Newsletter: I Know Who We Dye For…

Newsletter: I Know Who We Dye For…

A couple of weeks ago, I had a little revelation.  Well, not so little really — when the thought popped into my head, it actually felt quite earth-shattering and I found myself nodding vigorously and thinking, “Yes, that’s it!

The Yarn Alliance exclusive colourway for Sept 2020

It was as I was setting up for a recent virtual show and, while we had a whole bunch of wonderful small batch colourways, the disruptions of this year meant that we didn’t have a whole lot of our standard colours.  And that was making me feel worried …and, well, pretty harsh on myself.

But then I looked around at the piles and piles of glorious yarn around me — small batches of unique colourways that we’d poured our hearts into creating — and realised that the knitters and crocheters that I love most are yarn adventurers who embrace exactly these kinds of colour explorations.  They get us… and we get them.

The Yarn Alliance coordinating colourway for Sept 2020

And the more I reflected on that, the more it all started to make sense, like jigsaw puzzle pieces coming together to form a bigger picture.  We dye from only the primary colours, using only five hues of dye (cyan, magenta, yellow, red, and black) to hand-mix all of our beautiful standard colourways, and then we create over 144 unique new colourways each year (yes, really!) for our clubs alone, and even more besides for our Small Batches and Limited Editions.  It takes extra work to dye from primaries, and a lot of extra work to create all those new colourways, but doing it that way is the essence of who we are: we are colour adventurers!

And so are the people who get us: our club members, our customers, everyone who embraces what we do…  they’re all on this journey with us because they are adventurers too.  They may not know exactly what will be in the next club parcel but they approach colour with confidence and are ready to explore their creativity with us!  So when we pour our hearts into our colourways, when we go all out and create colours that we are just crazy about, those are the people we really want to dye for.  You guys know who you are — and we do too.

(If you want to join us on these colour adventures, the Yarn Alliance is open to now members right now, until Monday.  Click here for more)


Newsletter

If staying home more has got you thinking about branching out your crafting skills, I really enjoyed this quick run down of what you need to get started sewing. Starting with ideas for your workstation, your sewing machine, and a pressing station, it moves onto the gadgets you need and how to find work-arounds if you don’t have them. Useful stuff!

This is fascinating: a recent study has found that the ancient indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest bred dogs for their “wool”! Used mostly for blankets, they also made robes and belts from dog fur, and the study was able to distinguish between smaller domesticated “wool” dogs and larger dogs probably used for hunting and security.  I’ve tried spinning dog fur before with decidedly mixed results(!), so I think this is a really interesting read.

I love the images of this museum in Calais, France, that is covered in a mural depicting the traditional, intricate lace produced in the region.  It was, to my surprised, created with spray paint, of all things, but the result is simply beautiful.  So happy to see traditional textiles celebrated like this!

If you’d like a gentler way to wake up, I love that the Dawn Chorus app (in the iPhone App Store and on GooglePlay) lets you customise an alarm with birdsong of your choosing.  Developed right here in Pittsburgh (yayyyy!) by the Carnegie Museums, you can choose up to six North American birds to wake you up with a chorus of natural sounds.  I use it every day and it makes mornings so much nicer.


Join Now: The Yarn Alliance Closes on Monday!
Open until Nov 16

It’s almost time to close the Yarn Alliance so, if you’ve been thinking about joining our awesome yarn club, click here and get in now.  The Yarn Alliance is our premiere yarn club, all about gorgeous dyeing on fingering weight yarns.  Plus coordinating colourways, great gifts, and a ton of fun!

So, what do you get when you join?

…beautiful yarns, colourways you might never have dared try but suddenly realise you love, and some seriously fabulous gifts!

As a member of the InterStellar Yarn Alliance, you’ll receive a fabulous parcel delivered to their door every other month, containing:

  • SpaceCadet  yarn (light to medium weight) in an exclusive Yarn Alliance colourway (guaranteed not to be offered on the SpaceCadet® website for at least 6 months)
  • A great Yarn Alliance gift tucked into every parcel!
  • The SpaceCadet’s Log exploring the inspiration for each colourway.
  • The InterStellar Yarn Alliance newsletter with periodic special offers exclusively for members.
  • 15% off coupon every six months

Upcoming Shows

We did our first live session virtual show last month (:waves wildly at everyone who attended:) and had so much fun that we’re doing another one this weekend!

