SpaceCadet Newsletter: Choosing the Best Time for Updates & Special Events

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Choosing the Best Time for Updates & Special Events

You know that lovely feeling you get when you start talking to someone new and discover they’re a knitter or crocheter too?  Every time it happens, I find that, no matter what I know or don’t know about this person I’ve just met, I already like them based solely on this craft (or is it a calling?) that we share.  I had that happy experience just this week and realised that I’m so glad the world is full of knitters and crocheters.  We need more of us — let’s do all we can to encourage more folks to learn this wonderful thing.

Spoiler warning!  I can’t help but share with you a few images of the latest Yarn Alliance parcel because I am just so excited about it.  But if you’re in the club and haven’t received your parcel yet, close your eyes as you scroll down, ok?  (and if you’re not, click here!)

Ok, I’ve got my cup of tea (have you?) and bunch a great fiber stuff to share with you this morning, so let’s do this, ok?  Here we go…

Right now

  • Closes on Friday — The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is open for New Members… it’s an AWESOME club so click here to learn more!
  • Now through Oct 15 — One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Giveaway click here to enter

Upcoming

  • Wednesday Oct 12Shop Update:  this month the yarn is Aurora, our incredibly soft and luxurious 20% cashmere yarn, perfect for warm and cozy autumn projects.
  • Friday Oct 20 — One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Shop Update — watch my Instagram & Facebook feeds for sneak peeks of each set

Newsletter

Photo by Jeremy Thomas

If leaves are falling where you are (they aren’t here, which kind of amazes me but I suspect they will eventually), you might be starting to think about leaf inspired patterns.  I love this fabulous round-up of knitted leaf motifs, Seven Ways to Knit a Leaf, which shows each motif one-by-one and complete with charts.  Scrolling through has got me feeling all autumnal!

You know how sometimes you see images of people who are supposed to be knitting but clearly have no idea how?  This quiz asks how many knitting skills you’ve mastered and then designates your level (I got “Stitch Superstar — what do you get?).  But if you tell it you’ve done every single thing on the list, the image that pops up is anything but a “Master Maker”.  Made me laugh!

A few weeks ago, I recommended a class I’d taken on short-rows and, if that was interesting to you, check out this article on double short-rows.  What’s that, you say?  It’s where two short rows are worked into the same stitch and it creates a nested effect that’s really striking when you use two or more colours.  I’m not brave enough to try it yet, but I am soooo tempted.

You remember last week I referenced Inigo Montoya?  What are the chances that this week I would happen across an article about Rats of Unusual Size?  But I did…  an article on an actual new species of rats that truly are of unusual size, from National Geographic and everything.  You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Yarn Alliance Closes on Friday

Our premiere yarn club, the InterStellar Yarn Alliance, is open for new subscriptions, but closes in just a few days.  Being part of the Yarn Alliance club is all about gorgeous yarns dyed in exclusive colourways, 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!

We just sent out the last parcel of the current season to our members.  Want to see?  It’s on Aurora, our deliciously soft 20% cashmere fingering and I’m just crazy about how the colours flow into one another along the skein.  Can’t wait to see it knitted up.

We’re welcoming our new members and getting ready to dye their first parcel soon.  If you’d like to join us, click here now and get a spot before subscriptions close!

Shop Update: More Aurora on Oct 11

Aurora is a yarn you have to touch to understand — it’s just amazingly soft — and every time I put a skein in someone’s hands, I can see them melt a little.  Why? Because it’s got twice the cashmere of most MCNs — and what a difference that makes!

But our stock in the shop is getting low, so we’ve been dyeing a bunch of colours to fill it back up again.  So if you’ve never experienced Aurora, mark your calendar for Oct 11.  It’s well worth it.

Oh, what time?  Well, I need your help with that.  Scroll down to our pop quiz and please give me a hand!

Lavant by Michelle Stead

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to Michelle, who makes lovely swirly shawl pins and designs patterns that make them look amazing.  And I was delighted when she recently told me she’s created one of those designs in SpaceCadet Lyra!  This is Lavant, a lovely scarf inspired by the diamond-paned windows in the part of England that its named for and perfect for the chilly days on the way.

Lavant is 50% off through October 6th on both Ravelry and Michelle’s new website (and, if you visit her website, check out the ‘Pinspirations’ section for a lot of pics and videos showing all the ways to wear shawl pins!).

Water Arcade by Carolyn Bloom

It was the colour that drew me first to this gorgeous crocheted “quilt” but what really made me fall in love was how crisp, clean, and modern it is.  This is a close-up of the WIP but, seriously, click through and see the whole thing (or here to see it Instagram) — it’s just stunning!

Designed in fingering yarn, this free pattern is the PERFECT project for your stash of SpaceCadet gradient Mini-Skeins.  And if you’ve never made crocheted circles, there are awesome photo-instructions included, and an informal CAL starting here to help you.  Oh, and a cool colouring page so you can plot out your own colour layout.  Personally, I’m kind of addicted to crocheted circles (they’re so quick and easy and satisfying!) so this pattern is nearly irresistible!

