SpaceCadet Newsletter: My Thanksgiving and Lots of Fiber Fun

SpaceCadet Newsletter: My Thanksgiving and Lots of Fiber Fun

I can’t believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  It is absolutely my most favourite holiday of the year because it’s got all the best things about a holiday (family and great food and downtime) without all the things that make me feel stressed (all those decorations and, oh!, the pressure to find the perfect gift).

This year, for a number of reasons and for the first time since I moved here, Thanksgiving for the entire family will be at my house.  And I am super-excited to have everyone round except for two things: 1) the flu is gone but I am still so easily exhausted that cooking is going to be a challange and 2) being so sick for three weeks, I haven’t been able to fully prep our Black Friday weekend events, so it’s going to be a scramble of taking photos and prepping yarn…  while we’re also cooking a turkey and all the trimmings.  It should be fine, right?

(Side note: many many years ago, when I was still living in the UK, I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner on my own for friends coming round after work that evening.  But I also decided that, as I’d taken the whole day off work, it would also be the perfect time to try dyeing with indigo for the first time. Oh yes I did!  And it didn’t occur to me that this was a Really Bad Idea until I had everything going at once: the indigo vat on the porch and all the dishes half-prepped in the kitchen, with me running back and forth and back and forth between the two and thinking, “Don’t get indigo fingerprints on the turkey! Don’t get indigo fingerprints on the turkey!”  I didn’t, and both the dyeing and the dinner turned out great, but it was seriously one of the most ridiculous ideas I’ve ever had!)

Ok, enough of that.  It’s not Thanksgiving yet, so grab a cup of tea or coffee and let’s dive into this week’s fibery news…


I picked up a surprise parcel from the post office this week and was delighted to find it contained a copy of Kate Atherley’s awesome new book, Knit Mitts, an easy to understand and comprehensive guide to knitting mitts, mittens, and gloves.  I was so inspired that I cast on a pair immediately (and hope to have them bound off today — yay warm hands!).  If you like warm hands too (or have someone on your gift list who does), you’ll want to get a copy of it.  Oh, and why did I get a surprise copy?  Because that’s SpaceCadet Aurora in the Holdsworth gloves pattern on page 81Thank you, Kate, for including our yarn in your beautiful book!

If you’re cooking the dinner on Thanksgiving day, you’ll probably be too busy for this and can just skip on to the next item but, if you’ll be curled up on the couch watching the parade or football and need something productive to do with your hands, I love the idea of whipping out these adorable little crocheted turkey drumsticks. They’re so tiny, you can have half a dozen ready by dinner time and add a crocheted i-cord and you have instant seasonal napkin rings!  The question is, will that be a good enough excuse for not being the kitchen helping to wrestle the turkey?

On the surface, knitting and crochet are all about design but, underneath, they’re really all about the math.  And few mathematical formulas produce more beautiful designs than the Fibonacci sequence.  I enjoyed this round-up of patterns that use that famous tool to dazzling effect.

Now that the weather has turned colder, I find myself falling back in love with everything cabled (I don’t know about you, but cables seem like such a perfect cold-weather motif…  do you feel that way too?).  But cables can be tricky: they change your gauge and can cause the edges of your work to flare out.  I loved this article from Interweave with great tips for combating that flare.  Read it before you cast on your next cabled masterpiece.

Every week, when I send out this newsletter, I receive a bunch of out-of-office emails from readers who are away that week.  And while I always secretly cheer for those lucky folks away on vacation (yay vacation!), it’s interesting how varied the messages are: some give practically no details and some tell me absolutely everything.  So I couldn’t help but notice this article outlining the best options for wording your out-of-office notice.  If you’re about to put one together for the upcoming holiday weekend, it’s worth a look.

Put These Dates on Your Calendar

This Week

  • Black Friday Special! Because I’ve been so sick, I haven’t been able to get the photos to show you (guess what I’ll be doing on Thanksgiving day?), but we’ve got a great holiday special to share with you.  Ok, want a little hint?  Here’s a sneak peek inside the dyepots. There are three themes: blues, rusts, and greens — and let me tell you, the results are gorgeous. If you’re intrigued, watch your inbox on Black Friday!

  • Cyber Monday: Another Holiday Special!  The same restriction as before — I haven’t been able to take photos yet — but if you’re looking for something filled with yarny fun, watch this space.

Next Week

  • Friday Dec 8: The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club opens.  I love this club — all about the smooshiest of yarns.  Click here for all the details and get on the list to get first dibs!

