SpaceCadet News: The Joy of… Stocktake?!?

SpaceCadet News: The Joy of… Stocktake?!?

I’ve always felt there’s a positive side to nearly everything in life.  Not always, of course, but most things can have a positive aspect, if you look hard enough. I have to admit, however, that I was always stumped by stocktake — that odd, annual ritual that every retail business has to conduct.  I simply couldn’t see the positive side of having to stop work in order to perform the exceedingly tedious job of counting and recording every single item in the building.  I’m remembering especially the year that I worked for a company whose stock consisted mainly of thousands of tiny screws…

shudder

But I have to tell you that stocktake feels a little different when what you’re counting is hundreds of skeins of beautiful yarn!  All in glorious colours that you’ve created yourselves.  This week started with the SpaceCadet crew stopping all our other work to slowly through every single skein the building, carefully counting and recording each one before packing it gently back in its bag.  And even though the work was technically just as tedious as other stocktake, it didn’t feel like it at all.  It was joyful, it was fun…  we’ve even stopped calling it stocktake and started calling it “Pet All the Skeins Day”!

See? There really is a positive side to nearly everything…!

Ok, I’ve got a lot of great fiber news to share this morning, so go grab yourself a cuppa and let’s get started…


Newsletter

How do you join a new yarn in your knitting?  There are a bunch of different methods and, to be honest, I’ve never really known which one is best.  But this incredibly comprehensive analysis of every style I’ve ever heard of (plus a few more!), complete with test swatches and lists of pros & cons, certainly makes it much easier to decide.  There are a few that I think I’m going try.  What about you?

The other day I came across this article about Ikea’s move to using responsibly sourced wool for their rugs.  As a dyer, the parts I found most fascinating were watching the video and seeing how their yarn is dyed (at minute 3:53) and the acres and acres of skeins drying in the sun (minute 4:02).  It makes our little hand-dyeing studio look like a doll’s house in comparison!  Genuine question: can anyone tell me what breed of sheep that is in the video being shorn?  I don’t know, but I’d like to.

I am always delighted when the textiles in animated movies are portrayed in a technically correct way (and a little twitchy whenever they’re not) but, after reading this article about the effort it took to create the costumes for Frozen 2, I realise it’s almost (…almost) as hard as making them by hand in real life.  I have a renewed appreciation for what I’m seeing on the screen!

It’s so cold outside at the moment that only the cosiest handknits will do for me.  I love that Vicki Howell did this little round up of the warmest stitches in both knitting and crochet.  Light a fire, pour a cup of tea, and cast these on!

Speaking pouring a cuppa, I came across this article and I cannot tell you how perfect it felt.  It is completely spot on both in terms of how often the British make tea (almost every time they turn around — I once counted up how many cups I typically drink in a day and it was 8-10!) and also how very socially important it is to make tea for others.  It is imperative to make tea for everyone around you whenever you get up to make tea for yourself, and you’d almost never ever allow anyone to step foot in your house for more than a few minutes without offering them a cuppa (including contractors, workmen… perhaps even burglars?).  The article nailed how this small act forms so much of the social cohesion of an entire nation.

Oh, did you hear that?  It’s the clock running out on about half of the New Year’s resolutions that were so earnestly declared just a week ago.  And usually, I’m amongst that number but, this year, I’m trying something different.  A friend gave me a Commit30 planner and the idea is that you make a resolution commitment for each month, and stick to it for just 30 days, before moving on to the next one.  I mean, a whole year feels pretty overwhelming but… a month? I can do that!  What are your favourite planning tools?  I’d love to hear so please click here and let me know!


The SpaceMonsters Club Opens on Tuesday

I love designing colourways for the SpaceMonster Club, because the big, smooshy, worsted and bulky yarns we dye for it take colour in completely different ways than thinner yarns.  The dye hits them and soaks in sloooowly and has a lot more time for the colours to mix and blend and produce all kinds of amazing effects.  Want to see what I mean?  Here’s December’s colourway, “Nature’s Planetarium”…

Just look at all that depth of shade, all those amazing layers of colour popping out from underneath other layers!  And add to that the fact that these lovely thick yarns are going to knit and crochet up super-quick, and you can see why I love them so much.

The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club focuses on exactly those kinds of yarns: big, smooshy wosted and bulky weights in gorgeous colours.  Plus we create an optional coordinating colourway and there’s a fabulous gift every season (those are so much fun to come up with!).  The doors will open on Tuesday but, if you’d like first dibs, click here and get on the club mailing list to get an early-bird link!

 

Are You Joining our Epic 2020 Mini-Skein Project?

Did you see my assistant Jade’s stunning Northeasterly wrap she made from the Mini-Skein Club’s 2019 colours? She cast on in January and worked patiently through each month as they come along. And even though we both knew (of course) that each month flowed into the next, there was something absolutely magical about seeing the whole year’s gradient flow come together on her needles, right before our eyes…

Isn’t it amazing?!?

