SpaceCadet is looking for Test Knitters & Crocheters!

SpaceCadet is looking for Test Knitters & Crocheters!

I wish you could hang out with us sometime when my assistant Jade and I are having a dye meeting.

We’re supposed to be developing recipes for new colourways but the truth is, once the two of us get going, we spend at least half our time just ricocheting ideas off each other for new pattern designs! 

A close up of hands making design notes in a notebook, surrounded by balls of green yarn and some knitting, to indicate that SpaceCadet is looking for test knitters and crocheters

Honestly, it’s loads of fun.  And you’ve seen some of the resulting designs here on the website (and maybe on your needles too?).

And really, we usually come up with way more ideas than the two of us could complete in a lifetime.  But for the ones that we do move forward with, we need some folks to help us with the test knitting and crocheting.

a pair of hands knitting with some grey and maroon yarn, to indicate that SpaceCadet is looking for test knitters and crocheters

We’re looking for Test Knitters & Crocheters!

So if that sounds like fun to you, and you’re interested in being a test knitter or crocheter for us, please click the button below and give us your details.

Click here to apply to be a test knitter or test crocheter

Introducing the Pixelated Trees Cowl

Introducing the Pixelated Trees Cowl

Working with a new designer is always intriguing.  Sometimes the designer sends us a proposal, complete with schematics and a timescale.  And we send yarn off to them in the firm knowledge that we know what and when it will become the design it’s destined to be.

And sometimes, the whole process is much more fluid.  We meet a designer at a show or an event, they fall in love with a colour combination, and we send the yarn off with them with nothing but… well, blind faith and happy anticipation, with no idea what the designer will make with it.

And honestly, I’m never really quite sure how that will turn out… But sometimes the results are simply fantastic!

That’s exactly what happened when Tanis Gray, author of the official Star Wars and Disney knitting pattern books, came to our booth at a yarn show back in… oh let me see… all the way back in 2019.  She smooshed two lovely skeins of Lyra in Thrive and That’s What She Said, and asked if she use them in a design.

And naturally, we said an enthusiastic yes and sent them home with her!

Then the pandemic happened and, I’ll admit, I completely forgot about those two skeins and the potential they held…

Until Tanis got in touch to tell us the pattern they were destined for was ready at last! And when I saw the pictures, I was over the moon!  A gorgeous colourwork cowl that brings out all the very best in both colourways.  And which has inspired us to create sets in three more colour combos too!

Collaborating with designers is always fun, no matter what form it takes. But sometimes, when it’s both spontaneous and heartfelt, it is just amazing.

And when the result is as beautiful as the Pixelated Trees Cowl, it’s always, always worth the wait!

When Mini-Skeins Grab All the Attention

When Mini-Skeins Grab All the Attention

Shooting these photos in the graffiti’d underbelly of one of Pittsburgh’s many bridges, a middle-aged guy in a dirty shoes and three-day old stubble walks past us. ⁠

He takes one look at my model, overdressed amongst the broken bottles and remnants of late-night meetups, and I brace myself as he opens his mouth and yells…⁠

“THAT’S A REALLY NICE WRAP!”⁠

A gorgous multicoloured shawl knit with SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, worn by a model standing under one of Pittsburgh's bridges

Well. ⁠That was not what I was expecting. ⁠

But honestly, he’s right. Because this shawl is so eye-catching that it’s what got his unsolicited attention. ⁠

And so I yelled back “Thanks!” as my model and I carried on with the photo shoot, and the sun shone through the old ironwork and the gentle breeze blew all my tension away.⁠

Looking up at the underside of the bridge where we photographed the shawl knit with Mini-Skeins

Now it’s your turn…

My assistant Jade knit this stunning wrap with 2021’s Mini-Skein Club gradient and I’m trying to convince her to write up the pattern.

What do you think — should she release it as a pattern?

A gorgous multicoloured shawl knit with SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, worn by a model standing under one of Pittsburgh's bridges


Mini-Skeins Colour in a New Direction

You may remember that a few months ago, I shared this photoshoot with you, where we laid our Mini-Skein Club bundles from January, February, and March.

And there’s just so much rich, warm, tropical colour!

My assistant holding a set of blue Mini-Skeins and smiling at them.

Well, fast forward only two months, and you won’t believe where the colours are now.  From warm melons to cool Caribbean blues — just like that!

And you may wonder if that colour changing was jarring?  But I promise, it all blends beautifully.

In fact, we’re laying those new colours out today to do another photoshoot, so you can see for yourself over the coming the weeks!

What To Do If the Gradient Hides from You

What To Do If the Gradient Hides from You

Whenever we send parcels out to our club members, I have my heart in my throat just a little.

We always work really hard to develop the most beautiful colourways we can and I so very much want everyone to love the yarn they receive, to be wildly excited by the colours. But I never quite know if they will until the parcels go out…

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a member of our Mini-Skein Club who said she was disappointed because it didn’t look like the colours in the bundles flowed from month to month the way they are supposed to (…and the way I promised they would!).

And I’ll be honest, my heart sank a little.

But in truth, I totally understand why she said that. Totally! When the Mini-Skeins are twisted into their bundles, it really can be hard to see the colour flow.

So hard, in fact, that sometimes even we have trouble seeing the flow when the Minis are still in their bundles.

And so hard, in fact, that when I read that email, we suddenly panicked that maybe we’d done something wrong! Maybe we’d goofed and the Mini-Skeins didn’t flow the way we’d planned…?

So my assistant Jade and I quickly broke open the bundles from the last three months and started laying them out.

