SpaceCadet Newsletter: Kristen Jancuk’s “Not Mystery” KAL

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Kristen Jancuk’s “Not Mystery” KAL

During the summer months, we do a lot of our work outdoors.  We hold our team meetings in the park, pack parcels under the shade of a tree, and plan our dyeing on the porch with a cup of mint tea.  And as the air takes on a chill, I am feeling so sad — I don’t wanna move back indoors — but I know there’s a really wonderful silver lining too: cooler weather means sweater knitting and I am so ready for that!

So it was easy to pull together a whole bunch of fiber-y inspiration to share this morning, and I can’t wait to get started.  Grab your coffee or your tea and let’s dive in!

Newsletter

Photo by Sam Carter

In all honesty, I cannot decide if these crocheted bird costumes are art, crazy, or kitsch…  or all three?  Oh, and they’re not costumes for people, they’re costumes of extinct bird species… for pigeons.  Yeah, it’s hard to explain.  You kinda just have to click the link.

I love to dye superwash because of the way it absorbs colour and how easy it is to take care of, but its very existence creates debate in the fiber community.  I fount fascinating this post by Pigeonroof Studios — cuts right the chase and asks, is it hypocritical to disapprove of superwash wool?

Did you see this awesome crochet idea that folks on the Yarnover Truck had for SpaceCadet Lyra?  I love it so much and it’s perfect for October crafting!

If the cooler weather has got people asking you to knit them socks (family… friends…  complete strangers…?) asking you for hand-knit socks, you’ll love that Kate Atherley has published her foot size tables.  Warm toes on the way!

Speaking of socks…  oh my stars, I was grinning so hard last week as I saw the comments appearing on this Instagram post by David Highfield, one of our local television reporters.  If that doesn’t convince him to try hand-knit socks (and covering our local indie yarn show), I don’t know what will!  You guys are awesome.

Upcoming SpaceCadet Events   Mark these on your calendar!

  • Wed Sept 20 — The InterStellar Yarn Alliance Opens for New Members (click here to get on the club mailing list for early  registration!)
  • Friday Sept 29 — Spaces open in the Gradient Explorers (currently, we have 8 spots available)
  • Friday Oct 6Shop Update:  this month the yarn is Aurora, our incredibly soft and luxurious 20% cashmere yarn, perfect for warm and cozy autumn projects.

 

Our first Gradient Explorers Colourway!

Can I tell you how excited we were to send out the first Gradient Explorers parcels last week?  SO excited!  And I just have to share it with you.  This is “The Other Side of the Fence”, a colourway created from a base of the bright lime green of Fizz layered with greens and blues, to create glazed tones of both Stoppy and Feather.   I love how subtle the varying tones are!  And because the whole idea of the Gradient Explorers is to create beautiful colour flows, I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing a few of our standard colourways to see how they combined…

And then, because this is the very first parcel of the Gradient Explorers, I really wanted to make a little treat for for our charter members.  So I created this custom zipper pull (which turned out to be harder than I’d anticipated!) to make the whole parcel a little extra special.

Eight spots in the the Gradient Explorers will be opening on Sept 29.  Click here to get on the mailing list to get a reminder and a link to grab one of them before they go.


When designer Kristen Jancuk told me about her upcoming KAL and that it’s all about mini-skeins, I knew I had to share it with you.  And you know what?  She has a bunch of patterns you should check out!  With cooler weather on its way, here are my favourites:

Foxkit by Kristen Jancuk

(three of our SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins in all you need!)

SpaceCadet: I had to chuckle when I saw that you are doing a “not-mystery KAL” for the Foxkit mitts. What does that mean, and what should we know about joining the KAL?

Kristen: I tried really hard to come up with a better description than “not-mystery” but in the end, decided to go with it, because it really fits! This KAL isn’t a total mystery because I’ve shared a number of samples so knitters have a general idea what they’ll be working on. But it’s run in the same fashion as a mystery KAL, with a new section of the pattern delivered each week, and the knitter will make multiple design choices during the course of the KAL, so he or she won’t really know exactly what the finished project will look like until it’s done! I think it’s the best of both worlds. I also think this is a great KAL for knitters of all experience levels, because I’ve included design options for beginners as well as advanced knitters–I’ll also be providing lots of tips, tricks and tutorials along the way, and a chatter thread for questions and comments, so it will really be a community experience!

(click here to see how these mitts look reversed!)

SpaceCadet: You’ve got lots of patterns that do beautiful things with colour. What’s your process for finding the right colour combinations?

Kristen: When I start a design I usually have color ideas in mind, but I almost always rely on the dyer’s expertise in selecting final colors. They know their colors so well and can combine them in surprising and stunning ways! I personally tend to gravitate toward fall-ish colors year round, and dyers have opened my eyes to many more color possibilities–they’ve really helped me to think outside the box more and mix unexpected colors together.