And now, she’s prepping to cast on for her 2020 Mini-Skein project.  Would you like to join her? Whether you join the Club and work with each new bundle as they arrive in the new year, or you work from stash, I know both she and I would love to see you cast on an epic project alongside her!  It’s super casual and simple to get started: all you have to do is say you’re in.  Click here for details.

(It’s too late to sign up for January’s bundle but you are more than welcome to hop in with February’s colours instead.  And I honestly feel like having a little variety in the cast-on colours will just make seeing everyone’s projects all the more interesting!)

documenting Jade’s Northeasterly, from January to November 2019


Stepaside by Jennifer Beale

It was not the pockets on this sweater that I spotted first.  It was those lovely colourwork panels — I mean, they’re so eye-catching, aren’t they? And the way they actually turn a corner to run from the hem up to the shoulder and then down to the sleeve.  But then, as I looked closer, I realised I was also looking at pockets.  Pockets!  So, that’s it… I’m sold!  Even if there is steeking, and that’s a bit scary — it is, I get it — but I say that pocket-love beats steeking-fear every time.  The best news is that there’s a six-month KAL starting right now and running through July, so you’ll have lots of friends to hold your hand when it’s time pull out the scissors!

Pühalepa Hat by Raina K

When I first spotted this hat, it almost looked like argyle but, on closer inspection, I realised it’s actually a beautiful nature motif: Pühalepa flies from the Island of Hiiumaa in Estonia.  I love the little pop of colour along the cast on edge and, underneath that pom-pom, the crown is absolutely stunning (click through and scroll down the pattern photos to see it).  Even better, there’s a beautiful matching yoked sweater. I’d love to see this knit in Drizzle with Honey, Fat-Free Chocolate with Gentle, or Feather with Wilt.

Bifrost Top by Rebecca Velasquez

This gorgeous top is all about the colour and, when I looked at it, I immediately thought what a wonderful pattern it would be for showing off either your Gradient Explorers or Mini-Skein Club yarns!  The intriguing construction is worked sideways in two pieces, then seamed at shoulder and back folded at front edge and seamed to create sleeves.  Designed in DK, you could use SpaceCadet Lyra (sport/dk) or hold a fingering weight double (try any of our Mini-Skeins) to create a similar effect and amazing colour.

images © the respective designers, used with permission


Ok, that’s it for now.  I’ve got a meeting coming up shortly and then I have to get to the studio to check how a few colourways came out.  I hope your day is filled with fibery goodness too (and lots cosy finished objects — stay warm!).  And so, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Holiday Traditions

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Holiday Traditions

My house is filled with pine and twinkling lights and, though our tree is bare right now, on Christmas Eve we will honour our familty tradition by baking gingerbread and saltdough ornaments to decorate it as the night draws in.  I know it’s not the way most people do their  decorating, but it is such an cosy way to welcome the holiday — turning the whole house from quiet anticipation to joyful celebration, all in one bustling, boisterous, family-filled day.

And just before that, we have the solstice, a celestial event that I always take time to quietly savour because it means we are at deepest midwinter — the longest night of the year and the turning point as the Earth slowly, slowly tilts back to the light and towards summer.  On the 21st of December, I will light a few candles, pour a cup of tea, wrap up in nice warm blanket, and gaze out the ice-frosted window at the deep darkness and the winter stars — and wait to see if I can feel the moment the Earth shifts.

And maybe I’ll cast on a little something with Luminary, our special solstice colourway — yes, I grabbed a skein for myself before they sold out (which they did in just a few hours!).  We got all the Luminary orders shipped out super-quickly so, if you were one of the lucky ones who got a skein too, I hope you’ll cast something on tomorrow along with me.  I’m thinking maybe a hat or mitts, with the yarn held double to be extra quick and super warm.  What will you be casting on?

And even if you didn’t manage to get any of that special colourway, I hope you’ll get the chance to take a moment in the hustle and bustle of this busy season to slow down and to quietly savour all that is wonderful about this time of year.  A little time to sit with the people you love most, to knit or crochet, and to hold the cold and the dark night at bay as we all tilt gently back toward the light.

I want you to know how much all our customers and club members mean to me, and how grateful I am for your support throughout the year.  And from the bottom of my heart, I wish you and yours all the best of the season.


Newsletter

Have you seen the announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020?  It’s Classic Blue, chosen because it instills “calm, confidence, and connection…  re-centers our thoughts… brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit…”  I have to say, I like those sentiments as we head into a new decade.  And I’m personally pretty chuffed because, without knowing about Pantone’s decision, we’d already developed a whole range of gorgeous new blues to ring in 2020!  (Aren’t they beautiful?  Now they just need names…)  Look for them to release in January…

all these lovely new blues coming next month (doesn’t the one on the right look just like the Color of the Year?)

