SpaceCadet Newsletter: Barking at Sheep and Other Adventures

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Barking at Sheep and Other Adventures

If you aren’t on Instagram every day, you might not have spotted that the recent discussions around race and inclusiveness have expanded to conversations around pattern pricing and accessibility for all incomes.  It’s been fascinating and thought provoking to say the least, with some distinctly differing viewpoints emerging in teh conversations, and something I’d really like to share with you.  But, because it’s on Instagram and mostly being discussed in IG Stories (which aren’t easily sharable or linkable), much of the discussion is really hard to reference outside of IG.

So, if you’re curious, I suggest you explore IG (and especially the stories) for yourself. I know it will feel like jumping into a fast-moving conversation that’s already in mid-flow (because that’s exactly what it is) but that’s probably the best way to catch up on the debate.  In the meantime, I am collecting linkable sources around this conversation (blog posts, regular IG posts, and so on) to share with you in an upcoming newsletter.  And if you have seen any particularly interesting posts that you think are worth sharing too, please do send them to me — I’d really appreciate it!

Ok, I’ve got a nice cup of tea and a bunch of stuff to tell you about, so go find a comfy place to curl up and let’s jump right in, ok?


Years ago, I was on holiday with friends in the west of Ireland when we came across a lamb that was stuck in a peat bog and separated from its mother, both of whom were bleating pitifully and continuously to one another but completely unable to reunite.  We debated for several minutes as to how to help them and came up with no solutions when, without thinking, I walked toward the lamb, crouched down, and started barking loudly like the meanest dog you ever heard.  It did the trick.  The lamb, who had been thoroughly stuck, was suddenly very much unstuck and at its mother’s side in a heartbeat, and the two trotted off together, very happily and relieved.  And I had completely forgotten about that until I watched this rather hilarious video of a man in California who left his back gate open and, upon discovering his garden had been invaded by scores of sheep, didn’t know how to get them back out.  He tries to convince and cajole them (and eventually succeeds) but I found myself thinking, “Just start barking!”  And my very favourite part of the whole story?  The sheep grazing behind his house are brought in by the local government to clear overgrowth in an effort to curb wildfires.  Brilliant!

I was completely intrigued when I came across this recent Google Doodle depicting Ruth Asawa creating what appeared to be crocheted hanging… lamp shades? artworks? bug-catchers? I wasn’t sure so I clicked through and was so glad I did.  Ruth was a Japanese-American artist whose looped wired pieces were inspired by “plants, the spiral shell of a snail, seeing light through insect wings, watching spiders repair their webs in the early morning”.  Her life story is inspiring, and well worth a read.

The knitting/crochet/weaving pattern website, Patternfish, is closing its doors.  It will stop selling patterns at the end of this month, and keep customer’s purchased patterns available for download until the end of June. If you’ve got patterns stashed there, be sure to download them before then.

Ok, I’m a little biased because Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is here in Pittsburgh but I cheered when I saw this news item about how researchers used knitting to create “soft robotics.” The goal was”to design robotic form factors that are lower cost, less dangerous and in some cases even wearable.”  They do it by sewing innovative “tendons” (otherwise known as… ahem… lifelines!) into the fabric and attaching them into motors that then pull to reshape the fabric.  Watch the video, it’s interesting stuff!

One of the things I really love doing is taking photographs of patterns designed in SpaceCadet yarn.  If dyeing is my creative outlet, then photography is a creative outlet on top of my creative outlet! At any rate, Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs sent me her Briochearrow shawl (you remember it from a few weeks ago?) and we got such lovely shots of it that I really want to share them with you.

The thing I like about these photos most is that I think they really let you see the beauty of those brioche stitches, and the way the variegated colourway (Molten Cool) shifts and changes.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Have you tried brioche yet?


Tudor Windows Pullover by Corrine Walcher

image © Stephanie Alford

If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu, it’s because designer Corrine Walcher was so impressed when our model wore her beautiful Tudor Windows cardigan backwards that she has reworked the pattern into a pullover.  And I think it’s absolutely lovely!  I mean, I know your eye is drawn to that cable panel but do zoom in on the raglan shaping — it’s so beautiful!  Designed in SpaceCadet Lyra for its incredible stitch definition, it’s shown here in Yes Dear, a wonderfully versatile green.  Click here to see the full range of colours.