Tumbao by Kristen Jancuk

(Tumbao works perfectly in bundle of minis from the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club)

SpaceCadet: The Foxkit mitts are the second pattern you’ve designed in SpaceCadet Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins, the first being Tumbao (above). What do you like about working with minis? And are there special challenges when you’re working with an ombre or gradient fade?

Kristen: One of my favorite things about minis is that you can mix and play with colors without breaking the bank–for a small accessory design, it’s not very practical to buy multiple full skeins of yarn; it gets expensive, and then you have leftovers you tend to stash away and forget about. I think it’s so fun to play with the colors when using minis, you have much more freedom than with a single skein–you can use more of your favorite color, or place it in a key spot in your design. Even with a gradient skein, where the colors naturally transition, those transitions don’t always look the same when you work them into a design. But with minis, you can really play with the transitions and pick the ones that work best for your project.

Road to Giza by Kristen Jancuk

(knit this pattern in SpaceCadet Vega in Crisp, Plume, Feather, and Drizzle)

SpaceCadet: When you look over all the patterns you’ve designed — and it covers everything from accessories to sweaters, colourwork to lace — which of those feel the most natural to you? The most “you”? And which were the biggest challenge?

Kristen: Colorwork and lace don’t come as naturally to me, so I look at those projects as more of a challenge–in fact, for the Foxkit mitts, I taught myself 2-color brioche, which I’d never tried before, solely because I wanted a reversible 2-color option for the cuffs! Cables and textured knits are more my thing, especially sweaters–I started designing mostly accessories, and now my head is just full of sweaters; I have to remind myself that not everyone is a sweater knitter!

Limeño by Kristen Jancuk

SpaceCadet: I know that your goal, when you design your patterns, is to help knitters take their projects “from fine to amazing” and I think that sounds awesome! Tell me what you mean by that and a little about how you incorporate it into your designs.

Kristen: I know I had a lot of projects when I started knitting that turned out “fine.” They looked nice enough and mostly fit, but I wasn’t entirely happy with them, either because I didn’t understand some of the directions, or I didn’t pick the best yarn for the project, or I didn’t really get gauge. With those old “fine” projects in mind, today I strive to write patterns that are thorough and easy to understand, I work with an amazing tech editor to make sure my patterns are clear and that all that tricky math is correct, and I try to supplement my patterns with tutorials and other useful information on my website and in my newsletter so knitters really have everything they need to knit amazing projects right at their fingertips.

The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club

In the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club, each month’s colourways in the Ombre&Gradient Mix flow into the next month’s colourways… and into the next month’s… and into the next to form a Never-Ending Gradient that is endlessly inspiring!  What to see what I mean?  We laid out a year’s worth of SpaceCadet Minis and here’s what they looked like…

See what I mean?  So gorgeous!  So, do you wanna to get in on the fun?  Click here to find out more!

We go to extra effort with our parcel packing but have you ever wondered why?  This week on the blog I show you the amazing (horrifying!) state one of our parcels arrived in — and how our packing affected the condition of the yarn…

Ok, we’ve got a fabulously fun day ahead of us, involving something we call our drinking game (though, given that we’re starting at 10am, it’s likely to be less scandalous than it sounds).  If you’re curious as to what we’re up to, keep an eye on my Instagram feed and Instagram stories…  and I might just give you a sneak peek!  I wish you a wonderful day as well — and, until next time, all my best.

The (Horribly Mangled) Reason We Pack Our Parcels That Way

The (Horribly Mangled) Reason We Pack Our Parcels That Way

I opened up my email the other day to a message from a customer that reminded why we take so much care when we pack our parcels.  When your box of SpaceCadet yarn leaves our hands, I want it to arrive safely and look wonderful as you open it.  Everything from wrapping it carefully in a protective bag, to the little treats we sometimes include, to the tissue paper lining the box, to using Priority Mail so your parcel can be tracked — it’s all done to make sure your yarn reaches you in perfect condition.

(that colourway is called Time Traveller, btw, and I love it so much)

So we start by putting your yarn in a plastic bag.  There’s a reason for that which you’ll see in a moment but a big part of it comes from when I was living in England and my postman would leave my parcels on the front doorstep.  There they’d sit all day, in the ever-present English drizzle and with no porch to cover them, until I got home from work.   It was so disheartening to come home to a soggy parcel but such a relief if the sender had been careful enough to wrap my item in a protective bag!  And so, when I started SpaceCadet, I decided to do the same — because I know how important your purchase is to you and I want it to be perfect.

We usually include a little treat in your bag as well — just because.  Sometimes it’s a button, sometimes a tattoo (as in this parcel), sometimes it’s wool wash. We wrap your yarn in tissue and place it carefully in the box along with a card that tells a little about us, as well as handy links and instructions on how to get in touch.