There’s been a lot of heated discussion on social media lately around size-inclusivity and value in pattern publishing, with strong opinions on all sides.  Many in the crafting community have been urgently calling for designers to widen their patterns’ size ranges while some designers have been making the point that it’s a more complicated request than it might first seem, especially when combined with demands for tech-editting, test knitting, in-pattern tutorials, etc.  This post from designer Kristen Jancuk raised some compelling points, and I was particularly interested in Knitty editor Amy Singer’s responseSerious question: what do you think is a fair price for a quality, tech-editted and tested sweater pattern in a wide range of sizes?

Speaking of online controversies, did you hear the saga of the Baby Yoda?  Designer Allison Hoffman had begun selling an amazing baby Yoda crochet pattern, called The Child, when it went viral on the internet and caught the attention of Disney.  After receiving a cease-and-desist notification, Allison removed the pattern entirely from Ravelry and all of her social media, causing a near-stampede amongst her fans who hadn’t had a chance to buy a copy.  But there’s much more to the story than that: issues around copyright and pattern sharing, and the possible future re-emergence of the pattern.  This article gives a great insight to whole situation.

This cracked me up: if you’ve run out of time to knit or crochet gifts for the holidays (ahem…  I’m raising my hand) and are giving gift cards instead, Vicky Howell shows you how to use scrap yarn to knit tiny sweaters for the gift cards themselves.  Which is kind of the same thing as a handmade gift, right?  …right?!?

You may need to see this this week (it’s kinda game-changing… you can thank me later).


Join Us to Create a Year-Long Mini-Skein Project

Did you see my assistant Jade’s stunning Northeasterly stole she made from the Mini-Skein Club’s 2019 colours? She cast on in January and has worked patiently through each month as they come along. And even though we both knew (of course) that each month flowed into the next, there was something absolutely magical about seeing the whole year’s gradient flow come together on her needles, right before our eyes…

documenting Jade’s Northeasterly, from January to November 2019

As the year draws to close, she’s planning which pattern to cast on for her 2020 Mini-Skein project.  Would you like to join her? Whether you join the Club and work with each new bundle as they arrive in the new year, or you work from stash, I know both she and I would love to see you cast on an epic project alongside her!

It’s super casual and simple to get started: all you have to do is say you’re in.  Click here for details.

 

The 12 Days of Yarnmas

My friend Michelle at Craftyflutterby is running a super-fun giveaway during the twelve days of Christmas (from Dec 25th to Jan 5th — did you know that’s the real “twelve days”?), to celebrate our shared love of yarn crafts.  And in that holiday tradition of sharing, she’s asked SpaceCadet to be part of it too!

There will be a fun photo prompt game and a prize box that includes a Shawl Pin and End Minder Set from Crafty Flutterby Creations and some beautiful yarn from SpaceCadet.  I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!  Click here for details.


Fox Hat | Revelue by Eva Norum Olsen

It’s not that often that a pattern makes you gasp but, for me, this one certainly did!  The sweet little fox faces are what caught my eye first, of course, but I think what absolutely makes the pattern is the adorable fox tail at the crown.  Even better, it’s part of a coordinating set: there’s a hat pattern for kids and adults, plus mittens, a pullover, and baby leggings.  When I showed it to a friend, she immediately replied, “I need yarn for that, stat!”  I sent her Lyra in Dark Skies, Drizzle, Headstrong, and a skein of natural (undyed) — and I can’t wait to see the result! Would you like some too?

Mountain Vector by Makenzie Alvarez

This time of year, I am never without a shawl around my shoulders and the cosier the better.  This lovely wrap is knit in DK for an almost-blanket-like warmth, and it’s intriguing colourplay offers myriad possibilities.  Go for two semi-solids as in the original design for a simple and graphic look, but I like the idea of contrasting a semi-solid against a variegated for some real colour punch.  SpaceCadet Lyra or Astrid are great yarn choices or, for a beautiful heathered effect, hold fingering yarn doubled (maybe some of our Mini-Skeins!) and you’ll get a stunning result.

Cherry Bobble by AbbyeKnits

Last week I shared a hat with a stunning crown and this week comes this equally gorgeous design from the same designer.  With beautiful texture, it features cables and bobbles that seem to mimic tassels and a crown that’s almost a flower.  Cast on now in SpaceCadet Lyra or Astrid and you’ll be able to start the new year in a style that’s sure to turn heads!

image © the respective designers, used with permission


The weather forecast tells me that Pittsburgh will finally claw its way above freezing today, for the first time in days!  But right now it’s still bone-chillingly cold, so I’m going to pour another cup of tea to warm myself up a little more before heading out and getting the day started.  I hope your day is filled with wintery delights and holiday joy (and plenty of tea and handknits) and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Introducing Luminary, a Limited Edition Colourway for the Solstice

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Introducing Luminary, a Limited Edition Colourway for the Solstice

I have to admit, as much as love all the holiday events that happen this time of year, I hold a very special place in my heart for the winter solstice, the point when the northern hemisphere is tilted its furtherst from the sun, marking midwinter and giving us the longest night of the year.  To brighten that long, dark night, we light candles, moving the flame from wick to wick until the whole world seems to glow again. And warmed by their light and wrapped up in blankets, there is something delightfully cosy about arriving at the depth of the season and, at the same time, something so hopeful about knowing that we now begin the long, slow journey back to the light of summer.  I have always taken a little time on the twenty-first of December to slow down and reflect on the astronomical change that day brings.