Vogue Knitting Live, Nov 12-15

Join us at VKL for live session with me, a gorgeous show special colourway (below), inspiring samples, and tons of fun!  The show starts Thursday and our live sessions are Friday at 4pm and Saturday at 4pm eastern.  Tickets start at just $3.99 — get yours by clicking here!

The Blues Collection

Our Inaugural Dyeing Day for the SpaceCadet’s new Blues Collection happened last week and the result was just gorgeous — so much stunning colour all in one glorious pile!

If you missed out on getting in on the first batch of these beautiful blues, you’ll be glad to know they are now listed in the shop for regular order on (almost) all of our yarns.  Click here to see all the colours!


Woodlands Wrap by Knitting Expat Designs
(Ravelry link)

With the cold weather on its way, I’m itching to cast on this warm wrap! I love its changing colours and textures. Designed to use four skeins of fingering, the pattern also includes a percentage system so you can adapt the shawl and each section to suit your yardage amounts. It’s perfect for the small batch and one-of-a-kind yarns we’ll be sharing at Vogue Knitting Live this weekend!

White Calm Hat by Mary Renji
(Ravelry link)

For me, this hat is all about that intriguing texture, but the close fit and the button detail make it downright adorable! Crocheted in DK, it would make a quick and meditative project that’s perfect for holiday gift giving.

Fade Out Socks by Carolyn Lisle
(designer’s website)

Oh my stars, are these socks fabulous?!? I was smitten as soon as I saw them! Designed specifically for using smaller bits of yarn in different colours their unique construction creates fades going in three directions. Whether you knit yours to match identically or fraternally, I am just dying to see someone dive into their stash of SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins and go wild with colour and this stunning design!

Images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got to get a few things finalised for Vogue Knitting, so I’d better get going.  It’s going to be a fun weekend!  I hope you’ve got a great day planned today and, until next time, all my best!

Newsletter: Six Reasons to be Blue

Newsletter: Six Reasons to be Blue

Before we jump into our usual newsletter, I have something to share with you that I am so excited about.  Have I told you before that my favourite colour is blue?  It is.  I mean, sometimes I start to think it might be purple…  but the truth is that I always find myself coming back to blue.

I think it’s because blue such a soothing colour — it’s the clear sky on crisp autumn day, the icy edges of a frozen pond, the rolling waves breaking on a tropical beach, the hottest flame of a cosy winter fire.  Now, blues can be tricky to dye reliably and even harder to photograph but blue is a colour we’ve been longing to explore more deeply so, earlier in the year, we went into the studio and dyed a collection of brand-new blues that I just love and am simply delighted to share with you!  Here are our six gorgeous, new shades of blue that work so beautifully together… and also blend into the other blues in the SpaceCadet palette.

Before we bring these lovely new colourways in the shop, we’re introducing them with a special Blues Dyeing Day to give you the chance to get your order in the dyeing queue before anyone else!  Pre-orders are open now until October 18Choose one or combine them all — the colour possibilities are just so exciting!

lots of photos of a girl on a bike with blue yarn on the back

Oooh, wait, can I just tell you how much fun this photoshoot was?!?  Along a lovely tree-lined lane on a breezy autumn day, with those beautiful blue skeins piled upon the back of a bicycle, the sun suddenly decided to burst out from behind the clouds and it just made my job as photographer so much easier!  A couple of goofy moments from my model, not so much (ha!), but it was honestly one of the most fun photoshoots I’ve ever done.

Also, did you see we called one of them “Hello, My Name is Indigo”?  I’ll be honest, not everyone I showed it to got the reference (which blew my mind a little) so, to the first person who places an order for it with a comment on the order correctly guessing why we named it that, well, they’ll get a little something extra into their parcel just because they deserve it!

Ok, enough of all that… it’s time to dive into the world of fiber news!  Got a cuppa?  Great, let’s get started…

Newsletter

Some styles are perhaps meant to be beyond fashion, but does fashion always realise that?  The traditional Aran sweater may be an example: when Taylor Swift released her most recent album and wore an Aran sweater in the promo photos, she started a fresh trend for a look that’s never really out of style.  This interesting article from Irish broadcaster RTE tracks the fashionable (or not) history of the traditional Aran.

In sad news, the knitting world lost two greats to cancer this past month: Cat Bordhi and Annie Modesitt.  Both were designers, teachers, and innovators who revolutionised knitting in their own ways and created the knitting world in the process.  Read Cat’s obituary here and a lovely tribute to Annie here.