Then we seal it up and send it on its way — probably the best part of the whole process, because it means the yarn gets to become something!  And why do we go to so much trouble in our packaging?  Well every now and again, I get an email like this one from Holly in California.  The email subject line was, “The Yarn Survived….Some Sort of Adventure” and she wrote,

Hi team! Just wanted to say thank you for doing such a thorough job of packing your yarn. This is what the mini-skein box looked like when I received it. When I peeled the plastic off, the cardboard was soaking wet (it was 110 degrees here today…and I live nowhere near the gulf coast…. :)). The yarn survived and was in perfect condition!

And she included a few pictures…

Whoa!  What on earth happened to that parcel?!?  It’s so horribly mangled that it’s almost funny but, even though the parcel itself was a near-disaster, knowing that our careful packing meant the yarn arrived in perfect condition just made my day.  And we take just as much care with every parcel we send out — because no matter what the outside of the box looks like, I want the yarn inside to be beautiful.

The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club

And that yarn that Holly was so excited to receive?  It was her Mini-Skein Club parcel — and it’s no wonder she was looking forward to it!  Every month, we dye five brand-new colour-packed skeins for our Multicolour mix and five new fabulously blended colourways for our Ombre & Gradient mix.  Opening a new parcel is an mini adventure all on its own!

And you know what’s even cooler?  Each month’s colourways in the Ombre&Gradient Mix flow into the next month’s colourways… and into the next month’s… and into the next to form a Never-Ending Gradient that is endlessly inspiring!  What to see what I mean?  We laid out a year’s worth of SpaceCadet Minis and here’s what they looked like…

See what I mean?  So gorgeous!  So, do you wanna to get in on the fun?  Click here to find out more!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: I Need Your Help! (twice, actually)

SpaceCadet Newsletter: I Need Your Help! (twice, actually)

A really surprising thing happened yesterday…  I grabbed a jacket as I went out the door!  The afternoons are just perfect but there’s a just a hint of a chill in the early mornings, so I know that autumn is definitely on its way.  But knitters and crocheters don’t care, right?  Because that means…  sweater weather!!!

And if that’s the case, then it’s time to start get to work.  Grab your needles or your hook and your most autumn-worthy project, and let’s spend five minutes jumping into all the fibery goodness that is the best part of this time of year.  Here we go!…

 

Newsletter

Purl & Loop watching the water rise…  and then so happy to get back to work!

The news out of Texas last week was shocking and I know so many of us want to do something to help.  There are myriad aid organisations we can contribute to but another thing we can do is support the businesses inside the flood zone that are trying to get back on their feet, build their economy, and continue to put pay in the pockets of their employees.  Purl & Loop is a tiny Houston-based company making adorable mini-looms for fiber artists — they made our most recent SpaceMonster gift (below) — and they documented their journey through the flood on their Instagram feed (image above).  If you’ve been wanting to join the recent trend in weaving, now it is a great time to order a loom from Purl and Loop!  Click here to read the wonderful message Angela wrote about their situation and to help a Houston business return to normalcy.

Purl & Loop made our most recent gift for the SpaceMonsters Club

Have you seen this ad featuring a couple falling in love in an LYS?  Well, it’s maybe more of a general craft store (so many zippers!) but it’s so goofy that it made me smile nonetheless.

In a world where everything is robotisation (I feel like I see a driverless Uber almost every time I head downtown), there are two fiber pursuits that defy automation: crochet and sewing.  I really enjoyed reading this article from the Economist about the future of clothing manufacture.  What are the hurdles to automation and how much longer will it be done by hand?

This made me laugh: When Yarn Bombing Goes Meta  Hilariously pointless!

Psssst — I know this is really cheeky, but I’d love your help!  I recently spotted this post on Instagram from David Highfield, a local television reporter and news anchor, showing off his brightly coloured (store-bought!) socks — and of course my first thought was that, if he likes those, he really needs to try some hand-knit socks.  Then I remembered he often covers upcoming local events and feel-good stories — and we have an awesome local yarn show, Indie Knit & Spin, coming up in November.  So I left a comment on his post saying that if he covers the show, we could probably get him a pair of hand-knit socks to spruce up his wardrobe!  So far, no reply from David, so I’m thinking he just doesn’t understand the hand-knit joy he’s missing out on…  bu-u-ut if there were a few more comments from passionate knitters saying the same thing, we might get his attention, right?  Pittsburgh folks (and non-Pittsburgh folks too!), want to click over to his post and encourage a little hand-knit love?

