SpaceCadet is Closing its Yarn Business

When I first started SpaceCadet, it wasn’t because I intended to start a business. My kids were five and three, I was staying home with them while they were little, and desperately needed ways creative outlets. Knitting with some friends one afternoon, one of them suggested I try dyeing yarn so I gathered up some kool-aid packets and began experimenting on my back porch – and I found I thoroughly enjoyed it. Layering the colours and seeing them blend was exciting, getting results immediately was a rush, and then knitting with yarn I’d dyed myself felt somehow deeply meaningful.

But money was tight and my husband had been wanting to join a gym that cost $50 a month that we couldn’t afford. So when my friends at knit night asked if they could buy some of the yarns I’d been dyeing, I was first completely floored — and then realised with amazement that all I had to do was sell a few skeins and I’d probably have that $50 we needed. So that was my goal for SpaceCadet, in its entirety: to sell four skeins of yarn per month. And though I started the business with hope and enthusiasm, I can tell you – very honestly — that I wasn’t sure if I could manage to sell even that much.

That was 14 years ago, and in the years since, SpaceCadet has grown beyond my wildest dreams. Within a few years, I’d been able to hire employees, move our operations into a dedicated studio, and we had gained so many regular customers and loyal club members who turned our colourways into their own magnificent works of art.

And it’s those customers – you – who have allowed this little enterprise to grow into what it is today.

Along the way, our little team has accomplished so many things I’m deeply proud of. Yes, we’ve sold thousands of skeins of yarn, been carried by LYSs across the country, and – this still blows my mind – created nearly seventy-five thousand Mini-Skeins, including ten years of a continuous gradient flow (all dyed and skeined by hand!).

But even more, I am proud about the world we created at SpaceCadet. As a team of (mostly) mothers, I tried very hard to employ the SpaceCadet Crew in a way that honoured realities of our real-life situations. I gave all my employees keys to the studio, so they could come and go as they pleased, working whatever hours fit their schedules. We put together a “kids’ space” in the studio, where my team could bring their young children to work with them (this gave my lawyer palpitations, but I felt it was important). And when one of us needed time away – because of illness or bereavement or family matters – the whole team came together, time and again, to support and cover for each other.

So it was always about more than the yarn. It was about connection: our connection together as the SpaceCadet Crew, our connection with you — our wonderful customer and club members – and, absolutely not least, our connection as dyers with the beautiful finished objects that you created with our yarns.

But times have changed from when I started SpaceCadet: all of our children are nearly grown, our families (and extended families) are going through changes, and the time feels right for the business to move on too.

So, after 14 years, SpaceCadet Yarn is ceasing operations.

And as I share this news with you, I have to admit to a little sadness. SpaceCadet has been such a huge part of my life – of all of our lives – that it can’t help but be a bittersweet moment. But much more than that, I feel a real sense of pride in what we achieved and, most of all, deep gratitude to you — our wonderful, creative, loyal customers — for being part of this journey. Thank you so much for making this this amazing adventure possible. We genuinely appreciate and love you all.

What happens now?

First, a big sale! As of right this moment, all yarn in the shop is 20% off! The SpaceCadet shop will remain open until the first week of April* and everything is on sale for 20% with the code ThankYou20. This is your opportunity to order any colourways you’ve been meaning to buy or get enough skeins to complete any projects you’ve got in the works. No further custom orders will be taken and all sales are, of course, final.

If you have an order with us that hasn’t yet arrived, don’t worry, it’s in process and we’ll get it out to you asap.

The Mini-Skein Club and Gradient Explorers: If you are in the Mini-Skein Club or Gradient Explorers, your March parcel will be your last, and I will be stopping your subscription payments (and you should see a notification to effect in your inbox over the next couple of days). We’ve got the March colourways already in process and we’ve decided to end with a bang, so I can’t wait for you to see the colourways! If you’ve made a payment for the April parcel, I will be refunding that over the next few days.

SpaceMonsters and the Yarn Alliance: If you are a member of the SpaceMonsters Club or the Yarn Alliance, we are honoured to have you in the club and are excited to complete your subscription. We have already dyed your yarn for the remainder of the current season and, just like the other clubs, we’ve decided to go all out with our best colourways ever. We will send those out to you in the coming months to complete your subscription. And we’ve made arrangements so you will be able to order more skeins for a larger project, just as normal, even after the shop has officially closed.

Thank you again for your support these past 14 years. I cannot tell you what a joy it has been to create colourways for you, our wonderful customers and club members, and to share in your own creative process.

PS — *I say the shop will close the first week of April, but I’ve never closed a business before(!), so the date may be a little flexible. Stay tuned for more details.

PPS — There may be more discounts and other fun extras as the weeks go on. Keep opening the emails!