This took me by surprise when I saw it, but I think it’s a fantastic idea: Pantone, the world’s leading colour experts, has launched a new shade of red in a campaign to end the stigma around women’s periods.  Called simply “Period” and described by Pantone as “an active and adventurous red hue”, the colour draws attention to the campaign created in conjuction with healthcare brand Intimina’s Seen+Heard campaign, with the aim of creating conversation around menstruation. Read more here.

There’s a lot to be stressed about right now so, instead, take a few minutes and watch this sheep discover the joys of jumping on a trampoline.  I promise it will make your day brighter!


Upcoming Virtual Shows

In my last newsletter, I asked for your suggestions and insights into making a success of virtual shows and, you guys!, your answers were amazing and soooo helpful!  Thank you so much.  I’m excited (and a little nervous still but really excited) about next weekend…

Indie Untangled Everywhere
Oct 15-17 (next weekend!)

The amazing before-Rhinebeck trunk show has gone virtual, and the vendors are as exciting this year as ever. Tickets available now — click here to reserve yours!


Elysian Shawl by Knitting Expat Designs
(Ravelry link)

a woman holds a three colour shawl

Mina’s lovely shawl caught my eye first because of its interesting colourwork: she says it’s “the perfect introduction to Two Colour Fisherman’s rib creating a brioche fabric without the fear of brioche (not that you should be scared of brioche).”  But I have to admit that I immediately thought how lovely it would be in a trio of blues from our new collection!  Personally, I’d go for Frigia, Zoot, and Sea Emerald, but if the weather has you in the mood for something more muted, how about Feather, Classic, and Dark Matter?

Either way, be sure to check out Mina’s Knitting Expat podcast while you’re knitting, where she has cronicled her life as a knitter in Dubai, Bahrain, New York, and now London.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?!?

Hex It Shawl by Mary Renji
(Ravelry link)

You know what?  I just love the construction of this shawl — it would simply be so much fun to crochet!  The stripes, which get wider as you work your way out to the edges, give you the chance to do some really fun things with colour.  Whether you use two semi-solids (try Sea Emerald and Hello My Name Is Indigo), or go for a pair one with a variegated, or dive into your Mini-Skein Club stash and work your way through a colour progression, this lovely shawl has a ton of possibilities!

Karamella by Linnea Ornstein
(Ravelry link)

Speaking of your Mini-Skein Club stash, I’m always looking for great designs to give our club members a chance to show off their stashes and this one might just be perfect!  Designed in sport, you’ll want to check your gauge and then hold your fingering skeins doubled, which will allow you to create stunning marled colours.  And as much as I like the sample here, click through and check out how beautiful it looks when paired with a grey for the main colour.

images: © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, well today I’m heading down to the studio to set up my virtual booth for Indie Untangled Everywhere next week.  It’s going to feel so weird to set up a show booth after so long(!) but I’m really looking forward to it.  I hope you have a lovely day ahead of you too and, until next time, all my best!

Newsletter: A Chance for Community and Encouragement

Newsletter: A Chance for Community and Encouragement

As we enter the sixth month (…more?  …less?) of this pandemic, I find the impact manifests itself in unexpected ways.  I am less focused, oddly jumpy, often tired, and yet sometimes wildly creative, but in a strangely undisciplined way.  I try to remember that these are unprecidented times and to cut myself some slack …but it’s not always easy to keep that perspective.

So when my friend Melissa told me that she was making a concerted effort to be driven by intentionality, I was all ears.  Mel is particularly good at that:  she sees the little details, slows herself down, and takes deep breaths — in a way I’ve always admired. And in sharing that with others, she builds communities of supportive people who also appreciate her approach to intentionality.

A few months ago, she came to me with a exciting idea that’s all about intention too, and one that we’ll be sharing with you soon.  And because this is what she does so well, in the meantime, she’s put together a community event that I think sounds absolutely wonderful, something she’s calling A Better Week Challenge.  It’s ten days to encourage people during these tough times, to bring us together and create purposeful connections…  all through the power of knitting and community.

Now in truth, the event started yesterday so I’m a wee bit late in sharing it with you but that’s of no matter, I promise.  Mel told me she hopes you’ll join her regardless — and I do too!  I honestly can’t imagine anything more calming and lovely and needed at the present moment than to pick up one’s needles — and find encouragement and intentionality — amongst a community of friends.  Can you?


Newsletter

If the words “provisional cast-on” don’t fill you with confidence, I love this video from designer Laura Nelkin that walks us through not one, not two, but three different ways of creating a provisional cast-on.  So useful!