And with the solstice just around the corner, on a whim we decided to dye a special colourway to celebrate.  Something that would be perfect to cast on in that moment of quiet reflection and inspired by the light of those lovely candles.  The result is Luminary, dyed in the golden yellows of the flame, the gentle orange glow of the wick, and the creamy wax of the candlestick, on three bases: our sparkly Lucina, beautifully smooth Ester, and wonderfully squishy single-ply Capella.

Now, because it was entirely spontanious, there are very limited quantities — only enough of each base for a sweater or two — and when they are gone, they are gone.  But then, just like candles on midwinter’s eve, their beauty might just be in their brevity.  These skeins are dyed and ready to ship.  Click here today at noon (eastern) and, with a little luck, the post office will deliver them to you in time for the solstice!

But there’s a few hours between now and then, and I’ve got a nice hot cup of tea and lot of fiber news to share, so why don’t you grab a cuppa too?  Find a nice spot to curl up and let’s dive in…


Newsletter

If someone in your life isn’t quite sure what to get you for the holidays, let me suggest something from Hannah’s Ideas in Wood.  We met Hannah at TNNA and fell in love with her beautiful creations.  Personally, I’d squeal if I found one of her yarn boxes (above) under the tree — it features a built in needle sizer, a swatch ruler, and acts like a yarn bowl, all in one!  And her lovely phone stands (below) hold your device upright so you can read your pattern or a book while you work on your project, and then come apart and fold flat to go in your bag.  All while looking just gorgeous.

If you are thinking of ways to celebrate the season in style without creating extra waste, I love the idea of adopting furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in fabric.  Crafty types like you and me always have spare fabric (or lots of spare fabric?) around the house, and your gifts are sure to stand out from all the rest.  This article will guide you with video tutorials, including several no-sew methods (hooray!).

I was intrigued as soon as I saw the title of this art exhibit: Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism.  Hosted at The Sculpture Center in Cleveland OH, the exhibit “seeks to highlight examples of contemporary craft activism that have recently soared, placing them into conversation with their historical precedents.”  Open now through Jan 10.

Someday, when I have a crafting room all of my own (Santa, are you listening?…  all of my own), I’ll have these super-cool knitting and crochet knowledge posters on my wall.


Perfect Holiday Gift: Bespeckle Hat Kits
In stock and ready to ship!

Our Black Friday OOAK Bespeckle Kits sold out super-fast but, if you missed out, there’s good news: we’ve dyed more of these fun kits in our beautiful standard colours too. Including the first one below, which is allllll about our home city of Pittsburgh (here in the studio, we’ve been calling them our “yinzer kits”… hands up if you know why!)⁣⁠


They make perfect holiday gifts because they’re quick to knit up for the non-knitters on your list but so sweetly packaged in their little zippered pouches that they’re ready-to-go gifts for the knitters in your life as well. Click here to check them out!⁣⁣

Each kit contains:⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• one 100g skein of Capella in a hand-dyed semi-solid main colourway ⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• one 50g skein of Capella in a beautiful variegated contrast colourway for the speckles and pom-pom⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• a pom-pom tool to make things super easy!⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• a toggle set to make your pom-pom removeable⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• a download code for the Bespeckle pattern by Hunter Hammersen(a $7.45 value!), with her wonderfully detailed step-by-step photo tutorials on making the pom-poms and placing the speckles⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• all packaged in a sweet reusable zipped pouch


Honeydew Cloche by AbbyeKnits

I am such a sucker for a beatifully worked crown and so I fell in love with this hat the minute I saw it.  In fact, as I sit here looking at the picture, I keep trying to think of other things to mention about it — maybe the colour or the rest of the design — but I’m coming up blank because, really, it’s all about that crown!  The pattern includes a photo tutorial on the easy slip stitch that creates the lattice pattern, and I think it will definitely look best in a lighter hue to show off the stitchwork, something like Thrive, Drizzle, Gentle, Nine Stones, or Breathless.

Bronwyn Shawl by Toni Lipsey

Creating big, cushy crocheted stripes in beautifully coordinated colours is always a winner.  What I love most about this shawl (besides how darned gorgeous it looks) is that how airy the stitchwork is without looking too lacey for winter, and then that lovely wide panel that changes the balace of the colour pairing completely.  Such a beautiful design!  I’d make it in Molten Cool with Yes Dear, Vortex with Sage, or Windswept with Sliver.  It’s available in a printable pdf version here and on Ravelry, you can also find it for free here.