PPPS — Thank you again. Sincerely. 😘 It’s been a blast.

Download our Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar of Fabulous and Free Knitting Patterns

Download our Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar of Fabulous and Free Knitting Patterns

(Psst — Want to jump straight to where you download the SpaceCadet’s Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar of Fabulous and Free Knitting Patterns? Sure thing, just click here!)

It snowed here in Pittsburgh the other day — big fat flakes that swirled around in the air as if they had all the time in the world and weren’t sure if they wanted to land — and in that moment, it felt like we had suddenly plunged into Officially Winter.

And I’m so glad. It’s time for the holidays, for heavier yarns, and for cosy nights with my knitting and steaming cup of tea. You too?

A Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar of Fabulous and Free Knitting Patterns(Hey, no spoilers — the QR codes don’t work until you download it!)

Our Holiday Gift to You: A Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar of Fabulous and Free Knitting Patterns

And because it’s winter and you’ll be flipping your calendar over to December this morning (what?!?), I’ve made you a little something to celebrate the season. It’s a digital advent calendar counting down from today until Christmas, giving you a link each day to a beautiful, free knitting pattern to inspire your end of the year (or beginning of next year) projects.

Some of the patterns are simple, some are complicated, some you might know, and some you might not, but together they make for a delightfully knitworthy way to mark the next twenty-five days. And so this calendar is our gift to you, from the all of us on the SpaceCadet Crew.

(If you don’t see a form here to enter your email address so we can send the advent calendar download, then it’s probably being stopped by a popup blocker. Please disable your popup blocker or open this page in a private window, and it should appear.)

Posted under: Knitting Advent Calendar, Holiday Gifts,Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar of Fabulous and Free Knitting Patterns

BIG News in Knitting & Crochet, and Three Patterns I Love This Week

BIG News in Knitting & Crochet, and Three Patterns I Love This Week

SpaceCadet Knitting News and Crochet News, Orbiting the Fiber Universe: news from the world of knitting and crochet
news from the world of knitting & crochet…


This feels seismic: in the past month, three separate, major knitting publications each announced they are closing down for good. Interweave Knits and Pom Pom magazine have made official announcements while Ravelers report Vogue Knitting has been letting subscribers know in email correspondence. Either way, it’s shocking to see these pillars of the industry shuttering.

This article in the Atlantic claiming that commercially-made sweaters are “garbage” garnered a lot of attention on social media. Over on Twitter, menswear commentator Derek Guy put together this very interesting thread about what constitutes good quality in a sweater.

I loved (loved loved) reading this article about Lamb Mowers, a landscaping company that transports sheep instead of lawn mowers to clients’ houses to cut grass, get rid of weeds, and — ahem — fertilize their lawns. Please please will someone start doing this in Pittsburgh?

There are so many options when it comes to binding off so I was glad to come across this quick explanation of a great bind-off choice when knitting cables.

Knitting and Crochet Patterns I love this week

I am happiest looking through knitting and crochet patterns for something new and exciting. Here are the knitting and crochet patterns I love this week. Enjoy

Patterns I love this week: Secret Forest by Lisa K. Ross

Secret Forest by Lisa K. Ross

Lisa Ross has revealed the images of her completed Secret Forest design, now that the MKAL has finished, and it is stunning! And to celebrate, she’s offering 40% OFF all of her independent designs with code FORESTFINISH through November 10.
And if you’d like to knit a Secret Forest of your own, we have just a few of our OOAK sets left. Click below to get one.

Patterns I love this week: FadeOut Cardigan by Susanne Sommer

FadeOut Cardigan by Susanne Sommer

As the weather (here in places like Pittsburgh, at least) starts to cool, it’s time to start thinking about cardigans, and I love this design as an option!
Everything about it jumps out me, from the soft colour changes, to the sections of tiny striping, to the bold contrast colour, and even the delightful peek at the pocket-lining. Knitting this would be so much fun!


Patterns I love this week: Franny Granny Poncho by Hannah Cross

Franny Granny Poncho by Hannah Cross

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but granny squares are really having a moment — in fashion, in housewares, they’re everywhere. So this cute design jumped right out at me. And then I spotted it’s less of a poncho and more of a sweater with pointy edges… and I just love it!
Worked in worsted, if you’re a Vega member of our Gradient Explorers, I think this would look amazing in the gradient flow!