As you may know, there’s been a lot of heated discussion in the knitting and crochet worlds around the level of pattern support that designers provide to their customers.  And over the course of those discussions, I’ve watched as quite a few indie designers re-evaluated the viability of the current set-up and their roles within it. Designer Kristen Jancuk of MediaPeruana Designs has written several interesting blog posts contemplating these issues, including this one exploring the ways expanded patterns impact designers, and this one examining how lower pattern prices may promote exclusion.  And the bittersweet result of all this contemplation is announced in this blog post captioned “Hello, Goodbye”.

It’s always entertaining to see knitting and crochet portrayed in the media by non-knitters and non-crocheters.  Who hasn’t laughed at knitting needles held like chopsticks or crochet hooks carefully placed in pairs next to yarn?  The latest in this illustrious genre is a Geico ad featuring John Stamos and had me rewinding to check that he’d said he was knitting “reverse garter stitch”.  Heh heh!  It sounds impressive…  I might try it next time I want to do something fancier than plain garter!

It feels ridiculous to be thinking about Halloween (so… don’t, but stash this away for whenever you’re ready) but I came across these sweet little knitted Halloween decorations and I just love them (I think my favourite is the black cat, which of course lends itself to non-Halloween knitting with a simple colour change).  A great way to use up ends and leftovers, if you find you’ve got more fingering than DK, just hold it doubled to get gauge and simultaniously create beautiful marled colour!


Thebe in Honey, Headstrong, and Feather


Upcoming Virtual Shows

Ok, I need your help.  We’ve had a family situation recently and I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I’d like o preparing for our upcoming virtual shows.  I’ve never done a virtual show before and, if I’m honest, I’m not quite sure how to do it — that is, what to do on camera, what to talk about, what to share…  So I’m hoping for your help: if you’ve attened virtual shows recently that you’ve enjoyed, please do send an email and let me know what you liked most.  I’d be so grateful for your insight!

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival Virtual Show
Sept 25-27
SVFF is such a lovely show… I’ll miss standing in the lovely Shenandoah autumn breezes but we’re going to bring all that same festival spirit!

Indie Untangled Everywhere
Oct 15-17

The amazing before-Rhinebeck trunk show has gone virtual, and the vendors are as exciting this year as ever. Tickets available now — click here to reserve yours!


True Colours Scarf by Mary W Martin
(Ravelry link)

Ok, wait, don’t be freaked out by the fact that you’ll be working with six colours to create this beautiful scarf…  The surprisingly simple design uses an easily memorised three row repeat and the yarn held double for super-fast results.  And those results are awesome: a scarf with eye-catching reversible rainbow coloured stripes running along its length, and all proceeds donated to the LGBT Youth Line through the end of 2021.  A perfect project for your stash of SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, don’t you think?

Luna Moth Shawl by Kulli Maslova
(Ravelry link)

Combining chevron stripes with a slipped stitch motif, this beautiful shawl promises to be both relaxing and intriguing to knit.  Designed to use four shades of fingering yarns, its shown here in lovely neutrals but has so many colour possibilities!  I can see it knit in three brights against grey, or perhaps in four shades of cool sea-greens and -blues, or even using our Minis for an ombre fade against a solid background.  How would you work it?

Gridlock by Rebecca Velasquez
(Ravelry link above; non-Ravelry option here)

There’s still plenty of warm, lazy evenings to fill and nothing I can think of better to fill them than working up this beautiful shawl.  Worked from the top and then shifted to work along the curve, it uses easy techniques and basic stitches, with results that are nothing short of spectacular.  I’d crochet it in SpaceCadet Thebe for silk/linen luxury — perhaps in Honey, How Dare You!, or Blood Moon for a lovely autumn look, or Feather, Sage, or Breathless for a cooler vibe.

all images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, it’s been so lovely hanging out with you this morning, and now it’s time I got my work day started.  I hope you’ve got a great stuff planned for today too, whether you’re going out or staying in, and with plenty of time for a little knitting or crocheting built in too.  And so, until next time, all my best!

Well, How’s This for a Surprise!

Well, How’s This for a Surprise!

Well hello!  Way back in the March or so, I announced my intention to continue sending out uplifting newsletters as the country went into shutdown… but as time went on, I found that keeping a dye studio operating during a lockdown was a wee bit more time-consuming (and a lot more overwhelming!) than I had anticipated.  So I put the newsletters on the back burner as we focused on getting the yarn dyed and orders out the door.

But I’ve so missed writing to you!  And I’ve mentally started so many newsletters over the weeks (usually while my hands were busy with more practical tasks) that it feels downright cathartic to be able to sit down and finally say hello again. Hello!