Various by Hunter Hammersen

image © Hunter Hammersen, used with permission

I am such a sucker for a really great hat crown, and this one certainly fits that bill!  There’s something about it that’s so organic, it’s almost irresistible.  Knit with only one colour at a time, the intricate patterning is created through clever use of slipped stitches.  I’d love to see it with in a beautifully busy variegated, such as Windswept, against a deep semi-solid, like That’s What She Said.

Castle in the Sky by Lisa K. Ross

image © Lisa K Ross, used with permission

Now, the inspiration for these socks has something to with Jack and the Beanstalk but, living in Pittsburgh — the city that has more bridges than anywhere else in the world — you know I immediately saw those same steel and stone structures in its stitchwork.  Whether you think it looks like beanstalks (no) or bridges (yes), you have to admit, they do look like a lot of fun to knit!  Try them in Fizz or Crisp for a bright result or in a more subdued Longing.

Ok, there’s a lot of stuff on the agenda today (dyeing, a little bookkeeping, and our TNNA booth to design!), so I’d better get a start on things.  I hope you have a wonderful day ahead of you (no bookkeeping!) and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Your Suggestions on My Tensioning

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Your Suggestions on My Tensioning

You remember the other week I was discussing the way I tension my yarn, and wondering whether I ought to change it for something more…  efficient?  So many of you wrote in to reassure me that my tensioning technique was just fine as it is (thank you! I appreciate that!).  And so many others shared their own techniques (and that was so helpful and enlightening!).

  • Susan said, “Wow! That has to be the most complicated tension hold I have ever seen… All teasing aside, if it works for you and you have beautiful stitches, why change?”  And then shared her much more simple tensioning method, “around pinky and over the index.” (which, I suspect is a very common way to tension?)
  • And another Susan explained, “As to old dogs and new tricks… I usually beg off teaching people who knit English style how to knit Continental style. That’s simply because muscle memory is so strong, people have a really hard time learning a knitting system that’s different from the one they’re used to. Good luck learning a new tensioning system!”
  • Designer Emily Connell said, “I love the tensioning discussion. Personally, I’ve found from teaching a lot of people how to knit and knitting techniques that the first way it feels ok to hold the yarn is usually what will stick long-term. I also find that most people aren’t successfully able to rebuild new muscle memory for a different tensioning method…I learned to knit by throwing, and I held the yarn around my pinky finger for just a tiny bit of tension. However, I changed methods to picking/continental a few years later and wound up with a whole new system of tension… Now it goes over and under all my fingers and then circles my pinky. …My thought is that if what you’re doing is working and isn’t causing any physical pain, then no need to worry about finding a more efficient method.”
  • Cassandra wrote, “I am trying to teach crochet to some Girl Scouts and their leaders and no one can seem to wrap their brain around holding the yarn in their non-dominant hand for tension and doing nothing else with that hand, except to hold the immediately worked project as they go along. I keep telling them their dominant hand, holding the hook, is the one doing all the work making the stitches, but I keep seeing them having a problem with trying to wrap the yarn around the hook ala knititng fashion or not understanding how the yarn moves through their fingers.”
  • Lisa reassured me, “I think everyone tensions in their own unique way!” (and I think she’s right!)
  • Samantha pulled out her knitting to check her own tensioning style, “Let me see… under the pinky, up between the pinky and next finger, then over the other fingers and wrapped twice around the index finger- and this is continental style in my left hand. Techniques are so interesting, and hard to change I think unless you find a more comfortable way. We do what works, right?”  We do indeed.