Pistachio Saffron by Carol Feller

The best designs are ones you know you’ll wear again and again — and this pattern is definitely one I can see myself practically living in.  Designed in sport weight, it would work beautifully in SpaceCadet Lyra, but I really want to see those thicker stripes worked in SpaceCadet Minis held double so the colours marl and soften.  With a semi-solid for the thinner stripes and a gentle gradient fade from top to bottom, the effect would be just gorgeous!

all images © the respective designers and used with permission

Every time I do a shop update or a special event, I have a dilemma about what time to make it go live.  We have customers all over the country and the world and…  well, timezones can be pesky things!  If I schedule an event for 7am here on the east coast, our west coast customers sleep through all the fun.  If I make it for noon here, it can be hard for my local customers who are at work, my west coast customers who are mid-commute, and our friends in Australia who have gone to bed.  And after work here?  Well, that works for some folks and not for others.  I try to spread the love around by changing the times for each event but it’s always such a dilemma!

And then I thought… hey, why don’t I just ask you?!?  So today’s pop quiz is exactly that:

What time best suits you for shop updates and special events?

Click here and let me know.  (Fine print and caveats: All times are US eastern timezone, and this is a totally non-binding survey.  If it turns out that the best time for updates and events is 4am eastern, wellllll…  that might not be all that practical — you want me awake enough to update the stock numbers! But your answer here is a huge help and I’m so grateful)

Ok, it’s looking like a beautiful day here in Pittsburgh and we have a bunch of boxes to pack and some amazing colourways to dye, so I’d better get to work.  I hope this has got your day off to a great start and, until next time, all my best!

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Help with a Yarn Chicken Fail & My Stitch Dictionary

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Help with a Yarn Chicken Fail & My Stitch Dictionary

As the weather cools down, sometimes it feels like life speeds up, and it’s tempting to skim through our days without really looking at the details.  That’s especially true in the morning — rush rush rush to get out of the house! — and that’s why I really enjoy taking a little time each week to share all this fiber news with you.  It’s such a good opportunity to slow down and breathe.  And to think about yarn and knitting and crochet.  Everything is better when you get to stop and think about fiber-y things like that, right?

(I’ve got lots of stuff to share with you, but the most important, a case of yarn chicken that went wrong, is right at the bottom so please make sure you scroll all the way down.  There’s an almost-but-not-quite-finished sweater handing in the balance!)

Alright, got your cuppa tea?  Let’s jump in!

Newsletter

(this image was shot in my horribly messy garage — between a stack of dirty garden equipment and an
unnecessary collection of old paint cans — but look how awesome it makes that gradient Mini-Skein shawl look!)

One of the best parts of knitting and crochet isn’t the making… it’s the capturing a killer image of your finished object once it’s all done. I’ve always felt that the right background is a huge part of a great photo, so I really enjoyed this article full of tips for making the most of your background. It’s written by a bird photographer (for bird photographers?) but, with a little imagination, you can easily adapt it to FO photography.

Knitters and crocheters are great for coming up with hacks and tricks to make things work in new ways. I loved this awesome infographic of 27 Uses for Wool Wash (besides washing wool). Want to know my wool wash hack? Turns out my stash of (indie-made, all natural) wool wash is a wonderfully gentle alternative to shampoo for cleansing curly hair without drying it out or causing frizz (which is pretty logical, once you think about it).

If the words “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…” mean something to you, then (1) we can be friends and (2) this should put a grin on your face.

The way you hold your knitting needles or crochet hook can have a big impact on whether you end up with pain in your hands and wrists. And sometimes, the solution can be as simple as changing your grip. This article from Wendy at YarnSub goes through the different ways to hold your needles and the impact that had on both her pain levels… and her knitting speed!

Did you know I started a Pinterest board to act as a stitch dictionary for when I want to find just the perfect texture for a project idea?  I did!  And you can follow it (by clicking here) and use it as a resource for your project ideas too!

Right now

  • Now through Oct 6 — The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is open for New Members… it’s an AWESOME club so click here to learn more!
  • Now through Oct 15 — One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Giveaway click here to enter
  • This Friday Sept 29 — Spaces open in the Gradient Explorers (currently, we have 8 spots available)

Upcoming

  • Friday Oct 6Shop Update:  this month the yarn is Aurora, our incredibly soft and luxurious 20% cashmere yarn, perfect for warm and cozy autumn projects.
  • Friday Oct 20 — One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Shop Update — watch my Instagram & Facebook feeds for sneak peeks of each set

 


(all things to keep your neck and shoulders warm…  it’s that time of year!)

Magic Dragon Shawl by Heather Anderson

First, the name — seriously, how can you not love a pattern called Magic Dragon?!?  Then second, the stitch pattern along the top — so often with shawls, it’s all about the edge but I love the way the top section actually looks like dragon scales.  And lastly, because it’s designed in a gradient DK, you could use Mini-Skeins held double to create so many amazing colour change options: hold each skein double on itself for a clear-cut gradient fade; hold two next-door-to-each-other Mini-Skeins together and then switch them out one at time for a very gradual gradient fade; hold two coordinating-but-contrasting skeins together for a marled effect.  So many possibilities!

mad day out by Jenny F

I love when designers do clever things with colour, and this is so clever: see how the same colours from those big panels on the right repeat and reverse themselves in the accent stripes on the left?  And I’m really taken with the visual impact of that mesh-like lacework.  Go back through your Mini-Skein stash and find a gradient set that’s been calling out to you, then go and find a great contrast colour to work it with.  The effect will be awesome!