And while I’m at it, I just want to send some extra love to everyone who has written in to check me and the SpaceCadet crew.  Now, the truth is that, during the last two months, I have somehow manged to suffer some ridiculously timed physical ailments: a really nasty ear infection, then a sinus infection, a broken tooth, and a badly sprained ankle – all of them made more complicated by the pandemic and our new studio set-up.  But I am happy to say that, those setbacks all seem to be under control (knock on wood) and, other than my crutches(!), the SpaceCadet crew and I are all well – and so grateful to everyone who checked in on us.

In fact, we’ve been planning some exciting stuff coming up: new kits, beautiful colourways, fun collaborations.  I can’t wait to show you!  But in the meantime, there’s lots of interesting stuff to share in the world of knitting and crochet, so let’s jump in…


Newsletter

Over the past month or so, there have been a lot of discussions on social media regarding financial accessibility and the level of yarn substitution information that should be included in knitting patterns.  It began when a knitter on Instagram suggested that designers should give suggestions for multiple yarns of different prices, and escalated to…  well, to a lot of heated discussions across countless posts on social media.  The whole discussion was a little hard to follow but the post I found most interesting was this one from Patty Lyons.  It’s hard to read because she ran out of room and had to continue her thoughts in the comments (they’re worth digging for, though) but the idea that really resonated with me was that there is a difference between pattern designers and knitting teachers.  That is, not all designers are teachers, and vice versa — they are two distinct roles.  Food for thought.

In that same discussion, designer Kristen Jancuk wrote this blog post detailing just how much money she makes (or doesn’t make) as a knitting pattern designer.  It’s certainly an eye-opening read.

Ravelry released a website update in June that has created waves of controversy across the community due to issues with accessibility and reports of migraines, seizures, and similar health problems triggered by the new design.  Again, majority of the conversation around it happened on social media and so can be hard to follow, but you can read a thorough summary of the situation by clicking here, and Ravelry co-founder Jessica Forbes’s more recent letter to the community here.

Absolutely nothing to do with knitting or crochet, but you might have guessed that I do have a soft spot for all things space related (and especially our solar system), and so I was just delighted by the adorable graphics in this article showing lots of the spacecraft we’ve launched beyond Earth’s orbit.  Seriously, it’s so cute — go look!

With so much of life disrupted by the pandemic, it’s a good opportunity to take some time to learn a new fiber arts skill.  If you’re a knitter who has always been flummoxed by crochet, this super-fast (and free!) crash course on SkillShare looks like an awesome way to do it.


The SpaceMonster Club will Open — and Close Again Quick!

Between the ear infection, sinus infection, broken tooth, and sprained ankle(!), I wasn’t able to open the SpaceMonsters Club when I planned to.  And now that I can, it’s nearly time to close it again!  So, I’ll be opening it in the next few days and sending a quick email out to let everyone know (with first dibs to the folks on the waiting list). And then…  if lovely smooshy worsted and bulky yarns are what make your heart sing, you’ll want to act fast because it will be open for a just a few days before I close it again!  Keep an eye on your inbox….

Upcoming Virtual Shows

I’m so excited to do our upcoming shows…  even if they’re not how we’re used to doing them!  Watch for more details as we get closer.

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival Virtual Show — Sept 25-27
SVFF is such a lovely show… I’ll miss standing in the lovely Shenandoah autumn breezes but we’re going to bring all that same festival spirit!

Indie Untangled Everywhere — Oct 15-17
The amazing before-Rhinebeck trunk show has gone virtual, and the vendors are as exciting this year as ever.Tickets available now — click here to reserve yours!


Aeria by Linnea Ornstein
(Ravelry link)

Shawls are the perfect summer knitting and this one has the added bonus of being an absolutely stunning eye-catcher!  Knit in garter stitch from tip to tip, you can work it in just two yarns, or substitue in something like your Mini-Skein stash for a really amazing effect.

Sunday Tee by PetiteKnit

In a world of colourwork yoked sweaters, what caught my eye about this beautifully simple version was the exquisitely folded edges on the sleeves and hem.  It’s a tiny little detail and maybe not something a non-knitter would notice but, once you see them, they make all the difference.

Susan Tank by Kay Krochets
(Ravelry link)

There’s nothing like a lovely, lacy dress in the summer and this one just jumped out at me. But it’s even better than it first looks because it can be easily converted to a simple tank top or worked up in tunic length. And, even better, it’s designed with a fully covered back to — wait for it, ladies — to cover your bra straps! Perfect!

images: © the respective designers, used with permission


Well, I can’t tell you how absolutely lovely it’s been to be back and able to sit down and share all these fibery tidbits with you again.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.  I hope that your and yours are staying healthy and safe and, until next time, all my best!