Latticework by handmade by SMINÉ

All this week, I’ve been craving cosy cosy cosy knits, and I can think of nothing better than a double-layer cowl with an intriguing design that creates plenty of air pockets to hold in the warmth!  And the thing that really made me fall in love with this design is that it’s also available in a crocheted version.  Designed in dk, I’d work it up in the blue-on-blue pairing of Frigia and Feather, the sublime combination of rust and neutrals in Headstrong and Nine Stones, or a more graphic look of Drizzle and Life Was Better in Black and White.

pattern images © the respective designers, used with permission

Well, my cup of tea is empty and there’s orders to be packed, so I’d better get a move on.  I hope you have a lovely day planned as well, filled with smooshy yarn and a little downtime to enjoy it.  And, until next time, all my best!

 

 

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Trusting the Designer

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Trusting the Designer

When we send yarn off to a designer, I’m never quite sure what’s going to become — there are so many possibilities and it’s entirely down to the designer’s own inspiration, so there’s really no telling.  To be honest, it sometimes feels like a risk but I’m happy to report that, most of the time, I’m love the result.  And sometimes… just sometimes… I’m absolutely blown away!

So when Jessica Anderson asked us for a sweater’s worth of yarn for an idea she had, I was intrigued.  When she asked for it in Nine Stones — a lovely mix of greys, browns, and soft blues — I was delighted.  And when she gave us the completed sample, I really was absolutely blown away.

Rey’s Cardigan by Jessica Anderson

Rey’s Cardigan is a gorgeous long, hooded cardigan with eye-catching texture all down the back.  Designed in SpaceCadet Oriana, I’m not exaggerating when I say it hangs like a dream, draping around you in all the right places and looking spectacular whether styled casually over a t-shirt and jeans or more dramatically over all-black and an epic pair of boots.

In fact, it’s so lovely that it’s been really hard to keep my assistants Jade and Sara from sneaking off with it!  But I think the real joy would be in making one for yourself, either in the muted shades of Nine Stones (the sample above), Faded Promises, or Faded Dreams.  Or in something cool like Crisp or truly bright and bold like Tickled.  (Cheat sheet: sizes 32-38 take 5 skeins, 41-47 take 6 skeins, and 50-53 take 7 skeins)

(And we’re not the only ones who were blown away — when A Good Yarn in Sarasota FL saw the sample, they immediately ordered enough yarn to make the cardigan in a whole range of colours — if you live near them, go and get some for yourself!)

So, is it worth it to send yarn off to a designer, sight unseen, and just trust their inspiration is up to expectations? I mean, it is a risk — it is — but when the results are this beautiful, I have to say, yes… Yes it is!


Ok, it’s been a super busy week after all the madness of Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend, there’s a lot of fun stuff to share so, if you have a cup of tea (I have mine!), find a nice comfy place to curl up and let’s get to it…

Newsletter

Image © Birdie Parker Designs, used with permission

Birdie Parker knitting- and crochet-inspired jewellry (yes! both!) is so easy to fall in love with.  I think my favourites are the K1P1 earrings (above): one is covered in knit stitches and the other in purl — so cute.  There are also necklaces, bracelets, cuffs, stitchmarkers, and shawl cuffs — and, honestly, I just want them all!

Have you see new Mr Rogers film?  There’s a part of me that’s hesitating, just in case Tom Hanks doesn’t nail it perfectly (because it’s so important to the Mr Rogers legacy that he does!).  But I was delighted to read this article about the woman who hand-knit every one of his (Mr Hanks’) cardigans and the care she put into replacting the originals so well.  (Also, did you know Mr Rogers was based here in Pittsburgh?  He is so well-loved by this city that a local hospital even recently dressed newborns in red cardigans to celebrate him)

No matter how cold it is outside, this will make you warm from the inside out: Socks by Bob is a group of senior citizens who machine knit socks for the homeless, on knitting machines built by founder Bob Rutherford, and have donated over 11,600 pairs to shelters across Canada. The video is wonderful.

I know hand-knitting has always been encouraged in wartime — both overtly as a way to the civilian population engaged and the troops warm, and covertly as cover when spying and a way of passing coded messages.  So I found this excellent article absolutely fascinating reading.

Some very sad news: Scott Manko, better known as Scooterpie the Shepard Guy and the self-proclaimed “flock master” at Ross Farm, lost his life in a tragic accident this week while caring for the farm’s rare breed sheep.  Scooter was a good friend of ours here at SpaceCadet and our hearts are broken for his wife Amy, his son Drew, and the whole Ross Farm family.  A fund has been set up to help Amy cover the unexpected costs of his funeral and additional farm labor.  If you’d like to contribute, please click here.