Halftone Cowl by handmade by SMINÉ

Speaking of clever things, how fantastic is the colourwork on this cowl?!?  It looks incredible here in graphic black and white, but I’m also dyeing to see it in other colour combinations, such as Honey and Drizzle (I love gold and grey!), or the cool blue-purple blend of Feather and Gobsmack, or how about a delicious pink and brown of Troublemaker and Fat-Free Chocolate?  Regardless of what you pick, this pattern will be a delight to knit!

This Friday — 8 Spaces Open in the Gradient Explorers

In the Gradient Explorers, we create a Never Ending gradient, just as we do for our Mini-Skeins, but for full-sized skeins so they build up into sweater sets! Just like the Gradient Mini-Skeins, each month’s colours will flow into the next but in larger skeins to create bigger colour blocks and more gradual shifts that are perfect for sweaters.

In the last two months, spaces in the Gradient Explorers sold out fast. This month, we have fewer spaces: just 8 available this month. They’ll be opening on Friday so click here to read all the details and then, if you want one of those spots, set a reminder on your phone for Friday at 9am! (eastern)

(And for our current members: September’s colourway is all dyed and dried. We’re twisting them now and they’ll be on their way to you this week. I’m so excited for you to see them!)

Sweater Set Giveaway — Choose Your Fade!

Each day, I’ve been sharing on Instagram and Facebook our One-of-a-Kind Fade sets that are going in our October 20th update. And the reason I’m sharing them is that if you are are the winner of our giveaway, you get the Sweater Set of YOUR CHOICE our of all the sets we’ll be putting in the shop! How awesome is that?!?

There are 35 sets in all — a lot of amazing combinations to choose from. So you’ll absolutely want to get entered and then keep your eye on my Instagram or Facebook feed to spot the one you just love!

  1. Entering is easy:click here and give us your name & email address (and Instagram name if you have one).⠀
  2. Then to get additional entries, make sure you’re following me on Instagram and think of a friend (or two!) who’d love these fades and tag them here on this post. When they enter and name you as the person who referred them, you’ll get an extra entry — one for every friend who enters!

Oh, and a few people let me know they were having trouble using the entry form, so I’ve put a little workaround in place to fix that. If you tried to enter and couldn’t, click here and use that button to be in with a chance to win!

Our lovely Ravelry mod, Fatima, lost at yarn chicken on her last stripe and can’t finish her Sacko Stripes without more of the contrast colour!  It was a Mini-Skein from February’s bundle — and I’ve looked everywhere but we don’t have any left to send her.  If you’ve got a SpaceCadet Mini-Skein stash, please could you help her out and see if you’ve the colour she’s looking for?  Click here for the dyelot info.  And thanks a lot!

Ok, and with that, it’s probably time for me to head to the studio.  Today I’m working on some developmentals that didn’t go as planned last week.  Sigh.  But I know what I did wrong and I’m excited to see how they come out today.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, keep an eye on my Instagram feed for more of those gorgeous One-of-a-Kind fades, and I hope you have a wonderful, creative day!  Until next time, all my best.

 

SpaceCadet Newsletter: a Fab Giveaway, Great Gradient Ideas

SpaceCadet Newsletter: a Fab Giveaway, Great Gradient Ideas

This may be one of the last mornings I get to drink my coffee on the front porch.  I know that it will soon be too chilly to sit out in the early morning cool, so I will savour it as long as I can.  This morning I’ve got a lot of lovely fiber news to share with you, so why don’t you grab a cuppa and curl up in your favourite spot for five minutes before the day really begins.

Oh, my soundtrack this morning is Ami Maamin by Avishai Cohen.  If you’re not a jazz person, it may not be your thing but to me, it so embodies all the peace and hope that a new sunrise brings that it’s just perfect.  (And if it is your thing, hit reply and let me know — it’s good to know a kindred spirit)

Ok, onwards to the fibery goodness!

  • Thurs Sept 21 — The InterStellar Yarn Alliance Opens for New Members…  Click here tomorrow at noon!
  • Now through Oct 15 — One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Giveaway click here to enter
  • Friday Sept 29 — Spaces open in the Gradient Explorers (currently, we have 8 spots available)
  • Friday Oct 6Shop Update:  this month the yarn is Aurora, our incredibly soft and luxurious 20% cashmere yarn, perfect for warm and cozy autumn projects.
  • Friday Oct 20 — One-of-a-Kind Fade Sweater Sets Shop Update — watch my Instagram & Facebook feeds for sneak peeks of each set

mixing dyes in the studio

Newsletter
Y’know that feeling when someone spots you knitting or crocheting and oh-so-helpfully offers themselves as a worthy recipient of your handiwork?  Whether they are making the suggestion in a knit-worthy way or not, it can be a bit awkward, especially if you’re not the gift-making type.  Practitioners of selfish knitting and crochet will love even just the title of this useful article: How Not to Knit for Other People.

