We dye a lot of yarn for a lot of people: for the LYSs who carry SpaceCadet, for the customers who wander into our online shop, and for our club members. And here’s the thing…
The folks we like dyeing for the most — no, wait, I mean the folks we really love dyeing for the most — are our club members.
Standing at the dye pots in the studio and exploring colour is just so much more exciting when we’re creating new colourways for our Yarn Alliance members. And that’s because our club members are the kind knitters and crocheters that I love most: yarn adventurers who embrace exactly these kinds of colour explorations.
They get us… and we get them!
And there’s no one who lives up to the title of “Yarn Adventurer” quite like the folks in the Yarn Alliance because, as when you become a member, you’re on a journey with us to explore colour. Yes, it’s true that you never quite know what’s going to be in your parcel and that is all part of the fun — every colourway is a surprise, a chance to stretch your imagination and challenge your creativity.
And every colourway is a direct connection between us as dyers and you as a maker — unique and new and created only for you as an adventurer with us in the Yarn Alliance.
Join The Yarn Alliance!
We’d love to have you join us! But we don’t have long — the next parcel is due to go out very soon — so if you’re ready to embark on this adventure, you’ll need to act quickly. Click the button below to learn more and join the Yarn Alliance!
There’s snow coming down as I write this… big, fat flakes floating down gently from a heavy sky as if there’s no great rush to reach the ground. It looks delightful from here on my couch, curled up with a hot cup of tea and my wool slippers.
A pair of hands emerging from a very colourful shawl indeed, holding a hot cup of tea.
As we head into the coldest, deepest part of winter — when the world outside turns shades of black and white and grey — I find myself reaching not just for the thickest, warmest yarns in my stash but for the most colourful.
Because although the rhythm of the stitches through my fingers feels as meditative as the snow drifting silently past my window, I get a little jolt of pure joy each time I look away from the view outside and back at my knitting.
The world may be monochrome, but my project is bursting with technicolour. And that makes me so happy!
Do you feel the same in the darkest part of winter?
You know we love to experiment in the dye studio (as in, we loooooooove to experiment!).
And this past month, we created some deliciously painterly Small Batches dyed on some smooshy winter-thick yarns.
As with all our One-of-a-Kinds and Small Batches, these are unrepeatable colourways and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
So if any of them have caught your eye, put your name on the list and I’ll make sure you get first notice when they go live next week.
(If you don’t see a form here to enter your email, it may be due to a popup blocker. Please disable your popup blocker for this page so you can get on the list.)
Also, at one point, Jade was about to rearrange one of the piles of yarn as I took some photos when she suddenly lost her balance and…
…Luckily, smooshy yarn is really good for breaking falls!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Shooting these photos in the graffiti’d underbelly of one of Pittsburgh’s many bridges, a middle-aged guy 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 for a catcall as he opens his mouth and yells…
“THAT’S A REALLY NICE WRAP!”
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.
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?
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!
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!
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…)