SpaceCadet Newsletter: Tons of Autumn Plans!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Tons of Autumn Plans!

Oh my stars, the responses I received to the story in my previous newsletter about my sister cutting her knitting in half were so hilarious that they had me stitches as I read them.  Thank you thank you thank you for sharing in my shock and incredulity that that whole scenario was even possible!  You made me feel so much better.

Photo by Krisztina Papp

Every month, the entire SpaceCadet crew gets together for a meeting that gives us a chance to really bounce ideas off each other and brainstorm.  This time of year, we tend to hold them at the local park in the dappled shade of a tree (why be inside if you don’t have to be?!?) and that must really help get our creative juices flowing because, at our meeting last week, the team started firing off so many fantastic ideas for this autumn and winter that I honestly don’t know how we’ll be able to do them all.

But I really realllly want to, so we’re going to try!  Keep your eyes on the newsletter for progress reports, ok?

In the meantime, I’d really love your help.  Last year, we went to SVFF (Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival) because so many folks wrote in and told us it was a great show to do — and they were right!  And this year, I’m looking for more recommendations.  If there’s a show that you know is great (for both vendors and customers!) and that we ought to apply to, please get in touch and let me know.  Your recommendations mean so much!

Ok, are you ready to jump into the latest fun fiber news?  Go grab a cuppa and here we go…


If you’ve ever knit or crocheted a shawl that wasn’t quite big enough to drape the way you wanted, this schematic (and the accompanying text) might be a useful guide to better sizing.

Did you know Granny Square Day is tomorrow, August 15? It was making my first granny squares that finally got me feeling comfortable with crochet (after years of feeling ridiculously uncoordinated with a hook!) so, if you want to learn to love crochet too, check out Simply Crochet’s Daily Granny Square, published free every day in August until Granny Square Day! Click here to get started with the first one and check out their tutorial, or here to quickly catch up all the granny squares they’ve posted so far.

Oh my stars, I love granny squares so much!

This summer, one of my goals is to brush up on my German and I’ve been using Duolingo’s flash cards (and Duolingo itself) to improve my skills — and I’ve just realised there are user-created flashcard decks for a ton of different subjects besides languages, including knitting, crochet, and sheep breeds.  So cool!

I am soooo wishing I could go to the upcoming Kaffe Fassett exhibition at Anthropologie as part of the London Design Festival. If his name isn’t familiar to you, his decades-long career in knit design, quilting, and needlepoint has been instrumental in raising those crafts to the level of fiber arts, and he is a god of colourwork. If you are anywhere near London in September… go and see him!


Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (SVFF)
Sept 28-29, Berryville VA

We’re so excited to be coming back to SVFF!  And at our most recent team meeting, we came up with something awesome that we’re going to premiere at the show.  So if you’ll be there too, please send us a quick email and let us know to look out for you!

Yarn Alliance Opens in September!

Wait, did I show you the latest Yarn Alliance colourway, Magical?  I love it — and its coordinating colourway, Alchemy — so much I can hardly say and I was sooooo excited to send it out to our club members.  And from the responses we’ve been getting, I think they loved it just as much!!!

The next season of the Yarn Alliance will be opening to new members in September and I’m super excited about what we’ve got planned — lots of intriguing colourways and new adventures.  If you’d like to join us, click here and get on the club mailing list for a heads up and early access when the club opens.

Fleur Dress by Samantha Casale

Everything about this dress feels perfect for summer!  I love the granny square motif, the simple straps, and the sweet lacing up the back.  The pattern allows you to calculate how many squares you will need to make for your size and the granny squares are easy join-as-you-go.  Fabulous!

Rift by Jacqueline Cieslak

Simple shapes make the best wardrobe staples, but this “basic tee” pattern elevates that idea with instructions for two necklines, optional bust darts, and a custom fit bicep, and includes a split high-low hem in twisted rib, just to keep things interesting.  Designed in sport and sized up to a 72″ bust, it’d be fabulous in SpaceCadet Lyra — go for Crisp for a cool summer colour, or Tickled for something super bold!

Richland by Dee O’Keefe

It was the beautiful texture of this triangular shawl that made it jump right out at me.  Pairing a chevron lace panel with a stockinette and Estonian star stitch body pattern, the pattern is designed in DK but could be worked in fingering or a heavier weight.  Personally, I’d love to see it in SpaceCadet Astrid in the deep and rich colours of Honey, Headstrong, or Mars to really lift up that gorgeous texture.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Well, I’ve got a busy day ahead of me — there’s orders to go out to some of our LYSs, all those autumn plans to nail down, and maybe a bit of dyeing too.  I hope you’ve got an exciting day ahead of you too and, until next time, all my best!


