SpaceCadet Newletter: a Payphone, a Porcupine, and My Mother’s Birthday

SpaceCadet Newletter: a Payphone, a Porcupine, and My Mother’s Birthday

I’m going to start today by telling you a little story, and the reason for it is that I am absolutely delighted to announce that SpaceCadet is dyeing the next installment in Indie Untangled’s exclusive yarn series, Knitting our National Parks.  For our colourway inspiration, I chose this stunning image of the Black Canyon of the Gunnisen in Colorado, because it is such a breathtaking place that it instantly became one of my favourite national parks so, when Lisa asked me to choose one for this month’s colourway, I didn’t hesitate!  There’s a story about that — well, two actually…

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Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a remote canyon, and a climbers paradise. The Gunnison River runs through the canyon, and with over 2 million years to work, it has sculpted this vertical wilderness perfectly. The trails in this area down to the river are strenuous, hard to navigate and unmarked, but they are gorgeous and it’s a place that is well worth the visit. Don’t worry — there are plenty of overlooks of the canyon below for those who just want to take in the view. Thanks for following along today! Photo courtesy of Christin Healey (@christinhealey). #usinterior #findyourpark #travel #colorado #blackcanyon #blackcanyonofthegunnison #nationalpark

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Now the Black Canyon is memorable just for its looks alone.  But on my first and only visit, it made an impression for other reasons as well.  I was 19 years old and my college boyfriend was shocked to discover I’d never been west of the Mississippi.  He’d grown up exploring the national parks with his grandparents, so he planned a month-long camping trip for the two of us that hit every park we could possibly fit into the timescale.  It was the first of many such trips and you’ll get an idea of how big an adventure it was when I tell you we drove from Ohio to the Pacific, by way of Seattle… and Tucson… and everything in between.  That’s a big trip.

But, you understand, this was before cellphones and before the internet.  We drove off in a Honda Accord, a pair of teenagers with a loosely-outlined agenda, a tentative return date, and a promise to call home regularly and let our parents know where we’d ended up.  And we did call them regularly…  sort of…  every few days or so when we found a payphone and remembered.  Looking back now, as a mother myself, I have no idea how my parents kept their cool.  

The day we arrived at the Black Canyon was my mother’s birthday and, of course, I was going to make sure I called her that day for sure.  We arrived late in the afternoon and walked along a trail to take in a first, quick look at the canyon.  There wasn’t much time before dark to set up camp, but even in those few minutes I was utterly blown away.  What a sight to behold!  The way the canyon walls drop away, the blackness below, the striation in the dark rock marbled with jagged white streaks —  it was spellbinding and, to this day, I just want stand there and look at it for hours.

But the sun was beginning to sink, so we found our campsite and pitched the tent.  And once my boyfriend started dinner, I wandered over to the visitor center to find the payphone and call my mother on her birthday.  When I got there, I was surprised to realise I couldn’t see one.  I walked all around the building once, twice…  where was it?  There’s always a payphone!  I found the ranger on duty and asked.  “No, there’s no payphone,” he replied.

Oh.

Now, it’s a really small park and the place was completely empty except for this one ranger, so I explained it was my mother’s birthday and asked if they had any kind of phone I could use, just for a minute, just to wish her happy birthday?  I’d be glad to pay, I said.

“Nope, we don’t have a phone.”  No phone? None at all?!?  “Nope.”  Oh no… what was I going to do?  My mother would be expecting my call.   The park ranger seemed entirely unaffected by my dismay but he did add, “Now, there’s one off the park a ways…”  I perked up.  He pointed out toward the road and said, “You leave the park and turn left onto the road…”  Uh huh.  I made a mental note.  “…and you drive about twenty miles until you come to a crossroads…”  Uh huh, twenty miles… what?!? “…and then you go left at that crossroads and about twenty miles on from there, you’ll come to a gas station.  There’s a payphone there.”

Forty miles?!?  Forty miles to get there?  And forty miles to get back?  Just to spend five minutes on the phone with my mother?!?  The sky was beginning to darken rapidly now.  The tent was pitched and dinner was already cooked.   It just didn’t make sense to drive all that way.  And so my mother lost out and, on her birthday, the only day she knew I’d call her, she never got that call.

That night, lying in our sleeping bags side-by-side, we were woken by a strange and slow plopping sound on the top of the tent. 

Plop

(silence)

Plop

(silence)

Plop

Photo by Levi Price

We laid there for awhile trying to figure out what i could possibly be, and finally unzipped the tent door and slowly slid out, both on our backs and looking straight up.  The night sky was incredible — so dark that you could see millions of stars, so many more than I’d ever seen in my life! For a moment, I forgot the sound that woke me up.

Plop

My boyfriend aimed a flashlight at the scrub oak we were under and there, only ten feet over our tent, was a porcupine.  I’d never seen one before, but it was about the size of a medium dog, with a fizzy belly and a halo of quills across its back, nonchalantly eating acorns and dropping twigs as it crawled along a branch directly above our tent.  It made a soft rustling sound as it moved, all the quills rubbing against each other, and the flashlight didn’t faze it at all — it never once stopped eating or even looked down at us.  Plop.