Tacit by Hunter Hammersen

For obvious reasons (see the first item in Orbiting the Fiber Universe, above), mitts have been on my mind this week.  And I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a pair as pretty as these.  And for as complicated as they look, Hunter says, “It’s just cables. No really, I promise! I know it looks like there is some sort of fancy magic going on there, but it really is just cables.”  And, as she’s an absolutely excellent pattern writer (and person!), I believe her.  I might just cast on a pair of these next, in luxurious Aurora in either Frigia or Drizzle.

Study Break Shawl by Emily Connell

I gave you a little teaser about this pattern last week because I was just so excited to see it come to life at last.  And when it was released on Saturday, I just couldn’t be more thrilled with the result!  Designed in SpaceCadet Capella and Vega, it combines a gradient flow (from rust into red into oxblood into magenta), stranded colourwork, Latvian braids, and steeking, into a truly beautiful design.  And what’s more, it’s free, included in November’s issue of Knotions magazine.

Christmas Tree Wrap by handmade by SMINÉ

Why yes, it is that time of year (or, at least, it will be come Friday) and, with the holiday spirit on the ascent, I absolutely adore this sweet and clever design.  Do you see a Christmas tree garland?  I see a shooting star!  Either way, it’s an adorable knit for a season filled whimsy and fun and twinkling stars.  Designed in two colours of either fingering or DK, it’s absolutely perfect for your stash of Mini-Skeins (make sure you use sparkly Lucina for the star!) or for two skeins of Celeste, Lucina, or Astrid.   Here are four of my favourite colour combos to try…

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

Ok, it’s been lovely sharing all of this with you, but we’ve both got work to do before this busy holiday weekend.  So I am going to go tie up some skeins for dyeing (because I can sit down while I tie them and not get too tired!) and try to remember what I am forgetting for tomorrow (there’s always something, right?).  If you live in the US, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for.  And, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Slipped Stitches and Steeked Shawls

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Slipped Stitches and Steeked Shawls

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when I said I thought I was coming down with maybe a cold?  Oh, how naive I was!  What I was coming down with was actually the Real Flu and I have never been so sick.  Never, ever.  I will spare you the gory details (and they are gory!) but to say that I have been laid up in bed and unable to work since Halloween.  My entire family has had it, the SpaceCadet crew has had it, and I am currently on Day 17 and I haven’t kicked it yet.  In fact, I was in such bad shape yesterday that I dragged myself to the doctor for the third time in two weeks (and I never go to the doctor!).

So, because much of the crew and I have been out of action, our schedule is a little out of whack (Yarn Alliance members, your parcels will be a little late — I really appreciate your patience).  But I now have new meds (yay!) and new hope(!) and I’m ready to jump back into our regularly scheduled fiber fix.  Are you ready too?  Here we go…

Right Now

  • Friday Nov 17: Shop Update  To get ready for the upcoming holiday season, we’ll be putting a bunch yarns in the shop on Friday.  Look for Vega, Lyra, Lucina, Astrid, Aurora, and Elara to appear between 8am and noon (eastern).
  • Tuesday Nov 21: Gradient Explorers spaces open!   At the moment, we have 6 spaces open for The Gradient Explorers, and they’ll be opening Tuesday at noon (eastern).  Click this link to read the details, and enter your email make sure you’re the first to hear about them. 


  • Black Friday: Something Special!  I can’t say more than that, but it’s gonna be fun!  Look for details in next weeks’s newsletter
  • Cyber Monday: Something Else Special!  Same deal: no details but watch this space…
  • Friday Dec 8: The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club opens.  I love this club — all about the smooshiest of yarns.  Click here for all the details and get on the list to get first dibs!


As the weather gets cooler, I am in the mood to knit mitts and I loved (loved loved) this quick primer on mitten and thumb gusset anatomy from knitmaster Kate Atherley.  I’ve got a couple of gorgeous skeins of Reserve (above) from the SpaceMonster Club staring at me on the shelf…  maybe I’ll cast on right now!

Speaking of casting on, you’ll notice I never mentioned a pattern?  Heh.  I’m notorious for just starting a project with no pattern and trying to wing it.  Sometimes it works…  aaaand sometimes it doesn’t.  Either way, I was really excited to see the release of the new book Design Your Own Crochet Patterns by Sara Delany.  We’ll see if it improves my success rate!

And if you’re as excited about that new book as I am, you’ll want to know that the Moogly blog is giving away a copyClick here before the end of the month to enter.