Perfect Holiday Gift: Bespeckle Hat Kits

Our Black Friday OOAK Bespeckle Kits sold out super-fast but, if you missed out, there’s good news: we’ve dyed more of these fun kits in our beautiful standard colours too. Including the first one below, which is allllll about our home city of Pittsburgh (here in the studio, we’ve been calling them our “yinzer kits”… hands up if you know why!)⁣⁠


They make perfect holiday gifts because they’re quick to knit up for the non-knitters on your list but so sweetly packaged in their little zippered pouches that they’re ready-to-go gifts for the knitters in your life as well. Click here to check them out!⁣⁣

Each kit contains:⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• one 100g skein of Capella in a hand-dyed semi-solid main colourway ⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• one 50g skein of Capella in a beautiful variegated contrast colourway for the speckles and pom-pom⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• a pom-pom tool to make things super easy!⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• a toggle set to make your pom-pom removeable⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• a download code for the Bespeckle pattern by Hunter Hammersen(a $7.45 value!), with her wonderfully detailed step-by-step photo tutorials on making the pom-poms and placing the speckles⁣⁣⁣⁠⁣⁠
• all packaged in a sweet reusable zipped pouch


Miss Rumphius by Jessica Anderson

As cold as it getst here in Pittsburgh, it’s worth having a stack of shawls to hand to wrap (twice!) around my neck before I head outside.  And though everyone thinks of big chunky scarves for wintertime, I have to admit that I’m just as partial to lacey shawls — I think they’re just as warm when bundled up and have the advantage of being pretty enough to be worn with my outfit once I’m someplace where I can shed my big winter coat.  I love the stitch pattern of this beautiful shawl — absolutely perfect for some sneaky winter warmth.  Designed in fingering, I’d make it in any of our Faded colourways — Faded Dreams, Faded Promises, Faded Enchantment, or Faded Desire — their gentle variegation will add colour interest without overwhelming the stitchwork.

…there You May Also Be by Jessica Anderson

If you live in warmer climate, I love this gorgeous boho option — there’s nothing like a fringe to make things feel breezy and light!  A simple assymetrical shape, it uses stripes and stitch changes to let you really play with colour.  And there’s a really beautiful sentiment behind the design as well, if the holidays are a difficult time.  Click through to read Jessica’s thoughts on it.  And then cast it on in Time Traveller and Sliver.

Bound for Home by Jessica Anderson

And I know you’ve seen it before, but I just have to take this opportunity to share again Bound for Home, this beautiful shawl that Jessica designed in SpaceCadet Lyra.  It’s incredibly cosy — seriously, it’s like wrapping up in a shawl-shaped blanket — and the stitchwork adds beautiful texture.  Created especially to show off the colours in our beautiful colourways Steadfast, Dalliance, and Becalm, and we’d love to dye you a kit here.

images © Jessica Anderson and Stephanie Alford, used with permission


Well, my tea is all finished it’s time I got started running labels for today’s orders, so I’d better get going.  I hope you’ve got a great day planned (with lots of time to work on some lovely project!) and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Sneak Peek at Friday’s Special Kits!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Sneak Peek at Friday’s Special Kits!

It’s here! The holiday season is upon us!  And while this weekend kicks it off with a rather odd roller coaster of family time mixed with rampant commercialism (does that feel as weird to you as it always does to me?), what I really love is the the change I’ve noticed over the last few years from stampeding big-box stores toward mindfully supporting the small businesses we love to to have in our lives.

And I really have noticed it.  It’s evident in the smallest things — emails we’ve gotten this week from customers wishing us a happy Thanksgiving, and holiday cards from club members (that are still up on the studio wall, just because they make me smile).  And each year, after we’ve taken Thanksgiving Day to enjoy our families, we put out something special for our customers over the Black Friday weekend …and I am always blown away by the way our customers and club members — familiar names and faces — turn out to support us.  For a small business like SpaceCadet, that is so meaningful.  And it ensures that we can enjoy the holiday season knowing that what we do and what we make matters to the people who matter to us.

This Thanksgiving, the SpaceCadet team and I are thankful for you.  For reading this newsletter, for writing in with ideas, for coming to see us at shows and, most of all, for supporting us by buying our yarn and working it with your own two hands to turn it into amazing projects.  I am so grateful that we can have this connection, and that your support lets us do the work we do.


Ok, so what have we got planned for you this year?  I’m so excited about it!  We wanted to find something that was both a perfect gift to give to someone who knits and a perfect gift to make for someone who doesn’t.  And you know how we love dyeing our one-of-a-kind, right?  So we put the two together…

Black Friday: Our One-of-a-Kind Bespeckle Hat Kits!
Available Friday at noon (eastern)

Now, these are a real treat to give… or to get We dyed some amazingly beautiful variegated skeins and paired them with beautifully colour-layered semi-solids to create these unique kits that are a ton of fun and perfectly packaged for gift giving.

Absolutely chockablock with fun stuff, each kit contains:

  • one 100g skein of Capella in a hand-dyed semi-solid main colourway (100% Superwash Merino; single-ply; Worsted; approximately 195 yards per 100g)
  • one 50g skein of Capella in a one-of-a-kind variegated contrast colourway for the speckles and pom-pom
  • a pom-pom tool to make things super easy!
  • a toggle set to make your pom-pom removeable
  • a download code for the Bespeckle pattern (a $7.45 value!), with Hunter’s wonderfully detailed step-by-step photo tutorials on making the pom-poms and placing the speckles
  • all packaged in a sweet reusable zipped pouch!

