Introducing Darlina: a Gorgeous (and Intriguing!) New Design in SpaceCadet Lyra

Introducing Darlina: a Gorgeous (and Intriguing!) New Design in SpaceCadet Lyra

I’ve been a fan of Corrina Ferguson’s designs for a long time so when she contacted us and suggested a collaboration, I said yes immediately.  We suggested Lyra and she choose a colourway, and we dyed a fresh batch and sent it off to her.

Great designs take time — swatching and testing and ripping and reknitting — and, for me, the waiting is hard but when the result looks like this, it is totally worth it!  A couple of months ago, Corrina sent her sample to us and we all swooned.  This is Darlina.

The first thing my assistant Jade said when we opened the package was, “Wait! How is it constructed?!?”  I turned it over several times in my hands and we found the seams and started inspecting.  It’s intriguing!  The main body is knit on the bias, almost like a triangular shawl (but not) and then the front and the back diagonals are joined by the sleeves and shoulders.

The feather and fan stitchwork does amazing things with variegated yarns by moving the colours around so they don’t stripe, pool, or repeat in weird ways.  Take for instance the colourway Corinna chose here, Tantrum, and see how the colours move both vertically as well as horizontally across the fabric, creating a gentle undulation that brings life the variegations int he yarn.  And this same stitchwork works beautifully with a semi-solid yarn too — creating delightful texture to keep your interest going from cast on to bind off!

But I think the best part about this design is the way the bias pieces come together.  Look at how interesting the join is at the back of the neck.  I love the slipped stitch detail!  And the way the side join creates a this awesome shirttail hem effect?  It’s those little things that make a design really stand out.  And this one really, really does!

Corinna’s pattern gives a swingy effect with a single button at the neckline and the rest of the cardigan left open but, when we were photographing it, Jade couldn’t resist trying her adorable SpaceCadet shawl pin (from a recent Yarn Alliance parcel).  And when we finished the shoot — can I be perfectly honest? — I know she didn’t want to take it off!  “I love the way it fits!” she said.  “It’s one of those cardigans you feel like you could wear every single day.”

So, do you love Darlina as much as we do?  Ready to cast on?  Here’s good news — we’re doing a shop update of Lyra at noon today!  There will be plenty of skeins for you to create a Darlina of your own!  Set a timer on your phone and then click here to grab your favourite colour.

And Jade is planning to knit hers in Veracity, one of our new gradient linking sets.  Can’t you just imagine how gorgeous this construction would look in colour that morphs from top to bottom?!?  We’ve got a few linking sets in stock — click here to see them.

Oh, and when we were taking the photos, Jade suggested this would make an awesome summer KAL and I totally agree. Do you think so too?  Leave a comment and let us know you’re in!

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SpaceCadet Newsletter: Yarn Bowls Back in Stock, a FREE Planner and…

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Yarn Bowls Back in Stock, a FREE Planner and…

Here in Pittsburgh, Spring has sprung at last and it feels like there is so much to do.  There is nothing like the sudden arrival of good weather to get my creative juices flowing!  Are you the same?

And that seems to have flowed over into my newsletter creation this week.  There’s a ton of cool things to share!  Including our yarn bowls back in stock and fun news about shipping — which I realise might sound like four of the most ridiculous words you’ve ever heard strung together, but trust me on this.   So grab your cup of tea or coffee, curl up some place comfortable, and spend 5 minutes relaxing with this week’s fibery goodness!


I make a lot of lists (a semi-successful attempt to tame my spacecadet brain!) but I’ve never been good at being really systematic with them.  So this caught my attention as soon as I spotted it: Stacey Trock, the crochet designer at FreshStitches, created a printable weekly planner for herself and then made it available to the rest of us too…  for free!  Click here to see more.

You and I both know that knitting and crocheting is not just for grandmothers (but the press never seems to get that… *sigh*). And we also know it’s not just for women (I know a bunch of male knitters and crocheters, maybe you know a few too?), but the rest of the world is maybe not ready to accept that. This article (warning: not all that safe for work) explores the “feminine” things men would do if they weren’t judged. This line made me splutter my tea: “I’d knit so hard, bro.”

