Two Stunning Projects to Inspire You!

Two Stunning Projects to Inspire You!

Do you ever get a feeling of paralysis when you’re about to start a new project?  (I do!)  Whether it’s casting on a new knitting project, laying paint on a fresh canvas, or writing on the crisp new pages of a notebook, there is just something about starting that can be incredibly intimidating.

And choosing the right pattern for your yarn is absolutely in that category (I think that’s the reason so many of us have pattern stashes big enough to rival our yarn stashes!).  A lot of times, we feel like matching yarn and pattern should be intuitive, effortless, something like falling in love at first sight but it’s not.  I know from many of my designer friends that they work through swatch after swatch (after swatch) before they find just the right yarn to bring a design-idea to life.

And I know that a lot of our Mini-Skein Club members feel the same way so, as soon as I saw these two breath-taking projects, that I had to share them with you!  Both of these epic projects are made with the full year of 2020’s Mini-Skein Club flow and yet I love seeing how the way the each pattern distributes the very same colours makes them come out so differently.

Images used with permission (thank you, Jill!)

The first from Jill, who knit Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl (Ravelry link) and I am crazy about the way it takes the colours and stretches them out until they become almost like brushstrokes on a canvas.  And despite the tundra-like background(!), the colours have an almost Southwest feel to them.

Images used with permission (thank you, Seanae!)

The second project is from Seanae, who knit Ambah O’Brien’s ADVENTurous Wrap (Ravelry link).  And here is something really interesting: look at what a difference it makes to the colours in how the pattern spreads them out in some places and then intensifies them where the colour bunches up as the Vs come to a point.

Aren’t both those project’s amazing?!?  I’m absolutely blown away.  And I think they both show that the key to working with our Mini-Skein Club colours is to keep the pattern simple.  And of course, the fabulous thing about doing a project with a year’s worth of the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skeins is that, even though it creates being a really epic finished object, it’s not really ever that much effort to produce, because it’s broken up from one month to the next, with a slower pace and plenty of downtime between club parcels arriving.


Now, can I show you one more project that completely changes the way the colours look?

I’m super-excited to show this to you — and really nervous too — because this is my first ever published pattern!  It’s called the D’aeki Wrap and I’ll be releasing it on Tuesday but I want you to see how differently the colours come out in it.  These are the same colours as the two projects above but, instead of stretching each Mini-Skein out, it’s constructed of of modular blocks that work each yarn back and forth quickly — and that totally changes how the colour behaves!

Sample kindly knit by Jade

See what I mean?  With such a small number of stitches, the colours create an almost striping effect that plays beautifully into the herringbone angles. You’d almost never guess it was made using the very same Mini-Skeins as the two projects up above!

(And I’ll let you into on a little secret: there’s absolutely no sewing up in the entire pattern — none at all.  Intrigued?  I’ll share more on Tuesday!)

I’m about to cast on a new idea I have with January’s Mini-Skeins and, just like last year’s, it’s going to be another epic project that moves from one month to the next.  If you’re inspired by these projects to create an epic project of your own (like perhaps the D’aeki Wrap above?), I’d love for you to join in!  You can read more about how epic Mini-Skein projects work by clicking here and, if you’d like to put together a Mini-Skein collection of your own, you can join the club by clicking here.


I want to thank both Jill and Seanae so much for allowing me to share their beautiful projects here.  And so many other folks have written in to show off their own gorgeous SpaceCadet projects that I can’t wait to feature in an upcoming newsletter.  So much fabulous creativity — I love to see it!

But for now, it’s time I got my day started — I’ve got a bunch of orders to pack and some lovely skeins to photograph (maybe in the snow…?).  I hope you have a colourful day planned too.  And until next time, all my best!