Attention designers and budding designers (and those of use who just never follow a pattern): when working out a new design, a croquis or fashion sketching template can be hugely helpful for visualising how the design will look.  The trouble is, the body shape of traditional fashion templates often don’t reflect our personal reality.  So I like the idea of MyBodyModel, a web app that will create custom templates based on the user’s own measurements.  They’ve achieved their KickStarter goal are now in the development stage, but this is one to watch when the app releases!

Mini-Skeins are useful in so many ways, and you can never have enough ways to incorporate them.  This article gives a quick list of ideas to try.

This has nothing to do with knitting or crochet but for those of us who live in Pittsburgh or love Pittsburgh, it’s sure to bring a wry smile to your face:  the Pittsburgh Potty has been covered by Apartment Therapy.  And what’s more, photographer Ted Zellers is documenting the phenomina for an upcoming…  wait for it… coffee table book.  Of pictures.  Of Pittsburgh Potties.  Right there on your coffee table.  Pittsburgh crocheters, I think the only decent thing to do is to contact him and represent with a few crocheted toilet paper covers.  I’m just sayin’.

The Yarn Alliance Opens for Subscriptions Tomorrow

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

(above: some of the colourways and gifts from past seasons — sooooo pretty!)

The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year, and for only two weeks at a time.  If you’re on the club mailing list, look for an email in your inbox today giving you early access and, if you’re not, click this link tomorrow at noon to grab your spot!

Sweater Set Giveaway — Choose Your Fade!


One of the SpaceCadet crew’s favourite things to do is to dump all of our One-of-a-Kind skeins out onto a big sheet, and then we sit together and start sorting them into coordinating sets. Last week, we did just that, this time with the intention of creating fades. And they are amazing. They’ll go up in the shop in October, but I am so excited about them that I decided to do a giveaway! ⠀

  1. Entering is easy: click here and give us your name & email address (and Instagram name if you have one).⠀
  2. Then to get additional entries, make sure you’re following me on Instagram and think of a friend (or two!) who’d love these fades and tag them here on this post. When they enter and name you as the person who referred them, you’ll get an extra entry — one for every friend who enters!
  3. What do you win? This is the best part: You’ll get the Sweater Set YOUR CHOICE out of all the sets we’ll be putting in the October Shop Update! I’ll be posting them one at a time on Instagram and Facebook so keep your eyes open until you spot the one you just love. ⠀

The winner will be contacted by email within 48 of the giveaway close on Oct 15 and you’ll have claim your prize fast, so take note of the number of your favourite fade, cross your fingers, and you may just win it!⠀
(see official rules for complete details; some restrictions apply)

Shape your shades by ChrisBerlin

Ok, I am crazy about this cardigan for so. many. reasons!  The first is that this is entirely the kind of cardi I know I’d wear all the time (you too?).  Second, instead of just shifting from one hue to the next, the ombre yarns are held double so that they shift in a super-subtle marled effect (and marling is so hot right now).  And thirdly, this design could work equally well with our Mini-Skeins and our Gradient Explorers, each with very different results.  Here it’s in two neutrals, light and dark — what colours would you make yours in?
(And if you’re not a member, the Mini-Skein Club is open now, and 8 spaces will open in the Gradient Explorers on Sept 29)

Fairly Squarely by Ursa Major Knits

This pattern is a little hard to understand at first — at least it was for me.  I kept looking at the image above and kind of tilting my head…  what exactly was I looking at?  But once I figured it out, I realised it’s really kind of awesome.  So I’m including a second image of it below — so it doesn’t take you as long to figure it out as it took me!

An awesome project for Mini-Skeins, you could work each block as a different hue along a gradient shift, or have a matching ombre fade flow out from each square.  And my favourite thing?  The joining triangles kind of look like the communicator badges on Star Trek (…no? …it’s just me?)

Iceberg Cove by Corrine Walcher

After a whole summer in sandals, I’m starting to feel ready for socks.  But not thick woolly socks… not yet.  These is far more what I have in mind right now — socks that keep my toes warm but still feel light and airy and maybe a little bit like summer lingering.  If I cast these on, it’d be in SpaceCadet Oriana, a yarn that would keep those lovely eyelets crisp, in an ethereal colourway like Frigia, Breathless, Plume, Gentle.

all images © the respective designers, used with permission

Alright, I’ve got a really busy day ahead of me — my assistant and I are going to be creating some new colourways for the upcoming season — so I’m eager to get started on it.  I hope your day is just as exciting!  But most of all, I hope this email start it off right.  So until next time, all my best.

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Kristen Jancuk’s “Not Mystery” KAL

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Kristen Jancuk’s “Not Mystery” KAL

During the summer months, we do a lot of our work outdoors.  We hold our team meetings in the park, pack parcels under the shade of a tree, and plan our dyeing on the porch with a cup of mint tea.  And as the air takes on a chill, I am feeling so sad — I don’t wanna move back indoors — but I know there’s a really wonderful silver lining too: cooler weather means sweater knitting and I am so ready for that!