Saturday was Veterans Day in the US and, in the UK, it was Remembrance Day, for which most Brits wear red poppies on their lapels to commemorate the fallen.  Usually they are made of cardstock, sometimes of silk, and this film from the BBC shows the results of eight months of dedicated knitting and crocheting by the residents of Walsham-le-Willows: no less than 5,000 handmade poppies to adorn the village church.

Ahem. How to turn a pretty cute heart pattern into something else altogether: this (not-safe-for-work!) crocheted hackeysack pattern made me grin.

If you have leftovers in your stash and don’t know how many yards they are, this quick tutorial will have you calculating the yardage of your partial skeins in no time.  Because mathing is totally worth it if it means you get to use more of your yarn!

Emily Connell Designs…  A Steeked Shawl!

As much as I hate the idea of someone taking a pair of scissors to our yarn (eek!), I am so looking forward to the release of Emily Connell‘s Study Break Shawl in Knotions magazine.  Created in SpaceCadet Capella and Vega, it has beautiful colourwork and all the added excitement of steeking!

The new issue will be going live on Saturday (and we’ll have yarn in the shop) so click here this weekend to get your copy!

images ©Emily Connell,  used with permission

I Played a Lot with Colour!

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ll know that, while I’ve been sick (and unable to sleep at night), I had a lot of time for knitting with the latest SpaceMonster Club colourway, Bonfire (above).  I had sooo much fun playing with the colours: pooling them, creating pseudo-stripes, and incorporating slipped stitches.  The different effects were stunning and, sometime soon, I’ll put together a blog post to walk you through it. But in the meantime, check out the images I’ve been sharing (below).  And, if you don’t follow me on social media, click here for Instagram and here for Facebook!

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that, while I’ve been sick, I’ve filled a lot of the hours (when I simply couldn’t sleep) by knitting.  And one of the things I played a lot with (…and fell in love with!) was slipped stitches.  And so, as I gathered the patterns that caught my eye this week, I realised there was a bit of a natural theme happening.  See if you can spot it…

Hamurana Springs Wrap by handmade by SMINÉ

Linen stitch is a wonderful way to use slipped stitches to blend colours and without muddying them.  I love the way this scarf softens a gradient into a stunning watercolour effect.  If you’ve got a stash of SpaceCadet Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skeins, this is the perfect pattern choice!

Slipped Cowl by Rebecca Velasquez

Slipped stitches can be a great way to show off a heavier yarn in all its smooshy glory.  This crocheted shawl does exactly that, working its magic on to create great texture in a simple semi-solid yarn.  But try it with a variegated colourway on Capella and  it will look equally stunning!

Sandpiper Socks by Barbara Benson

The other two patterns used all-over slipped stitches but these socks show off just how effective strategically placed slipped stitches can be. Incorporating a lifted bar of yarn, this is called Sandpiper Stitch and creates a really stunning effect!

images © the respective designers,  used with permission

Yarn Alliance Members: Share Your Projects!

Because the flu has us running a bit behind on the Yarn Alliance parcels, Fatima suggested we could help the new members’ in their anticipation by sharing past projects we’ve made in our club yarns.  If you’ve got a great FO (or WIP!) in a Yarn Alliance colourway, pleas click here and show us!

Thank You!!!

Before I go, I just want to say how wonderful its been getting everyone’s well wishes on Facebook and Instagram.  Seriously, when you’re as sick as I’ve been and up all night in the dark with that never-ending cough, getting little messages of support and encouragement mean so much.  Thank you so much getting in touch and giving me moral support — I really really appreciate it.

Ok, and on that note, it’s time to get back to real life and start the day.  I’m going to do some simple computer work and then maybe maybe maybe head down to the studio and see how I feel.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  And until next time, stay healthy, stay warm, and all my best.



Newsletter: Irresistible Yoked Colourwork

Newsletter: Irresistible Yoked Colourwork

Every year on the day after Halloween, I realise that it’s somehow turned into November while I wasn’t looking and, every year, I wonder how did this this happen?!?  This year, I’ve woken up with my first cold of the season — you know the kind where you know it’s bad even before you’re fully awake?  Yeah, that.  Fortunately, I’ve got a bit of computer-work lined up so I suspect today will be spent mostly on the couch with my laptop, Olbas Oil, and a nice steaming pot of tea.