Knitting for recreation is all good and well, but I absolutely adored reading about this movement to use knitting and crochet to get kids (especially girls) into math and science.  “I was tired of trying to convince girls that robots were cool,” says Professor Sarah Kuhn, a psychologist and member of the Social Science Advisory Board for the National Center of Women and Information Technology at University of Massachusetts Lowell.  She calls handicrafts such as knitting and weaving “a STEM opportunity hiding in plain sight.”  I couldn’t agree more!  Click here to read the article.

SpaceCadet Yarn Bowls & Mugs Back in Stock!

I love having the SpaceCadet grinning up at me as I drink my morning cup of tea, and knitting is always nicer when my yarn is sitting in such a beautiful bowl, so I am super-excited to announce that our SpaceCadet mugs and yarn bowls are back in stock — and just in time for Mother’s Day!  If you’re looking for the perfect gift, know someone who needs a good hint(!), or just want to treat yourself, click here.

Hand-thrown by Amanda Pawley, the yarn bowls come in two sizes — regular and the adorable mini — and the mug is satisfyingly chunky and generous.  And they are all available in three glazes: deep and dark Starry Night, vibrant Arizona Sunrise, and the delightful Sweet Pea glaze.  The last time we got these lovely pieces in, they went super-fast, so don’t delay  to see what’s in stock.

New Shipping Pricing!

Hey, I get it — this might not sound so exciting.  But it is!   Our shipping pricing has been set up the same way ever since SpaceCadet first opened as an Etsy shop.  And whereas Etsy made me charge a little extra shipping for every item on the order, we actually ship domestic orders by Priority Mail, which is priced by the pound.  That means that there’s no extra shipping cost  whether you’re shipping 4oz, 8oz, or a full pound.

So this week, I updated our shipping costs to reflect that!  Now, order up to three skeins and your US shipping charge doesn’t go up.  If you’re ordering a sweater quantity and want to throw in a couple of extra skeins, your US shipping charge doesn’t go up.  We don’t pay extra until the parcel goes over the pound mark — and now, neither do you.  See?  I told you it was exciting!

Limited Time: FREE Shipping on Orders over $99!

Even more exciting news about shipping (you didn’t think shipping could get any more exciting, did you?).  This is something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time and, since I was updating our shipping anyway, I went ahead and set it up.  For a limited time, you get FREE shipping on US orders over $99.  And my favourite thing about this?  I discovered an awesome little bar that sits at the bottom of the screen to let you know how close you are.  It’s super-dorky of me but I totally love it.  Seriously, click here and just try adding something to your cart and see what I mean!

Basalt Columns by Heatherly Walker

There are so many things I love about these socks.  First, they’re designed by the delightful Heatherly Walker, who does simply amazing things with intricate stitchwork. Second, they’re about Basalt Columns, which are rock formations I’ve been a fan of (wait, can you be a fan of rock formations?!?) ever since I saw Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.  Third, they’re designed in SpaceCadet’s wonderful sparkly yarn, Lucina.  And fourth, as Heatherly discovered, it’s really really hard to capture those sparkles in pictures (tell me about it!) so, instead, she incorporated sparkles right into the image — I love that!   These socks are part of Heatherly’s year-long collection called “Stonework” — you can get this pattern on its own or collect the whole set.

And good news!  I just checked the shop and we’ve got plenty of Lucina in stock.  It’s a beautiful merino sock yarn with 20% nylon for strength and subtle sparkle that’s soft on your skin.  Click here to check out all the gorgeous colourways!

Earthbound Misfit by Barbara Benson

Whoa — talk about a headturner!  I absolutely love these textured stripes of Earthbound Misfit.   If you’ve got a stash of SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, go through and pick out your favourite bundle, then grab a skein of fingering to contrast with it, and cast on for a stunning spring wrap.

And if you’re not in the Mini-Skein Club…   every month, we dye a set of gradient colours that flow into the next month’s colours and into the next and the next.  The result is a Never Ending Gradient that is just gorgeous!  Click here to check it out.



We’re in the process of planning some fun events for summer and I was wondering to myself, what sorts of events do folks here enjoy the most? And when I mentioned it to the team, they said, “Why don’t you ask them?”

Well, there’s a good idea! So my question to you this week is pretty straightforward:

What kind of knitting & crochet activities do you like to participate in?

Click the link and share!

Ok, before I go…  something to look forward to: later this week, I’m going to introduce you to one of the most interesting patterns ever designed in SpaceCadet yarn.  I can’t wait for you to see it!  So be sure to keep your eyes on your inbox for that, later this week.