The Joy of Picking Up Where You Left Off

The Joy of Picking Up Where You Left Off

Last week I received an flood of emails that absolutely warmed my heart — so many people who read my last newsletter about being like I had lost my voice over the past year and then generously shared with me their own struggles or simply offered the warmest encouragement. I cannot tell you how much it meant to read them and to know that so many others have been feeling the same way. To everyone who took the time to reach out, thank you so very much.

And now it feels like it’s time for fresh starts and high hopes. And while a lot of folks in the knitting and crochet community have marked that by starting a new project, I decided instead to dig out a project I’d loved but which, for some reason I now can’t recall, I had set aside several years ago. It’s a simple shawl that is perfect to work on when things feel a little too complicated or stressful(!) and I just need the gentle meditation of feeling the yarn run through my fingers and hearing the click of the needles. It feels good to go back and pick up where I left off, with a renewed sense of purpose.

And long may that feeling continue.


The SpaceMonster Club is Open Now!

One thing that really has amazed me this week is just how quickly memberships to the SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club have been going! And when I see how many of them are our existing members renewing for another full year, it just makes me so happy, because I know that means they think we’re doing something right.

This time of year is perfect for big, smooshy, extra-thick yarns, and that’s what the SpaceMonster Club is all about…  And if these dark winter days have got you in need of a little bright pick-me-up, then I can’t think of anything better than a delivery of the lovely exclusive colourways we dye for our SpaceMonster members.

The club opens only twice a year, and subscriptions are available for only a short time so, if these lovely smooshy yarns sound intriguing to you, click here and join in the fun!

Winter Limited Editions — Orders Open Today!

In the past few months, we created some colourways that are so beautiful and so delightfully winter-y that we’ve decided we just have to share them with you as Limited Editions.  “Stillness” and “Late Sun” were first dyed for a couple of virtual shows we attended at the end of last year, and “Quietude” is completely new.  And while each on its own is lovely, I think the three together create a winterscape that is downright stunning.

Offered as Limited Editions, these very special colourways are available for pre-order starting today with happening in early February.  Click hereto get your order in before they close!


January Cowl by Louise Tilbrook

The description with this January-inspired pattern reads, “a cosy knit for darker days,” which — honestly — sounds absolutely perfect for such a snuggly project.  Even better, it’s designed for fingering weight held either singly or doubly, meaning you can add a delicious marled colour effect to its beautiful texture.  And with options for either a single and a double loop cowl, the end result is delightfully customisable too!

Huldra Sweater by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk
(Ravelry Link)

Beautiful yokes are hard to resist and especially when, as in this design, the colour highlights a gently changing gradient against a contrasting solid.  Crocheted seamlessly from the top down in fingering weight, the pattern works well in either a short- or long-sleeved version and, handily,  is available in both US and UK crochet terms.

Inca Trail by Svetlana Gordon
(Ravelry Link)

This stunning wrap is made for colour and I think it’s a fabulous candidate for an epic Mini-Skein project!  And while we dye our Minis in a beautiful month-to-month gradient, I think this project calls for a little more adventure by using the colours out of order — perhaps by alternating the Mini-Skeins from two months’ bundles together.  If you’ve got a stash of our Minis, take inspiration to break those bundles apart and see the different ways they can fit back together (and if you haven’t got a stash of Minis, come join our Mini-Skein Club and let us dye some gradient loveliness of your own!)

images © Louise Tilbrook, Vitali Frozen, Svetlana Gordon; used with permission


Ok, it’s time I got back to work.  Today, I’m planning on doing a little end of year tax stuff and then rewarding myself by photographing some lovely colourways.  I hope your day is filled with colour too and, until next time, all my best!

Finding My Voice Again

Finding My Voice Again

I originally wrote this post last Wednesday morning, just as the glow of the holidays had begun to fade and we all turned to face the reality of managing the pandemic whilst waiting for the relief the vaccine will bring.  I had the odd sensation of feeling both hopeful and also little like  I was holding my breath.  I finished typing the post — a heartfelt message from me to you — a little before noon and then scheduled it to go out the next morning.