But before that, I’ve got a ton of great fiber news I found during the week and I can’t wait to share it with you!  So you grab a cuppa and get comfy, and let’s spend five minutes together to start Wednesday off right.  Here we go…


  • Saturday Nov 11: Indie Knit & Spin in Regent Square, Pittsburgh.  One of our favourite shows!  Click here for details.
  • Friday Nov 17: Gradient Explorers spaces open!   At the moment, we have 4 spaces open for The Gradient Explorers, and they’ll be opening on Nov 17.  Click this link to read the details, and enter your email make sure you’re the first to hear about them.


On Circular Yokes…

Road to Giza by Kristen Jancuk (© Kristen Jancuk, used with permission)

If you’ve never knitted a circular yoked sweater before, this nifty article will walk you though the basics of circular yokes and the pros and cons of yoked construction.  It’s a really great (and inspiring!) introduction.

Stranded colourwork means using two colours in each row, carrying (stranding) one of the colours behind the other.  I found two great tutorials (here and here) that give step by-step images to show you the different ways to hold your yarns and keep your sanity while you do it.

And finally, choosing the right colours is crucial to successful colourworkThis article gives some great tips to help you step just far enough away from your default colours (we all have ’em!) to choose hues that will really make your colourwork pop!

And Other Cool Stuff…

With Halloween last night and the first day of November dawning this morning, it’s full speed ahead to Thanksgiving here in the US.  I love the look of these adorable needle-felted pumpkins, perfect for decorating the Turkey Day table.  And, even better, there’s a fabulous step-by-step tutorial for making them!  If you’ve never tried needle-felting before, it’s easy and lots of fun and gives that awesome woolly fiber fix we all crave.  Try it!

If (like me) you have trouble getting your gift-knitting/spinning/crochet done in time, these tips might come in handy.  I think number 2 is BRILLIANT!

And lastly, I’m honestly not exactly sure where you’d ever wear this crocheted hat but it totally cracked me up!

October’s Mini-Skein Club bundles were so perfect for the season! The Multicolour Mix (top) just feels like October all over — so bright and warm and Halloween-ish.  And the Ombre & Gradient Mix (bottom) is a journey of purples as we leave the warmth of autumn and start heading toward the season of ice and cold.  Everyone has their own colour comfort zone — which of these is yours?

The SpaceCadet’s Pinterest Boards: Leaves & Nature Motifs

Photo by Chris Lawton

This time of year, I am so inspired by the fabulous show that nature is putting on outside my window that all I want to cast on is designs that capture the best of the season: leaves, wind, branches, ice and snow.  If you’re like me, you’ll want to check out my Leaves & Nature Motifs board on Pinterest.  It’s full of pattern ideas that are perfect for this time of year!  Click here to go to it and then, once you’re on the board, click the images to enlarge and again to go through to the corresponding pattern or webpage.

And did you know I started a Pinterest board to act as a stitch dictionary for when I want to find just the perfect texture for a project idea?  I did!  And you can follow it (by clicking here) and use it as a resource for your project ideas too!

Jelly Roll Sweater by Mara Catherine Bryner

The thing that caught my eye about this design first was the designer’s tagline: “When English is my language, I speak softly; when color is my language, I scream.”  And then I looked at her stranded colourwork on this design and realised how true it is.  Most of the yoked sweater designs I’ve seen use elaborate motifs with very simple colours.  This one uses a really simple motif combined with fabulous variegated colour.  Fun!

The kid-sized pattern releases this Friday, with an adult version to follow  — and the adult version is included with the purchase of the kid-version.

Susitna hat by Mara Catherine Bryner

So, ok, this hat is knitted in two (lovely) solid colours but, as soon as I spotted it, I knew it was one of those awesome patterns that simultaneously brings out the best in a variegated yarn while also controlling the overwhelm by pairing it with a semi-solid.  I’d love to knit it in Lyra in Molten Cool and Drizzle, Time Traveller and Longing, or Breeze and Plume.

Essential Socks by Virginia Sattler-Reimer

How’s your holiday knitting going?  Yeahhhhh…  But simple socks are such a fab gift and when someone else has done the math and all you have to do is put together the rainbow yarn and cast on, well, you’re half-way there!  If you’re in our Mini-Skein Club, do a little stash-diving and start lining up your colours — they’re going to look awesome.

all image © the respective designers and used with permission

Ok, Back to Reality…

See, I told you I had a bunch of cool stuff to share!  But now it’s time I made another pot of tea and get back to work.  Please keep your fingers crossed that I can send this cold on its way quickly, and I hope you have a happy and healthy start to your November.  Until next time, all my best!


SpaceCadet Newsletter: Time to Get Warm!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Time to Get Warm!