And then the funniest thing happened.  I was sick last week — really sick, couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t walk up the stairs without gasping (did you notice there was no newsletter last week? yeahhhhh) — and so I did what makers do and cast on a new project while I let my body rest.  This project was crochet and, as I worked on it, I realised that the way I tension crochet is how I would tension my knitting if I knitted Continental.  But I can’t knit Continental and, every time I try, my knitting explodes into a heap of mess in my lap.   And yet there I am, flying through my crochet stitches with my hands holding my yarn in the same configuration that feels impossible when I do it for knitting.  Now, how do you figure that?!?

I’m beginning to think it’s all in my head.  I’m also considering having (another) serious try at learning Continental.  Which would, of course, alter my gauge, so the only logical thing to do is cast on a new project, right?  Heh! Such a hardship.

But before I get started on that (rather massive) endeavour, I’ve got a ton of fun stuff to share with you, so let’s dive in…


At one of our recent shows, I fell in love with these gorgeous shawl pins from MAB Elements.  Handcrafted by Michelle Barrett in Ohio, each piece is unique and designed to show off the distinctive colors and shapes of the individual stones.  And Mother’s Day is right round the corner..  just sayin’…

Did you see these crocheted Converse sneakers?!?  So cool!  Although, there is a part of me that feel like I ought to be able to make them for myself, the truth is that I know I never would and they’re just too adorable to pass up.

Closet Case Patterns are consciously working to expand their sizing range and, to that end, they’re asking for help developing accurate measurements in larger sizes.  If you’re size 12 or up (hips greater than 42″), you can participate by filling out their sizing survey with your measurements.  Incidentally, I’d love to know your favourite knitting and crochet designers who do larger sizes really well.  Please let me know!

As we head into the warmer months, it’s worth sharing this little tidbit: wool is a great warm-weather fabric!  (Back when I worked in corporate — waaaaay back — I had a beautiful summer weight wool suit that was absolutely my most comfortable warm-weather outfit.)  As Woolmark points out, “In warm environments, wool fabrics can feel up to two times cooler to touch than synthetic fabrics, because wool conducts more heat away from your skin… Wool fabrics can move 25% more moisture away from your skin than polyester fabrics.”  Good to know!

Spring weather is so much fun — warm, then cold, then storms, then sunshine.  And I guess I was on a weather-themed kick when I was looking at patterns this week.  Here’s to beautiful spring days and lots of lovely knitting and crocheting time to go with them!

sunchaser by Jenny F

This gorgeous design incorporates two of my favourite things — bold colour changes and slipped stitches — to create a super fun shawl that looks like an absolute delight to make.  Worked tip to tip, it alternates simple garter with those more interesting slipped stitch sections before finishing with an tidy i-cord bind off.  Designed in DK, you could recreate it in either Lyra or Astrid in the colourways Sliver, Dark Skies, and So Life Gave You Lemons.  Or be really creative and use your SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins held double for an incredible colourplay.

Stormfront by handmade by SMINÉ

I just think this is such a gorgeous design!  If, like me, you love to sit and watch the dark clouds build as those summer thunderstorms roll in, you’ll see how beautifully this simple three-colour design encapsulates that feeling. Designed in worsted, try it in SpaceCadet Vega using the colourways Dark Skies, Drizzle, and Gentle.

Sunflower Jumper by Robyn Chachula

What better way to welcome the return of warm weather than wrapping yourself up in a gorgeous field of crocheted sunflowers?!?  Robyn Chachula’s eye-catching design can be worn off the shoulder or on, or even wrapped up and worn as a cowl.  Versatile and gorgeous!  Designed in sport, it’d be lovely in SpaceCadet Lyra in Wilt, Feather, Frigia, or Faded Promises.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got an awesome day lined up: a little yarn wrangling, a little photography, and then I get to work on updating our wholesale information for TNNA in June.  So, I’d better finish my tea and get the day started.  I hope your day is just as fun and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Trouble with my Tensioning

SpaceCadet Newsletter: The Trouble with my Tensioning

The Yarn Alliance closed to new subscriptions this week and I just want to take a moment to welcome all our new and renewing members.  It’s been thrilling to see everyone jump on board and I am so excited about the upcoming season!  We’ll be sending out welcome emails shortly but I wanted to take a moment right here to give my warmest personal welcome.