But that’s for today.  I’ve got a busy day ahead at the studio, so I’d better finish my cuppa and get down there.  And I hope you’ve got a wonderful day planned as well!


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The SpaceCadet Newsletter: All About Spring!

The SpaceCadet Newsletter: All About Spring!

Yesterday, I did something I haven’t done in (what feels like) forever:  I sat on the porch with a cup of tea and my knitting and watched the sun go down.  Ok, I needed a light cardigan around my shoulders but there is no doubting that the weather has turned and Spring is in full force.  And I am so ready for it!

I find that with the change of seasons, my thoughts on knitting and crocheting change too. I may still have something warm and bulky on my needles, but I’m starting to think about drapey summer shawls, lovely light yarns, and bright happy colours.  So I’ve filled this week’s newsletter with exactly that!  Sound good?  Go grab a warm cuppa and your project, and I’ll meet you on the porch!




  • I take my knitting my everywhere with me, and I often get those same questions we all get when we’re knitting (or crocheting) in public.  You know the ones, right?  So laughed out loud when I came across this KIP Bingo card put together by designer Andi Satterlund.  Click here, print out a few copies, and play bingo the next time you go to knit night!

image ©Andi Sutterlund; used with permission

  • The thing that I love about knitting and crocheting is how architectural they are.  Except for that first garter-stitch scarf, most of us are working on something that has curves and corners, texture and shape.  And when it comes to sweaters, the trickiest part of that shape is how the sleeves join the body.  I loved this article from Interweave on six armholes and how to make them work for your body.


  • I have a dear friend whose favourite colour is green — as in, if she’s buying something, she’s buying it in green and, if she already owns it in another colour and it comes out in green, she’ll buy it again.  So when I saw this article on the deadly nature of Victorian-era green dyes, I thought of her immediately and sent her the link.  She’s still buying green.  And I’m still dyeing green.  (But we’re both a bit the wiser about the fascinating history behind it.)




New “Linking” Gradient Sweater Kits

When we debuted these gradient sweater kits at Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet last month, I said we’d get them in the online shop soon, and here they are!  What’s special about these kits?  Well, in the studio, we’ve been calling them “linking” kits, because the gradient works its way from one of standard colourways to another standard colourway.  Not only does that produce a really beautiful gradient, but it means that if you need to size up a kit (to adjust the fit or modify a pattern), it’s really easy — just get an extra skein in of the the colours at either end of the gradient and it will blend right in.

Take Veracity for instance: it starts with Longing, our lovely pine green, and works it way across the five skeins to Feather, a gorgeous teal blue.  If you need to size up, just add a skein of either Longing or Feather, and you’re done!  Super easy and no wondering if you’ve picked a colour that will work.

Together with our other sweater kit colours (mixed into the collage below), you’ve got a lot of wonderful choices for gradient work.  Plus, we’ve had so much fun developing these that I think we just might find ourselves back at the dyepots creating even more.  Watch this space!



Knitting by the Pool by Rosemary (Romi) Hill

Just recently, I’ve noticed a ton of orders have come in for our beautiful silk-linen yarn, Thebe.  While we were packing all the parcels, I snuck over to the computer to find out why, and the reason is something to celebrate.  The wonderful designer Romi Hill had just released Knitting by the Pool, a design she created in Thebe for the latest installment YarnOver Truck’s yarn club.  It’s stunningly beautiful, with lacework that perfectly evokes a summer afternoon by the pool, and — fortunately for you and me — available to all of us online.   Thebe is a delight to knit with and we’ve just replenished our stock, so click here, pick your colour, and let’s get summer started!

Fractured Helix by Barbara Benson

Can I be honest?  The words “lace,” “mosaic,” and “bold colour” don’t sound like they’d make a good combination at allBut the way Barbara Benson designs, they turn into something magical.  Take her Fractured Helix shawl for example.  I am just crazy about the way Barbara’s complicated stitchwork both holds its own and makes the colour pop.  Wow, is that gorgeous!  And it’s just one of twenty innovative patterns that combine slip-stitch colourwork and lace techniques in her new book, Mosaic Lace & Knits (below).  Plus, Barbara’s produced a video tour for the shawl (yes, a tour!) so you can see it in action and get to know her.

images © Romi Hill  and Barbara Benson; used with permission



Every year, as the season changes, I notice that my knitting focus changes as well — almost immeditely. I want to cast on All The (light, airy, breezy, lacy) Things. Are you the same?  Of course, that change could mean a lot of things: lighter weight yarn, more “summer”-y fibers, more delicate designs… There are a lot of ways our project choices can change to be more summer-ready.