The One-of-a-Kind Colourways

We’ve taken our stunning one-of-a-kind variegateds and set them against beautiful semi-solids in soft greys, rich purples, warm marroons and rusts, and lovely deep blues.  (Do they look almost too bold to you?  Remember that the higher the contrast and the more variegated the CC, the more beautiful your speckles and pom-pom will come out.  Trust us, these will make gorgeous Bespeckle hats!)

Available in very limited quantities (literally, there are only two kits per colourway!), these unique Bespeckle hat kits will go live on Friday at noon (eastern).  So look through the colourways now to decide which is your favourite, set a reminder on your phone, and then click here on Friday to grab your one-of-a-kind kit!


Newsletter

I feel like I’m seeing yarny goodness spilling out of the knitting and crochet world into other realms. First it was last year’s new yarn emoji and now it’s baked goods. I love these yarn cookies to celebrate the return of sweater weather, and then this amazing cake (I have to admit, I wasn’t looking closely the first time I saw the video and it stopped my heart for a moment!).

Image © Hunter Hammersen, used with permissionn

Every knitter ends up with a little extra yarn at the end of every project. I’m in love with these adorable knitted Christmas trees as the perfect way to use up those scraps!

You may know that I love fountain pens and so I had to giggle when I saw this one that uses a knitting motif to somehow wrap together a fine writing instrument with ugly holiday sweaters and… um… “Santa Jaws” (is that a thing?).  It’s total madness and I kind of love it!  (Though, for the record, this gorgeous pen is much more on my radar).

I got a kick out of reading Abby Franquemont’s request for her followers’ most controversial yarn or textile opinions.  You’re sure to find a ton you quiet nod along to and at least one or two that you wholeheartedly disagree with, but it certainly makes for interesting reading!

With the weather turning chillier by the day, it’s time for tea! (I’m almost never without a cuppa near to hand).  If you’re feeling it too and want to know how the British make theirs, there are plenty of articles online that go on about all the fancy extras of high tea, but very few that actually tell you how to simply make a proper pot (or mug) of tea. But this one and this one do, and all your cold winter days will be so much the better for them.

Photo by Seb Cumberbirch


Our Autumn Colourways

The Inaugural Dyeing Day for our Autumn Collection colourways was last week and, let me tell you, they look amazing!  For everyone who got their order in on time, we’re packing them up today so keep your eyes on your mailboxes.

And, if you missed out, these colours are still availableclick here to place your order and we’ll get them in our dyeing queue asap!


pythagoras’ tee by alfa knits

Some designs are just so eye-catching, they take stop you in your tracks and this is absolutely one of those for me!  And the reasons are plentiful: the colourwork is deceptively easy (no, really!), it’s knit top down and seamlessly, the sleeve increases are so cleverly done that they’re nearly invisible, it has pockets, and the check pattern on the edge not only creates visual interest but adds a flattering a-line flair.  Choose two colours of highly contrasting fingering (I like Ester in Feather and Frigia or Dark Skies and Sliver) and cast on!

Capel Cross by Jimenez Joseph

I love when a designer takes something that seems to be everywhere (in this case, yoke sweaters) and does something completely unexpected, like this open stitchwork.   This cardigan is simple but the crossed stitches are so effective and really draw attention to the natural beauty of a well-designed yoke.  Designed in sport weight, I’d choose Lyra in Thrive or Breeze so the tonal colours can really play against the lovely stockinette.

Rebel Alliance Skull & Crossbones Slouch Hat by Sarah Wilson

There are a million reasons to love this hat but what got me was the unique way it was released.  It’s a free pattern that is literally written into the comment under an Instagram post, with the chart as the third photo in the post (scroll or click to the right to see it).  When an established designer like the Sexy Knitter releases a pattern in such a novel way, I think that indicates that the industry is undergoing changes.  More importantly, if you have a Star Wars fan in your life, this is an awesome and quick gift idea.

images © the respective designers, used with permission


Ok, we’re packing a ton of parcels today so I’d better get going.  It’s been a crazy-busy week and it’s only going to get busier (for you and me both!) so I’m glad to have been able to stop for a moment and share all of this with you.  I hope to see you on Friday for the release of our One-of-a-Kind Bespeckle Kits and, until then, all my best wishes for the holiday!

SpaceCadet News: Inaugural Dyeing Day is…

SpaceCadet News: Inaugural Dyeing Day is…

Wow, what a week it’s been!  You know how sometimes you have those weeks where everything seems to happen all at once?  That was this past week and, while it’s all really good stuff(!), you should have seen the SpaceCadet crew’s faces when I told them about everything we’ve got in the pipeline.  The difference between this week and last is night and day!