We watched it for a long while, still lying on our backs side-by-side and utterly bewitched.  And then slowly, we slid back into the tent.  After a few minutes of lying in the dark and listening to the plopping sound and the accompanying rustling above me, I began to wonder what happened if a porcupine were to fall out of a tree.  Do they land like a cat, always on their feet, or are they more like toast, always butter-side down?  It was quite a while before I fell back to sleep.

image by Nick Dunlap

Sadly, we never did get to explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison the way I so dearly wanted to.  The next day, after another short walk around the canyon rim, we drove the forty miles to find that payphone and I finally wished my mother a happy birthday.  I was surprised at how she was sobbing, surprised at how furious my dad was.  I was 19 and filled up with excitement about all the incredible things I was doing and seeing.  She had spent the whole night waiting for my call and convinced herself we’d been eaten by a bear and no one would ever find us.  By the time we’d driven the all that way to find the phone, and then stood in the blazing midday sun in a gas-station parking lot listening first to my mother’s anguish and then to my father’s angry dressing down, neither of us had much of an appetite for adventure.  So we got in the car and drove on in silence.

I learned a few things that day: about seeing things from other people’s perspectives (even in the middle of my own adventures), and about staying in touch, and birthdays, and using a payphone whenever and wherever we found one.  But I also had gotten a glimpse of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life — just a glimpse — and I’ve been promising myself ever since that, someday, I’ll go back.

Indie Untangled’s Knitting our National Parks

Now, I can’t show you the colourway yet — it releases on Feb 1 and you’ll want to click here to go to Indie Untangled to see it.  But I just have to share this black and white image so you can see what an exciting colourway it is.  Just like the photo of the Black Canyon that inspired it, there is so much going on, and when you add in the colours…  oh, I can’t tell you how much I love this colourway!  Don’t forget to check it out on Friday.

Ok, are you ready to jump into all our fun fiber news?  Me too.  Go grab a cup of something warm (really warm — it’s cold here in Pittsburgh!) and let’s dive in!


Newsletter

I love this graphic illustrating the wool industry’s supply chain.  It’s from the International Wool Textile Organisation and I think my favourite thing about it is the last step: biodegrading.  Because discarded clothes made from synthetic materials (polyester, nylon, acrylic) act like the plastics they are and take for ever to decompose, but natural materials such as wool, silk, linen, and cotton degrade in far more… erm…  natural timescales.  Read more about how wool degrades here.

We’ve all seen it a million times but somehow, for me, it never gets old when the media gets knitting and crocheting all wrong.  Here are eight more instances to make you chuckle smugly.

Years ago, I visited a weaving studio in the beautiful village of Sixpenny Handley, not far from where I lived in Dorset, to see how they used weaving as a supportive activity for adults with learning disabilities and Downs syndrome.  As I watched the shuttles fly back and forth, I remember the director telling me how the repetitive nature of the activity calmed their clients and soothed their frustrations, something that immediately made sense to me.  And the programme was partially self-funded, by selling their own commissioned weavings (I bought a lovely handwoven bag).  Then few months ago, right out of the blue, I found myself wondering if the program is still running and found, to my delight, that it is.  Click here, here, and here to see some very special weavers in action or here to learn more about the program.

Speaking of Downs syndrome, don’t forget the Lots of Socks KAL to raise awareness of the condition.  It runs from Feb 1 to Mar 22, and there are tons of fun prizes!  Click here to get involved.


Spaces in the Gradient Explorers Open Today at Noon!

Each month, we dye a full-sized skein for our Gradient Explorers members that flows out of the previous month’s colour and then into the next month’s colour.  The idea is that, over time, we create a beautiful gradient fade that we can all explore together — us in the dyeing and our members in the knitting and crochet — and use those skeins either on their own, together in the gradient, or mixed-and-matched with our other colourways to create amazing fade possibilities.⠀

Look how many amazing fades we created based around three recent colourways (Sept, Oct, and Nov).  Each one uses those same three colours as a starting point and yet each still has a distinct personality!

We keep the Gradient Explorers to a really small group, opening it only when spaces become free, and we have a few spots available now that we will open today at noon (eastern). Interested? Set a reminder on your phone now and then click here at noon!⠀

 

Upcoming Shows

 

Bubbles of Joy MKAL — Fresh Kits in the Shop!

Designer Kristina Vilimaite is hosting the Bubbles of Joy MKALand, without giving anything away, I can tell you it’s an absolutely beautiful design that uses a lot of colour in gorgeous ways.  And I know it’s always be a bit tricky to choose colours for a mystery knitalong (how do you know what to pick when you don’t know what you’re making?!?) so we’ve put together these gorgeous kits to make it super-easy for you to cast on with confidence! 

When we saw how fast they were selling, we quickly put together fresh kits and they’re in the shop now.  The first clue in the MKAL releases on February 4th, so click here to choose a kit, and here to get the pattern, and join in the fun!