SpaceCadet Newsletter: When My Sister Cut Her Knitting in Half…

SpaceCadet Newsletter: When My Sister Cut Her Knitting in Half…

I am now going to tell you a story you are not going to believe…  a horror story…  Prepare yourself.

You may remember I’ve mentioned before my sister-who-doesn’t-knit…?  Well, to be honest, she has knitted in the past but it’s never really stuck and the only thing she ever created was a scarf with a cast on edge that was so tight it was half the width of the rows that followed it, with random inadvertent lace sections, and which she knit until there wasn’t enough yarn to bind off and so, instead, hung it up on the wall, still on the needle, as a sort-of garter-stitch wall-hanging.  As far as I knew, she never picked up the needles again.

Then a few months ago, out of the blue, an order came through for a skein of Thebe, our silk and linen laceweight, and when I looked at it, I realised the customer was my sister.  I phoned her straight away: why was she ordering yarn…?  why was she ordering laceweight…?

She said had been thinking of taking up knitting again for stress relief (yes, it’s very good for that, I assured her) and she thought silk and linen sounded nice (yes, indeed it is, but laceweight is not going to be an aid in stress reduction).  So I cancelled her order and refunded her money (bless her but, I mean, she’s my sister!) and caked up a lovely skein of Astrid, which a nice newbie-friendly DK, and sent her that instead.

Fast forward to this past month, when I went to visit her for a few days.  We had a lovely time, drinking tea and chatting and watching movies.  And when I pulled out my knitting, she went and got hers as well.  What could be more perfect than two sisters knitting together?  And then she casually asked if I could please do that stitch for her that knitters do when they cut their knitting…?

**sound of a record scratching**

When they… what?!?

She held up her project.  It was that original fingering weight scarf, now with the new DK skein added on where the original yarn had run out.  But she was holding it in two pieces, one in either hand, and each piece with a nasty, jagged edge of loose yarn and live stitches.  “I wanted to take my knitting with me on our last trip, but it was too bulky.  You know I like to pack light.  So I cut it in half.  Could you please do that stitch that you guys do to put it back together when you cut your knitting?”

I was speechless.  Utterly lost for words.  She had literally taken a pair of scissors and cut through her knitting — roughly and across rows — in the full confidence that this was normal and there was some stitch that could easily put it back together again.  When I finally began to laugh, it started with a whooshing noise because I’d actually stopped breathing, and then became so out of control I sounded almost hysterical.  The more I looked, the more I laughed, and I just couldn’t stop.

“When knitters cut their projects…?” I repeated.  “When they cut them?”  Like, when burn down their own houses?!? Or they murder their own children?!?  I was crying with laughter now. “I… I… I can’t put it back together.  There is no such stitch!”

She was totally chill in the face of my incredulity.  “That’s ok. If you can’t fix it, I’m ok with it as it is. I just like to knit.”  Ladies and gentlemen, this is process knitting leveled up.  But there was no way I could leave my sister knitting on a project with live stitches untangling along a jagged edge, no matter how relaxed she was about it.  So I picked up stitches on the original scarf and ripped back until I had enough yarn to bind off properly.  And then I unwound the new yarn she’d joined to it and cast it on afresh.  “Here you go,” I said as I handed it back to her, “you’re all set now.”  She thanked me and turned it over in her hands.  It looked so lovely and tidy now.  And then I said words I never, ever thought I’d utter…

Please, please, don’t cut your knitting again.


I may be just a wee bit head-over-heels about these new knitting needles from Furls Crochet.  They are just soooo pretty!

Ever wanted to live on a remote Scottish island and look after sheep all day?  Boy oh boy, today is your lucky day!  The North Ronaldsay Trust has a vacancy for your dream job as a Sheep Dyke Warden.

Photo by Eric BARBEAU

You know how I love curling up with a nice cuppa when I knit?  And I have lovely memories of visiting my Italian friend Valeria and drinking coffee she made in her moka pot, so reading that the original Italian moka pot manufacturer is struggling for business — even as the market for coffee has exploded — has made me so sad.  And makes me want one of my own!