Now, I want to ask you a question: how do you tension your yarn?  I’ve discovered that the way I tension for knitting is… well, complicated.  Here’s what I’ve always done: yarn going over the back of my right hand and down between my thumb and forefinger, wrapped around my little finger, and then under my ring and middle finger before wrapping once clockwise around my index finger.

Yeah. I know. Read it again if you have to.

I have no idea when or how my tensioning became so complicated.  I’ve been doing it for years and never given it a second thought but, just recently, I’ve been wondering if my way of holding my yarn was the most efficient option.  So I’ve been watching videos to see how other folks do it, googling images, and asking the rest of the SpaceCadet crew…  But oh my stars, when I play around with different ways of tension my yarn, I can’t believe how hard it is to get my brain to handle it.  It fights me every. step. of. the. way.  I can’t hear it screaming at me that it doesn’t like this, it doesn’t like this, and can’t we please just go back to the way we’ve always done it?!?  Old dogs and new tricks and oh how I am failing!

I’d love your tips and suggestions if you have them.  Does anyone else tension their yarn in such a complicated way?  Have you tried a few different techniques and found one you like best?  Can an old dog learn new tricks?  I’d love to hear!

In the meantime, I’ve got great stuff to share with you, including this gorgeous new shawl from Simone Kereit (scroll down to my pattern picks to see it!) and kits in these beautiful colour combos.

But more on that in a minute.  First, let’s start with some interesting fiber-world tidbits…


I was a knitter before I was a crocheter so, when I finally learned how to wield a hook, I was amazed to discover that I was accidentally adding stitches onto the edge of each row instead of moving up to the next row at the right spot.  Not so easily done in knitting but a common mistake when learning crochet!  So I loved the promise in this article about how to crochet a straight edge every time.  Just the photos alone inspire confidence of forever-straight crochet!  But it doesn’t mention using a locking stitch marker to mark the first/last stitch in each row, which is what I do now.  Hmmm… is that crochet cheating?

Last week I shared a nifty tutorial on how to darn a sock but a lot more things than just sock heels wear through and need mending — and it’s not always possible to make those repairs invisible.  So the solution is to turn them into miniature works of textile art through visible mending!  This rather awesome pictorial guide shows you how to do it with woven fabrics (looks so good on old jeans!).  And here’s how Hunter Hammersen turned holes in a cardigan into a garden of flowers.  I love it so much!

The weather is turning (at last!) and the light feels somehow clearer, which makes me start to itch to spring clean but it’s a job that I always find so overwhelming (where to start?!?).  So I googled Spring Cleaning 101 to see if I could find some tips…  and the first one was this from Martha Stewart, which suggested (as tip #2) that I dust my lightbulbs.  Oh my stars, I think Martha and I might live on different planets!  Good for a laugh though.  Anyone have any good tips for spring cleaning efficiently?  I’d love to know — and would love to share them in a future newsletter too!

Do you have a go-to increase you use all the time?  Mine is Make One (right or left, depending) but I learned a new one in this little guide to six essential increases every knitter should know: number 2, the Twisted Yarnover Increase.  I’ve literally never seen it before (anyone else? or just me?) and I’m keen to try it!

Nothing to do with knitting or crochet, but I am currently obsessed with completing this logic puzzle each day.  It took me forever at first, but now I get all four done in about five minutes and feel all accomplished (it doesn’t take much, clearly!).

Briochearrow by Simone Kereit

Simone Kereit’s gorgeous new design, Briochearrow, designed to play up the amazing, colour-shifting possibilities of brioche knitting.  This beautiful asymmetrical shawl uses a semi-solid of SpaceCadet Lyra as the main colour and variegated contrast colour to dramatic effect, and we’ve put together kits in gorgeous colour combos that will bring out the best in Simone’s design.  Click here to see them all!