Newsletter: The Emails that Changed My Mind

Newsletter: The Emails that Changed My Mind

Something interesting happened last week.  The folks on the Yarn Alliance mailing list will have already heard this story but I wanted to share it with everyone because it was such a big revelation for me.

A couple of members of the Yarn Alliance emailed to ask if it was time to renew their subscriptions.  And the truth is that it was time…  in fact, the time to open the club for renewals and new subscriptions was supposed to have happened back in March but, just one week before I was planning to open the doors, states here in the US started to shut things down.  Suddenly tons of people were losing their jobs, worried about loved ones, or getting ill, it just didn’t feel right to start cheering about a yarn club.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to do.  I thought perhaps it would be better to just let this season’s opening slide and wait until the next season’s opening, in the hopes that things would be better for everyone.  But then those two emails came in, from members who said had so enjoyed  being part of the club and didn’t want their subscriptions to end.  Reading that made my heart soar — and shook me out of my indecision.

It should have been obvious to me all along that when times are difficult, we all find comfort in our knitting and crochet: in the rhythm of the stitches, in the feel of the yarn, in the way the colours lift the spirits.  And it’s always better when we do it together, whether in person at knit night or safely distanced in the shared experience of a club. So instead of being a time to shy away from opening the Yarn Alliance, I realised that now is exactly the time to share it.

And so I opened the Yarn Alliance this week.  I’m keeping it low key because it still doesn’t feel quite right to shout about it too loudly, but I’m excited to be able to share this upcoming season with all our renewing members — and hopefully a few new ones as well.  Somehow, those emails have given me a positive feeling about the future — for when it’s safe to end these shutdowns and venture out into the world again — and I’m excited to embark on a new season and dye new colours, with a sense of hope and positivity.  Will you join me?

Lots to lovely fibery news share with you today.  Are you ready?  Let’s dive in!…


Newsletter

When I think of llamas, I think of their fiber but, apparently, when virologists think of llamas, they think of protection against coronaviruses.  This fascinating article outlines how scientists are investigating the way llamas’ antibodies defend against a coronavirus infection, including the one that causes Covid19, and coming up with ways they can be adapted to protect humans.  Apparently, shark antibodies work in similar ways but, for some reason, the scientists prefer to do their work with llamas.  Do you think it’s because they also make really nice fiber?

This looks like fun: Sweater Jumpstart is a free five day challenge to explore raglan sweater construction by knitting a mini-sweater with designer Kristen Jancuk.  It starts on Monday, so go grab some needles and leftover yarn, and get started by signing up here.

When the humans are locked down, mean streets of the city belong to… sheep?  These videos capture a shepherd leading his flock through the center of Samsun, a city on Turkey’s northern coast — much to the surprise of local residents!  Make sure that when you click play you have the sound on — it’s really quite something.

Very sad news for the knitting and crochet world: TNNA, the industry trade organisation, is no more.  Their annual summer trade show was cancelled earlier in April due to the coronavirus, and then last week they announced the organisation would be suspending operations across the board, saying “TNNA currently cannot continue the membership operations you have come to expect with what little resources we have left.”  While there’s been remarkably little discussion of it online (there’s some here and here), it’s a huge blow to the industry as a whole and means it will be that much harder for LYSs to discover new yarns and for yarn companies to get into new LYSs.  How can you help?  It’s actually really simple: word of mouth is the best recommendation so just mention your favourite dyers (such as, I don’t know… say, SpaceCadet) to your LYS the next time you’re shopping.  I promise, both the shop and the dyers will really appreciate it.

I have two small problems at the moment: 1) my mask hurts my ears and 2) swatching always feels like a waste of time (or yarn… or both).  But when I came across this quick and simple pattern, I realised it would solve both at once: it ties my mask behind my head and takes the pressure off my ears and it offers provides me with a gauge swatch that actually feels useful!  Best of all, it calls for two fingering yarns held together, so I get the chance to play with colour combinations for my new favourite technique!


Mother’s Day is this weekend and if you’ve lost track of time (who hasn’t?!?) and need to get something for your mother quick, let us step up and save the day for you!  A gift subscription to one of the SpaceCadet’s yarn clubs is a fabulous gift: available right up to the last minute, we’ll send her a parcel of gorgeous yarn delivered right to her door every month.  …And even if you can’t be with her, you’ll still be able to let her know how much she means to you.