So many readers shared with me the Heavy Metal World Knitting Championships that I’m thinking you might have already heard about but, just in case you didn’t, here’s their website and here is a summary of what might be the weirdest mash-up of interests every conceived.  Then again, it takes place in Finland, where their cold weather, long winter nights, and famous love of heavy metal does make this an oddly logical combo.  Ah Finland…  ever since Lordi won Eurovision, I’ve had a special place in my heart for you!

And in another story that a couple of readers shared (thank you, Fatima and Susan!), this father knit his newborn son’s sleep patterns into a baby blanket.  I am impressed with this on so many levels: not only that he managed to keep such good records during that year of sleep deprivation(!) but that he formatted the data and translated it into stitches, and then double-knit the whole thing.  What an incredible keepsake for his son!

Welcome to our New Gradient Explorers Members

The Gradient Explorers opened to new members last Friday.  There were only a handful of spaces and they went quickly (as they always do!), so I just wanted to take a moment and welcome our new members.  I’m so excited to have you aboard!

Gradient Explorers colourways from Oct 2018 to June 2019

Here’s a look at the fade created by the Gradient Explorers colourways over the last few months.  Where do you think the colour adventure will be taking us next?

The Mini-Skein Club Goes Sun-Bleached

As we headed into summer, the Mini-Skein Club’s colours have taken a turn toward the kind of beachy, sun-bleached colours that feel so right this time of year.  This is my assistant Jade’s Northeasterly that she’s been knitting with all of 2019’s Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins, and I think it looks so amazing to see the colour progression through the whole year, don’t you?

The Mini-Skein Club 2019 colourways up to June

The Mini-Skein Club is so easy and flexible: join anytime you like and leave whenever you have enough Mini-Skeins for your project.  And it’s open now!  Click here to learn more.

A Good Scarf by Barbara Benson

I love it when a simple but clever design creates an outsized result — and this pattern is a great example!  Barbara told me, “I was trying to see how completely simple I could make a pattern while still maintaining interest and style. The end result is A Good Scarf (named so after the store I work at)…  It is completely reversible and unisex and I think would make a great gift for just about anyone who needs a scarf.”  Designed in two skeins of DK weight yarn, it would work well in either SpaceCadet Astrid or Lyra.  Or for added colour play, try holding two differently coloured fingering weights together.  Beautiful!

(And if A Good Yarn is your local yarn shop, get ready to get excited because we’ll be sending a ton of yarn their way this autumn!)

Shalane by Corrina Ferguson

I’ve always been a sucker for stitchwork that looks like flowing water so this beautiful pattern jumped out at me immediately!  And the generous silhoutte and simple tee shaping makes it perfect for summer.  Designed in DK, I think I’d knit it in two strands of Maia held together for amazing sheen and drape — and I know I’d go for a blue and green (maybe Frigia and Stroppy?) to really play up that watery feel.  What colours would you choose?

Sleepover by Melissa Kemmerer

Boxy sweaters are really having a moment, aren’t they?  And I kind of love that because they’ve got such nice simple shaping that you can work on them anywhere: at knit night, at a baseball game, during the scary parts of a movie(…!).  This lovely design is made more interesting with some beautiful detailed stitchwork that runs from the shoulders down each sleeve.  Designed in DK, I’d knit it in SpaceCadet Astrid, in either Nine Stones (a soft, heathered grey) or Headstrong (a beautiful heathered rust).

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got a bunch of orders to prep today, so I’d better get moving.  I hope you have a lovely, yarny day planned and, until next time, remember you…  don’t cut your knitting!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Launched From a Slingshot!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Launched From a Slingshot!

At this time of year, I always feel like I’ve been launched from a slingshot.  It starts in May as we finish our spring shows and turn our focus to prepping for the TNNA tradeshow in June — and then suddenly, the show is upon us (too soon! every year!) and it’s a wonderfully exhilarating/exciting/exhausting weekend and so much fun and so much work and so little rest.  As soon as we get home, we take a few days off for some much needed sleep (zzzzzzzzz….) before we get busy dyeing alllll those orders for the LYSs that we met at the show.

Everything else practically comes to a halt: the newsletter goes on a little break, social media comes to a stop (my social life comes to a stop), and everything that isn’t necessary slows right down while we focus on making sure our customers get their yarn.  And then all of a sudden, I look up and it’s the middle of July.  How did that happen?!?