So it was easy to pull together a whole bunch of fiber-y inspiration to share this morning, and I can’t wait to get started.  Grab your coffee or your tea and let’s dive in!

Newsletter

Photo by Sam Carter

In all honesty, I cannot decide if these crocheted bird costumes are art, crazy, or kitsch…  or all three?  Oh, and they’re not costumes for people, they’re costumes of extinct bird species… for pigeons.  Yeah, it’s hard to explain.  You kinda just have to click the link.

I love to dye superwash because of the way it absorbs colour and how easy it is to take care of, but its very existence creates debate in the fiber community.  I fount fascinating this post by Pigeonroof Studios — cuts right the chase and asks, is it hypocritical to disapprove of superwash wool?

Did you see this awesome crochet idea that folks on the Yarnover Truck had for SpaceCadet Lyra?  I love it so much and it’s perfect for October crafting!

If the cooler weather has got people asking you to knit them socks (family… friends…  complete strangers…?) asking you for hand-knit socks, you’ll love that Kate Atherley has published her foot size tables.  Warm toes on the way!

Speaking of socks…  oh my stars, I was grinning so hard last week as I saw the comments appearing on this Instagram post by David Highfield, one of our local television reporters.  If that doesn’t convince him to try hand-knit socks (and covering our local indie yarn show), I don’t know what will!  You guys are awesome.

Upcoming SpaceCadet Events   Mark these on your calendar!

  • Wed Sept 20 — The InterStellar Yarn Alliance Opens for New Members (click here to get on the club mailing list for early  registration!)
  • Friday Sept 29 — Spaces open in the Gradient Explorers (currently, we have 8 spots available)
  • Friday Oct 6Shop Update:  this month the yarn is Aurora, our incredibly soft and luxurious 20% cashmere yarn, perfect for warm and cozy autumn projects.

 

Our first Gradient Explorers Colourway!

Can I tell you how excited we were to send out the first Gradient Explorers parcels last week?  SO excited!  And I just have to share it with you.  This is “The Other Side of the Fence”, a colourway created from a base of the bright lime green of Fizz layered with greens and blues, to create glazed tones of both Stoppy and Feather.   I love how subtle the varying tones are!  And because the whole idea of the Gradient Explorers is to create beautiful colour flows, I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing a few of our standard colourways to see how they combined…

And then, because this is the very first parcel of the Gradient Explorers, I really wanted to make a little treat for for our charter members.  So I created this custom zipper pull (which turned out to be harder than I’d anticipated!) to make the whole parcel a little extra special.

Eight spots in the the Gradient Explorers will be opening on Sept 29.  Click here to get on the mailing list to get a reminder and a link to grab one of them before they go.


When designer Kristen Jancuk told me about her upcoming KAL and that it’s all about mini-skeins, I knew I had to share it with you.  And you know what?  She has a bunch of patterns you should check out!  With cooler weather on its way, here are my favourites:

Foxkit by Kristen Jancuk

(three of our SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins in all you need!)

SpaceCadet: I had to chuckle when I saw that you are doing a “not-mystery KAL” for the Foxkit mitts. What does that mean, and what should we know about joining the KAL?

Kristen: I tried really hard to come up with a better description than “not-mystery” but in the end, decided to go with it, because it really fits! This KAL isn’t a total mystery because I’ve shared a number of samples so knitters have a general idea what they’ll be working on. But it’s run in the same fashion as a mystery KAL, with a new section of the pattern delivered each week, and the knitter will make multiple design choices during the course of the KAL, so he or she won’t really know exactly what the finished project will look like until it’s done! I think it’s the best of both worlds. I also think this is a great KAL for knitters of all experience levels, because I’ve included design options for beginners as well as advanced knitters–I’ll also be providing lots of tips, tricks and tutorials along the way, and a chatter thread for questions and comments, so it will really be a community experience!

(click here to see how these mitts look reversed!)

SpaceCadet: You’ve got lots of patterns that do beautiful things with colour. What’s your process for finding the right colour combinations?

Kristen: When I start a design I usually have color ideas in mind, but I almost always rely on the dyer’s expertise in selecting final colors. They know their colors so well and can combine them in surprising and stunning ways! I personally tend to gravitate toward fall-ish colors year round, and dyers have opened my eyes to many more color possibilities–they’ve really helped me to think outside the box more and mix unexpected colors together.

Tumbao by Kristen Jancuk

(Tumbao works perfectly in bundle of minis from the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club)

SpaceCadet: The Foxkit mitts are the second pattern you’ve designed in SpaceCadet Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins, the first being Tumbao (above). What do you like about working with minis? And are there special challenges when you’re working with an ombre or gradient fade?