 

Shop Update for Vega: Friday Sept 8

That feeling of fall in the air means it’s time for lovely thick yarns again, so we’ve decided that this Friday, Sept 8, is the perfect time for a shop update of Vega, our delightfully smooshy worsted weight.  We’ve dyed tons of yarn to fill the shop plus a gorgeous one of a kind colourway that is absolutely perfect for back-to-school autumn knitting.  (Want a pattern suggestion?  I love love love Baltimore Tea Party by Ann Weaver)

The update will go live on Friday at 9am (eastern), so be sure to set a reminder on your phone so you don’t miss the best colourways.  And then you can curl up in a comfy spot, grab those big needles again (ahhhh…!) and cast on something to celebrate the return of sweater weather!

 

We have a Winner!

Our Combining Yarns KCAL has been so much fun seeing the amazing projects folks have made by combining different yarns together. To celebrate everyone’s hard work and creativity, we’ve done a giveaway for the KCAL participants and, after a random drawing, our winner is…

LaLizz

Congratulations!  Please send an email to missioncontrol (at) spacecadetyarn (dot) com so that we can give you your prize!

 

The Yarn Alliance Opens in Ten Days!

It really is all about community — and the best community is being part of one of our clubs!  Everything feels more personal: the dyeing, the choosing the yarn and gift, even writing the dyer’s notes (the SpaceCadet’s Log!) in a real connection between me and you, and between all the club members.  The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year — and I’m so excited that it opens in ten days!  And the best way to get first dibs is to click the link and get on the club mailing list.

 

One of the nicest things about doing yarn shows is getting to meet great people — both customers and fellow vendors.  And doing those shows again and again, a lot of those other vendors end up becoming friends.  Today I want to introduce you to Michelle Stead, knitting designer and shawl pin maker, and show you three of her super cool designs.

Suavest Ease by Michelle Stead

Knit Suavest Ease in SpaceCadet Thebe in Tantrum with Tickled, Blood Moon with Honey,
Molten Cool with Sage, or Life was Better in Black & White with Feather.

SpaceCadet: When I think of Michelle’s Assortment, I think of both your patterns and your beautiful shawl pins. How did you get your start with both? And which do you think of yourself primarily, a pattern designer or a shawl pin maker?

Michelle: Thank you! Creating both pins and patterns started with learning to crochet and knit. I started selling the shawl pins a few years ago. As a little girl attending craft fairs with my mom I had dreamed of one day selling my handmade things at a craft fair. The shawl pin shop quickly grew beyond what I had dreamed was possible. The pattern designing started from a couple of inspirations. At first shawl pins were displayed on shawls from other pattern designers. Customers would often remark that they don’t wear shawls. I have an irresistible urge to be creative and not follow the instructions exactly as they are written. Creating the pattern as I knit/crochet and matching up yarn with stitch patterns is a lot of fun. So I started designing knit/crochet patterns that are not shawls to wear shawl pins on. I enjoy both of my creative outlets equally.

SpaceCadet: You’ve got a beautiful new shawl pin style coming out that I know you debuted at Stitches Midwest. When will we see it in your shop?

Michelle: The new Round style of shawl pin is in the shop now. New color combinations of bead and wire are being added weekly.

Suavest Hues by Michelle Stead

Knit Suavest Hues in SpaceCadet Oriana in Time Traveller with Honey,
Solstice Sky with Feather, Windswept with Headstrong, or Thrive with Honey

SpaceCadet: The Suavest Hues (above) is such an interesting design with a really intriguing stitch pattern. Tell us where you got the design idea and what challenges it posed as you worked through it.

Michelle: The design idea started as a challenge I set myself. Suavest Hues is part of the Evident Allure collection. These patterns are designed to explore lace, cables, slipped stitches, color, and sizes that are a little more complex than those in the Apparent Comfort collection. The challenge was to design a pattern with lace, colorwork, and sizes that looks more complex than it is. Further inspiration was to use two different yarn bases with different dying techniques in fingering weight yarn. I wanted the pattern to create a vest that is easy to make and beautiful to wear. The challenge while designing this pattern was using just the right amount of yarn. I weigh the yarn after each pattern repeat while knitting the sample. This allows me to finish the sample with at least 15% of the yarn unused. I play yarn chicken so you don’t have to.

SpaceCadet: What kinds of yarns do you like to work with the most: variegateds or semi-solids? How do you design differently for each of them?

Michelle: I love both for different reasons. Creating patterns that use both semi-solid and variegated yarns is challenging and fun. Multi-colored yarns are interesting enough that simple easy stitch patterns enhance the yarn best. The Semi-solid yarns play nicely with simple and more complex stitch patterns.

Coastal Breezes by Michelle Stead

Knit Coastal Breezes in SpaceCadet Lyra or Astrid in Look Up or Feather

SpaceCadet: You have so many different motifs in your shawl pins, from steampunk to jewels, always set against a lovely swirl. Which is your favourite style to make?

Michelle: The style with a bead in the middle of two spirals is my favorite to make. It was one of the first styles I made. Wrapping the bead with wire is very rhythmical and almost meditative for me.

