Everything was going so well, until I blocked it…

Everything was going so well, until I blocked it…

I don’t know if you saw the full moon earlier a couple of weeks ago, but it was a rare Super Blue Moon. Which doesn’t mean it was blue at all, but it was absolutely spectacular.

In case you don’t know, the moon is “super” when it’s closest to the earth — the perigee of its orbit — and a “blue” moon means its full for the second time in a calendar month. And while a supermoon isn’t all that rare, a blue moon occurs in only 3% of full moons, and the next super blue moon won’t be for another 14 years.

An image of the full moon, much like the hat I'm designing in SpaceMonster Club yarn
Photo by Ganapathy Kumar

I went out for a late night walk to see it, climbing to the top of our steep hill to catch the view as it began to rise.

The skies over Pittsburgh were covered in hazy clouds that hung like a veil over the moon, catching and reflecting its light so that it appeared even larger than it was: a super super blue moon. It was breathtaking.

 

SpaceCadet SpaceMonster yarn in the colourway Darkening, which is a deep rich midnight blue

I’ve just recently finished knitting a new hat that I’ve designed in a recent SpaceMonster Club colourway, a layered midnight blue called Darkening. And I was utterly delighted with the way it turned out! It’s fun and quirky, and turned out exactly as I hoped, so I began to write up the pattern.

And after I’d notate the basics of what I’d done, I did something I really shouldn’t have: I wet blocked the hat, dunking it completely in a bowl of water.

I shouldn’t have done that because the yarn is Capella, our beautiful single-ply worsted that so smooshy… but along with that smoosh comes a tendency to bloom a lot when it’s wetted out. It absolutely loves being misted into shape, not dunked.

 

SpaceCadet SpaceMonster Club yarn in the colourway Drifting, a painterly mix of blues and deep golds

But I did indeed dunk it, and suddenly my hat went from being the regular moon to a super super moon.

Which was also… blue. Maybe it was fated to happen.

As it dried, I managed to coax the hat back to a more reasonable size. It’s still remarkably slouchy, but it’s no longer ridiculous. And I’ve cast on a second one, this time in Darkening’s sister SpaceMonster colourway, Drifting, which I’ll most definitely mist-block.

When at last I release the hat pattern as a new SpaceCadet yarn knitting design, it will come in two versions, each slightly different. I have a pattern name already chosen — one that’s just as fun and quirky as the hat itself — which I was going to use with the suffixes I and II (like a movie and its sequel) to distinguish the two versions.

But now I’m wondering… maybe one of them should really be called Super Super Blue Moon…? It kinda feels right!


Filed under: SpaceCadet yarn knitting design

Learn a Quick & Easy Technique to Choose Yarn for Colourwork!

Learn a Quick & Easy Technique to Choose Yarn for Colourwork!

Colourwork makes for some of the most exciting knitting and crochet projects — even when it’s something as simple as stripes. But when you’re holding two yarns in the skein, it can be really hard to accurately picture how they’ll work together.  Will the colours blend? Will they pop? Will they clash or will they compliment?

And it can be especially difficult to choose yarns for colourwork when one or more of the colourways are variegated!

So many colourways! Which ones will really work together?

How to Quickly Choose Yarns for Colourwork

Ever hold two colours together and wonder how they’ll really work in colourwork?

Holding two skeins next to each other gives you a good idea of how the colours will play together in your project.  But because they’re just sitting side-by-side, there’s a disconnect that can be deceptive. In essence, they are big blobs of homogeneous colour that are only interacting along the one edge where they meet, and, honestly, that isn’t a great representation of how colour behaves in a knitting or crochet project.

Here’s an example of two gorgeous one-of-a-kind (OOAK) skeins we came across during a recent stock take. They’re both variegated, which makes judging their compatibility that much more complicated.

Can two variegated colourways be combined for a colourwork knitting or crochet project?

They look absolutely lovely together, but the real question is: will they work together in colourwork?

Now, there are all sort of tricks to figuring out how to choose colours for colourwork — everything from taking black & white photos to swatching — but, here at SpaceCadet, we’ve got one simple technique that’s worked for us time and time again.

And we’d love to show it to you! Join our mailing list to get our free guide.

 

 

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The Thing I Thought I’d Hate…

The Thing I Thought I’d Hate…

Many years ago, I worked for a large chemical manufacturer, controlling the raw materials for a factory making polyesters for the textile industry. It was an interesting job that was constantly changing as we tackled supply chain issues, manufacturing delays, and all sorts of unexpected hiccups.

But twice a year, everything would go eerily quiet as we shut down all our operations and the entire manufacturing team headed down to the warehouse to spend two full days counting everything we had in stock.

The SpaceCadet's Gradient Explorers gradient yarn clubCounting the Gradient Explorers colourways

 

The warehouse was cavernous, and so cold in the winter that you could see your breath and so hot in the summer that you could feel the sweat trickling down your back. And, to me at least, stocktake was unbearably boring no matter which time of year.