Kristen: One of my favorite things about minis is that you can mix and play with colors without breaking the bank–for a small accessory design, it’s not very practical to buy multiple full skeins of yarn; it gets expensive, and then you have leftovers you tend to stash away and forget about. I think it’s so fun to play with the colors when using minis, you have much more freedom than with a single skein–you can use more of your favorite color, or place it in a key spot in your design. Even with a gradient skein, where the colors naturally transition, those transitions don’t always look the same when you work them into a design. But with minis, you can really play with the transitions and pick the ones that work best for your project.

Road to Giza by Kristen Jancuk

(knit this pattern in SpaceCadet Vega in Crisp, Plume, Feather, and Drizzle)

SpaceCadet: When you look over all the patterns you’ve designed — and it covers everything from accessories to sweaters, colourwork to lace — which of those feel the most natural to you? The most “you”? And which were the biggest challenge?

Kristen: Colorwork and lace don’t come as naturally to me, so I look at those projects as more of a challenge–in fact, for the Foxkit mitts, I taught myself 2-color brioche, which I’d never tried before, solely because I wanted a reversible 2-color option for the cuffs! Cables and textured knits are more my thing, especially sweaters–I started designing mostly accessories, and now my head is just full of sweaters; I have to remind myself that not everyone is a sweater knitter!

Limeño by Kristen Jancuk

SpaceCadet: I know that your goal, when you design your patterns, is to help knitters take their projects “from fine to amazing” and I think that sounds awesome! Tell me what you mean by that and a little about how you incorporate it into your designs.

Kristen: I know I had a lot of projects when I started knitting that turned out “fine.” They looked nice enough and mostly fit, but I wasn’t entirely happy with them, either because I didn’t understand some of the directions, or I didn’t pick the best yarn for the project, or I didn’t really get gauge. With those old “fine” projects in mind, today I strive to write patterns that are thorough and easy to understand, I work with an amazing tech editor to make sure my patterns are clear and that all that tricky math is correct, and I try to supplement my patterns with tutorials and other useful information on my website and in my newsletter so knitters really have everything they need to knit amazing projects right at their fingertips.

The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club

In the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club, each month’s colourways in the Ombre&Gradient Mix flow into the next month’s colourways… and into the next month’s… and into the next to form a Never-Ending Gradient that is endlessly inspiring!  What to see what I mean?  We laid out a year’s worth of SpaceCadet Minis and here’s what they looked like…

See what I mean?  So gorgeous!  So, do you wanna to get in on the fun?  Click here to find out more!

We go to extra effort with our parcel packing but have you ever wondered why?  This week on the blog I show you the amazing (horrifying!) state one of our parcels arrived in — and how our packing affected the condition of the yarn…

Ok, we’ve got a fabulously fun day ahead of us, involving something we call our drinking game (though, given that we’re starting at 10am, it’s likely to be less scandalous than it sounds).  If you’re curious as to what we’re up to, keep an eye on my Instagram feed and Instagram stories…  and I might just give you a sneak peek!  I wish you a wonderful day as well — and, until next time, all my best.

The (Horribly Mangled) Reason We Pack Our Parcels That Way

The (Horribly Mangled) Reason We Pack Our Parcels That Way

I opened up my email the other day to a message from a customer that reminded why we take so much care when we pack our parcels.  When your box of SpaceCadet yarn leaves our hands, I want it to arrive safely and look wonderful as you open it.  Everything from wrapping it carefully in a protective bag, to the little treats we sometimes include, to the tissue paper lining the box, to using Priority Mail so your parcel can be tracked — it’s all done to make sure your yarn reaches you in perfect condition.

(that colourway is called Time Traveller, btw, and I love it so much)

So we start by putting your yarn in a plastic bag.  There’s a reason for that which you’ll see in a moment but a big part of it comes from when I was living in England and my postman would leave my parcels on the front doorstep.  There they’d sit all day, in the ever-present English drizzle and with no porch to cover them, until I got home from work.   It was so disheartening to come home to a soggy parcel but such a relief if the sender had been careful enough to wrap my item in a protective bag!  And so, when I started SpaceCadet, I decided to do the same — because I know how important your purchase is to you and I want it to be perfect.

We usually include a little treat in your bag as well — just because.  Sometimes it’s a button, sometimes a tattoo (as in this parcel), sometimes it’s wool wash. We wrap your yarn in tissue and place it carefully in the box along with a card that tells a little about us, as well as handy links and instructions on how to get in touch.

Then we seal it up and send it on its way — probably the best part of the whole process, because it means the yarn gets to become something!  And why do we go to so much trouble in our packaging?  Well every now and again, I get an email like this one from Holly in California.  The email subject line was, “The Yarn Survived….Some Sort of Adventure” and she wrote,

Hi team! Just wanted to say thank you for doing such a thorough job of packing your yarn. This is what the mini-skein box looked like when I received it. When I peeled the plastic off, the cardboard was soaking wet (it was 110 degrees here today…and I live nowhere near the gulf coast…. :)). The yarn survived and was in perfect condition!

And she included a few pictures…

Whoa!  What on earth happened to that parcel?!?  It’s so horribly mangled that it’s almost funny but, even though the parcel itself was a near-disaster, knowing that our careful packing meant the yarn arrived in perfect condition just made my day.  And we take just as much care with every parcel we send out — because no matter what the outside of the box looks like, I want the yarn inside to be beautiful.