Every now and again, when things aren’t going the way I expect them to go, I announce loudly, “IF I RULED THE WORLD…!”, followed by some proclamation of how I would improve whatever it is that I’m finding frustrating in that moment.  Usually it involves replacing all stop lights and stop signs with British-style roundabouts, or mandatory tea-making school for every food-server (warm the pot, tea bag in first, boiling water must hit the bag), or teaching all world leaders to knit or crochet (I’m convinced that if the G7 & G20 meetings were actually knit nights, everybody would chill and world peace would be that much closer).  And after reading today’s fiber universe news, I think I might add ovine lawn mowers to that list.

In the last 48 hours, Pittsburgh’s weather has dropped from balmy and almost August-like to cold, windy, wet, and grey.  Today I am holding a hot cup of tea in my hands and still thinking that perhaps I need to whip up a pair of mitts.   And for as much as I have loved having summer stretch a little longer, the weather today feels so right.  Time to pick up my needles and get busy! But first, I’ve got a ton of stuff to share with you, so get a cup of tea (maybe a pair of mitts too) and let’s jump in…


  • Saturday Nov 11: Indie Knit & Spin in Regent Square, Pittsburgh.  One of our favourite shows!  Click here for details.
  • Friday Nov 17: Gradient Explorers spaces may open — The Gradient Explorers is currently full and there are no spaces available, so I can’t open any in October but, if we have room next month, I’ll be opening the Gradient Explorers a week early in November (so it’s not all tangled up with Thanksgiving).  Mark your calendar and keep an eye here for updates.


I absolutely loved reading this article in the NY Times about how, when the landscaper retired at Old St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhatten, the church brought in three sheep to “mow” the cemetery.  The move proved so successful — and popular — that the flock’s annual return has become a neighbourhood celebration.  Read about it here.

This pair of crocheted pizza sweaters made me grin, partly because of the adorable “Mini Me” aspect and partly because of the way the dad totally nailed that post-pizza food-coma look.

When I looked in my inbox the other day and saw an email entitled “Trips for Knitters”, that sounded just about perfect.  I’ve never travelled with this group, but if you like to combine your knitting with your travel, it may be worth checking out.

I can’t decide if I want to crochet a garland like this to go across my shelves (as pictured) or to do it all in white for my mantle at Christmas.  Which would you do?

I’m a huge fan of Woolly Wormhead’s designs and just spotted that she’s been nominated for the British Craft Awards.  If you love her hats as much as I do, click here, go to “knitting”, and fill out the survey (you don’t have to be a British resident to participate but, if you are, there are prizes too!)

Sometimes Mini-Skeins are Hard!

The other day, my assistant and I were developing the colour path our Mini-Skein Club will take over the next few months and, can I tell you…  we were really struggling.  Last month’s Ombre & Gradient mix was this really lovely blackened purple (top image, below) and, while I can’t show you this month’s colour mix yet, I can say that we were trying to think how to move from where we are now to something rich and festive and then onto something ethereal and wintery.  Quite a transition!

But I had to laugh because, even though we’ve both been doing this for years and we’re usually pretty good at developing the new colourways, we really struggled at first with the upcoming transitions.  Now that we’ve worked out how we’re going to dye them, I am super excited — they’re fun, intriguing, and everything I hoped they’d be — and I can’t wait to see how they come out.  But if you’ve ever thought that creating our beautiful Never Ending Gradient and Start Anywhere Mini-Skein bundles is easy…  well, sometimes it’s totally not!

Mini-Skein Club members, I can’t wait for you to see what’s on the way!

Ok, see if you can spot a theme.  Every one of today’s pattern picks is about…  me keeping warm — and quick!

double O seven by Jenny F

When I’m feeling cold, nothing makes me feel warm again faster than a nice squishy cowl wrapped all around me like a big hug.  And this one looks so incredibly squishy, I want to cast it on right now.  It’s designed in DK, which means you have a lot of options: Astrid would look fabulously bold in Mars and How Dare You, Lyra would be sublime in Feather and Sliver or Plume and Frigia, and if you’ve got a stash of our adorable mini-skeins, holding them double creates a DK-weight yarn and allows you to combine colours in ways that will make for an absolutely stunning cowl!

Zostera marina Mitt by Hunter Hammersen

Mitts can be so simple and functional but… do they have to be?  Especially when something so straightforward as a beautiful stitch pattern can elevate them to a thing of real beauty.  These mitts need a sublime semi-solid to show off the intricacy of the stitchwork, such as Vega in Breathless, Sage, Sliver, or Dark Skies.