I love it when members of our community share their projects with us!  Susan recently emailed to share pictures of her beautiful vest that she knit from the middle three skeins from one of our Sweater Sets.  The pattern is Nancy’s Vest by Carol Sunday.  Isn’t it lovely?!?


Novemberist Hat pattern by Vanessa Smith

I’m not sure what it is about this beautiful hat that caught my eye first: the lovely colourwork, the big poofy pom-pom, the nifty little colour detail along the bottom edge of the ribbing…  or just the fact that it is really, really cold right now and anything that looks this warm and cozy is a sight for sore eyes at the moment.  (Plus a matching pair of mitts?  It’s a shoo in!)  And you know I love the combination of a highly variegated yarns with semi-solids in colourwork like this, so I think I’d try it in Astrid in a combination of Frigia and Nine Stones.

image ©Vanessa Smith, used with permission

Voy’s Beach pattern by Jennifer Beale

One thing that fascinates me about all the knitting patterns I look at is how one design idea grows and alters and morphs into another.  So I absolutely loved this unique take on the trend for colourwork and yoked sweaters, with the twist here being that the yoke interest is created through beautiful texture and the stranded colour is moved down into the bodice.  Such a refreshing change!  And now that I’ve spotted this, I have to wonder…  where will the current trend go from here?

image ©Jennifer Beale, used with permission

Hōtoke by Little Yarns

If you need to keep warm (and I do!), I don’t think there’s a sweater way to do it than with this adorable cowl adorned with a tiny cottage set in the woods.  The pattern is free in the latest issue of Knotions magazine and it’s designed in SpaceCadet Astrid in Gobsmack and Sliver but, for me personally, I’d love to see it in two shades of blue, Frigia and Feather, or the earthy tones of Nine Stones against ethereal Gentle.

Image ©Edsger Studio for Knotions Magazine, used with permission

Ok, I’d better get to work.  Today I’m…  wait for it…  trying to save my misbehaving laptop by wiping it completely and reinstalling Windows.  Sigh.  I’m hoping that will do the trick and it’s not a hardware failure — keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?  I hope you have a much more exciting day planned(!) and, until next time, all my best!

 

 

 

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: My Non-Knitting Sister Contemplates… Circs?

SpaceCadet Newsletter: My Non-Knitting Sister Contemplates… Circs?

My sister does not knit. And, if you recall from a few months ago, when my sister was asking where to buy wool clothing, she’s not even all that familiar with the terminology (she asked about the “manufacturing” of wool… fortunately, she did see the funny side of it as I burst out laughing).

But the other day, she said something took me by surprise. “I think I want to take up knitting…” she said, “for my sanity.” Huh. That was a surprise.  In all these years of seeing me knitting, she’d never really been tempted.   But life gets crazy and, just like all of us, she does know that knitting and crochet have this magical meditative quality that can be so helpful. She continued, “It’s a stress reducer, right? I should try this?” Yes it is. Yes, you should.

“Oh good!” She said, “I thought so, so I went on your site a little while ago and I placed an order…”.

What?!?

The thing is, one of the perks of being the little sister of a dyer is that if you ask for yarn, she’ll probably give you yarn.  It’s, y’know, what family does.  But when I picked up my phone and looked, there was her name — right real next to a real order!

Now, she’s a total newbie when it comes to yarn, so she started with the only thing she understood: that merino is good and silk makes it even better.  So far, so good.  But she doesn’t understand yarn weight or construction, or the importance of matching your yarn to your needle size.  She just jumped in and…  friend, she chose Luna.

I explained gently that Luna is…  well, it’s kind of an advanced yarn. “What do you mean?” she asked.  “How can a yarn be advanced?  It’s got wool and silk and I like that.”  Yes, it does.  It’s also a cobweb lace yarn with over 1300yds/100g.  Each skein is over a quarter of a mile long!  It’s wonderful and airy and light and lacy and…  it is Not A Yarn For Beginners.

I asked her what size needles she has (just one pair, size US 5s).  Ahhhh, ok.  I’ll send her Lyra then!  It’s a great sport weight yarn, sturdy and stable and smooshy, and — most importantly — really easy to work with.  I told her I’d cake it for her and send it the next day.  See?  The perks of having a dyer for a sister.  I was confident we’d have her knitting in no time.

And then I asked, her needles…  are they straight or circular?  “Circular?!?” she said incredulously.  “Circular?  How does that work?!?  Is it… like a boat with one oar, going around in circles?”

Ohhhhh boy.  Ok.  Yep.  Maybe I’ll rethink the “knitting in no time” idea.  We’ll be taking this slow.  “Yes,” I said.  “It is!  But it’s ok as long as you walk around your circular needles in the other direction as you’re knitting.” 

Heh heh — I couldn’t help myself.  Sometimes there are downsides to having a big sister too.


Bubbles of Joy MKAL

Now, before we get to the usual fiber world news, I just want to take a moment to invite you to join the Bubbles of Joy MKAL with designer Kristina Vilimaite.  Without giving anything away, I can tell you it’s an absolutely beautiful design that uses a lot of colour in gorgeous ways.  And I know it’s always be a bit tricky to choose colours for a mystery knitalong (how do you know what to pick when you don’t know what you’re making?!?) so to make it super-easy, we’ve put together these gorgeous kits so you can cast on with confidence!