But for today’s pop quiz, I’m wondering:

What’s the first change you find yourself making when the weather gets warmer?

Click the link and share!

And with that, I’d better get back to work.  We’ve got some fun orders to dye today and I’m looking forward to doing it with the windows wide open and the breeze blowing through the studio.  I hope you have a wonderful spring day planned too.  So thanks so much and, until next time, all my best!

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How SpaceCadet Meetings aren’t Your Average Team Meetings

How SpaceCadet Meetings aren’t Your Average Team Meetings

Because the members of the SpaceCadet crew have a lot of freedom to work whatever hours suit each of us, we can often go for days (or sometimes weeks) without actually being in the studio at the same time.  So we have a set meeting at the beginning of the month so that we can all come together and go over everything we all need to know for the upcoming weeks.  It keeps us all on the same page, while being part of the framework that allows us to work the kind of crazy schedules that we all need (did you read the post where I talked about how SpaceCadet is set up to support women?).

The meetings usually last about two hours and we cover a lot of ground.  The most important thing to me is getting the chance to hear what my team needs, and how I can make it easier for them to get their work done.  Then I tell them all about the fantastic/crazy ideas I’ve had and all the new stuff I want us to do…   aaaaand the more pragmatic members of the team start working through the pesky details that I tend to gloss right over.  It’s good to have that mix of creative and practical, and the meetings are essential for bringing the two sides together.

Often, there are snacks.  Sometimes there are mimosas.  Those are kind of a necessity for the heavier planning meetings — getting too far into those pesky details makes me start to twitch.  But no matter what we’re covering, or how heavy it might get, it’s always about yarn.  Lovely, smooshy, delicious yarn.  And that makes all the difference in the world.

At our meeting last week, we were going over lots of the ordinary things that keep a business going: schedules, stock levels, packing for upcoming shows…  that sort of thing.  As we wrapped up one item, I looked down my agenda list to see what was up next.

“Ok,” I announced, “the next thing is: rainbows.”  I paused, hearing my own words echo for a moment in my head and felt a little smile tug at the corners of my mouth.  The actual agenda item was about the order in which we display our colourways at shows.  We do them in rainbow order, you see, but I’ve been thinking of  changing that up a bit and had hoped to get the team’s ideas.  It was a legitimate agenda point, one with a real business need behind it…   but like a pre-teen girl doodling in school, what I’d written in my meeting notes was simply “rainbows.”

I looked up at the team, who were looking back at me slightly perplexed.  “Do you realise,” I asked them, grinning broadly now, “that we work in a business where one of our actual agenda items is rainbows?!?  We’re having a meeting and we’re going to discuss rainbows?!?”

“I love my job,” one of them said.

Yep, so do I.


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If you found this post useful, you’ll want to get on our mailing list. Each week(ish) we send out a newsletter packed with all the latest that’s happening in the world of yarn, plus pattern picks, our pop-quiz, and more! And, when you join the list, you…

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I’m so excited to announce that today is the day…
The SpaceCadet’s InterStellar Yarn Alliance is open for subscriptions!

Exploring great new colourways is tons of fun… and even better when you do it with friends!

The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is your a chance to e into amazing exclusive SpaceCadet colourways and share it with a fabulous community of folks who are just as excited as you are!

Subscriptions available from March 13 – 26 ONLY

Click below:

Very Important: if you are giving a subscription as a gift, please remember to include the recipient’s postal and email addresses in the notes when you check out. We gotta have that to send the recipient their parcels!

ISYA Quotes 2016.03

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.
  • A 15% off coupon every six months
  • And your entry to an awesome community of club members who share pattern ideas, cheer you on, and make our activities so much fun!

Plus Get a Coordinating Colourway!

Colours this gorgeous deserve companions, don’t you think? So each month, you have the opportunity to get a second colourway that we design to coordinate beautifully with the first, so you can create an even more amazing project. Usually a semi-solid or a gently variegated, you can use it to create stripes, a contrasting panel, or to go where-ever your creativity takes you!

And Sweater Quantities!