Falls Ravine Vest by Robyn Chachula

Don’t you love it when a design looks all fancy and difficult but it’s really straightforward and simple to make?  Robyn’s crocheted lace vest is made from a quickly repeating wave pattern that looks deceptively complicated and will get tons of compliments, but without you pulling your hair out in the process! Designed in fingering yarn, I’d work it up in sparkly Lucina or drapey Oriana, in Feather, Drizzle, or Sage.

Simple Seed Stitch Beanie by Kirsten Holloway

There’s nothing like a hat to work up quickly for that feeling quick satisfaction!  And when the pattern is as beautifully textured as this one, it’s double the fun.  Designed in worsted weight, I’d make it in SpaceCadet Vega or Cressida. Oh, and see that little foldover tag on the hat in the photo?  If you’re in the Yarn Alliance, that’s what you latest gift is for!  Doesn’t it look cool?!?

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Today I’m photographing some great colour combo ideas for the latest Gradient Explorers colourway, and then I’m dyeing some yarns for one of our clubs.  It’s going to be a busy day so I’d better get moving.  I hope your day will be just as fun and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: No Rest for the Wicked (or me)

SpaceCadet Newsletter: No Rest for the Wicked (or me)

We had the best time at our recent shows — I love getting the chance to chat with everyone who comes to see us and especially to see their finished objects (big wave to everyone who brought something to show us!).  But, boy, do shows really wiped us out.  When we got home from the last one (at 2am, no less), I went to bed and, honestly, I didn’t get up again for another 36 hours!

But while I was sleeping, the world kept doing its thing and, in the space of only two weeks, three stunning new patterns designed in SpaceCadet yarn were released. I’ll tell you what, that got me back out of bed!  And I can’t wait to show them to you.

But first, I have a bunch of fun fiber news to share!  Oh, and to everyone who stopped by at the shows to tell me they enjoy reading these newsletters, can I just tell you how much that meant to me?  Writing these is an absolute labour of love and it totally makes my day when someone tells me they enjoy them.  Thank you so much!

Ok, are you ready? Go grab a cup of tea (I’ve got mine) and let’s dive in…


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but pink is really having a moment this season.  The colour is turning up everywhere right now and, if you haven’t spotted it, check out this round-up of all the pink dresses on the Oscar’s red carpet this year and you’ll definitely be able to see the trend.  Fortunately, SpaceCadet dyes some awesome pinks that will keep your knitting and crochet looking hot.

If darning your knitting has felt a little intimidating — especially for bigger holes — I loved this simple photographic tutorial that makes it easy to see what to do.  Click the arrow on the right of each picture to walk through it.  And soon you’ll be literally creating fabric in thin air!

I am absolutely terrible at these one-thing-a-day challenges (you know, like taking a photo every day for a year or writing a poem every day for a month) but I know a lot of crafters who love them.  So I thought you might want to hear about the 100 Day Project (#The100DayProject), a free art project about spending 100 days exploring your creativity.  Sounds like fun!  It started on Tuesday but, hey, click here to get involved anyway.

This is fascinating: there’s evidence that humans didn’t actually see blue until modern times.  Given that blues & purples are my happy colours, I almost can’t even comprehend this news but this article makes for really intriguing reading, especially the exercise in spotting the one differently-shaded square of green (which I totally failed — let me know how you do!)

The Yarn Alliance is Open to New Members NOW!
(but… only until next week!)

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways 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!

Spaces close in less than a week so if you’ve been thinking about joining, now is the time!  Click here.

I am so excited!  Three patterns in our yarn all out at once.  And they’re all fabulous.  Come see!

Bespeckle by Hunter Hammersen

Image © Hunter Hammersen, used with permission

The thing that tickles me most about this gorgeous hat is that it didn’t start out as a hat at all!  Hunter was creating a series of tutorials on pom-poms — how to make them, how to customise them — and she decided to do a plain hat to go with it.  Except that I’ve never known Hunter to anything plain and so, instead, she created this eye-catching hat by innovating a new way to work colour and add speckles that’s gorgeous to look at and so addictive to knit.  The pattern comes with ten pages of step-by-step photos and information on pompoms and four pages of step-by-step photos and information on how to create and place speckles — and you can get it with an introductory 10% discount using the code SPECK during checkout.