The first clue in the MKAL releases on February 4th, so click here to choose a kit, and here to get the pattern, and join in the fun!


Ok, are you ready to get back our regularly scheduled newletter?  I’ve got a ton to share with you this week!  Grab a cup of something warm and steamy and here we go…

Newsletter

I’ve mentioned before how passionately I feel knitting and crochet ought to be used in schools to teach math (and design and art and home ec…), so I was delighted when SpaceCadet club member Amy emailed to share this article about a college professor who is doing just that.  Sara Jensen, an assistant professor of Mathematics at Carthage College, explained, “What professional mathematicians think of as mathematics is entirely different from what the general population thinks of as mathematics.”  The general public associates math with calculations and equations where professional mathematicians think in terms of problem-solving and critical thinkingRead more here (and better yet, why not share it with an inspiring educator…  you never know what might come of it!)

It’s a new year, full of good intentions, and Marie Kondo seems to be everywhere at the moment (this cracked me up), so my mind has been on tidying up.  I think, for me at least, the key is doing little things fitted into my daily routine.  This article gives seven great ways to incorporate quick moments of organisational awesomeness into the every day.  What do you do keep your life tidy?

After that conversation with my sister, this article seemed perfectly timed: Carol Feller explains circular knitting techniques, complete with videos.  I’ve tried them all over the years except for Hiya Hiya Flyers, and my favourite by far is Magic Loop.  What’s yours?

Kristen Jancuk of MediaPeruana Designs is teaching her Swatch Scholar Challenge starting Feb 4.   You’ll learn her tips and tricks for swatching success and how to avoid common swatching mishaps. Five days and five free lessons to ensure your next project turns out exactly as you’d hoped. 

image © MediaPeruana Designs, used with permission


Spaces in the Gradient Explorers Open Next Thursday

Each month, we dye a full-sized skein for our Gradient Explorers members that flows out of the previous month’s colour and then into the next month’s colour.  The idea is that, over time, we create a beautiful gradient fade that we can all explore together — us in the dyeing and our members in the knitting and crochet — and use those skeins either on their own, together in the gradient, or mixed-and-matched with our other colourways to create amazing fade possibilities.⠀

Look how many amazing fades we created based around three recent colourways (Sept, Oct, and Nov).  Each one uses those same three colours as a starting point and yet each still has a distinct personality!

We keep the Gradient Explorers to a really small group, opening it only when spaces become free, and we have a few spots available now that we will open next week, at noon on Thursday. Interested?  Click here to get on the waiting list!⠀

Upcoming Shows

Feb 23 — Indie Knit & Spin at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh PA

March 15-17 — The Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival in Greentree PA


I love it when folks share their projects with me!  Here’s two great ones I spotted this week…

Shannon cast on her Mini-Skein Club yarns and I can’t believe how gorgeous they look.  I looove that fringe!

Carol knit this beautiful sweater with her Gradient Explorer skeins.  It’s a lovely simple design that really shows off the colour changes!


Starry Night by handmade by SMINÉ

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Starry-Night-by-handmade-by-SMINÉ-.jpg

You know, after standing outside at 1am (in 5°F cold!) to watch the lunar eclipse earlier this week, the delicate motif and sparkling beadwork on this sweet starry hat caught my eye straight away. Designed in fingering, I’d choose a yarn with a little nylon to stand up to any friction from the beads, so SpaceCadet Ester in Frigia would be a good option, or go for Aurora in Drizzle for cashmere gorgeousness!

Marble Blouse by By Katerina

This time of year, every room in my house seems to be a different temperature (really? Is it just me?), so I am all about cardigans at the moment and the more adjustable, the better. I love that this cardigan will keep my back and shoulders warm, but has a more open front so I don’t get too hot or too cold. Crocheted in fingering weight, I’d try it in Ester and the colourway Drizzle is really calling to me right now. What would you choose?

XX-one by Hinterm Stein

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, possibly the way to a woman’s heart is to add pockets to her garments. Pockets! Such a simple (and important) thing, and so often just inexplicably missing.  So you know that these awesome pockets were first thing I spotted in this lovely cardigan. That alone is enough to have me casting on, but when they’re detailed like this too? Irresistible! Designed in DK, it’d be lovely in Astrid. Try the colourway Frigia or Stroppy to really show off the detail.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

See?  I told you there was a lot to share this week!  I’d better get going — we’re dyeing a developmental skein for a fun collaboration that I can’t wait to share with you and I’m eager to see how the recipe in my head comes out in real life.  In the meantime, I hope you’ve got an exciting day planned too — stay warm, drink lots of tea, and, until next time, all my best!

 

An MKAL to Give You Joy!

An MKAL to Give You Joy!

Family events mean there’s no newsletter this week, and instead I have something I am super-excited to share with you… Are you ready?

The Bubbles of Joy MKAL by Kristina Vilimaite!