One gorgeous skein just isn’t enough? You also have an exclusive opportunity to order more skeins custom-dyed in the latest club colourway. You’ll receive an email with all the details about a week after your parcel goes out — and then all you have to do is pick your project!


Aaaand Great Goodies!

We have so much fun coming up with an awesome Yarn Alliance gift to pop into every parcel. Each one features our adorable SpaceCadet and is totally collectable. Which one will be your favourite?


A 6 month subscription (3 parcels) starts at $145
and a 12 month subscription (6 parcels) starts at $249

Ready to join us? C’mon — let’s do this!
Click below to choose your subscription:

Very Important: if you are giving a subscription as a gift, please remember to include the recipient’s postal and email addresses in the notes when you check out. We gotta have that to send the recipient their parcels!

Check Out our Gorgeous Colourways from Previous Parcels…

Very Important: if you are giving a subscription as a gift, please remember to include the recipient’s postal and email addresses in the notes when you check out. We gotta have that to send the recipient their parcels!

Important Details and Policies: Six month subscriptions include 3 parcels; twelve month subscriptions include 6 parcels. Parcels will be sent out in early January, March, May, July, September, and November. Subscription openings will be available in March and September. Shipping within the United States is included in the price; extra charges apply for shipping outside the US. Normal subscription openings for the InterStellar Yarn Alliance are two weeks only in March and September of each year. Cancellation policy: Because we often purchase supplies for all the parcels immediately after the subscription period ends, refunds are generally not available. However, if there are extenuating circumstances, please contact us as soon as possible and we will try to do what we can. By purchasing a subscription, you acknowledge and agree to these policies.  All images shown here are of past colourways and are for illustrative purposes only. Yarns, colourways, and gifts for new subscriptions will be different (but still awesome!).

Any questions? We’re always happy to help! Just email us at missioncontrol (at) spacecadetyarn (dot) com.

The SpaceCadet Newsletter: How to Cure Splitting Yarns, & Some Lovely Interchangeables

The SpaceCadet Newsletter: How to Cure Splitting Yarns, & Some Lovely Interchangeables

I know I mentioned it in my recent blog post but so many people at Stitches came up to say how much they love reading this newsletter that I’m writing this one on something of a high!  My goal has always been to give you something fun and filled with yarny goodness, to relax with over a cup of coffee or tea and with your project near to hand.  And when I mentioned that, almost everyone nodded in agreement that that’s exactly what they do.  I am thrilled!

And excited to bring you the next installment.  So quick, go put the kettle on, grab your WIP, and let’s dive in!



A Round-Up of News from the Worlds of Knitting, Crocheting, Spinning, and Beyond…

  • If you’ve ever felt like a yarn was fighting you every step of the way — splitting, losing twist, driving you nuts — then these two articles from Wendy at YarnSub are just what you need.  First, read this one on yarn twist and how your knitting style affects it, and then move onto this one about how to add twist to splitty yarns.


  • In the category of “things that just make me happy”:  these two adorable ink and watercolour illustrations, one called “My Stash, Explained” and the other titled “What’s in the Knitter’s Bag?”  When I finally get my own craft room (it will happen!), I think these may be the first thing to go up on the walls!


  • Did you see this article about how knitting teachers are paid at Michael’s?  I’m thrilled that the fiber arts are growing, but it’s important to foster a community that values and supports the skills we share.  An interesting read.


  • Walking around Stitches, I came across Indian Lake Artisans’ booth and chatted with Mark for awhile.  We exchanged stories of parenting disasters (mine won), discussed how much our feet ached (concrete floors are brutal!),  and then he showed me their new interchangeable needle sets.  I was impressed!  I had time to knit on them for only a few minutes but the join is smooth, the tips are designed to swivel without untwisting from the cable(!), and the hexagonal needles felt good in my hand.  If you’re looking for interchangeables, this is a set worth considering!




The Yarn Alliance Opens on Monday!

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways (that you can’t get enough of!), and shared with a wonderful community of fellow club members who are all part of the adventure too.  Plus we create beautiful coordinating skeins to double the fun.  And each parcel contains a wonderful club gifts created exclusively for the club by our community of amazing handmakers.  Oh, and a 15% coupon!

The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year, and we always give early access to folks on the club mailing list. There’s not much time, so click here and make sure you’re on it.  You’ll get an email a few days before subscriptions go live so you can nab yours before anyone else!