SpaceCadet: Any new designs you have coming up that we should look out for? Can we have a sneak peek?

Michelle: There are one or two designs being released every month for the forseeable. 😉 The next design to be released is Lavant. It is the 4th pattern in the Weald and Downland collection which features cables and lace in a variety of accessories. It is inspired by the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum located in Singleton, England. Lavant was made with one skein of SpaceCadet Lyra in colorway Look Up. It will be released in mid September.  Sure, here is a sneak peek…

 

 

Marvelg’s Collusion

Martha knit her Collusion using Capella in Time Traveller for the main colour and Celeste (in a ooak colourway) for the accent, and I love how it turned out.  The vertical floats break up the main colour beautifully (below) and the effect is amazing!

 

I love my Traveller’s Notebook and I make a ton of to-do lists, but I don’t really bullet journal.  I mean, the real bullet journal system.  But I’m really intrigued, y’know?  So, bullet journallers (and quasi-bullet journallers), I have a couple of questions and I’d love your thoughts.  Click here and help me out?

(That’s not really my journal — my pen’s not that fancy.  it’s a photo by Aaron Burden)

It’s a gorgeous day here in Pittsburgh (cool and a little cloudy, just how I like it) and I think I’m going to take advantage of the perfect autumn weather and do all our packing on the porch.  But there’s a lot of packing today, so I’d better get to it.  I hope your day is just as beautiful and, until next time, all my best.

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Three Patterns for a Knitter in Need

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Three Patterns for a Knitter in Need

You remember that, last week, I asked educators to share their thoughts on knitting and crocheting in schools?  I was so delighted by the response!  Tons of folks replied — some by email, some on Instagram and Facebook, and all of the replies were interesting informative.  I heard from a lot of educators who are restricted by budgets and/or rules regarding curriculum — I hear the frustration.   I loved hearing from the folks who learned in school (for the most part, Europeans) and from the teachers who started after-school knitting/crochet clubs, and most especially from a few students who had started their own knitting and crochet groups with their peers.  Such wonderful and inspiring stuff!

Well, come to think of it, that’s kind of what this whole thing is about, right? Inspiring stuff?  Ok, so let’s see if we can’t add a little inspiration to your morning.  Grab yourself a cup of tea and let’s jump in…

Newsletter

Ok, so, speaking of teaching kids to knit and crochet (in school or otherwise), I wanted to share this article with tips on how to teach kids to crochet — most importantly, how to create an atmosphere where they enjoy themselves so that it sticks!

And while I was looking through articles on this same subject, I came across this story about two British math(s) teachers who use knitting and crochet to create visual representations of mathematical concepts.  The funniest line in the article comes when they were approached by a US yarn company to design an afghan (“We were sent into a panic! We had no idea what an afghan was!”) but I think the most telling is this: “We always tried to make sure that knitting was not seen as a female activity and Steve always knits at any event to emphasise the point,” says Ashforth. “We find more reluctance from women who say they can’t do maths than from men who say they can’t knit.”  It’s a fascinating read and their creations are stunning — click the link!

There’s a chill in the air, which means scarf season is coming.  If you love cables the way my assistant Jill loves cables (that is, trulymadlydeeply), then this article on how to knit reversible cables might be handy.  Sadly, there’s no tutorial (and they’re mostly selling kits) but there are a few handy tips and there’s two free patterns.  So it’s worth a click… because no matter how carefully you arrange your scarf, somehow it’s always the wrong side that ends up on show!

Hands up if you spend most of your time during certain TV shows and movies spotting all the cool knitwear.  And you know you’re not alone (right?), which is why I had to smile at this quick blog post cataloguing Marilla’s shawls in different adaptations of Anne of Green Gables.  What’s your favourite show for knitwear-spotting?

Our Combining Yarns KCAL has come to a close and, even though I haven’t finished my project (I know! I know!), it has been so much fun to see the amazing variety of patterns folks have made by combining different yarns together.  I loved hearing how many folks were pushed outside their comfort zone by using two different yarns…  and love it!  I am personally inspired by

  • marvelg’s Pātiki Cowl (Maia and Celeste look amazing in mosaic!)
  • ReenieSue’s Road Trip Shawl (she combined three yarns, all in the same colourway but with such different characteristics and it looks amazing)
  • and jventur319’s Strawberry Vanilla (because I’m crazy about the colour she chose and she got a whole sweater out of two skeins of yarn)

Click the links and get inspired too!

Giveaway!

To celebrate everyone’s hard work and creativity, we’re doing a giveaway for the KCAL participants.  If you’ve finished your project (or can get it finished by the end of Thursday), be sure to post a picture of it in this thread to be entered to win a skein of Maia and Celeste in the colourways of your choice!

Official rules and AMOE are here.