Snowball Fight by handmade by SMINÉ

SPLAT!  How could I not fall in love with this awesome design?!?  I think it’d put a grin on my face every time I put it on — and I’d put it on every single day of the winter.   Designed in DK, I’d go for Astrid in ice-blue Frigia for the snowball and Drizzle for the main colour, or Lyra in Sliver for the snowball and Gobsmack or Oxblood or Dark Skies.

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

Ok, we’ve got a super-busy day ahead of us — lots of parcels to send out and some fun dyeing to do — so I’d better get to it!  If the weather is as cool for you as it (suddenly) is for us, I hope you’ve got plenty of handknits to keep you warm (I’m going to cast on that cowl!), and I’ll see you next time.  Until then, all my best.


SpaceCadet Newsletter: Four OTHER Great Patterns for Fades!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Four OTHER Great Patterns for Fades!

Some days, I have to do boring things like file receipts and calculate taxes (blech!) but other days, we get to spread out a big sheet and one of the best parts of our jobs: sorting through yarn and creating new colour combos!  Last week, the weather was warm and breezy, the SpaceCadet crew all met at my house, and we did exactly that –laying skeins out like parquet flooring across my front porch and then setting up the camera to photograph them all.   It was so much fun, and the colours are so irresistible, that Jade ended up going face-first right into the yarn!   Poor girl, she never stood a chance really — the call was just too strong.

But any day you get to smoosh yarn is a good day, right?  Working on a project, digging through your stash, visiting a new yarn shop or…  just taking five minutes to read through some fun fiber news…  it’s sure to get your day off to a good start.  Today, I’ve got some super cool patterns to share with you, a bunch of fun fiber news, and the winner of our giveaway.  So, grab a cup of tea, sit down here with me, and let’s do this!…

Right now

  • This Friday, Oct 20:  One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Shop Update — So exciting!  The whole SpaceCadet crew sat down put together a bunch of FABULOUS fades in full Sweater Sets from our One-of-a-Kind yarns — they are stunningly beautiful, each one completely unique, and they are going up in the shop on Friday in two releases at 8am and at noon (eastern).   There’s only one of each and it’s first come, first serve, so click here to scroll through the Sweater Set pictures, find the number of the ones you love best, and then come back on Friday to grab it!


  • Saturday Nov 11: Indie Knit & Spin in Regent Square, Pittsburgh.  One of our favourite shows!  Click here for details.
  • Friday Nov 17: Gradient Explorers spaces may open — The Gradient Explorers is currently full and there are no spaces available, so I can’t open any in October but, if we have room next month, I’ll be opening the Gradient Explorers a week early in November (so it’s not all tangled up with Thanksgiving).  Mark your calendar and keep an eye here for updates.



It’s the nature of hand-dyed yarns to have variations from skein to skein — there’s almost no way to escape it (and, really, it’s part of the charm and the beauty emerges when you embrace it). If you want to blend the transition between two hand-dyed skeins, the general advice is to alternate every two rows as you switch from one yarn to the next, whether they’re both the same semi-solid colourway or two different colourways in a variegated fade.  But I found absolutely fascinating this article with an ingenious way to create a much more subtle blend that doesn’t require as much backing-and-forthing between skeins.  I have a One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Set from Friday’s shop update that I kept for myself (!) and I am totally going to try this technique with it!

Have you been hearing about hygge everywhere lately and wondering what on earth it is?  This article explains it beautifully (including how to pronounce it!) — so beautifully, in fact, that I find myself pining for snow and long nights…

You’ve seen t-shirts and project bags that say, “It’s not a hobby… it’s a post-apocalyptic life skill”, right?  I thought this article was interesting, all about how many companies are creating instructional videos on the most basic of skills for a generation who doesn’t have them.  Personally, I found some of them a little surprising (how to use a tape measure?!?) but then, I turn to online videos every time I find a knitting instruction I don’t understand.  Sign of the times…

This is a super-handy guide to yarn weights, with photos and translations to UK and Aus/NZ weights.

Ok, wait, I have to be honest here…  when I first set up this giveaway, I was not expecting to be so excited to choose a winner (maybe because I wanted to keep all the yarn for myself? Shhhh…).  But as more and more people joined in, and I read all the comments about the colour combos on Instagram and Facebook, it became so much fun.  And so, as I ran the Random Number Generator to choose a winner, I was just super excited.  This giveaway has been a blast — thank you to everyone who participated!