This year’s TNNA was amazing — our best ever — and I put that down to how many of our customers reached out to their LYSs and asked them to stop by and see us!  So many yarn shop owners told us they had come to see us because of a customer recommendation.  Thank you so very much for making that happen — I cannot tell you how grateful I am.  Or how excited I am to send lovely SpaceCadet smooshiness to an LYS near you! Woot!

But while we’ve had our noses to the grindstone at the studio, lots of interesting stuff has been happening in the world of yarn and fiber.  So grab a nice cuppa and a comfy place to sit, and let’s dive in…


Just in case you’ve been living under a rock (as I have!), Ravelry recently introduced a new policy banning posts in support of the Trump administration. The news made the national and international papers, and late night talk shows.  You can read the policy in full here, and Ravelry’s Mary-Heather further clarified their position in a July 1st post on the front page.  There have been a lot of strong feelings and discussion about the situation on social media — most of which, to be honest, I missed completely but, after I caught up a bit, I shared SpaceCadet’s position here.

Yarn overs are probably the simplest of increases, so I didn’t think there would be all that much to say about them.  Boy, did this article prove me wrong.  All you ever (ever ever) wanted to know about YOs  …and then some!

Knitting yarnovers into April’s SpaceMonster colourway

This cracked me up: reading a random article (that popped up on a feed somewhere)about behind-the-scenes secrets of airline pilots, I wasn’t surprised that they are not allowed to read on long flights… but it made me laugh that the article also specified that they aren’t allowed to knit.  Is that just the author being funny, or has that really been an issue?  I’m seriously hoping for the latter!

This doesn’t surprise me in the least: research from New Zealand shows that wearing wool is better for your skin’s health — including eczema — than wearing synthetics (and better for the environment, but you knew that already).  To test it, the researchers “created special garments that had the upper back portion split in two, with one half made from wool and the other polyester,” which volunteers then wore for weeks.  Interesting reading!

I’ve followed Brother Aidan (the knitting monk) on Instagram for a long time and so was really interested when I came across this article profiling him (and others) as part of the slow fashion movement within religious communities.

Open Now: The SpaceMonsters Mega Yarn Club!

We recently sent out the last parcel of last season’s SpaceMonster Club and I was reminded just how much I love creating colourways for our club members.  This latest colourway and its coordinate, Refresh and Renew, had the whole SpaceCadet crew swooning and the SpaceMonster members snapped up the extra skeins superfast (and we’re dyeing even more for them right now!).  You can see why we love it so much, right?

And the SpaceMonsters members get a gift each season and, this time, it was this absolutely fantastic backpack, custom screenprinted for us by the awesome folks at Commonwealth Press here in Pittsburgh.  Perfect for carrying a project (and a ton of other stuff) on summertime adventures!

Subscriptions for the new season of the SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club are open for only a few more days (closing on Mon July 15th at midnight).  The SpaceMonster Club is an awesome way to explore fabulous colour on our smooshy worsted and bulky yarns in gorgeous club-exclusive colourways. Subscriptions are available only twice a year, so click here now to join in on the fun! ⁠

All images shown here are of past colourways and are for illustrative purposes only. Yarns, colourways, and gifts for new subscriptions will be different (but still awesome!).

Spring Quartet by Anna Johanna

Warm days call for simple practical designs that are fun to knit but not too heavy — on either your body or your brain capacity(!).  I love this super-cute cardigan with its sweet eyelet motif and easy shaping.  I’d make it in either our lightest merino fingering, Celeste (with a whopping 490 yards/100g!) or our bamboo-rich Maia, that drapes like a dream and is so light it practically floats.

cancun boxy lace top by erin kate archer

When a design combines super simple shaping with fun stitchwork, the result is perfect for summer, and this top is a great example.  I love that even though it’s nothing more than two rectangles joined together, the constantly changing lacelike stitchwork keeps it interesting and creates enough “air conditioning” to keep things cool.  Designed in DK, I think I’d actually be inclined to hold two strands of fingering together, maybe (again) Celeste and Maia, but this time in the same colourway because the two yarns together create a matte/sheen effect that play off one-another gorgeously (see three examples below).