Images © the respective designers, used with permission

Filed under: Orbiting the Fiber Universe: news from the world of knitting and crochet, Knitting Pattern Round-up

Yarn Sets for Lyrical Seas by Corrine Walcher

Yarn Sets for Lyrical Seas by Corrine Walcher

(Want to jump straight to the SpaceCadet Yarn Sets for Lyrical Seas by Corrine Walcher? Click here)

Sometimes technology works against you…

A few months ago, I decided to move from our old email provider to a new one that is better suited to SpaceCadet’s needs. That’s a pretty big transition, so I’d carefully researched the options, laid the groundwork, and run test emails. And I scheduled the move during the slower season before things start to pick up in the autumn. So far, so good.

When we finally made the transition, I thought it went pretty well. We carried on dyeing orders and sending out clubs and answering emails as they came in. Not that many came in but I wasn’t worried because it was our slower time of year…

A woman at a computer throwing her head back in exasperation

This is not me, but it pretty perfectly depicts how I felt when I realised the tech had failed us.

Friend, I was wrong. Without boring you with the technicalities, I’d clicked a wrong button and filtered half of our incoming emails into a side folder I didn’t know existed. It’s only in the last few weeks that we found them.

What’s more, for two months our club emails — you know, the ones where we send you the shipping information and details of the colourways — were being scheduled but never actually going out.


So, if you’ve written to us and not heard back, please accept my apologies. We weren’t ignoring you, I promise, and we are working our way through the emails that got missed. And if you’re a club member who wondered where the emails were full of lovely pictures of colourful yarn, I’ll be sending something to your inbox soon.

Most of all, my sincere thanks for your patience and understanding.

Sometimes technology works with you…

And just as I was about to curse all technology forever more, it surprised me in the best way.

Designer Corrine Walcher has used SpaceCadet yarn in a gorgeous new design, Lyrical Seas, which is a sport/dk reworking of her fingering weight sweater Celestial Seas. And when she sent us the sample so we could take photos, my assistant Jade and I agreed we wanted to shoot it on against a winter beach scene.

A model sitting on the sand and wearing Lyrical Seas by Corrine Walcher knit in a sweater set from SpaceCadet yarn in SpaceCadet Lyra DK/sport yarn, in Sandbank at the bottom (pink-grey) and Hello Sailor (navy blue) at the top.

Except of course, we live in Pittsburgh… nowhere near the beach.

But I had seen that the photo editing software I use now incorporates AI, and we decided to try something and see if it would work.

So on a warm fall day, we headed down to a local park and walked under huge sycamore trees as they dropped golden-russet leaves all over the path. It felt so Western-Pennsylvania-In-Autumn that I half expected a hayride to suddenly come past us or someone to offer us cups of warm apple cider!

There, in the middle of the park, was a sand-play area. And as Jade sat herself down and adjusted the sweater, I hung an old white curtain as a backdrop behind her.

The photoshoot was quick and fun — even when the wind blow the curtain up and revealed all the autumn leaves on the ground behind it. And then when I got home, I uploaded the images and began to play with the AI…

Could I get AI to replace the white backdrop with a convincing winter beach scene instead?

Four before and after images of a model sitting on sand wearing the Lyrical Seas sweater by Corrine Walcher, knit in a SpaceCadet Lyrical Seas sweater set. In the before images, the sand behind her ends against a backdrop of a white curtain suspended over the sand. In the images on the right, AI has replaced the curtain with a beach scene of the ocean coming up onto the sand, and it is very very convincing.

Wowwwww! I guess the answer is yes… yes indeed.

It’s exactly what we wanted. And it’s really hard to believe this whole beachy photo shoot took place in a leaf-strewn park in Pittsburgh PA!

Technology is officially back in my good books…

…for now. 😉

SpaceCadet Yarn Sets for Lyrical Seas by Corrine Walcher

Lyrical Seas is made for chilly days watching waves roll in and cosy nights next to a bonfire on the beach.

The Lyrical Seas Yarn Sets from SpaceCadet Yarn A model sits on the beach wearing the Lyrical Seas sweater by Corrine Walcher. The sweater is a yoked design with a wave motif in Sandbank pink-grey and Hello Sailor navy blue.

With a design this beautiful, you know we had to do yarn sets for it!

Lyrical Seas by Corrine Walcher is a beautiful colourwork pullover featuring a delightful wave motif designed to bring out the best in SpaceCadet’s colour combos. Worked top down, the simple design is a fabulous introduction to both colourwork and yoked shaping.

And to support the pattern’s release, we’ve created six gorgeous colour pairings: choose from cool sea blues, soft sand shades, fiery sunset colours, or soft naturals. No matter what you go for, your Lyrical Seas is sure to be stunning!

Guess How Many Colourways We Create in a Year?

Guess How Many Colourways We Create in a Year?

Have you ever found yourself so engrossed in something you really enjoy that you’ve completely lost track of everything else?