What will bring you joy in 2019, what things are on your happiness list? Have you planned for some simple pleasures, for example, a meeting with a friend or an occasional hour of knitting with abandon? This shawl is one of the “moment catchers”, so you can knit some memories of joyful moments “into the fabric”, and when the shawl is worn it will be almost a magical object that will attract joyful experiences for you.

When Kristina contacted me to discuss doing kits for her beautiful MKAL, I was thrilled to work with her. And when I saw the design (shhhhhh…! I’m not giving anything away!), I knew you guys would be thrilled too. We quickly set to work combining colours for kits to make joining the MKAL super-easy for you.

With Beautiful SpaceCadet Kits!

To do it, we took all of our colourways — every single one — and laid them out together on a big sheet to mix and matching them until we found the perfect combinations. And with eight colours in each set, aren’t you intrigued to see what they create?!?

Each Bubbles of Joy kit contains 340g of Oriana (that’s over three full skeins!) and is dyed in one of three colour options:

  • the Serenity set is two 100g skeins in Crisp as the main colour with a bundle of seven 20g (approx) Mini-Skeins in the colourways Vortex, Gobsmack, Plume, Breathless, Frigia, Feather, and Solstice Sky
  • the Comfort set is two 100g skeins in Feather as the main colour with a bundle of seven 20g (approx) Mini-Skeins in the colourwaysHoney, Wilt, Time Traveller, Sage, Crisp, Stroppy, and Longing
  • the Passion set is two 100g skeins in Dark Skies as the main colour with a bundle of seven 20g (approx) Mini-Skeins in the colourwaysThrive, Honey, Blood Moon, Headstrong, Tantrum, Oxblood, and Troublemaker

And the Pattern is on Sale!

The pattern is 20% off till January 31. (EST timezone, no code required)
You can join this Mystery Knit-A-Long by purchasing the Bubbles of Joy pattern individually or you can get it as a bonus at no extra cost with the purchase of the Moment Catchers e-book.

Extra offer: Purchase the Moment Catchers e-book by January 31, and in addition to the Bubbles of Joy MKAL pattern you will get a gift: I’m Not Who You Think I Am cowl pattern.

All the MKAL Details…

To join in the MKAL, click here to go to Kristina’s group on Ravelry!

MKAL Release schedule
The pattern is first released as a Mystery Knit-A-Long (MKAL) in five parts:
January 15 — the first three pages of the pattern containing general information about the shawl are released.
February 4 — Clue 1
February 11 — Clue 2
February 18 — Clue 3
February 25 — Clue 4
The full pattern will be released on March 6, 2019

Shape of the shawl
Asymmetric triangle.

Main stitches and techniques used
Garter, slipped stitches, lace.

Looking forward to seeing fill your February with Bubbles of Joy!


SpaceCadet Newsletter: No Resolutions

SpaceCadet Newsletter: No Resolutions

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Did you make any? Did you break any? This year, I didn’t want to do anything so heavy as make resolutions but instead, I decided to just try something and see how it feels. Just to try something.

And that something is how I start my mornings. Most days, I rush headlong into all the Stuff That Needs To Be Done. I have my tea or coffee, sure. I sit down and make my lists, sure. And while that time looks quiet from the outside, on the inside, my brain is already rushing and getting stressed. So I decided, starting last week, to start my mornings with some mental stillness. I have been knitting, first thing in the morning (I’ve never done that much before); I’ve been sitting in my favourite chair and reading my book; I’ve been getting out my journal and reflecting (not lists! just reflections). And I’ve been taking a little time contemplate what I’d like my day to look like, instead of just rushing into it and then being surprised how it’s turned out.

Usually, by now, my resolutions are goners — all broken several times over and feeling tainted. So far, this year, it feels different. I’m not pressuring myself, I’m not building it up into anything as big as a resolution. I’m just trying something… and trying it every day.

So far, so good. How’s your new year going? What have you resolved… or not resolved… or are just trying?

Newsletter

This is important: we all know that wool is an (almost) magical fiber and we cheer every time manufacturers chooses its wonderful natural properties over synthetic substitutes but, as demand has increased, the price of wool has been rising rapidly in the world markets. And that is beginning to have an effect on every industry that uses it, from clothing to housewares to Allbirds to, yes, yarn for knitting and crocheting. This article from the Wall Street Journal (Wool Is Cool Again and Prices Are Shear Madness)l explains the key details (and includes this most excellent quote: “… the sailors demanded merino. ‘It’s the only thing that doesn’t smell after two weeks at sea.’”)

My feet in Knitty-editor Amy Singer’s iridescent Birkenstocks at TNNA.
I nearly ran away with them!

And if you read that article above and don’t know what merino-rich Allbirds are, this article covers the rise of this “curiously fashionable footwear”, along with (my all-time, never-off-my-feet-in-summer favourites) Birkenstocks (above).

I love how often the fiber arts community comes together to do really good things. This month, Knitters Against Malaria is raising money for one of the most effective ways to prevent the disease: by providing mosquito nets to those most at risk. Every $2-3 finances a net that lasts 3-4 years and protects two people on average, and the campaign runs until Jan 31. Click here to join your fellow knitters and support this great cause.

