fun, and I might even grab my camera and share some behind-the-scenes shots with you.  No purple though!  I hope you’ve got a great day planned too and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: a Yarn & Pattern Giveaway!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: a Yarn & Pattern Giveaway!

It’s deepest February and all I want to do is curl up on the sofa and knit.  Yesterday, we woke up to a winter wonderland — and some seriously treacherous roads.  The schools around here were closed and, even though the SpaceCadet crew were trying to organise how they’d get to work, I told them to stay home (“Don’t do anything dangerous for yarn…  It’s just yarn!“).  Everything could wait until tomorrow.  And so I got my wish: an hour or two of quiet time, curled up with my tea and knitting, and watching the snow.

Today I’ve woken up to cold, grey rain.  The beautiful snow is fading away quickly and the roads (thank goodness) are pretty clear…  and the work we didn’t get done yesterday now needs to be done today and in double-time.  So instead of starting my day slowly the way I’d like, I’ve poured myself some strong coffee to get things moving.  But first…  well, first I do have some fun stuff to share with you.  So let’s just take five, shall we?  I’ve got time for that if you do!

Newsletter

First, a giveaway!  When I reached out to Marceline Smith this week, she kindly offered two copies of her Pebbles & Pathways socks pattern for a giveaway, and I’m throwing in a skein of SpaceCadet Oriana to go with each of them.  Scroll down to see the pattern and get all the details!

 

image © Sara Schira, used with permission

Once Spring arrives, the gnomes will get busy in your garden (it’s absolutely true).  What better way to welcome them than with Sarah Schira’s Gnome de Plume MKAL?  The first clue goes out on March 11 (when it will surely start to feel like Spring, yes?) and, until then, all her gnome patterns are 25% off with the code “GnomeDePlume”.  Click here for all the MKAL details.

I am so so sorry to do this to you, but when I heard that researchers used the evolution of body lice to determine the point in history where humans began wearing clothes, I really did find it too interesting not to share.  Pick your tolerance level: this article gives a summary but does include images of lice and this article is longer but without any itch-inducing pictures.  I’m scratching like crazy either way.  Blech!!!

Did you see this cool video using a ball of yarn to illustrate issues around sexism and bro-culture in the office?  After years of working in an industry that was seriously male-dominated, it rings so true for me (despite the rather sugary-sweet conclusion).  And though it’s clearly about gender-based issues, if the recent discussions on Instagram around racial representation and inclusion feel at all unrelatable, I think viewing this same video through a race-based lens may help make the importance of those issues a little clearer.

image © Alasdair Post-Quinn, used with permission

Exciting news for lovers of double knitting!  The designer behind BuildingBlox and (undisputed Heavyweight Double-Knitting Champion of the World*), Alasdair Post-Quinn, is hosting a fabulous Week of Double Knitting Workshops from April 27 – May 5 in Cambridge MA.  Whether you’re brand new to this technique or want to take your skills to an advanced level, it’s an amazing opportunity to get away from everything and dive deep into this intriguing style of knitting with one of the world’s leading experts.  Click here for all the details.
*I totally made that title up.

Mini-Skeins on Their Way Soon!

Just a quick heads up to the members of the Mini-Skein Club that we are sending out February’s parcels this week, so keep your eyes on your mailboxes!

In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how best to photograph this wonderful collection of hexagons that my assistant has knitted out of an (almost) entire year of our Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins (it starts with January 2018 at the bottom and goes up to November at the top).  They’re destined to become an epic garment when they’re sewn together but I want to create some sort of flat-lay image (or maybe a stop-motion video) that shows them in chronological order.  Any suggestions how best to lay them out?

 

Upcoming Shows

  • This Saturday, Feb 23 (11am-5pm) —  Indie Knit & Spin at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh PA

Here’s what’s got me super-excited about this show:

• first, it’s really special because it’s all indie makers
• second, it’s FREE entry but you can get first dibs on all the best stuff from your favourite vendors with an Early Access Pass for just $5
• and third, this year they’re doing a Happy Hour from 3-5pm (with a cash bar… woot!) and special goodies from the vendors.

 

Pebbles & Pathways Socks by Marceline Smith

Marceline says, “I love the small canvas and the endless possibilities of a knitted sock. Just enough stitches to draw you in, and small enough to take with you everywhere.”  And I couldn’t agree more!  When I reached out to her this week, she kindly offered two copies of her beautiful Pebbles & Pathways Socks pattern for a giveaway, and I decided to throw in a skein of SpaceCadet Oriana to go with each one!