In the meantime, please feel free to drool a little over last season’s yarns..

SpaceCadet Spring Show Schedule

In the meantime, we’re in the middle of our spring show season. Come see (and pet and smoosh) all the SpaceCadet yarn you love — in person! Here’s what’s coming up:

Homespun Yarn Party
Date: March 19
Savage MD

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival
March 24-26
Pittsburgh PA




Yeseria Shawl by Katy H. Carroll

I got to see the lovely Katy Carroll at Stitches the other week and swooned over this shawl.  I love the generous triangular shape (seriously, click the link — it’s like a cape) but what caught my eye most was the way she’s included a non-lacy section between the lace repeats.  It’s such a simple thing that a lot of people would never have thought to do but the contrast sets the lace panels off perfectly.  Named for the Moorish style of plaster carving found in Spain and Northern Africa, “Yeseria” can be knit in three skeins of SpaceCadet Lyra (sport).

Burly Cable Cowl by Barbara Benson

Men’s knits can be sometimes disappointingly plain, which is why this beautiful cowl caught my eye.  Barbara Benson wanted a cable to run around the top of this cowl, but didn’t want to do any grafting.  Her clever solution? Decorative buttons that tack down the flap of the cable band and make it look like you did a bunch of fancy work but without making the pattern too fussy.

Teagan the Teacup by Stacey Trock

And this one….  just purely because it cracks me up.  I drink a lot of tea.  A lot.  When I first moved to Pittsburgh from the UK, a new friend asked me, do the British really drink as much tea as they do in the Harry Potter books?  I tallied up my day: a cuppa when I first wake up, one as soon as I get to work, another mid-morning, another right before lunch and then again after lunch…  it went on and on and eventually came to around ten cups of tea a day.  So I couldn’t help but grin when I saw this adorable crocheted cuppa.  February’s pattern for the Ami Club, crocheting it would be a great way to…  well, to work up a thirst!



I’m noticing a trend in the show scene that I’m sure you’re noticing too: more and more shows are beginning to combine a yarn-based crafts (knitting/crochet/spinning) with a sewing-based crafts (quilting/sewing). I’m seeing it everywhere from the biggest shows such as Stitches United and the new Stitches Pasadena show, down to regional shows like Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet.

On the one hand, it’s an exciting development (I don’t know that I’ve ever found a craft I didn’t want to at least try!). On the other hand, I’m not completely convinced these two make the most natural bedfellows.

How do you feel about the trend for combining yarn shows with sewing shows?

Click the link and share your thoughts!



 You know that awful sinking feeling when something has gone terribly wrong and there’s nothing you can do to fix it?  Yep, I got it as we were setting up our booth at Stitches.  Read the story of how half our yarn went missing just a few hours before the show started!

Well, I’ve got a busy day of dyeing ahead of me.  Today, we’re creating some wonderful new colourways to welcome spring (it is coming, right?).  I hope you have a wonderful day planned too!

Until next time, all the best.

When Half our Yarn Disappeared at Stitches West!

When Half our Yarn Disappeared at Stitches West!

We were at Stitches West last weekend and it was amazing: exciting, exhausting, educational, and a feast of fibery goodness.  With two massive convention center rooms packed with vendors, there was magic for any yarn lover.

Photo by Erik Drost / CC BY

If you’ve never been behind the scenes as a yarn show is being put together, it’s really quite remarkable.  At the start, it’s a just a huge empty space: concrete floors stretching in all directions and practically nothing else.  It’s hard to imagine how this will turn into a bustling, exciting yarn show.  But before you know it, the pipe-and-drape is going up to create the booths, the forklifts start zooming around carrying pallets, and vendors arrive and begin building their booths.

It’s a very tough, physical day — lots of lifting and dragging and hoisting and balancing — but the excitement in the air makes the work go quickly.  The vendors are all in good spirits, looking forward to the show.  This year at Stitches, we even had the help of a Jamie, a long-time customer who lives near Santa Clara and offered an extra pair of hands.  It was lovely to have her help and even lovelier to get to a face to a name!

Now the thing I find hardest about set-up day is the confusion.  Until the booth starts to take shape, it feels like everything is everywhere — and it is.  Before we do anything, we have to lay our flooring down, which means emptying our pallet but without filling our booth space up, so we end up dragging all our stuff out into the aisle while we get the floor in place.  Then we move everything back into the booth so the other vendors can get by, and start building the displays.