And now, without further delay our winner is…

Lisa Loyo

Congratulations Lisa!  I can’t wait to see which One-of-a-Kind Sweater Set you choose!

One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Shop Update

We have so many awesome One-of-a-Kind Fades in the Shop Update this Friday that they are going live in two releases:

  • Fingering yarns at 8am (eastern)
  • Sport, DK, and Worsted yarns at 12noon (eastern)

(Plus I’m hoping maybe that gives everyone in different timezones a better chance to get the colour combos they want)

There’s only one of each combo and it’s first come, first serve, so click here to scroll through the Sweater Set pictures, find the number of the ones you love best, and then come back on Friday to grab it!

To celebrate this Friday’s One-of-a-Kind Fade Shop Update, I’ve picked patterns that are designed to make the most of gorgeous hand-dyed yarns that flow from one colourway to the next.  Everyone knows the most famous fade patterns dominating Ravelry at the moment, but check out these fabulous options…

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

Gelato by Chantal Belisle

Gradient fades are designed to be spectacular and what could be more spectacular than a coat-length cardigan that fades from top to bottom?!?  Knit from the top down with raglan sleeves, A-line shaping and contrast cuffs, it will get you noticed where-ever you go!  (Designed for fingering, try it in Celeste, Ester, Oriana, or Lucina)

Salt by Chantal Belisle

This is a design to give a dramatic look without a whole lot of drama!  Designed specifically for a gradient fade, its simple rectangular shape contrast to the bias-knit sleeves and allows the colour to take center stage.  Worn in a dramatic sweep over the shoulder or just hanging loose, this is a beautiful way to work a fade. (Designed for fingering, try it in Celeste, Ester, Oriana, or Lucina)

Ground Pepper by Suvi Simola

I love this as a go-to sweater — and I know I’d go to it again and again and again.  Simple stockinette and casual details work together to show off the yarn’s fade to its best advantage, but little details like its faux seams elevate the final project up a notch. (Designed in sport weight yarn, try it Lyra or Astrid)

Well washed by Natalie Volyanyuk

A little texture is what sets this cardigan apart and make the transition between gradient skeins that much more interesting.  Perfect to slip on as the nights get cooler, it’ll be as much fun to make as it is to wear! (Designed for fingering, try it in Celeste, Ester, Oriana, or Lucina)

On a Personal Note…

I received a lot of supportive emails and messages last week and I just want to say how much I appreciate it.  It meant a lot to know how many other people were thinking about me and my family — I’m really grateful.  And the surgery seems to have been a success, and all is well.

Ok, it’s going to be a lovely day today (they’re saying 70F… in Pittsburgh… in October…?!?) so I’m going to get down to the studio and work with the windows open(!).  I hope you’ve got a lovely day planned too and, until next time, all my best.

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Help Me Pick the Best Fade!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Help Me Pick the Best Fade!

I think most of us started out knitting and crocheting because we wanted to make things.  But pretty quickly, we all discover that there is much more to our crafts than that.  The movement of our hands, the yarn through our fingers, the creation of stitch on stitch on stitch…  together it all forms a kind of meditation that becomes part of our days.  When we are frazzled, it calms us.  When we are stressed, it grounds us.  And when we are afraid, its familiar rhythm tells us everything is going to be ok.

This week I need a little more of that meditation than usual, and a little more of that supportive community we create while we craft.  So please, pour yourself a hot drink, pick up your needles or hook, and sit with me a while.  I’ve got lots to share, and I’ve so glad to have the chance to share it with you.  Ok, so are you ready?  Here we go…

Right now

  • TODAY at noonShop Update:  The very best handmade yarns really amp up the luxury, and our Aurora is exactly that. It contains *twice* the cashmere of most MCNs and you can tell the difference as soon as you pick it up!  We’ve dyed lots of skeins in our most gorgeous colourways that will go in the shop today at noon (eastern).  Set a timer on your phone and then click here to get this most wonderful yarn for holiday gifts or… for yourself!
  • Now through Oct 15It’s the LAST WEEK to enter One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Giveaway!  Each day, I’ve been sharing on Instagram & Facebook our One-of-a-Kind Fade sets that are going in our October 20th update. And the reason I’m sharing them is that if you are are the winner of our giveaway, you get the Sweater Set of YOUR CHOICE our of all the sets we’ll be putting in the shop! How awesome is that?!?  Click here to enter.