And then, to our relief, the magic happened…

The colours flowed

January’s bundle started the year with some really gorgeous magentas that morphed into soft ballet pinks — the perfect, bright foil to the dark grey skies of deep winter, don’t you agree?⁠

And then February’s bundle was a little surprising, because you might expect clear pinks to move into something equally bright, maybe purples or corals. ⁠

But we try not to take the Mini-Skein Club gradient on a predictable path, so we mixed up some deep and rich caramels instead. I think the resulting colour flow almost glows! ⁠

(And when they’re worked up together into a project, the juxtaposition of a bright clear hue against a deep muted shade will bring out the best in both of them.⁠)

And then it was only once the Mini-Skein Club gradient had dipped into that lovely caramel that we came out into the clear coral-peach you might have been expecting. ⁠

Honestly, I think it’s these surprising detours that make the gradient so satisfying and club so fun!⁠

And finally, in March, we moved from those lovely rich caramels into the hues of honeydew melon, which you might not think of as a natural flow, but the result is beautiful.

What’s more tricky? Taking that orange swiftly away from hot and spicy and moving to cool and refreshing. But those streaks of green give a little clue…

What a difference it makes to lay all those Mini-Skeins out! I know the gradient is a little bit hidden when they’re twisted in their bundles but, once you see how the colours flow from month to month, aren’t’ they gorgeous?!?⁠

Even more exciting… where will we take the colour next?

There’s so much colour there to explore! But this little adventure just goes to prove, you’ll only see the gradient when you open up your Mini-Skein Club bundles and start playing with them!⁠

(And then we stretched out all the Mini-Skein Club yarns together and ohhhhhh, aren’t they glorious?!?⁠ Honestly, I think they almost looks like a landscape painting of a fiery sunset over gentle, grassy hillsides…)

 

Creating Stunning Gradient Colour Combos!

Creating Stunning Gradient Colour Combos!

A few weeks ago, on a very snowy day, we put together the latest Gradient Explorers colourways and brainstormed some fabulous colour combos to help get our club members’ creative juices flowing.

First, we laid out the colour flow for the last six months, just to see them all together.

And then we pulled out the skeins from November to January (below) to build our colour combos around…
Six Months of Gradient Explorers

Below, the Gradient Explorers flow, from l-r: Skating Pond (Jan), Plum Wine (Dec), Winter Berries (Nov), Treat Bag (Oct), Sweater Weather (Sept), Bird of Paradise (Aug), Golden Hour (July)

Look how painterly and pretty!!!!!

But the real fun of the Gradient Explorers is in using it as base to create new and exciting colour combos, by mixing it with our standard colourways. So we jumped right in!


Start with Cools

When it’s this snowy and cold, it makes sense to start with cool colours, right? First some gorgeous icy purples — just look how they melt right in!. And then some luscious greens — who’d have guessed they’d blend with those fuchsias so well?!?


Below, from left to right: Breathless, Skating Pond (Jan), Faded Desire, Plum Wine (Dec), Plume, Winter Berries (Nov)


Below, from left to right: Breeze, Skating Pond (Jan), Flow, Plum Wine (Dec), Vortex, Winter Berries (Nov),
Heat Things Up!

Heat Things Up!

By now, my assistant Jade’s fingers were getting a bit cold, so we decided to raise the temperature with colours from the warm side of the spectrum.

Below, from l-r: Skating Pond (Jan), Troublemaker, Plum Wine (Dec), Mars, Winter Berries (Nov), Oxblood


Below, from l-r: Skating Pond (Jan), Gobsmack, Plum Wine (Dec), Tantrum, Winter Berries (Nov), Troublemaker


Let’s Blend with Variegateds

For the Gradient Explorers, we looove to dye beautifully painterly colourways. So it makes sense to pull them together with other variegateds that will keep that painterly feel flowing. I think this combination is just amazing!

Below, from l-r: Flow, Skating Pond (Jan), Molten Cool, Plum Wine (Dec), Windswept, Winter Berries (Nov)
Go Graphic with Neutrals

Go Graphic with Neutrals

One of my absolute favourite things to do is to break up our Gradient Explorers colourways with semi-solids in neutrals to make things go pop! And this combo really does not disappoint!

Below, from l-r: Sliver, Skating Pond (Jan), Drizzle, Plum Wine (Dec), Dark Skies, Winter Berries (Nov), Dark Matter


Truthfully, we only scratched the surface — there are bazillions of gorgeous colour combos and I’m sure you’ll come up with one even more lovely than ours!

(We were getting cold so it was time to get moving. But first, Jade couldn’t resist grabbing an armful of skeins and taking them on a wild sledge ride down a snowy hill!)

Knitting Twitter Gets Heated Over… Blocking?

Knitting Twitter Gets Heated Over… Blocking?

Newsletter

Do you use the app Knitrino? It’s an app that aims to make following knitting patterns easier and more convenient, but it nearly didn’t come into being when Apple rejected it from the App Store.  I found fascinating this quick article detailing the saga behind the story.


The knitting world exploded with (yet another) controversy recently, when designer Romi Hill tweeted a strong opinion on her belief in the importance of blocking projects.

While there were a lot of comments to the original tweet, the more heated discussions were in quote tweets (along with other threads all over Twitter) and centered on whether blocking was necessary and even whether designers or knitters should tell other knitters how to define when their projects are finished.  There was a lot of food for thought and it seemed like everyone who is anyone on Knitting Twitter weighed in.  Though it may have been a little too heated, as Romi posted this apology a few days later.


I love short rows for creating interesting and almost architectural shaping to knitting.  There are lots of different ways to do them, and if your pattern is written with wrap&turn short rows but you prefer German, I absolutely love this handy (and so clearly written!) explanation of how to convert a wrap and turn short-row to German short-row.