(one of my favourite colour combos: Sliver, Gentle, Drizzle, Nine Stones, and Fat-Free Chocolate.. ahem, you need them)

So forgive me if I can’t chit-chat for too long this morning — I’ve got to head to the studio soon and get started.  But before I do, I am (of course) starting my day with a nice cup of tea… and I do have a lot of interesting fiber news to share with you…  Soooooo, ok, go grab your tea too and let’s sit down for five minutes!  Are you ready?  Here we go…

Newsletter

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through many years of dyeing, it’s that colour is a liar.  It feels like red is red and blue is blue, but everything about how our eyes interpret hues is dependant on context — and I’m reminded of that time and again as we create colour combos and watch colourways seemingly transform before our eyes simply by placing them next to other colours (our most chameleon-like colourways are Gentle, Sage, Plume, Molten Cool, and Windswept).  This article is an excellent case in point and goes a long way to explaining to what’s happening if you’ve ever found skeins suddenly seem to have changed colour on you! Once you’ve read the article, go grab a few yarns from your stash (especially variegateds) and try holding them next to different colours to see for yourself what a difference it makes!

(all is not as it seems — click through to see how these same colours change…)

I don’t know if this digital book will still be on sale by the time you read this but, if it is, $2 for a Melissa Leapman guide to colour knitting is a pretty awesome deal!  Click here for the Kindle version and click here for the Apple Books version.

When I first stumbled across this article about ancient Roman dodecahedrons, strange bronze objects that have been mystifying archeologists for centuries, I never guessed it would have a link to the world of knitting.  But it does — read to the bottom to find out how some people speculate they were used to knit fingers for gloves — though I find it dubious at best (I mean, if I were to create a tool to knit different sized items, I’d want it to change the number of stitches in each size), but it’s an interesting theory nonetheless.

Ok, it’s a pretty tired cliche that says all knitters and crocheters are grannies or that it’s shocking that men might be fiber artists but, fortunately, this article addressed those notions right from the start and then got on with telling some very interesting backstories about some of the leading men in the knitting world.  I enjoyed reading it.

This made me feel ridiculously happy.


New Colourways: Inaugural Dyeing Day!
Tues Nov 19

Last week, I shared with you these four beautiful new colourways we’ve created with inspiration taken from the chillier weather and sweater weather arriving at last.  And so many of you shared with us your awesome colourway name ideas.  So now we’re ready to reveal the names we’ve chosen and… get to dyeing some yarn!

For the time being, these  colourways will be Limited Edition colourways, available only for this season (until we decide which we want to add them to our line-up of standard colourways) and to celebrate their release, we’re doing an Inaugural Dyeing Day on Nov 19!   To be one of the lucky people we’re dyeing for that day (and one of the very first to get these new colours), watch for details on Monday morning (via email or social media).

But even better, folks on the are on the Early Access List will get first dibs, so click here to get on that list!

Upcoming Shows

Sun Nov 17 (noon-5pm) —  Indie Knit & Spin at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh PA

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

• first, it’s really special because it’s all indie makers
• second, it’s FREE entry but you can get first dibs on all the best stuff from your favourite vendors with an Early Access Pass for just $5
• and third, there’s a Happy Hour with special goodies from the vendors!

 


Carolyn’s Moonflower

When I spotted the way Carolyn’s beautiful shawl shows the gentle colour change of our Gradient Explorers colourways, I just had to share it with you!

It’s actually much larger now that’s it’s finished (click through to see the rest) but I just loved this detail picture best.  Well done, Carolyn — what beautiful work!

In the Gradient Explorers, every colourway is designed to flow from one month into the next and create an amazing, never-ending fade.  We keep the Gradient Explorers to a really small group, opening it only when spaces become free.  Click here to get on the waiting list.


Reversible Honeycomb Scarf and Reversible Honeycomb Hat by Mary W Martin

Isn’t this set gorgeous?!?  I’m a sucker for almost anything honeycomb but the fact that these scarf and hat are reversable has me absolutely swooning!  They use an innovative reversible slipped stitch cabling technique and, if you find that a little intimidating, it’s good to know that the scarf is the more difficult of the two so you’re better off starting with the hat to get comfortable first.  Both are 50% off until November 10.

My colour picks:


Sandstorm Cardi by Rachel Misner

The temperatures have dropped (a bit!) and suddenly I am allllllll about the big cosy sweaters and, when I spotted this lovely design, I knew it was the kind of comfy cardi I could live in all season long.  And because it’s designed in bulky yarn, it’ll crochet up in double-quick time (so you can be that much warmer that much faster!).

My colour picks:

 

Sundry by Hunter Hammersen

I love me some intriguing design details and the thumb construction on these eye-catching mitts is exactly what I’m talking about.  Yes, yes, the rest of the stitch pattern is gorgeous too — I mean really gorgeous — but just look at those thumbs!  The pattern comes in three sizes and, if you’re not keen on the rolled edge, it includes instructions for a ribbed edge too.

My colour picks:

images © the respective designers, used with permission

You know what?  Even though everything feels like a big rush this week, I’m so glad I stopped for a cup of tea and all this lovely fiber news.  And I hope you’re glad you did too.  But I really do have a full day, so it’s time I got on my way.  Wishing you a happy and creative day and, until next time, all my best!