If you ask an obvious question, you get an obvious answer. So why are these goats wearing sweaters? Because they’re cold, of course! But they look so adorable in them (my favourite is the one in the 80s throwback jeans jacket!) that they’re now the stars of their own pin-up calendar.

The SpaceMonster Club is Open (but only until Monday)

Take a look at the yarn below — it’s the SpaceMonster colourway that we sent out in October and maybe on first glance, you just see bright berry shade. But look a little closer… can you see how complex the colours are? And can you spot that we’ve included a lot of moodier, muted elements to offset the bright and add sophisticatoin? It’s the kind of wonderful yarn that will keep changing in your hands as you work with it, altering gently from stitch to stitch.

The truth is, there’s something really, really special about dyeing for the folks who join our clubs.  They’ve on a colour adventure with us and I want to share with them all the love and excitement we put into each colourway. To me, that’s an amazing honour!

Would you like to join me on this colour adventure?  The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, because big squishy yarns are smooshy and soft and so much fun to work with (they’re so quick!).  I mean, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  If you feel the same way I do, and you love colour like I do, click here to join us in all this lovely squishy yarny fun!


Upcoming Shows

Feb 23 — Indie Knit & Spin at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh PA

March 15-17 — The Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Greentree PA


Tea With Liz by Corrine Walcher

This time of year, my feet are cold all. the. time. Warm woollen socks go a long way to keeping them warm but when the socks have cables, somehow that feels extra toasty. These come in three sizes so you’re sure to get a good fit. Try them in SpaceCadet Oriana in Feather or Frigia

image © Corrine Walcher, used with permission

Irulan by Barbara Benson

But maybe you don’t live someplace as cold as Pittsburgh is right now…? Lucky you! In that case, I’m loving this delicate shawl that lets the simplest of stitchwork create an oversized motif that’s deceptively eye-catching. Try it in SpaceCadet Oriana in either Breathless or Crisp.

image © Barbara Benson , used with permission

Crisp Cables Hat by Lindsey Stephens

I think the thing I like most about this hat is that, when you look at it from the front, it’s all about those distinctive raised cables that look like the they’ve almost been etched onto the surface but then, from the back, they frame a most beautiful crown (have a look at my Instagram feed to see it). Designed in SpaceCadet Aurora, it’d look fabulous in either Blood Moon or Headstrong.

image © Stephanie Alford, and I gave myself permission


Well, as much as I like starting my day quietly, I think it’s time to get the started. First, I’m prepping yarn for a couple of designers we’re collaborating with and then a bunch of photos to do (so fun!). I hope you have just as lovely a day planned and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Big Goof to Start the New Year!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: A Big Goof to Start the New Year!

If the start of the year is supposed to be a clean slate, a chance to start fresh, you don’t want to start it with that sudden sinking feeling of knowing that you totally goofed… but I did! The kind of big goof that had me staring at my screen in disbelief, then slapping myself on the forehead, and then scrambling to fix everything. This is not how the year is supposed to start…

The SpaceMonsters Club, as you know, opened in December and there was a wonderful flurry of activity as members renewed their subscriptions. Tons of them! And it warmed my heart because it told me that they’ve really enjoyed being part of the club — enjoyed it enough to come back for more!

But as I watched all those renewers sign up, I didn’t notice that hardly any new people were joining. A few here and there but… hardly any. Chalk it up to the holidays, to the rush of last-minute orders and then the busy-ness of seeing family and friends… but I just didn’t notice that hardly anyone new was joining the SpaceMonsters club…

Until an email came in a few days ago from Kate, asking if there were any spaces left… and that’s when I looked and saw this weird imbalance of hardly any new joiners and…

…SPOTTED THAT THE JOINING BUTTONS WERE BROKEN!

Broken. Not there. Lots of info on the page but… no way to join. What?!? The buttons had been fine! I’d checked them. What happened?!? I started digging, scrambling around in the back of my website like a crazed squirrel digging for nuts, when it suddenly dawned on me: the platform that my website is built with had done a big update a couple of weeks ago, a kind of end-of-the-year upgrade, that I hadn’t taken much notice of but which I now realised had left everything else on my website running except… it had completely removed the SpaceMonster joining buttons!

Oh, I was so embarrassed. People must have been coming to the site to join and… gahhhh, it was like my site wasn’t fully dressed!

After a little bit of scrambling (…and then some swearing …and then a cookie), I figured it out and got the codeworking again. And now the buttons are in place and everything in order.

So, if you’ve been wanting to join our awesome SpaceMonsters Club, to hop on board with all those happy renewing members, you can now do that that! And I’ll be keeping the club open an extra week (until Jan 14) to make sure you can. Click here to get in on the fun!

And if there’s a silver lining to every storm, what would this one be….? I’m telling myself starting 2019 with a big, embarrassing goof-up is a good omen, like rain on your wedding day. Start the year low and it’s bound to go up!

…right?

Newsletter


This story is absolutely lovely… When Clare’s husband died, her psychologist suggested knitting as therapy. When Ian’s wife died, he was left with her huge stash of yarn. And when that brought the two of them together… they found love after grief. Awwww!