There are two great options, so whether she prefers full-sized yarns or minis, you know you’re giving her something she loves!

(if you’re not sure about those, let her decide: a gift card is always a great idea!)


Bukett by Linnea Ornstein

I actually drew breath when I saw this stunning pattern!  I absolutely love the spray of short row flowers bursting at an angle across the shawl but, even better, the whole pattern is garter stich  — meaning you can acheive this amazing effect with the simplest of techniques.  Designed in sport weight, I’d love to see the flowers knit using our Mini-Skeins held double to add extra colour combo punch.  Hands up, club members: who’s up for it?

Interlock by Hunter Hammersen

Hunter’s designs are always beautiful and this one is exactly that.  Incorporating the magic of holding yarn doubled to create its intriguing colour effect, it incorporates delightful open cables.  As ever, the pattern features wonderful instructions, including a photo tutorial and suggestions to modify it from a one-colour version to a three-colour version..  Best of all, it’s free at the moment for folks who join Hunter’s mailing list!

Raspberry spring lace cardigan by Lein Knits

It might have been the name of this cardigan that caught my eye — I’m so ready for spring! — but I think it was actually that beautiful crocheted lace that looks just perfect for the upcoming season.  An incredibly simple design, it’s worked in three pieces starting with the back, and each front worked together with the sleeves. And even though it was designed in much heavier yarn, there’s a part of me that’s tempted to do a gauge swatch with some fingering or lace held together and see if I couldn’t create a version that’s just incredibly light and summery.

all images © the respective designers, used with permission

Well, it’s time I got my day started.  We’ve got some beautiful club parcels and orders to pack up, and then I need to check through a few dyeing recipes and get them right.  I hope you have a some knitting or crochet breaks planned into your day, and all your loved ones are well.  And to all the mothers, I wish a very Happy Mother’s Day.
Until next time, all my best!

Newsletter: The Trouble with Tangles

Newsletter: The Trouble with Tangles

If I’m perfectly honest, sometimes when we are prepping some of our yarns — maybe it’s a club colourway, maybe it’s some of our one-of-a-kinds for a show — sometimes I fall so deeply in love with them that I have to sit down and have a little talk with myself about the fact that they are going to go away.  I am going to send them to customers, I don’t get to keep them.  They are going to go to their new homes and that is all right.  I’m not sure I completely believe that last bit but sometimes I have to have these conversations with myself.

Pyxis in Sage and Molten Cool

And I had one of those conversations as I was prepping our laceweight pairs for this weekend’s Virtual Trunk Show at The Artful Yarn.  We have so many beautiful one-of-a-kind skeins of our lovely Pyxis that, sitting in the middle of a huge pile and holding up one after another, I found myself swooning (see them in the SpaceCadet News section).  I knew all these pairs were destined for the show so, after I’d finished selecting them, I just had to go back to our stock shelves and find a laceweight pairing for myself.

After much digging, I decided on a skein of Sage and a skein of Molten Cool, with the intention to knit them held doubled. That’s them in the photo above — don’t they look absolutely delicious together?!?

But then take a look at the next picture of them caked up.  You may spot that cake on the left is smaller.  And, perhaps you are wondering why?  The reason is that every knitter’s worst nightmare happened: within a few turns of the ballwinder, the skein of laceweight tangled.

Pyxis in Sage and Molten Cool

“Don’t let it see your fear,” I thought and tried at first to just casually work through it, turning the winder slowly and fiddling with each wrong-way loop as I came to it.  But after a while, I realised the loops were multiplying into knots and forming a dreaded clump, so I had to lift the skein off the swift and start working it by hand. I pulled this tangled loop out of that tangled loop and slowly… carefully… the clump began to separate. But after a while I found myself going cross-eyed, so I spread the skein out on the floor with its tidy loop and on one side and messy clump of knots on the other and took a break.

When I returned to the skein a little while later, my breath caught in my throat.  The tidy loop had completely disappeared and the messy clump had taken over the entire skein. It was nothing but one giant knot.  And there hiding in the doorway, was my husband, looking throughly ashamed and apologising profusely.  He’d tried to help…  he thought if he just started winding, it would pull itself free…  and he’d got the yarn caught in the ballwinder and had very obviously set me back by hours

And he felt terrible.

All’s well that ends well.  It really did take hours but I’m relieved to report that the yarn is untangled at last.  And when I knit a swatch with the two skeins held double, the colours created a marled effect that is so stunning that I just can’t stop gazing at it. (Seriously, zoom in and just look at all those little flecks of colour — they’re gorgeous!)