Maia & Celeste paired in the same colourway

One Skein Shrug by LeRoo Crochet

I love shrugs because they hit that summertime sweet spot of just-enough-and-not-too-much, whether you need a little warmth in an overly air-conditioned office or something to throw over your shoulders when the temperature drops as the sun goes down.  What makes this design nicer than most shrugs is that it comes in four sizes for a better fit.  And a lovely mesh texture to keep things light and airy.  Designed in fingering, I’d crochet it in SpaceCadet Oriana for a cotton-like drape.

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, I’ve got another busy day planned today — we’ve got orders to fill and club colourways to dye — so I’d better get the day started.  I hope you have a few fun things planned for your day too.  And until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Wow! You Made Such a Difference!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Wow! You Made Such a Difference!

This is such an exciting day!  We are packing my car with every single SpaceCadet colourway to go to TNNA, the knitting & crochet industry’s tradeshow, where we will be showing off our yarns and kits to local yarn stores (LYS) from around the country.

One of our wholesale colour combos, which of course you can buy too! (l-r): Longing, Sage, Drizzle, Wilt, Time Traveller, and Honey

And the most exciting part is that, since asking for LYS referrals in my last newsletter, our TNNA appointment calendar has filled right up — Friday is now completely booked and there’s only limited spots available on Saturday and Sunday.  And I know that is down to everyone who so kindly reached out to their LYSs over the last couple of weeks and recommended SpaceCadet to them.  Wow, what a difference that makes!  Thank you so much!!!  I absolutely cannot wait to meet the owners and buyers of your local shops and get SpaceCadet yarn into them so you can smoosh see it person!

Another colour combo: Fat-Free Chocolate, Sliver, Feather, Plume, Gentle, Sage

So, I’d better get back to packing (we’re at the stage where it’s only the tiny things to remember but it feels like a million of them and I’m so scared I’m going to forget something really important — you know that feeling?).  But before I do, I’d love to take five minutes and share a little fiber news (and a cup of tea) with you.  So go get something nice to drink too and let’s dive in…


While we prepped kits for TNNA, the SpaceCadet crew were discussing circular needle length (I prefer long for magic loop, but hmmmm…  I am now thinking of stocking up on 12″ circs for swatching, designing, and smaller projects worked flat).  So it was timely that I also came across this handy checklist on how to pick the right circular needle length.

(l-r): That’s What She Said, Fred While You’re Up, Yes Dear, Sliver, Blood Moon, Dark Skies

Ever look at a hammock and think, “I should be able to knit that“? Well, Erin Kate did!  And there’s a pattern and some hilarious photos of her making it on the biggest “needles” you’d ever want to work with.

It goes without saying that I’d rather stay home and knit than go to a bar or club (or, I’m perfectly happy to knit in a bar, if it comes to it.  You too?).  This article about the intersection of the knitting, clubbing/bar, and gay scenes in New York City was a really interesting read.  But I have to admit my favourite bit was the corrections at the very end — you know a bunch of folks emailed the NYT to tell them they’d mixed up knitting and crochet! Ha!

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that stump you, isn’t it?  So I loved this video tutorial about how to make an adjustable ring for crocheting the round.  It’s so simple that it’s almost too simple, so being able to watch it done makes all the difference.

Into the bags and off to TNNA they go!

Opening June 28: The SpaceMonsters Mega Yarn Club
So get on the waiting list now!

The SpaceMonster Club, our worsted and bulky weight club, opens to subscriptions only twice a year and your next opportunity to join in will be on Fri June 28, when we will open the doors for two weeks only!  Spaces start going early but if you click here and put your name on the waiting list, I’ll make sure you get first dibs.  Nice, huh?

The SpaceMonsters is a great club, full of fun smooshy yarn that offer an exciting colour challenge but work up quickly for (almost) instant-project gratification. Plus we include a super-cute (and exclusive) gift at the end of each season to make it extra fun!   So get on the waiting list now!

Adaly by Corrina Ferguson

When Corrina Ferguson asked me for three skeins of SpaceCadet Vega (in Troublemaker, Headstrong, and Windswept), I knew she was designing something really special.  Two of those are colours that maybe maybe shouldn’t work together (the cool dark magenta of Troublemaker and the spicy warm rust of Headstrong…) but when they’re paired with the variegated Windswept, everything suddenly comes together!  The two semi-solids play off one another beautifully in those big garter stripe sections and I love how the eyelets force the colour of the variegated yarn to shift and change.  If warm colours aren’t your thing, you could go for cools in Stroppy, Feather, and Flow; or neutrals in Fat-Free Chocolate, Drizzle, and Nine Stones.