The Latest SpaceMonster Colourway

On a beautiful sunny day last week, we moved operations outdoors and packed the latest SpaceMonsters parcels in the dappled sunlight and cool summer breezes.  It really was the loveliest way to do a day’s work!

And I just want to share with you the colourway we were packing, because I am over the moon about it.  The club colourway is called Evening Shadows (top left) and the coordinating colour is Evening Fade (top right).   And then at the bottom, I put together a couple of gradient fade options using the two club colourways combined with our standard colourways.  And I am just so excited by they work together!

This week I’m featuring wonderful patterns by Corrine Walcher, whom I know through one of my favourite yarn shows, Homespun Yarn Party, because she needs the knitting community’s help.  Here’s how she put it on Instagram:

“Friends, my father is gravely ill with untreatable, terminal cancer. We do not know how long he has to live. I am on the first of what I expect to be many trips to Alberta [Canada] (I live in Maryland), and I need help to finance them. Please take a moment to look at my Ravelry page to see if there are any patterns you might like to buy in order to help. There are over 100 in the shop and I’m always available for technical help.”

Corrine has returned home now from her trip to see her parents in Canada, but there will be more travel and expenses in her future, and I can’t think of any better way to support her in this difficult time than by knitting her patterns.  Here are three of my favourites…

Shifting Cable Hat by Corrine Walcher

Cables are always beautiful but when they break out of their orderly lines and start climbing over each other willy-nilly, I fall in love!  So you know that this hat, mitt, and cowl set that jumped right out at me.  You too?  Try it in SpaceCadet Elara for lots of bulk or SpaceCadet Capella for an extra smooshy look.

Round Trip by Corrine Walcher

You know, we always suggest alternating skeins to blend yarns together but I just adore the way Corrine turned the colour changes in a simple fade into this gorgeous two-tone detailing!  If you’re on our mailing list, check out the colour combos in my Monday Morning Fiber Fix emails for two fabulous fade suggestions and then cast on — you know this is a sweater you’ll wear all season long!

Century and Light by Corrine Walcher

Sock knitting season is upon us and that means that holiday gift knitting is right around the corner (what?!?)…  and what I love about these socks is that even though they’ve got those fancy-fab cables running right down the center, they work for either men or women.  Knit in a somber colour (like Drizzle), the cables will add interest without being fussy; knit in a brighter hue (how about Feather?), they’ll jump out in all their twisty glory.  Perfect either way!

I love it so much when you guys get in touch and share the projects you’re making with SpaceCadet yarn.  Seriously, I always wonder what those lovely skeins are going to turn into!  Here’s some that got me super excited…

Averysmom29’s Tubularity

Rachel knit this in SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins and there are three more pictures in her Instagram post.  Be sure to click through them all — I think the last one is just gorgeous!

semcdwes’s So Faded

Using three colourways from our Yarn Alliance club, Sara is putting together an absolutely gorgeous So Faded!  I love how, even though the colours weren’t designed to go together, they really do. (Also, I’m smitten with her Yarn Alliance stitchmarkers and notions tin!)

la_lizz0609’s Sea Grass

From our Combining Yarns KCAL, I love how you can see the different textures in the Celeste and Maia (compare the lace sections), even with indoor lighting

Ok, how that for some mid-week inspiration?!?  It’s been wonderful sharing all this with you, but I’ve got a busy day ahead of me — and I’m guessing you do too — so I guess it’s time to get it started.   Have a wonderful, fibery day and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Knitting in School & Better Short Rows

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Knitting in School & Better Short Rows

When you start your week with something as exciting as the moon blocking out the sun on the very first day (related: did you see this?), it’s kind of hard for the rest of the week to measure up.  And I think maybe Wednesday has to be the hardest…  the eclipse is over but we’re still two who days away from the weekend.

Well don’t you worry — there’s nothing like a little fibery goodness to get rid of the mid-week blahs.  And I’ve got a dose of it!  So grab a cup of tea, get settled in your favourite spot, and let’s dive in!

Newsletter

Practically everyone I know knits or crochets, from the age of 7 to 77, and I’m always struck by what a wonderful activity it is for kids.  As we head into back-to-school time, I was reminded of the Yarn Craft Council’s resource page for Incorporating Math into Classes.  And it made me wonder why schools don’t embrace knitting and crochet more — for manual dexterity, creativity, spacial awareness, math skills and, well, just to keep those hands busy.  If you work in education, I’d really love to hear your thoughts — on how you’ve incorporated knitting and crochet …or why you haven’t.  Seriously, I’m interested — please get in touch and let me know.

Speaking of classes, I recently took this free mini-class on short rows, taught by Carol Feller on Craftsy, and loved it — especially the Japanese short-row method, which I’d never tried before but found much more to my liking than the regular w&t method I usually use.  Good stuff!