Walking in pairs down row after row of pallets stacked to ceiling, one person would count and the other would scribble the numbers on densely line sheets attached a clipboard. The job felt like it took forevvvvver.

…1 …2 …3 …4. Ok, jot that down. 

…8 …9 …10. Wait, which line were we on?

Can I be honest? I hated it.

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club

So when my accountant first told me that, even though SpaceCadet is only a teeny tiny company, we still need to do those same stocktakes….  Well, my heart sank.

But the thing is, this time it feels completely different. This time, we’re not counting pallets in a huge, windowless warehouse — we’re counting yarn. And as we take it all off the shelves and dump it into a big basket to begin counting, it feels less like a requirement and more like a treat.

In fact, a few years ago we joked that, instead of calling it “Stocktake Day”, we should call it “Pet All The Yarn Day”.

The SpaceCadet's Gradient Explorers gradient Yarn ClubMixing and matching Gradient Explorers colourways (instead of counting.. ahem!)

 

Actually, because we’re such a small team — who (ahem) easily get suddenly distracted with tons of new colourway and design ideas(!) — stocktake takes a lot longer than a day. And that’s ok, because it’s all yarn.

But this year, we’re doing something a little different. We’ve been live streaming our stocktake on Instagram! I mean, yeah, that might sound a bit nuts and, if you’re not a yarn person, it’s probably pretty boring.

But if you are a yarn person, then it might just be right up your alley! We think of it as visual ASMR that can just play in the background of whatever you’re doing, as we dump all that lovely yarn into a big basket and and then count it all up again.

There’s birdsong in the background (we take everything outside if the weather is nice), we’re chatting as we work, and then there’s the lovely meditative counting.

…1 …2 …3 …4. Jot that down. 

…8 …9 …10.

Oh I love counting all the yarn!

Join Our Next Stocktake

We’ll be stocktaking some more in the next week.

To join us, make sure you’re following SpaceCadet on Instagram and watch our IG Stories for notifications.


 

SpaceCadet Knitting News and Crochet News

news from the world of knitting & crochet…

 

If you’re ready for summer yarns, then you’ll want to join Encourage Better’s Learn To Love Linen Workshop. Feel like you’ve been whisked way to the best summer camp ever, learning about the perfect warm-weather yarn choice and broadening your understanding of plant-based options.

You’ll recall that last month, Stitches/XRX announced they were cancelling all their future shows and shuttering their business, but it appears they are not actually entering bankruptcy. A letter from their lawyer has been shared on Ravelry, amid much debate.

If you love crochet and you love math, this may be right up your alley: The Learn to Tech Edit Crochet course from the Tech Editor Hub is open for enrollment. The 7-week course begins on Monday and enrollment closes this week, so be quick!

Avoiding and getting rid of clothes mothsPhoto by Imani

There’s no faster way to kill the vibe at knit or crochet night than to ask about dealing with clothes moths, but it’s an issue that every knitter or crocheter needs to be aware of, especially this time of year. This useful article walks you through several methods to avoid an infestation, including baking your woolens. Yes, baking.

Newsletter: What happens when we hold Springtime meetings… 🌸

Newsletter: What happens when we hold Springtime meetings… 🌸

Planning our Mini-Skeins Colourways

A few weeks ago, my assistant Jade and I had a meeting to go over the dyeing plan for the next few months of the Mini-Skein Club.

It was a lovely Spring day — probably the first that was really warm enough to be outdoors, so we met on the porch, in the dappled light coming through the newly sprouted blossoms of the apple tree.

Photo by Kat von Wood

We sat with cups of tea and I spread a huge cloth so we could lay all the Mini-Skeins out and get a good look at the colourways that have come before. We’re both very much visual thinkers and can’t possibly plan any new colourways without piles of yarn around us — least of all the Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins!

But as we started discussing the upcoming colour flow, I was taken aback by how beautiful the yarn looked in the fresh Spring light. “Let me go get my camera!” I said.

And so our dyeing meeting turned into an impromptu photoshoot, right there on the porch, in the soft breeze and gentle birdsong.

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club: mini-skeins dropping into a bowl. So pretty!

Share Your Thoughts on Mini-Skeins

One of the things that Jade and I were discussing — as we planned our dyeing and took the photos and drank our tea — is the way that Mini-Skeins can sometimes seem a little intimidating to work with.

The truth is, it’s really just a matter of laying them out to find the right colour flow for you, and then picking a great stitch and casting on. But I know that can seem tricky at first, so we we’ve been thinking of ways we can help. And if you have a minute, please click here to share your challenges (and successes!) with Mini-Skeins.

(A quick thought: if you’re a real SpaceCadet fan, you may have spotted that the skeins being dropped into the bowl above aren’t our Ombre&Gradient skeins. But my gosh, the Multi Mix Minis were just so gorgeous in the spring light that we couldn’t help but photo them too!