The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club

And that yarn that Holly was so excited to receive?  It was her Mini-Skein Club parcel — and it’s no wonder she was looking forward to it!  Every month, we dye five brand-new colour-packed skeins for our Multicolour mix and five new fabulously blended colourways for our Ombre & Gradient mix.  Opening a new parcel is an mini adventure all on its own!

And you know what’s even cooler?  Each month’s colourways in the Ombre&Gradient Mix flow into the next month’s colourways… and into the next month’s… and into the next to form a Never-Ending Gradient that is endlessly inspiring!  What to see what I mean?  We laid out a year’s worth of SpaceCadet Minis and here’s what they looked like…

See what I mean?  So gorgeous!  So, do you wanna to get in on the fun?  Click here to find out more!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: I Need Your Help! (twice, actually)

SpaceCadet Newsletter: I Need Your Help! (twice, actually)

A really surprising thing happened yesterday…  I grabbed a jacket as I went out the door!  The afternoons are just perfect but there’s a just a hint of a chill in the early mornings, so I know that autumn is definitely on its way.  But knitters and crocheters don’t care, right?  Because that means…  sweater weather!!!

And if that’s the case, then it’s time to start get to work.  Grab your needles or your hook and your most autumn-worthy project, and let’s spend five minutes jumping into all the fibery goodness that is the best part of this time of year.  Here we go!…

 

Newsletter

Purl & Loop watching the water rise…  and then so happy to get back to work!

The news out of Texas last week was shocking and I know so many of us want to do something to help.  There are myriad aid organisations we can contribute to but another thing we can do is support the businesses inside the flood zone that are trying to get back on their feet, build their economy, and continue to put pay in the pockets of their employees.  Purl & Loop is a tiny Houston-based company making adorable mini-looms for fiber artists — they made our most recent SpaceMonster gift (below) — and they documented their journey through the flood on their Instagram feed (image above).  If you’ve been wanting to join the recent trend in weaving, now it is a great time to order a loom from Purl and Loop!  Click here to read the wonderful message Angela wrote about their situation and to help a Houston business return to normalcy.

Purl & Loop made our most recent gift for the SpaceMonsters Club

Have you seen this ad featuring a couple falling in love in an LYS?  Well, it’s maybe more of a general craft store (so many zippers!) but it’s so goofy that it made me smile nonetheless.

In a world where everything is robotisation (I feel like I see a driverless Uber almost every time I head downtown), there are two fiber pursuits that defy automation: crochet and sewing.  I really enjoyed reading this article from the Economist about the future of clothing manufacture.  What are the hurdles to automation and how much longer will it be done by hand?

This made me laugh: When Yarn Bombing Goes Meta  Hilariously pointless!

Psssst — I know this is really cheeky, but I’d love your help!  I recently spotted this post on Instagram from David Highfield, a local television reporter and news anchor, showing off his brightly coloured (store-bought!) socks — and of course my first thought was that, if he likes those, he really needs to try some hand-knit socks.  Then I remembered he often covers upcoming local events and feel-good stories — and we have an awesome local yarn show, Indie Knit & Spin, coming up in November.  So I left a comment on his post saying that if he covers the show, we could probably get him a pair of hand-knit socks to spruce up his wardrobe!  So far, no reply from David, so I’m thinking he just doesn’t understand the hand-knit joy he’s missing out on…  bu-u-ut if there were a few more comments from passionate knitters saying the same thing, we might get his attention, right?  Pittsburgh folks (and non-Pittsburgh folks too!), want to click over to his post and encourage a little hand-knit love?

 

Shop Update for Vega: Friday Sept 8

That feeling of fall in the air means it’s time for lovely thick yarns again, so we’ve decided that this Friday, Sept 8, is the perfect time for a shop update of Vega, our delightfully smooshy worsted weight.  We’ve dyed tons of yarn to fill the shop plus a gorgeous one of a kind colourway that is absolutely perfect for back-to-school autumn knitting.  (Want a pattern suggestion?  I love love love Baltimore Tea Party by Ann Weaver)

The update will go live on Friday at 9am (eastern), so be sure to set a reminder on your phone so you don’t miss the best colourways.  And then you can curl up in a comfy spot, grab those big needles again (ahhhh…!) and cast on something to celebrate the return of sweater weather!

 

We have a Winner!

Our Combining Yarns KCAL has been so much fun seeing the amazing projects folks have made by combining different yarns together. To celebrate everyone’s hard work and creativity, we’ve done a giveaway for the KCAL participants and, after a random drawing, our winner is…

LaLizz

Congratulations!  Please send an email to missioncontrol (at) spacecadetyarn (dot) com so that we can give you your prize!

 

The Yarn Alliance Opens in Ten Days!

It really is all about community — and the best community is being part of one of our clubs!  Everything feels more personal: the dyeing, the choosing the yarn and gift, even writing the dyer’s notes (the SpaceCadet’s Log!) in a real connection between me and you, and between all the club members.  The Yarn Alliance is available for subscriptions only twice a year — and I’m so excited that it opens in ten days!  And the best way to get first dibs is to click the link and get on the club mailing list.