Pyxis in Sage and Molten Cool, held doubled

And even better is what came from that little fiasco along the way: now that we know our marriage can survive the horrors of a full-blown laceweight tangle, I kinda think maybe a global pandemic and national shutdown pales in comparison…?


Newsletter

For as long as we’re all staying home, Ellen Thomas, the designer at The Chilly Dog, is providing live knitting/fiber arts lessons on her YouTube Channel every Saturday at 11 a.m. In the last couple weeks, she’s shared her latest weaving project and taught Reverse Knitting. you can even ask her questions and she’ll answer as she’s livestreaming.  You can find her YouTube channel here and a playlist of her past live lessons here.

You might remember there was uproar a few months back in the fiber arts world when Disney forced designer Allison Hoffman to discontinue selling an amazing baby Yoda crochet pattern that she had designed.  I found really interesting this article, which explores the deeper legal ramifications of Disney’s approach to the baby Yoda copyright issue within the larger crafting community. (In related news, that same designer has recently released an adorable amigurumi elephant pattern that, along with her previous bear cub pattern, it also includes instructions for elongated bunny ears.)

You’ve heard of temperature scarves and blankets (or maybe you’ve even made your own), but I absolutely love this temperature dress.  I mean…  it might not have worked, y’know?  But it really really does!

If you’re wanting to make facemasks and looking for information on how to do it, I think this face mask tutorial round up is a great resource.

You might feel concerned that you’ll run out stash(!) during the shutdown, so conserving every inch of yarn is important.  We all know the long-tail cast on is a common culprit for yarn wastage, so check out Jill Wolcott’s step-by-step guide to figuring out how much yarn you’ll need.  Useful stuff!  (and ahem… don’t worry, if you do run out of stash yarn, SpaceCadet is here for you!)


Virtual Trunk Show at The Artful Yarn, Chagrin Falls OH — April 24-26
Launch Party starts LIVE Friday Apr 24 at 5pm

It’s not possible for us to go in real life to the trunk show we’d scheduled at The Artful Yarn, so we’re holding a Virtual Trunk Show instead!  It’s going to be a blast, with a live Zoom chat, lots of lovely SpaceCadet yarn, and maybe even cocktails (byob, naturally).  It’s going to be exclusive to the customers of The Artful Yarn so, even if you’ve never shopped there before, you might want to join their mailing list (click here and look for the popup).  They offer online shopping and great virtual events and… you might even get an invite to the trunk show!

Want to see some of the Laceweight Pairs we’ve put together for the trunk show?  Here you go!  (See why I had to have that little chat with myself?)

Can you imagine the gorgeous marling these will create when you work them held double? So gorgeous!


Indira Cowl and Indira Mitts by Vanessa Smith

The lovely textures of this gorgeous cowl and mitt set are made even more eye-catching by the way the softly mottled colour, which is created by (…wait for it…) knitting two yarns held double.  In this case, it’s a fingering held double with a laceweight and the effect is distinct and just so beautiful.  Featuring a double-braided cable, simple lace, and fisherman’s rib, it will keep you intriged from cast on to bind off.  Buy the pair and you’ll even get them at a discount!

Daciana by Corrina Ferguson

It was the stripes that I spotted first.  They’re just so happy (and the world needs as much happy as it can get right now!).  Worked top down in DK, you can work the stripes using your SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, held double to approximate a DK weight while adding some gorgeous marled colour at the same time. For the main colour, choose either Lyra or Astrid, and cast on some happiness!

Detour Sweater by conceptcreative.store

Talk about eye-catching!  I did a double-take as soon as I saw the fabulous texture of this stunning yoked sweater.  Worked in the round and seamless, it features waist shaping, bust darts, and an adjusted back for a better fit.  It can be worked in either shorter or longer lengths, with full sleeves or three-quarter length, and there’s even instructions for increasing the length to a sweater-dress.  Designed in fingering, I think I’d crochet it in Oriana (because it has such incredible drape!) in Crisp for springtime vibes, Faded Dreams for some gentle colour, or Tickled if I’ve lost my mind.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got a super busy day ahead so I’d better get going.  The weather is forecast to be a little bit warmer (hooray!) so I’m going to set up on my porch for some photography to get ready for the Virtual Trunk Show and then a ton of parcel packing.  I hope you’ve got a lovely day ahead of you, and that you and yours are safe and well.  And until next time, all my best!