I have a friend who recently learned to crochet (see? even the people I know who don’t knit or crochet come around eventually! *chuckles menacingly*) and I thought of her when I spotted this article called 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Crocheting.

So, ok, this is isn’t knitting and crochet related but I thought it was interesting.  Every property show I’ve seen on television in the last ten years has been allllll about open concept floorplans and, yet, they’ve never really knocked me out.  I like being able to find a quiet corner where I can curl up with my knitting, my tea, a nice view out the window, and…  close the door on the rest of the world.  And I’ve seen enough photos of fellow Ravelers’ crafting corners to know I’m not alone.  So I had to smile when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal.  The bulk of the story is behind their paywall but the title sums it up pretty nicely: The Open-Floor-Plan Backlash: How Family Members Are Escaping Each OtherYep, there are times when that’s exactly what my knitting corner is about!

Gradient Explorers: 14 Spaces Opening Friday

When we opened the Gradient Explorers last month, it sold out so fast it nearly made my head spin (every single spot was gone literally before I finished making my cup of tea!).  So for everyone who tried but couldn’t get in, I have good news: we have 14 spaces available this month.  They’ll be opening on Friday so click here to read all the details and then, if you want one of those spots, set a reminder on your phone for Friday at 10am!

For the Gradient Explorers, we create a Never Ending gradient, just as we do for our Mini-Skeins, but for full-sized skeins so they build up into sweater sets!  How cool is that?  Just like the Gradient Mini-Skeins, each month’s colours will flow into the next but in larger skeins to create bigger colour blocks and more gradual shifts that are perfect for sweaters.  You choose the yarn you want to receive each month, and then we start dyeing, all in colours that coordinate together and with our regular colourways too (so they’ll work with your stash), plus we’ll  add some exciting club-exclusive variegateds too!

(And for our current members: we just finished the second layering of colour on your skeins and they look awesome.  We’ll be packing them as soon as they’re dry.  I can’t wait for you to see them!)

 

Lavena by Christiane Burkhard

Sometimes a design just really jumps out at you and the unusual way the mosaic motif repeats on the left side of this beautiful shawl is so innovative that I was drawn to it immediately.  Knit from the bottom up with no short rows, the result looks more complicated than it is.  Plus, mosaic is so hot right now, how could this not be a winner?

Goodnight Moon Shawl by Heather Anderson

I’m always looking for great stash-busting ideas and, if you love our Gradient Mini-Skeins, this pattern is a beautiful choice!  With lots of changing texture to keep your interest (and to do fun things with your yarn’s colours), the pattern can be easily enlarged to make the most of your Minis.

Blue Mountain Valley Shawl by Reddcaboose .

Shoud you cast on a triangle shawl or a rectangle?  Hmmm…  how about a triangle within a rectangle?  I really love this because, with the cooler weather on its way, sometimes there is nothing so lovely as a big, generous rectangle to wrap around you.  And this one has the extra interest of an intriguing diagonal gradient fade, perfect for Mini-Skeins.  Bonus: the pattern is free!

MommyDoc’s Gorgeous Socks!

When Clara shared these socks with me on Instagram, I knew I had to show you.  These two colourways are from a Yarn Alliance Club parcel from earlier in the year: Grounded, which is a green-brown-gold combination, and the coordinating colourway Percolate, the deep berry colour.  We designed them to work together and, in my mind, I was seeing them as thicker stripes or even large colourblocks but I am crazy about the way they’ve combined in these thinner stripes. Aren’t they stunning?!?  Click the image and send her some love!

(…and the stitchmarker is another Yarn Alliance goody. It’s such a fun club!)

You know, we send these beautiful skeins out and I always wonder what they’ll be when they grow up.  So I’d love to see your projects too!  Share on our Ravelry group or please tag me (@spacecadetyarn) on Instagram — it always makes my day!

Speaking of my day, I guess it’s about time I got started on it.   Today I’m finishing the photography for some awesome new stuff we’ve got planned for our LYSs (does yours carry SpaceCadet? Ask them to!), developing a couple of new colourways (best part of the day!), and then I have a whole bunch of parcels to take to the post office.    I hope your day is filled with good stuff too!  Until next time, all my best.

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Some Awesome Links & a OOAK Sneak Peek

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Some Awesome Links & a OOAK Sneak Peek

You know, I so enjoy putting these newsletters together and am always happy for the chance to inject a little fibery goodness into the start your day.  But with the events of the last week, it feels crass to write this newsletter in that same way without acknowledging that the recent news has been sobering and worrying, and shows the depth of the issues this country has to grapple with.  It’s easy to get down-heartened.

In difficult times, I’ve always found solace in my knitting.  It seems a bit silly but the click my needles, the rhythm of my hands…  it just always helps to soothe my mind.   So, no matter where you are or how this week has affected you, let’s sit down together, drink a cup of tea, and share some fibery goodness.  The world can always use a little more goodness.