That evening I sat in horror with the rest of the nation as we all witnessed a mob attack the Capitol Building and our elected leaders being rushed into lockdown.  It took a while to process what was happening — I’m still processing it, to be honest — but I realised that the gravity of the unfolding events made my scheduled post ridiculously tone-deaf and I logged back in to put the post on hold.

And while this situation is far from over — as a nation, we have weeks and months and years of work to do to recover — I’ve decided to share the post I wrote before this all unfolded.  I realise its message pales now by comparison but was written sincerely and, though I don’t know what other events might occur between now and the time you read it, I hope both the message and the lighthearted fiber-news it contains bring a little respite in these difficult times.


One of the strangest things I’ve experienced during the past year is the way that I’ve felt I’ve lost my voice. By which I mean that, despite years of writing the SpaceCadet newsletter and sharing with you our adventures running a dye house, when 2020 turned everyone’s lives upside-down, I found myself unable to find any words to say.  It was totally unexpected and, at first, I tried to dismiss it and pretend I was imagining it, but it turned out to be quite real.

It might have been the worry — it might well have been the worry, there have been so many things to think about — or the important issues that all the protests raised, or just how incredibly unsettling it has felt to try to keep everything running safely during a pandemic and the many unexpected challenges that creates. But every time I sat down to start writing, whether in this newsletter or on social media, my mind would just go blank and, the few times you heard from me, let me tell you, it seemed Herculean task to put together enough cohesive thoughts to feel I was sharing anything interesting with you at all.

But to be honest, in a year already filled with deep emotions, not being able to share with you made me incredibly downheartened. I haven’t liked feeling like I am stuck on mute, and I don’t want to feel overwhelmed by something that is truly such a pleasure for me: simply reaching out to say hello and share interesting things with you. And, over time, I’ve realised that changing the way I write my newsletters might be the key to fixing that.

So I’m going to try something new. Instead of creating one, long email with all the different news and pattern suggestions that I usually include, I’m going to break up these sections and share them with you one at a time. And in that way, I’m hoping that putting together smaller, more bite-sized newsletters helps to free my voice a little. So please don’t be concerned when you get these shorter emails from me — everything you’re used to seeing in them will be coming, just spread out over time and in a smaller, easier to digest format. And that format may change as I play with what feels comfortable, but I’m feel confident you’ll understand.

(also, there is yarn-hugging… when all else fails, yarn-hugging makes just about anything better)

Most of all, as we head into what appears to be even more uncharted territory in 2021, I’m excited about the opportunity to reconnect with you. I’ve missed you! And missed sharing with you. So here’s to new ways of doing things in a new year… and the hope that good possibilities lie ahead for all of us.


Newsletter

Every year, the folks at Pantone — the world’s foremost expert in colour forecasting — choose their colour of the year.  And in a move befitting these unusual times, this year they surprised everyone by choosing not one but two colours for 2021: Ultimate Gray, a lovely mid-tone grey, and Illuminating, a clear and sunny yellow.  Described as a “message of positivity supported by fortitude,” the colour combo addresses the “need to feel that everything is going to get brighter.”  Oddly enough, after we read about Pantone’s colour choice(s), we realised that we’ve been dyeing a lot of these same colours too.  Certainly we have some lovely greys and yellows in our standard colourways (below), but they pop up again in some beautiful winter Limited Editions that we’d recently developed!  Scroll to the bottom to see them.

(Ok, I know the purple on the end has nothing to do with Pantone’s colour choices but, when I laid out a collection of our yellows and greys together, I couldn’t help adding in a little purple…  because, I mean, it looks perfect, right? From l-r: Life Was Better in Black & White, So Life Gave You Lemons, Drizzle, Honey, Dark Skies, and Plume)

I’ve seen versions of crocheted ribbing before but never one that looked as nice or stretched so beautifully as the one in this video tutorial. The whole thing is in Japanese but, if that’s not a language you understand, the subtitles and excellent visual instructions still make it really clear and easy to follow.