To enter, all you have to do is make sure you are following both Marceline and me on Instagram (she’s HeyBrownBerry and I’m SpaceCadetYarn) and then leave a comment on this Instagram post telling me what YOU love about knitting socks (or what you hate — I’m ok with that too!).  And if you’d like an extra chance to win, tag a friend in an additional comment (tag as many friends as you like, but each tag must be in its own comment please).

For full sweepstakes details and an alternative method of entry, click here.

Vitamin B by Simone Kereit

Last week I shared how much I love innovative uses of popular techniques (such as brioche in this hat) so when I spotted this sweater from Simone Kereit’s new collection of designs incorporating brioche as a decorative element, I just had to show it to you.  I love how the brioche panel is so low-key — it’s there adding that distinctive two-colour interest but in a subtle way that simply accents the sweater’s shape.  (And my very favourite thing?  That sweet i-cord edging on the sleeve!)

Adira by Tamy Gore

When I spotted this gorgeous shawl on Ravelry, it nearly leapt off the page at me.  I love the use of strong colour, the slipped stitches and brioche to blend colour, and the short rows to create the shape.  This is a great design to go bold with!  I’d cast it on in Astrid in Sliver, Honey, Mars, and Dark Skies.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, it’s time I get this show on the road…  We’re packing yarn for Indie Knit and Spin this weekend, packing club parcels, and dyeing some fun club colourways. It’s going to be a busy day! I hope your day is just as full of (fun) stuff and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: an Unforgettable Day…?

SpaceCadet Newsletter: an Unforgettable Day…?

Oh my stars, I had just made a cup of tea, curled up in my chair, and opened up my journal to start my day with a little reflection (and to-do list making!) when, writing the date at the top of the page, I realised it’s Valentine’s Day.  I’d almost forgotten about it!  

I think that either says something very sad about my love life or it means we’ve just been super-busy getting ready for our upcoming shows.  The truth is, we have been really busy.  We’ve got three exciting shows coming up in the next month or so (see SpaceCadet News below), we’re dyeing some beautiful club colourways (both for our own club members and through some great LYSs), and there are a couple of other secret things I can’t mention yet.

(we spent yesterday putting together some awesome colour combos… this is, l-r: Frigia, Wilt, Becalm, Fathoms Down, and Feather)

So you know what?  I’m going to go with it just meaning we’ve been really very busy! (Oh and I’m going to sneak out of the house as soon as I can to get my husband that card that I probably should have given him this morning…  oops!)

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not (or, whether you remembered it or not!), there’s nothing I’d rather do this morning than sit down and spend a little fiber-time with you (because yarn beats chocolate and roses any day of the year).  I’ve got a lot of interesting stuff to share with you, so go ahead and make yourself a cup of tea and let’s get to it!

Newsletter

The other day, I spotted this post from the fabulous designer, Hunter Hammersen, and though the image is not actually our yarn, the endorsement she gave at the end for SpaceCadet Oriana absolutely made my day:The 8 ply yarns wear like IRON and last forever. Love them to bits. Go buy lots of it so Space Cadet doesn’t ever discontinue it.”  See my grin?  It’s ear to ear!

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So for a good solid year after I broke my leg, I either had to wear this oh-so-stylish compression brace or my ankle was puffy enough that knit socks were tricky to wear. Which is *Something Of A Disappointment* if, say, you have a giant basket of hand knit socks that you love dearly and wear constantly.⠀ ⠀ But…just lately…the ankle has started behaving itself, and I'm back in my socks. These are particularly stretchy and so were one of the first ones back in rotation. I noticed they had a tiny little bit of a thin spot on one of the heels, so I patched it up before it went back in the basket this time.⠀ ⠀ I'm a firm believer in mending my socks. They take an age to knit, I'm not throwing them away before I absolutely have to. These are nine years old, and there's no reason they can't last many more years with just a bit of attention. Before you ask, I have a lot of socks so each one only gets worn once every few weeks at most (I try and enforce even wear by waiting until they're all dirty and doing one giant load of sock laundry rather than just wearing the same five socks over and over), and I'm picky about my sock yarn, and I knit socks with a seriously tight fabric…that's how I have nine year old socks.⠀ ⠀ So how about you, any old socks in your sock basket? Do you mend your socks? Or is that taking things a bit too far?⠀ ⠀ Oh and someone will ask, so the pattern is Gramercy, and the yarn is the now sadly discontinued Sock Plus 8 by Handwerks. The closest match I've seen to that base is @spacecadetyarn's oriana 8 ply. The 8 ply yarns wear like IRON and last forever. Love them to bits. Go buy lots of it so Space Cadet doesn't ever discontinue it.