Myristica by Marie Amelie Designs

The crescent shape caught my eye and then I spied that this beautiful shawl incorporates stripes going both horizontally and vertically.  And of course, I imagined it knit in either our Ombre&Gradient Mini-Skeins or the beautifully changing colours of the Gradient Explorers.  Paired with a contrasting semi-solid, the colours would slowly change and morph as the shawl grows — the kind of knitting that’s impossible to put down!  Just one more row…

Join the Mini-Skein Club here, or get on the waiting list for the Gradient Explorers here.

Thia Tunic by LeRoo Crochet

Summer time is all about cool coverups and I absolutely love this one, crocheted as a simple rectangle with the neck hole left in the middle, then seamed up the sides.  The vertical panels are slimming and add visual interest, but I think I’d like it just as much worked in a single colour to bring attention to the loose and airy stitches.

images © the respective designers, used with permission


Ok, it’s going to be big day and there’s a ridiculous amount to do, so I’d better write a (loooooong) list so I don’t forget anything, and then get my day started.  I hope you’ve got a great day planned with lots of fun stuff (but maybe a shorter to-do list than me) and, until next time, all my best!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: I need your help for TNNA!

SpaceCadet Newsletter: I need your help for TNNA!

Things are wildly busy here at SpaceCadet because, in just two weeks, we are headed to TNNA, the knitting industry’s tradeshow.  It’s a super-exciting weekend and the best part is the opportunity to meet with LYSOs (local yarn shop owners) from all over the country to show them our yarns and kits — so that you can have local places to see (and smoosh and buy) SpaceCadet yarns in person!

It’s true that local yarn shops are the backbone of this industry that we all love so much. They’re an amazing resource to knitters and crocheters, offering classes and instruction, guiding customers to the right yarns for their projects, putting on retreats and bringing in top teachers from far and wide, and encouraging creativity and innovation in all of us.  The internet and big-box stores are no substitute for LYSs, and we’d love to see SpaceCadet yarn in more of them!

look at the great SpaceCadet kits your LYS could be carrying!

So would you help me with this please?  We’ve gotten our very best shops through customer introductions so, if there’s a great LYS near you that you’d like to see carry our yarn, please let me know about it!  I’d love to reach out and introduce SpaceCadet.  And the next time your in your LYS, please ask them to carry SpaceCadet.  Yarn shops really do listen when their customers tell them what they like.

And if you’re an LYSO or yarn shop employee yourself, please click here and give us your details.  We’ll be in touch soon!

Ok but, before I get busy with TNNA prep (more TNNA prep!), it’s time for our regular wander through the fiber world.  I’ve got a cup of tea today, you go grab something to drink, and let’s take five minutes to start the day off right: with the latest news from the yarn-world…


This made me giggle: poor, lonely, little No Stitch!

Soooooo… you’ve got a huge stash? Not sure how you’ll work through it? Maybe the images in this article will give you inspiration — it explores the work of two Polish artists who use yarn to create massive 3D sculptures that are at once beautiful and mesmerising.

Several readers shared this fascinating article with me, about a physicist who is exploring “the mathematics and mechanics of ‘the ancient technology known as knitting’.” Personally, I just loved thinking of knitting as technology, which of course it is. And patterns (especially the pre-internet everything-printed-on-one-page patterns) are a masterful use of code.

Speaking of physics, I think I could watch this video all. day. long. And every time I see it, I wonder if there’s a scientist-designer who could turn those those pendulum rhythms into a cable pattern…? It could be super-cool, don’t you think?!?

Luckdragon Shawl by verybusymonkey

It’s rare that I think cabling really works on a shawl, but this lovely design is absolutely one of those times!  There’s so much texture in every panel that I know I’d never get board and the results look admirably complex without being crazy making.  Designed in fingering, I think this is an excellent option for using up your SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins.

Pick your side by Agata A. Piasecka

The the thing that made this amazing brioche dress jump out at me is the way one side of the dress is a perfect negative of the other and so it can be worn either way (click through to see it reversed).  I love that it’s seamless — and I adore the leaf detailing on the sleeves.  If you’re an experienced knitter looking for a challenge that gives an amazing result, I think this design may be it!