There was a time when a life of isolation might sound a little daunting but, after the experience of the past ten months, I’ve decided that it’s really all about the kind of isolation.  And I have to admit, this absolutely beautiful article detailing the lives of a family who look after the sheep that populate three remote islands off the coast of Maine has me deeply intrigued.  Take a moment to read it — just the photos alone are stunning — and tell me if you don’t come away feeling the same.

Photo by Ginny Rose Stewart

It’s not fiber related and it’s not a new year’s resolution but one of the things I want to do this year is make sure I move every day: a workout, a long walk outside, or maybe some yoga.  To that end, a friend introduced me to Down Dog, a yoga app that I’ve realised I love — and so I want to share it with you too.  It’s normally priced at $60 per year (which, honestly, gave me pause) but it’s free to try until the end of January and, so long as you sign up before the start of February, you’ll get it for 75% off.  That’s only $15 for the whole year and also gives access to their HIIT, barre, and meditation apps in addition as their yoga app.  Honestly, I think it’s well worth it, so please let me know if you try it!


The SpaceMonster Club Opens on Jan 15

This time of year is perfect for big, smooshy, extra-thick yarns, and that’s what the SpaceMonster Club is all about!  And if these dark winter days have got you in need of a little bright pick-me-up, then I can’t think of anything better than a delivery of the lovely exclusive colourways we dye for our SpaceMonster members.

The club opens only twice a year, and we give early access to the folks on our waiting list so, if these lovely smooshy yarns sound intriguing to you, click here to give us your email so you can get first dibs!

Winter Limited Editions — Orders Open Jan 21

In the past few months, we created some colourways that are so beautiful and so delightfully winter-y that we’ve decided we just have to share them with you as Limited Editions.  “Stillness” and “Late Sun” were first dyed for a couple of virtual shows we attended at the end of last year, and “Quietude” is completely new.  And while each on its own is lovely, I think the three together create a winterscape that is downright stunning.

Offered as Limited Editions, these very special colourways will be available to order on Jan 21 with orders closing and their dyeing day happening about two weeks later.  So if you love them as much as I do, be sure to mark the date on your calendar.


It’s been so nice to spend a little time sharing all of these things with you.  I hope that your 2021 is getting off to a positive start and I’m looking forward to chatting with you again soon.  Until then, all my best!

Newsletter: I Know Who We Dye For…

Newsletter: I Know Who We Dye For…

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

The Yarn Alliance exclusive colourway for Sept 2020

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

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

The Yarn Alliance coordinating colourway for Sept 2020

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

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

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


Newsletter

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

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

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

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


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

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

So, what do you get when you join?

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

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

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

Upcoming Shows

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

Vogue Knitting Live, Nov 12-15

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

The Blues Collection

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

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


Woodlands Wrap by Knitting Expat Designs
(Ravelry link)

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

White Calm Hat by Mary Renji
(Ravelry link)

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

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

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

Images © the respective designers, used with permission

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

Newsletter: Six Reasons to be Blue

Newsletter: Six Reasons to be Blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newsletter

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Virtual Shows

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

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

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


Elysian Shawl by Knitting Expat Designs
(Ravelry link)

a woman holds a three colour shawl

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

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

Hex It Shawl by Mary Renji
(Ravelry link)

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

Karamella by Linnea Ornstein
(Ravelry link)

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

images: © the respective designers, used with permission

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

Newsletter: A Chance for Community and Encouragement

Newsletter: A Chance for Community and Encouragement

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

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

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

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


Newsletter

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

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

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

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


Thebe in Honey, Headstrong, and Feather


Upcoming Virtual Shows

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

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

Indie Untangled Everywhere
Oct 15-17

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


True Colours Scarf by Mary W Martin
(Ravelry link)

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

Luna Moth Shawl by Kulli Maslova
(Ravelry link)

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

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

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

all images © the respective designers, used with permission

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