 

One of the nicest things about doing yarn shows is getting to meet great people — both customers and fellow vendors.  And doing those shows again and again, a lot of those other vendors end up becoming friends.  Today I want to introduce you to Michelle Stead, knitting designer and shawl pin maker, and show you three of her super cool designs.

Suavest Ease by Michelle Stead

Knit Suavest Ease in SpaceCadet Thebe in Tantrum with Tickled, Blood Moon with Honey,
Molten Cool with Sage, or Life was Better in Black & White with Feather.

SpaceCadet: When I think of Michelle’s Assortment, I think of both your patterns and your beautiful shawl pins. How did you get your start with both? And which do you think of yourself primarily, a pattern designer or a shawl pin maker?

Michelle: Thank you! Creating both pins and patterns started with learning to crochet and knit. I started selling the shawl pins a few years ago. As a little girl attending craft fairs with my mom I had dreamed of one day selling my handmade things at a craft fair. The shawl pin shop quickly grew beyond what I had dreamed was possible. The pattern designing started from a couple of inspirations. At first shawl pins were displayed on shawls from other pattern designers. Customers would often remark that they don’t wear shawls. I have an irresistible urge to be creative and not follow the instructions exactly as they are written. Creating the pattern as I knit/crochet and matching up yarn with stitch patterns is a lot of fun. So I started designing knit/crochet patterns that are not shawls to wear shawl pins on. I enjoy both of my creative outlets equally.

SpaceCadet: You’ve got a beautiful new shawl pin style coming out that I know you debuted at Stitches Midwest. When will we see it in your shop?

Michelle: The new Round style of shawl pin is in the shop now. New color combinations of bead and wire are being added weekly.

Suavest Hues by Michelle Stead

Knit Suavest Hues in SpaceCadet Oriana in Time Traveller with Honey,
Solstice Sky with Feather, Windswept with Headstrong, or Thrive with Honey

SpaceCadet: The Suavest Hues (above) is such an interesting design with a really intriguing stitch pattern. Tell us where you got the design idea and what challenges it posed as you worked through it.

Michelle: The design idea started as a challenge I set myself. Suavest Hues is part of the Evident Allure collection. These patterns are designed to explore lace, cables, slipped stitches, color, and sizes that are a little more complex than those in the Apparent Comfort collection. The challenge was to design a pattern with lace, colorwork, and sizes that looks more complex than it is. Further inspiration was to use two different yarn bases with different dying techniques in fingering weight yarn. I wanted the pattern to create a vest that is easy to make and beautiful to wear. The challenge while designing this pattern was using just the right amount of yarn. I weigh the yarn after each pattern repeat while knitting the sample. This allows me to finish the sample with at least 15% of the yarn unused. I play yarn chicken so you don’t have to.

SpaceCadet: What kinds of yarns do you like to work with the most: variegateds or semi-solids? How do you design differently for each of them?

Michelle: I love both for different reasons. Creating patterns that use both semi-solid and variegated yarns is challenging and fun. Multi-colored yarns are interesting enough that simple easy stitch patterns enhance the yarn best. The Semi-solid yarns play nicely with simple and more complex stitch patterns.

Coastal Breezes by Michelle Stead

Knit Coastal Breezes in SpaceCadet Lyra or Astrid in Look Up or Feather

SpaceCadet: You have so many different motifs in your shawl pins, from steampunk to jewels, always set against a lovely swirl. Which is your favourite style to make?

Michelle: The style with a bead in the middle of two spirals is my favorite to make. It was one of the first styles I made. Wrapping the bead with wire is very rhythmical and almost meditative for me.

SpaceCadet: Any new designs you have coming up that we should look out for? Can we have a sneak peek?

Michelle: There are one or two designs being released every month for the forseeable. 😉 The next design to be released is Lavant. It is the 4th pattern in the Weald and Downland collection which features cables and lace in a variety of accessories. It is inspired by the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum located in Singleton, England. Lavant was made with one skein of SpaceCadet Lyra in colorway Look Up. It will be released in mid September.  Sure, here is a sneak peek…

 

 

Marvelg’s Collusion

Martha knit her Collusion using Capella in Time Traveller for the main colour and Celeste (in a ooak colourway) for the accent, and I love how it turned out.  The vertical floats break up the main colour beautifully (below) and the effect is amazing!

 

I love my Traveller’s Notebook and I make a ton of to-do lists, but I don’t really bullet journal.  I mean, the real bullet journal system.  But I’m really intrigued, y’know?  So, bullet journallers (and quasi-bullet journallers), I have a couple of questions and I’d love your thoughts.  Click here and help me out?

(That’s not really my journal — my pen’s not that fancy.  it’s a photo by Aaron Burden)

It’s a gorgeous day here in Pittsburgh (cool and a little cloudy, just how I like it) and I think I’m going to take advantage of the perfect autumn weather and do all our packing on the porch.  But there’s a lot of packing today, so I’d better get to it.  I hope your day is just as beautiful and, until next time, all my best.