And we’ve done kits (of course we’ve done kits!) in some amazing colour combos to make it super easy for you!

Tudor Windows by Corrine Walcher

Image © Stephanie Alford

I don’t even know where to start when describing how much I love this cardigan.  Its stunningly beautiful texture combines with a supremely wearable shape to create a knit you’ll never want to take off.  I’m not kidding — Jade absolutely did not want to give it after the photoshoot!  Designed in SpaceCadet Lyra (sport/DK), the roundness of the yarn gives incredible stitch definitions that really make those cable pop.  The colour is one of our newest, That’s What She Said, but I want to see it worked in Yes Dear, Plume, or Sage.

Rib Vault by Emily Connell

Image © Edsger Studio for Knotions Magazine, used with permission

This beautiful shawl incorporates cables into a stitch pattern designed with crisscrossing intersections and cables to mimic the architecture of rib vaults in cathedral ceilings — and look just gorgeous on a shawl!  Designed in SpaceCadet Capella, our snuggly single-ply worsted, the yarn has softness that makes for absolutely delightful knitting.  I can’t decide if I’d rather see it knit up in something soft and ethereal like Breathless or vibrant and bold like Troublemaker.  Either way, it will be a showstopper!

Ok, I’ve got a busy day ahead of me so I’d better get down to the studio and get it all started.  I hope you’re day is full of fun plans — and those quiet moments to sit and knit or crochet too — and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Gah! I Forgot!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Gah! I Forgot!

It’s Set-Up Day at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival and the SpaceCadet crew is about to come round and start packing up the cars with everything to go in our booth.  So I was sitting here, drinking my coffee (its a lotsacoffee day!) when I realised…  gah! We’ve forgotten something!

(One thing we didn’t forget to do? Create a bunch of gorgeous One-of-a-Kind Fades for our shows
this weekend in Pittsburgh and next weekend at Homespun Yarn Party.  Come see us!)

Every time we do a show, the situation is different — different booth size, different configuration, different access, and always different lighting needs.  This show is in a hotel ballroom  and, while I know it’s going to be lovely, ballroom lighting can be a little odd. It’s often a little dim (perfect for balls, I suppose, but less so for yarn) and often a little yellow.  So we bring our own lighting if we can to make sure that, not only can you see the yarn, but it’s actually the colour you think it is.

And I’ve just realised we totally forgot to plan for our lighting.  Just completely forgot.  Which you might not think is a problem but, in truth, lighting is the first part of the booth that we set up, so we have to know how we’re doing it before we can do anything else.  And this time, it’s even more crucial because our booth size for this show is unusual — it’s 9′ x 13′ — and so we’re doing a completely new booth configuration and… I just don’t know how the lighting will work with it.

Those fades though!!!

So I’m going to pour myself another cuppa and sit down with some pens and graph paper and see what I can work out.  Please cross your fingers for me!  But before that, I’ve got a lot of fun stuff to share you this week, so let’s dive in…


The wonderful designer Hunter Hammersen has something super-fun up her sleeve (and we might just be prepping some gorgeous kits for it…) but you can get an sneak peak of what she’s up to here.  And there are pom-poms! Woot!

View this post on Instagram

Yeah, so yesterday I told you you weren't using enough yarn…today I want to tell you you aren't taking enough time trimming your pompoms. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ When they come off the form, they ALL look a mess. It's only after you trim and fluff and trim and fluff and trim and fluff and steam and fluff and maybe do on or two more tiny snips that they really look their best. Like you should expect it to take at least half an hour of futzing about with it before it looks just right. I often set mine down and come back the next day for a final trim. But it's totally worth it. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ That second picture is what this looked like straight off the pompom maker, just to show you the difference some careful attention there at the end makes! ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ I'll show you some more here in the next few days, but I mostly as examples of 'no, really, keep trimming them, they get so much better if you trim them!⁣⠀ ⁣