Ok.  Onwards…

Newsletter

Just a bit of fun to start: the New York Times asks, “What’s your opposite job?” Sadly, it doesn’t seem to recognise “dyer”(!) but, if you have a more conventional job than I do, you may have better luck.  And if (like me) you love your job, you can look at its opposite with happy satisfaction and, if you don’t, then hey, maybe this will be inspiration!

Browsing through Ravelry the other day, I spotted this pattern and spit my tea across my keyboard.  Be warned, it is NOT safe for work and, if it turns out to be something you’re not keen on, it’s an image you won’t be able to un-see.  But wearing a bra in the summertime makes you uncomfortable, this may just be your solution.

As a dyer, I am all about colour, but I really enjoyed reading this article from Interweave on the beauty of black and white photography and the way it helps cut through our colour bias when it comes to choosing patterns.  I know that there are certain colours that will make me less likely to click on a particular design and I bet you’re the same.  (Wouldn’t it be handy if we could switch Ravelry to black-and-white sometimes so we can scroll through all the designs on even footing?)

When you love your craft so much, you wear jewelry fashioned after your notions…  I like this pretty scissors-inspired necklace!

We all lose our knitting or crochet mojo sometimes.  What do you do to get back into the groove?  I bookmarked this quick round-up of 12 ways to get motivated again — I know it’ll be useful!

Swatching to get correct gauge is the very best way to ensure your project comes out the way your want it to and, when knitting in the round, it’s best to swatch in the round tooThis excellent tutorial from Very Shannon takes us through it in detail — so useful!

 

One-of-a-Kind Shop Update: This Friday at Noon!

(this is kind of long, so make sure you scroll to the bottom to see this week’s pattern picks — I think they’re worth it!)

This time of year is such a conundrum… I still want to make all the summer things and yet I know autumn (and autumnal knitting!) is just around the corner.  Either way, when the kids go back to school, that often means getting a chance to squeeze in a little a few extra rows… So it seems like the perfect time to share some of the amazing One-of-a-Kinds we’ve dyed lately!

The update will happen this Friday at noon (eastern) and it’s is absolutely first-come first-served, so check out the pictures below and decide which one(s) you love most so you don’t miss out when they go live! (my hands-down favourite is number 11 — zoom in to see how colour-rich it is).  Watch for an email with the link in your inbox Friday morning!

 

Gradient Explorers: New Spaces Opening!

When we opened the Gradient Explorers last month, the spaces sold out so fast it made my head spin (well, not actually but I literally went and made a cup of tea and when I got back, they were all gone!).  We’re dyeing a gorgeous colourway that will go out to the members soon (it’s a two-step dyeing process and, so far, I’m loving the result).  And, because those spaces went so quickly, we’ll open a limited number of spaces later this month.  If you want to join in the fun (and maybe didn’t get in last month), keep your eyes on your inbox for an update next week!

 

Flower of Cebu by Christiane Burkhard

I love this eye-catching shawl!  It’s absolutely perfect for SpaceCadet Gradient Mini-Skeins, knit in garter so it’s reversible, and designed to join-as-you-go so you don’t have to worry about sewing it all.   Would you make yours so the gradient goes from the center out and matches on each side, or will you start the gradient at one end and have it change all the way along to the opposite end?  Either way, it’s going to be gorgeous!

 

Ailey by Barbara Benson

Barbara Benson does amazing things with mosaic knitting and makes incredibly complex-looking designs simple to create.  Designed for gradient Mini-Skeins (so the colour changes slowly across the pattern), when I look at this shawl, I see a fantastic opportunity to combine a beautiful variegated yarn (like one of our Oriana One-of-a-Kinds!) with a coordinating semi-solid and bring a real spark of bold colour to the mix.  So fun!

Spring Mitts by handmade by SMINÉ

Is it mitt weather yet?  Well… not yet but it’s coming!  And these mitts are super quick, super cute, and perfect for combining either Mini-Skeins or variegated yarn with a semi-solid for a stunning effect.

All images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ooh, one last thing…  Our Combining Yarns KCAL is nearing its finish and what a wonderful, inspiring time it’s been.  My favourite takeaway has been how many folks who had never combined yarns before said how much they enjoyed exploring it — exactly what I’d hoped!   If you’ve been in the KCAL, Fatima has a question for you so please click here to share your thoughts.

Ok, that’s it!  I have so enjoyed collecting all this fun stuff to share with you, and I hope it’s brought a little joy to your day.   I’ve got a busy day ahead — we’re dyeing some beautiful yarns for a couple of great LYSs and dying the second step of our August Gradient Explorers colourway.  I hope your day is a busy and productive one too and, until next time, all my best!