Maybe you’ve been reading a really great book and suddenly looked up to realise it’s an hour past your bedtime. Or you’ve been out with friends at a restaurant, talking and laughing and so completely enjoying yourselves that you haven’t noticed that all the other diners have finished and left, and you’re the last ones keeping the place open.

Or maybe you’ve gotten so into a project that you’ve stayed up for hours and hours, watching nonsense on Netflix, just so you can see how the yarn colours change if you knit just one more row…

a woman knitting a shawl in SpaceCadet Mini-Skein Club gradient mini-skeins

Yeah, I know exactly how that feels but with a little twist that, honestly, I’ve found quite shocking. Because for us here at the SpaceCadet studio, it’s not the late hour that’s taken us by surprise, or that everyone has gone home, or anything like that… No, for us, the shocking thing is just a number: 168.

I’ve often told you how much we enjoy playing with colour, how we mix all every one of our colourways by hand from only five primary hues of dye (cyan, magenta, yellow, and red, plus black), and how we get lost in the fun of experimenting and seeing how the colours layer on top of each other. And just how much we enjoy coming up with new colourways, especially for our club members.

But I don’t think I’d quite realised how completely engrossed in it we get, until one day recently I added up how many new club colourways we create each year. And that number is… 168!

a pair of gloved hands half submerged into a steel dyepot,full of blue dye, dyeing mini-skeins for the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club

And I know that sounds like an exaggeration but it’s not. Let me break it down.

Each month we dye:

Which makes 14 brand-spanking-new fresh colourways each month, and means we create… wait for it… 168 new club colourways per year.

a pair of hands holding up two bundles of SpaceCadet Mini-Skein Club mini-skeins, one in melon colours and one in multicolours

I’ll be honest, the moment I added it all up and saw that final number, I was really taken aback. I think I literally took a step back from the calculator and just stood there staring at it for a minute.

(And get this: that’s only the clubs! That doesn’t include our Limited Editions, seasonal colourways, or One-of-a-Kinds and Small Batches. I don’t even know what the final number would be if we added those in too.)

a bundle of SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins in the Multicolour Mix from the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club

But I think that tells a story about how much joy there is in creating, in finding your thing — the creative thing that really speaks to you — and diving into it with total abandon. You know that feeling, don’t you? It’s the one that keeps you up late, so intrigued by the colours of the stitches as they slip through your fingers that everything else fades away and you just have to put on one more row.

Until you’re suddenly 5 inches further along than you expected to be. Or… y’know, 168 colourways further along!

Either way, I think it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Don’t you?

You’re ready for a colour adventure… And there’s nothing as exciting as your delivery of mini-skeins from the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club!

Richly dyed in stunning hues, we design these delightful little yarn-gems to guide you on a colour journey that will inspire you to create uniquely eye-catching projects.  Each month, your parcel arrives bursting with glorious colour ready to be untwisted and explored!

The Multicolour Mix gives a range of hues in complex colourways to add interest to any project.  And the Ombre&Gradient Mix is dyed an amazing Never Ending Gradient in colours that flow from one month to the next… and onwards to the next!

The result is a guided journey through colour that is wildly exciting and so much fun to cast on!

Click to Learn More!

Knitting and Crochet Patterns I love this week

Knitting and Crochet Patterns I love this week

Knitting and Crochet Patterns I love this week

I am happiest looking through knitting and crochet patterns for something new and exciting. Here are the knitting and crochet patterns I love this week. Enjoy!

Slice of Sunshine by Lisa K. Ross

So bright, so happy, and designed for Mini-Skeins! If you’re a member of the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club and love the juicy, zingy colours we’ve been dyeing this summer, I can’t think of a better way to show them off than in this utterly delightful design.

A stranded colorwork cowl, it uses exactly two bundles of Minis plus a full-sized skein for the contrast colour. Even better, it’s 25% off through the end of today with the code SUNNY.

(And hey, if you’re not a member of the Mini-Skein Club, what are you waiting for? Click here to learn all about it!)

Summer Diamonds Dress by ChiWei Ranck

I honestly can’t think of a dress design that says summer more than this one! An beautifully simple crochet design, the details are all in the fabric itself — zoom in on the photo to see the lovely diamond motif.

And although it’s designed in DK, I think I’d be awfully tempted to check my gauge and then work it in our Gradient Explorers fingering colourways held double for a soft, summery marled effect.

Proud Tee by Chelsea Lee-Keenan

A simple summer tee like this is always bound to be a wardrobe staple. And whether you knit it in rainbow solids or work it in a painterly gradient flow, the result will be intriguing to knit and a delight to wear.

Knit in the round from the bottom up, with German short rows to shape the shoulder, this design is perfect for SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins or fingering weight Gradient Explorers.

Images © the respective designers, used with permission