A post shared by Hunter Hammersen (@hunterhammersen) on



The craft industry seems to be constantly going through major changes but the news that the parent company of Interweave Press, F+W Media, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sunday has really sent big waves through the knitting and crochet world.  The fallout will impact Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Knitscene, and Spin Off, amongst a stable other craft magazine and book titles, as well as future events of the Interweave Yarn Fest, and the many writers, editors, designers, and teachers who work for and through F+W.  I first heard about it in this Instagram post from designer Miriam Felton, where her fellow designers and teachers discussed in the comments their concerns about collecting outstanding payments from the company.  And then I came across more info in this Forbes article and some really good analysis of F+W’s management history in this very enlightening Craft Industry Alliance article. How about you?  How do you feel about this news?  Does it seem like a big deal for such a giant of the industry to be in this position or is your knitting and crochet focus directed elsewhere?  I’d love to know your thoughts!

I loved this slo-mo video of a sheep being shorn that Clara Parkes posted on her Instagram feed this week and the thing I found most interesting was her point that the shearing process has never successfully been automated, meaning that “…every ounce of wool you see out there, every inch of that sock or that sweater, contains fibers that a human being… removed by hand.”  That’s something that sets wool apart not only from manufactured fibers like polyester and acrylic, but even from other natural fibers like cotton. And it’s a concept that took a few minutes for me to really let sink in!

I came across these cable-needle rings the other day and I am so enamoured of them!  Yes, cable needles you wear on your finger as rings, like the knitting badass you are.  Genius!

The Yarn Alliance Opens to New Members on March 21!
(woahhh…  that’s next week!)

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways 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 our waiting 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 join us!

Upcoming Shows

This weekend!!! The Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival in Greentree PA
(probably even with lighting!)

Next Weekend! Homespun Yarn Party in Savage MD


Anker’s Sweater – My size by PetiteKnit

Colourwork yokes have been all the rage lately but sometimes simple is stunning, and I absolutely love the simple focus on texture in this beautiful sweater.  It’s designed in fingering weight held double but also works with DK, so you’ve got a lot of options.  And if you wanted to add colour, I’d love to see a slow colour progression that would come from using our Mini-Skeins held double but changing colour one at a time.  Wouldn’t it be stunning?

Wabash Bridge Convertible Shawl by Robyn Chachula

There’s so much about this crocheted shawl to love!  First, that it’s inspired by one of Pittsburgh’s iconic bridges. Second, it’s got buttons along the edge so you can wear it like a little cloak.  And third, it’s by the lovely Robyn Chachula, who has created some wonderful crochet kits in SpaceCadet yarn that she’ll be bringing to the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival this weekend.  I can’t wait to see how they turned out!

Mini Maximization by Sarah Jordan

Mini-Skeins are wonderful fun but, sometimes, they look so delightful that you aren’t sure what to cast on with them.  This pattern is designed specifically for that problem, by combining two sets to create this eye-catching shawl.  And if you’re a member of our Mini-Skein Club, the gradient is built right in — so getting a stunning result is super-easy and almost guaranteed!

Ok, I’d better finish this coffee and get going, because I’ve got to get those lights figured out before the SpaceCadet crew gets here.  In the meantime, I hope you’ve got a great day planned (with lots of knitting or crochet time in your schedule) and, until next time, all my best!



SpaceCadet Newsletter: Defeated by Purple

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Defeated by Purple

Here’s something I found surprising when I first started SpaceCadet: photographing purple is hard.  It’s hard. I mean, it’s my job to make sure every colour on our website is true life, insomuch as I’m able, and purple tries to defeat me every. single. time.  Apparently, this is a known thing amongst photographers (and one of them once kindly wrote in to explain the technical reasons for it and I can’t remember them now) and it’s not just me, which I found a relief to know.  But to be honest, that doesn’t make it any better when I am desperately trying and trying to get an accurate photo of a purple yarn and it just refuses to cooperate!

(l-r: Yes Dear, Fred While You’re Up, and That’s What She Said)

So, having learned this about purple, I had to laugh when I saw designer Corrine Walcher’s Instagram posts this week.  She’s designing a sweater in SpaceCadet Lyra and we sent her the yarn in our beautifully rich new purple “That’s What She Said”.  She sent me a direct message to say how much she liked the colour and that she would start posting photos.  And then…  purple did its thing.