The thing is, the Multi Mix isn’t nearly as popular as the Ombre&Gradient Mix but, honestly, I think folks are crazy not to go for them — they’re beautifully complex and incredibly intriguing. I have so much love for the Multi Minis! 💕)

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club: mini-skeins arranged in a bowl.


SpaceCadet Knitting News and Crochet News

The biggest news of the past week the surprise announcement by Stitches XRX that they have ceased business operations and are entering bankruptcy. As the organiser of some of the biggest yarn shows in the country — including Stitches West, Stitches SoCal, Stitches Midwest, and the Stitches at Home virtual shows — the news has hit hard for knitters, crocheters, and especially their vendors, many of whom are currently trying to recoup their booth fees for now-cancelled shows. You can read Stitches XRX’s official statement here and find conversations around the news on Ravelry here and Reddit here.

And then a few days later, publisher Annie’s announced the shuttering of Crochet! magazine. You can read the announcement here. (The take away? Oh my stars, these are pretty uncertain times for everyone in the yarn industry and I know your favourite designers and dyers really appreciate your continued support as we all navigate all these changes.)

If you need something soothing after reading the sad news above then this is just the ticket: artist Matt Taylor has created three knitting videos that are utterly mesmerizing. I could watch them for hours! You have to check them out — click here, here, and then here. My favourite is the second one… Which is yours?

My husband came home the other day and said, “Hey, did you hear that piece on NPR about the weaving-thing at Maryland Sheep and Wool?” I’ll give him credit for perfectly nailing the name of the show and let slide that he called the Sheep to Shawl competition a weaving-thing…! And then I’ll do a happy dance that a sheep to shawl event made it onto a national programme like NPR’s Consider This. Click here to read or hear the story.

The Yarn Alliance is Open to New Joiners for the Spring/Summer 2023 Season!

The Yarn Alliance is Open to New Joiners for the Spring/Summer 2023 Season!

The Thing about Dyeing for Our Yarn Club Members…

We dye a lot of yarn for a lot of people: for the LYSs who carry SpaceCadet, for the customers who wander into our online shop, and for our club members. And here’s the thing…

The folks we like dyeing for the most — no, wait, I mean the folks we really love dyeing for the most — are our club members.

Standing at the dye pots in the studio and exploring colour is just so much more exciting when we’re creating new colourways for our Yarn Alliance members. And that’s because our club members are the kind knitters and crocheters that I love most: yarn adventurers who embrace exactly these kinds of colour explorations.

They get us… and we get them!

And there’s no one who lives up to the title of “Yarn Adventurer” quite like the folks in the Yarn Alliance because, as when you become a member, you’re on a journey with us to explore colour. Yes, it’s true that you never quite know what’s going to be in your parcel and that is all part of the fun — every colourway is a surprise, a chance to stretch your imagination and challenge your creativity.

And every colourway is a direct connection between us as dyers and you as a maker — unique and new and created only for you as an adventurer with us in the Yarn Alliance.

Join The Yarn Alliance!

We’d love to have you join us! But we don’t have long — the next parcel is due to go out very soon — so if you’re ready to embark on this adventure, you’ll need to act quickly. Click the button below to learn more and join the Yarn Alliance!

Click to Learn More!

Winter Yarns and our OOAK Small Batches

Winter Yarns and our OOAK Small Batches

There’s snow coming down as I write this… big, fat flakes floating down gently from a heavy sky as if there’s no great rush to reach the ground. It looks delightful from here on my couch, curled up with a hot cup of tea and my wool slippers.
A pair of hands emerging from a very colourful shawl indeed, holding a hot cup of tea.

As we head into the coldest, deepest part of winter — when the world outside turns shades of black and white and grey — I find myself reaching not just for the thickest, warmest yarns in my stash but for the most colourful.

Because although the rhythm of the stitches through my fingers feels as meditative as the snow drifting silently past my window, I get a little jolt of pure joy each time I look away from the view outside and back at my knitting.

The world may be monochrome, but my project is bursting with technicolour. And that makes me so happy!

Do you feel the same in the darkest part of winter?


You know we love to experiment in the dye studio (as in, we loooooooove to experiment!).

And this past month, we created some deliciously painterly Small Batches dyed on some smooshy winter-thick yarns.

As with all our One-of-a-Kinds and Small Batches, these are unrepeatable colourways and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

So if any of them have caught your eye, put your name on the list and I’ll make sure you get first notice when they go live next week.

(If you don’t see a form here to enter your email, it may be due to a popup blocker. Please disable your popup blocker for this page so you can get on the list.)

Also, at one point, Jade was about to rearrange one of the piles of yarn as I took some photos when she suddenly lost her balance and…

…Luckily, smooshy yarn is really good for breaking falls!