If you’re a continental knitting, have you tried Norwegian Purling? It’s where you keep the yarn in back whilst purling. Intriguing, right? I haven’t tried it yet but a couple of days ago, the SpaceCadet crew were all watching this video and deciding they had to try it.

Have you heard about the Lots of Socks Initiative? The idea is to show support for the Downs Syndrome community by wearing two different colorful socks to highlight the uniqueness of those individuals affected by the condition. And because she designs lots of socks, Lisa Ross (creater of the Flickering Light shawl) reached out to a bunch of her fellow designers and makers to create a unique KAL (starting on Feb 1) to support this great cause! Click here to learn more and get involved

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love my journals and fountain pens. If you’re like me, you might enjoy this article about the growing fountain pen community.

Three journals, two pens… and coffee!

Speaking of journals, did you see the awesome handmade journal covers that our SpaceMonster Club members received in December? They were custom made for us by StarKnits and I love that mine works perfectly with the A5 bullet journal I use for all my knitting and design notes. I love so much in fact that I recorded a little video to show the members how I use it. Want to see too? Click here!

I loooove these custom bullet journal covers we sent to our SpaceMonsters!

The SpaceMonster Club is Open (and the buttons WORK!)

See that yarn below?  There’s a story behind it — it’s about a squirrel that sits on my back porch and watches for me through the window, and another in the tree that chatters and chides him. I wrote the whole story out and shared it with our SpaceMonster Club members last month, as I do the stories behind all their yarns.

And that’s because there’s something really, really special about dyeing for the folks who join our clubs.  They’ve on a colour adventure with us and I want to share with them all the love and excitement we put into each colourway. To me, that’s an amazing honour!

Would you like to join me on this colour adventure?  The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, because big squishy yarns are smooshy and soft and so much fun to work with (they’re so quick!).  I mean, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  If you feel the same way I do, and you love colour like I do, click here to join us in all this lovely squishy yarny fun!


Upcoming Shows

Feb 23 — Indie Knit & Spin at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh PA

March 15-17 — The Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Greentree PA


Sole e Stelle Wrap by Clara Keegan

I was so excited when I saw that Clara, long-time club member and friend-of-SpaceCadet, had debuted her first design that I just had to share it. And what a debut it is! Designed in SpaceCadet Luna, our gorgeous silk-merino cobweb lace yarn, its amazingly ethereal stitchwork is instantly worthy of heirloom status. Congratulations Clara — it’s beautiful!

I Love A Theme Hat, Cowl, and Mitts by Corrine Walcher

When Corrine Walcher created the beautiful Dot Matrix sweater with one of our Linking gradient Sweater Sets, she had enough yarn left over that she used it to design this matching hat, cowl, and mitts! Perfectly named, the gradient effect looks amazing and the result is gorgeous! And as she says in her Instagram posts #nosuchthingasleftoveryarn

McCaslin Tunisian Hat by Robyn Chachula

I’ve always found Tunisian crochet fascinating… in theory… and the delightfully textured stitch pattern in Robyn Chachula’s latest hat design might just get me to try it! I absolutely love the way the stitches move the colour around and the worsted yarn will be lovely and warm. Now, I know I have a Tunisian hook around here somewhere…

Images © the respective designers, used with permission


Ok, today I am heading down to the studio to play with a new colourway that we planned out the other day. It’s always exciting to see if the dye will do what we expect it to (because sometimes it does and sometimes… heh!… it really doesn’t!). I hope you’ve got something fun planned for today and don’t forget to join the SpaceMonsters! Until next time, all my best…


SpaceCadet Newsletter: Are You Mad at Me?, She Asked

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Are You Mad at Me?, She Asked

The other day my sister texted me: “Are you mad at me?  I haven’t heard from you in weeks!”  It’s true — we usually talk a couple of times a week but ever since Black Friday, I’ve just been running and running and haven’t stopped once. 

I phoned her.  “No! No, nothing is wrong.  I just… well, I run a retail business and it’s the week before Christmas!”  We talked for maybe a whole five minutes — and it felt like a luxury! — before I had to go… to the studio, to the post office, I can’t remember.  The whole past month is a blur!

But you know what?  I am so grateful that’s a blur, because it’s all for such good reasons.  It feels great to be this busy (well, great.. and exhausting!) and it feels amazing to have so many people choosing our yarn as the gifts they give someone they love or as a treat for themselves.  And though I am seriously ready to spend Christmas just sitting still (I’ve forgotten what that feels like), I am also so grateful for this amazing end to the year, and to our fabulous customers who made it happen.   It is a wonderful reminder that everything we do is because of and for youThank you.