As we started hanging the yarn on the Stitches displays, Jade said, “Umm…  Stephanie, I can’t find the Lucina.”  I wasn’t worried — it was sure to turn up, hidden under another bag somewhere.  But after a few minutes, she said she couldn’t find some of the Maia either…  and then some other yarn was missing… and then some more.  We stopped what we were doing and counted bags of yarn.  There were only five bags.  And we had originally packed eight.

These are big bags — they hold several hundred skeins apiece.  Where on earth could they have gone?  We tore the booth apart but they weren’t anywhere, and I began to think of the fateful trip of Ol’ Yeller, the truck that broke down on the way to way to Stitches, and how Amy and Scott had had to unload everyone’s yarn on the side of the road.  With a sinking feeling, I began to wonder if some of our yarn might have been left behind.

I texted the team in Pittsburgh: had we really packed eight bags?  Yes, we had, so that was almost half our yarn missing!  I looked at the booth displays we’d just put up and my stomach knotted…  we didn’t have enough skeins left to fill them.  And what was I going to say to Amy and Scott?  It wasn’t their fault at all but they were in the booth right next door and they’d see we were missing a ton of yarn.  What could I say to them?!?

My mind raced for solutions.  What if I phone Jill and ask her quickly pack more yarn and…  Wait! We’re in California. Dang it! That won’t work.  Ok, what if I ask our neighbours if they can loan us some…  oh no, hold on, it’s our actual yarn that’s missing, not part of our display.  What if we…  Aughhhh…  there’s no answer.  We’re just scuppered.

For thirty minutes, we carried on building the booth as my heart sat in my stomach.  I didn’t have the heart to stop the work but I didn’t know what the solution could possibly be.  We had two big, beautiful booth spaces and they were going to look so half-empty and sad.  All my enthusiasm for the show had drained away.

After a while, Jade disappeared to get a drink and, when she came back, she had a funny smile on her face.  “Soooooo…” she started, drawing the word out for effect, “do you remember when we were putting the flooring down and we moved three bags of yarn into our neighbour’s booth to get them out of the way…?”

When we WHAT?!?  Oh yeah!  We did!  I dashed out of the booth and around the corner and…  there they were!  Just sitting there minding their own business along the edge of our neighbour’s booth.  I felt all the blood rush back into my body.  We had our yarn!!!

The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of yarn and knitters and crocheters and pure excitement — but can I tell you what stood out to me the most?  The sheer number of customers who came up to introduce themselves and tell me how they know us.  We had club members (oh! how lovely it is to get to meet them in person!), and newsletter subscribers (so many people said, “I love reading your newsletter!” that I must have spent the whole weekend blushing) and even customers from last year who came back to show us what they made with their yarn.  Make no mistake, doing shows is really hard work and long hours, but getting to meet and interact with the people in our SpaceCadet community?  Makes everything totally worth it!

On Sunday, the show closed at 4pm, and we began to break down the booth and pack it all back up for the trip home.  Three hours after the last customer said goodbye, there was hardly a trace of the yarny wonderland that had been there all weekend.  Our pallets were picked up to go on the truck, Jade and I took one last look to make sure nothing had been left, and then we headed straight to the airport to catch the red-eye and start the long journey home.  Twenty-one hours after our day started on Sunday morning, I finally walked through my own front door.  And then I think I slept for two days straight!

(But Pittsburgh folks: you’ll love the view we had as we flew in)

(Speaking of Pittsburgh folks, can I just take a moment to thank all of you who stopped by and said hi to Jill and Sara as they did Indie Knit & Spin that same weekend — their first show on their own?  I was a little worried but you guys made the show such a success that they came back with huge grins on their faces.  Thank you so much for being so encouraging!)

The Yarn Alliance Opens in One Week!

It really is all about community — and the best community is being part of one of our clubs!  Everything feels more personal: the dyeing, the choosing the yarn and gift, even writing the dyer’s notes (the SpaceCadet’s Log!) in a real connection between me and you, and between all the club members.  The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year — and I’m so excited that it opens again next week!

Want first dibs?

We always give early access to folks on the club mailing list, so click here and make sure you’re on it.  You’ll get an email a few days before subscriptions go live so you can nab yours before anyone else!

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