A post shared by Hunter Hammersen (@hunterhammersen) on

I’ve been using this technique for a while to avoid a gap when joining in the round — and it’s super simple but, if you don’t know about it, it’s well worth sharing. 

I like to stand outside on clear nights and look at the stars.  This time of year, though, that’s an awfully cold habit to be in so maybe I’ll just gaze at these lovely constellation coat buttons instead.  Hmmmm…  maybe I need to cast on a coat for them…?

Have you met Jonah Larson, the 11-year-old crocheting sensation?  He taught himself the craft at age 6 and hasn’t stopped since.  If you click the link and watch the video, he’s absolutely amazing — his hook moves faster than my brain can think!

Oh, and if there’s someone in your life who forgot what today is (just like I did!) and needs to get you an awesome gift on short notice, you can always send them this link to save the day (wink).

Available Only Until Friday: Our Gunnison Colourway

We are honoured to be dyeing the latest colourway for Indie Untangled’s exclusive yarn series, Knitting Our National Parks, and naturally, I chose the Black Canyon of the Gunnison as my inspiration. 
 

image (left) ©Christin Healey, used with permission

You can see how we’ve incorporated deep browns, greys and terracotas of the canyon walls and added in layers of rust from that moody sky above with a shock of turquoise from the Gunnison River down below. And we are offering this beautiful Gunnison colorway on not one, not two, but four different bases, from fingering to worsted!

  • Lyra, a sportweight 100% Superwash Merino yarn with a sproingy cabled 8-ply construction. Each skein has approximately 270 yards per 100g, perfect for anything from socks to sweaters.
  • Vega, a worsted version of the cabled 8-ply Lyra, also with 100% Superwash Merino. It provides great stitch definition for sweaters. Each skein has approximately 215 yards per 100g.
  • Oriana, an 8-ply sock yarn with a high twist that gives it extra strength and durability. It is comprised of 90% Superwash Merino and 10% nylon. Each skein has approximately 420 yards per 100g.
  • Aurora, a luxurious 4-ply MCN with 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Cashmere and 10% nylon. Each skein has approximately 350 yards per 100g.

Gunnison is available for preorder on Indie Untangled only until Friday, February 15 and will ship the last week of March.  Click here to order your skeins!

And the best part is… 10% of sales will be donated to the National Park Foundation, which will go to the parks that need the most help after the recent government shutdown.  I’m a huge supporter of our National Parks and delighted to be part of this effort!

Upcoming Shows

 

Briochebubbles Hat by Raina K

One of the things I love most about knitting and crochet is how trends evolve and change over time, and this delightful hat is a great example.  We all know how hot brioche knitting is right now and I love how this design uses that same technique in a new way, creating little “bubbles” of brioche in bold colours for a really intriguing look. 

Cold Sand by Melanie Rice

Speaking of innovations, the way this beautiful cowl is elongated on one side creates a shape that’s a lot like a triangular shawl (but without that annoying habit of coming apart as you run for the bus!) and gives more space to show off its lovely textured stitches.  Try it in Lyra in Nine Stones, Sage, or Yes Dear for a natural look (or go bold with Tickled or Molten Cool!)

Adventurer by Elena Fedotova

And while we’re on the subject of interesting cowls, this one caught my eye first because of it’s fascinating texture but, when I read the description, I was really intrigued.  A two-loop infinity cowl worked in the round and using two alternating skeins, the pattern is simple but requires careful attention to prevent tangling of the yarn. The results, I’ll think you’ll agree, look worth it!

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, my tea is all gone and it’s time I got myself down to the studio.  Today we’re finishing up a few photos that we didn’t get to yesterday and then we’ve got a bunch of lovely yarns to dye up.  It’s looking like a good day!  I hope your day will be just as fun and, until next time, all my best!