Newsletter
  • In past months, I’ve shared Sherwin-Williams’s and Benjamin Moore’s announcements of their colours of the year, and now it’s time to hear from the true colour authority, Pantone.  And their 2019 Color of the Year is…  Living Coral.  Watch for it to start appearing everywhere: in fashion, home furnishings, decor, and…  maybe yarn.  What do think?  Is Living Coral the colour for you? (Serious question!  Let me know!)
  • You are going to make some great food over the holidays, and this quick guide will help you make it look awesome in your Instagram photos.  And all the same principles can apply to your WIPs and FOs too!
  • The Ugly Christmas Sweater is a staple of the season, but one Finnish newspaper took it up a notch by commissioning a set of sweaters themed around some of the ugliest news events of 2018, to support their series of articles on the issues.  Scroll down to see the video showing their production.  Ugly as they are (and they are), I have to admit I do kind of like the designs.
  • Clara Parkes’s one-woman Instagram campaign to promote wool continues, and this week she voices her opinion of a billboard from PETA featuring a naked Alicia Silverstone and admonishing us to “Leave Wool Behind“.  Clara’s post and the comments are, as always, worth reading.

“But what do you want for Christmas?!?” It can be a hard question but even trickier if the gift-giver doesn’t know fingering from worsted.  What’s a knitter to do?  Fortunately, I’ve put together a collection of awesome gift ideas that make it easy for folks to give you exactly what your yarn-lovin’ heart desires!  Just direct them to this page here (don’t forget to mention your favourite colour!) and it’s all smooth sailing from there.

The SpaceMonster Club opens TODAY at noon!

See that yarn below?  See all the colous it contains?  You really can tell how much love went into it.  That’s because it’s a SpaceMonsters colourway and there’s something really, really special about dyeing for the folks who join our clubs.  They’ve agreed to come on a colour adventure with us and, to me, that’s an amazing honour!

Would you like to join me on this colour adventure?  The SpaceMonster Club is our worsted and bulky weight club, because big squishy yarns are smooshy and soft and so much fun to work with (they’re so quick!).  I mean, they’re what got me started knitting in the first place (you too?).  If you feel the same way I do, and you love colour like I do, set a reminder on your phone now and click here at noon (eastern) TODAY to join us in all this lovely squishy yarny fun!

Last Chance for Holiday Gifts!

And we’ve got amazing gift options in stock right now!

Flickering Light Kits

There’s just a few left!  But we’ve decided to have a little KAL starting Dec 26 — just something relaxed and casual to wind down after the holiday madness — so if you’d like to join in, you’ll want to grab a kit quickly!

And if you want to give one as a gift, be sure to order by 6pm today so we can get it in the post tomorrow.

Permutation Kits

A sweet little kit that makes a perfect gift — not only because the colours are beautiful, but because the pattern offers so many options!  Two different brims, three different bodies, and two different crowns, and you can decide if you’d like a straight or a folded brim — there are dozens of possible combinations!

Bound for Home Shawl Kits

The Bound for Home shawl is knit in sport weight, giving it a smooshiness that’s so comforting, it kind of snugs around you like your own personal blanket. And the colours are so delicious!  A wonderful project to cast on for those endless cold nights after the Christmas festivities, we’ve got a few sets in stock and just enough time to get them in the post!⠀

Plus Lots More Options!

I’ve put together a whole little holiday gift shop!  Click here to see what’s in stock and can be shipped tomorrow.  And if you miss that deadline, don’t worry — there are even a few options that will work right up through Christmas morning (click the “Last Minute!” button to see them)

If Christmas time is about giving, I want to share another opportunity for our community to support one of our own by doing what we do best.

So you remember a few weeks ago, I told you about the designer Heatherly Walker and encouraged you to help her recover from losing everything in the California wildfires by buying her patterns and knitting her designs? Well, at around the same that was happening on the west coast, knit & crochet designer Mary Beth Temple was facing the daunting task of rebuilding her life after Hurricane Florence tore through her townhouse on the east coast.

So I thought, what better way to help her as well than to share her patterns and encourage you to support her by simply buying her beautiful designsHere are three of my favourites:

Acorn Pullover by Mary Beth Temple

The first time I met Mary Beth was at TNNA, the industry trade show.  I spotted her as I was walking across the show floor and, recognising her face from social media, my brain said, “That’s Mary Beth Temple!”

Unfortunately, my mouth followed suit and I exclaimed with some sort of see-it-say-it simplicity, “Hey! You’re Mary Beth Temple!”

Transitions Knit Shawl by Mary Beth Temple

That’s exactly what I said.  Hey! You’re Mary Beth Temple!  And then realising I sounded like an idiot, I added, “But I’m sure you know that. “

To her credit, instead of rolling her eyes, she laughed and was absolutely lovely.  We chatted for awhile — at least until I proved that I was actually capable of speaking like a sensible adult — and then went on our ways.  But before she went, I added, “You know, if you ever forget who you are, just ask me.  I’ll be happy to tell you!”

Trio Knit Cowl by Mary Beth Temple

To this day, every time I run into her at a show, she starts with, “Who am I?!?”  And, always happy to help her out, I immediately reply, “You’re Mary Beth Temple!

images © Mary Beth Temple, used with permission

Ok, I have a TON of stuff to do today, so I’d better get going.  As we head into this busy week, I very sincerely wish you and yours a happy and peaceful holiday season.  And, until next time, all my best!