  • Friday Oct 20 — One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Shop Update — watch my Instagram & Facebook feeds for sneak peeks of each set
  • Saturday Nov 11 — Indie Knit & Spin in Regent Square, Pittsburgh.  One of our favourite shows!  Click here for details.



The SpaceCadet crew all fell in love with this amazing knitted lace garden fence It was made with fishing net twine and curtain rods …and I think there are now at least two more knitted lace fences being planned here in Pittsburgh! Ha!

This is exciting: Kristen Jancuk at MediaPeruana Designs new e-course, Become a Swatch Master, starts in November and, because it’s the first edition of this course, she’s offering a very special price.  If you’re not the skilled swatcher you know you want to be (because FOs that actually fit are such a good thing, right?), click here and get on it!

Knitwear always features heavily in dystopian films because knitting are awesome survival skills.  This article is a few years old but it still made me feel like I could totally kick butt come the armageddon: Great Moments in Dystopian Knitwear.  Just the title is entertainment enough!

Say the words “handmade sweater” and someone somewhere is going to assume that’s code for “bad taste”.  Now, there are enough horrible acrylic Christmas sweaters in the world to justify that interpretation but, for all the beautiful handmade sweaters that redress the balance, good taste is a concept that can be kind of hard to pin down. So I was intrigued by this article that asks, can good taste be taught?  Interesting reading!

Vote for your favourite Gradient Explorers Fade!

The September Gradient Explorers parcels went out a couple of weeks ago — so exciting to send our members the second step in the colour journey we are on! — and while each month’s colourways are designed to flow into each other and create a beautiful Never Ending Gradient but we also design them to blend with our standard colourways. So I went stash-diving in our stock and came up with a bunch of colour combos that made me swoon… and I’d love to know which one made you swoon too!

Below are the four “serving suggestions” I put together — all of them include our two Gradient Explorers colourways plus three from our standard colours, layed out in a gradient fade.  Take a look at each and then please click here and cast your vote for which one you like most.  I can’t wait to see what you say!

Septembers Mini-Skein Bundles

I just have to share the latest Mini-Skein Club bundles we sent out because I love both of them so much.  The Ombre & Gradient Mix (top) is all in shades of moody purples overcast with deep grey-black, like dark, angry storm clouds.  The Multicolour Mix (bottom) manages to be both muted and bright at the same time — I love that gorgeous rust and that pop of bright teal.  Honestly, I don’t know which bundle I like more!

a girl’s best friend by Isabell Kraemer

Texture changes, colour changes, bobbles, and three cheeky pom-poms…   Oh, this lovely shawl just jumped out at me because it’s fun!  Knit in fingering yarn, this pattern is a perfect match for those gorgeous Multicolour Minis in your stash.  The pattern calls for 70g, 60g, and 95g of the three colours it uses — I’d suggest choosing three colour families (for instance, neutrals, blue-purples, and rusts) and then choosing 4, 3, and 5 of our 20g mini-skeins respectively in colours that blend together within each family.

Seitenstreifen Socks by Sybil R

Socks are aways a great choice for holiday knitting and when the pattern is both interesting to the maker and fun for the wearer, that’s the best kind of gift!  I love these intarsia socks that give you the chance pair colours in a really cool way.  The pattern calls for 60g of the main colour and 20g for the contrasting colour, so that’s easy to translate into our Mini-Skeins:  three of one colour family and one of another.  Oh, and the bonus?  The pattern is free!

vesica piscis pullover by Jenny F

I’m seeing circular-yoke sweaters everywhere right now but the almost pop-art graphics of this beautiful design jumped right out at me.  I love the way it brings the tradition of stranded colourwork right into the 21st century and the mirrored details on the cuffs and hem finish it off perfectly.  Worked in two colours as it is here, or with gradient mini-skeins in the colourwork for an eye-catching fade, it will be just stunning!

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

On a Personal Note…

I don’t often mention my family but I got some sudden and frightening news yesterday: someone I love dearly needs a very serious operation very quickly.  It is happening tomorrow and I’d be grateful for your prayers, thoughts, meditations…  whatever it is that you do, if you could do it tomorrow, I’d really appreciate it.

And in the meantime, I have a lot of (distracting!) things to get done, so I guess I’d better get to them!   I’m starting today by donning my oh-so-attractive particle mask to mix up dye solutions, and then we’ve got a busy day dyeing a bunch of custom orders — can’t wait to see how they turn out. Oh, and don’t forget to set your reminder for today at noon and then click here for our Aurora shop update.

Ok, time to get today started.  I hope your day is bright and colourful and, until next time, all the best!