Oh my stars!

“…and it looks absolutely nothing like I could get in this picture,” she says.  And then later, “…I really just have to stop trying to capture the color of this. It’s never gonna happen.”  And I couldn’t help chuckling, because I feel her pain.  Sometimes purple just will not cooperate and it’s good to know it’s not just me!

Still though, doesn’t it look like it’s going to be an amazing design?  I can’t wait to see it.  And if you want to watch her continued progress (and continued fights with purple), be sure you’re following her on Instagram at @gingyknits.

And if you need to see again what that purple really looks like, here it is…

(l-r: Honey, Yes Dear, Longing, and That’s What She Said)


  • If Instagram isn’t your thing but you’ve been wondering about the ongoing discussions there around race and inclusion, this article is a great place to start.  Or to catch up if you got a little behind — some of those conversations developed fast and the nature of Instagram stories sometimes made it easy to miss things and get lost.


  • This article from Ysolda Teague is a really useful guide to understanding what size to knit, including how to correctly take your measurements and even comes with a handy printable measurements chart!


  • Reading this article about knitting being used as the framework in concrete structures, I came across the sentence “Knitting is the new 3D printing” and it cracked me right up. Surely it’s the old 3D printing?  Or maybe just the cooler 3D printing?  Yeah, it’s definitely that.


  • I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, but it’s almost never knitting or crafting podcasts* (I don’t know why…  I’ve tried…  but I don’t like to knit to someone talking about knitting and I always end up turning back to something about economics or politics).  But Vogue Knitting has just started a new podcast called Knitter Views and I’m going to give it a try.  They’ve got an interview with Kaffe Fassett that I’m looking forward to — when I started knitting in the early 90s, he was my absolute hero.

The Yarn Alliance Opens to New Members on March 21!

Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about coming on a colour exploration — in gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways 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!

(this is the yarn & coordinate from January’s parcel — isn’t it lovely?!?)

The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year, and we always give early access to folks on our waiting 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 join us!

Upcoming Shows

Sagostad by Sofia Kammeborn

image © Sofia Kammeborn, used with permission

Here in Pittsburgh, it just keeps snowing — in a really sweet way, if I’m honest, with little flurries that make the world look like a snow globe.  And so when I spotted these adorable mittens, named “Fairytale Town” in Swedish, they seemed to capture everything that is delightful about this time of year.  Designed in fingering, I’d go for SpaceCadet Ester because it’s a wonderfully hard-wearing Merino/nylon combo, in Dark Skies for the main colour and maybe some of my Mini-Skeins for the coordinating colours.

Double Brim Coffee Beanie by Amy Leclerc

image © Amy Leclerc, used with permission

Few things are as satisfying as whipping up a hat in record-breaking time!  This lovely beanie incorporates crocheted seed stitch for textural interest and looks adorable with an added pom-pom.  Designed in worsted weight, I’d work it up in SpaceCadet Cressida in either Fat-Free Chocolate (because I love the combo of coffee and chocolate!) or Longing

Fading Waves Cowl by ChiWei Ranck

image © ChiWei at One Dog Woof, used with permission

I love the way this long cowl uses a mixture of colorblocking and fairisle stranded knitting to work one colour into another. This version uses strongly contrasting hues to make the transitions pop (click through to see a photo the cowl opened up) but I think it would be a lot of fun knit it in more blended colours.  Perhaps Look Up!, Feather, Frigia, and Sliver?  Or Longing, Sage, Wilt, and Honey?  So many possibilities!

Ok, I think it’s time I head down to the studio and get things started.  Today we’re going to take all of our amazing One-of-a-Kind colourways and create some gorgeous fades with them for our upcoming shows.  It’s going to be a ton of fun, and I might even grab my camera and share some behind-the-scenes shots with you.  No purple though!  I hope you’ve got a great day planned too and, until next time, all my best!