Parallelism by Kyle Vey

As much as this image made this shawl jump out at me, the really intriguing thing about this design is something you can’t quite see here: the subtle texture of the stitches (click through to see more detailed images).  Slipped stitches work into a subtle mosaic pattern, and crossed stitches create the stripes that run the length of the piece. Using two skeins of contrasting yarn, its specially designed for a gradient shift, so this is another great candidate for your Mini-Skein Club stash. So grab a bundle of your minis and a nice contrasting semi-solid and cast on!

images © the respective designers, used with permission

Ok, the whole team is having a meeting today to go over TNNA prep, so I’d better get going.  It’s such a perfect temperature today that… hmmmm… maybe we’ll have the meeting outside.  I hope you have a great day planned (and maybe the chance to get outside today too?).  And until next time, all my best!


SpaceCadet Newsletter: Yarn that Rattled?!?

SpaceCadet Newsletter: Yarn that Rattled?!?

It isn’t always that a returned order puts a grin on my face but one that we received this week really did.  Actually, it first put a perplexed look on my face.  Because when I picked it up at the post office, the box… rattled.

Ummmm, what?  Yarn doesn’t rattle.

When I got back to the studio and opened it up, I found it did contain yarn, carefully wrapped and in perfect condition.  And on top of the yarn was a note and a box of cookies.  Spicy pecan cookies, which looked absolutely delicious.  And which rattled.

The note was from Karen, a lovely customer of ours and a member of two of our clubs, whose parcels had gotten a little confused.  We’d sent a replacement…  it seems perhaps it wasn’t necessary…  and now she was returning the extra yarn with a little something for us as well.  And her note explained she understood how difficult running a small business is — every little bit counts — and so she was including a treat for us for our troubles.

Can I tell you how touched I was?  I think I sat and looked at those cookies for a whole minute without moving.  The thing is, it is absolutely not necessary to send cookies with a returned parcel (not at all!) but receiving it was more than a simple mid-afternoon treat.  It was, in a way, proof of why we do this: it was the connection between two makers, between dyer and knitter or crocheter.  And while that connection usually flows in one direction — in a parcel from us to our customers — on that day, it flowed back again.

And that connection is everything about why we do this.  There’s an enormous amount of love and dedication that goes into every skein we dye and every parcel we send out.  We do it so the work of our hands can become the work of your hands — like for like, maker to maker.  And when that connection is returned back — through a conversation at a show, through an emailed reply to the newsletter, or through a completely unexpected box of cookies — I speak for the whole SpaceCadet crew when I say, it means the world to us.

(Thanks, Karen)

Ok, I’ve got a lot of juicy news and interesting stuff to share with you this week, so shall we get to it?  I’ve got a nice cup of coffee to get the morning started, you go grab something for yourself, and here we go…


I absolutely loved this article about breaking up with the needle size suggestions on the ball band (such a good idea!).  We get asked about needle sizes all the time and, while we’re happy to make suggestions, I’m always a little flummoxed, because there are no set rules about yarn and needle size. One of my favourite combos is our light fingering Celeste, which has 490 yards/100g on… wait for it… US size 8 needles.  So many people assume a yarn that thin requires something tiny, like 0s/1s/2s, but knit on size 8s, it makes a fabulously light and airy fabric.  So I’m in complete agreement: forget the “rules” and break up with the ball band!

Bluprint, the company that was formerly Craftsy, sent a letter to its course instructors that has angered many of them and caused great embarrassment.  In short, Bluprint promoted its classes with the promise that students could access teachers directly with questions, but then didn’t actually make a large portion of those questions visible to the teachers who were supposed to be answering them. When they finally shared this information, many of those teachers found thousands of unanswered questions dated as far back as a year ago, and a group of them (including many names you’ll know) have written an open letter to Bluprint (and its parent company, NBC Universal) demanding a public apology.  Meanwhile the teachers have had to issue their own explanations and public apologies to their students for not answering questions they were never given access to. Read more detail here.

These adorable space-themed page flags make me feel all happy inside.

In the last month or so, there’s been a lot of discussion around pattern (and yarn) prices, designer income, and accessibility to folks of all income levels.  For the most part, that discussion has been happening on Instagram (and especially in Instagram Stories), which makes it incredibly difficult to share and discuss outside that platform.  But I’m grateful to Lisa for pointing me to this post by Hunter Hammersen that gives an excellent, in-depth look at the realities of designer income.  I also came across this post by Louise Tilbrook and this Twitter thread by Sarah Dawn, both of which give passionate view points.  And this post from Heather Zoppetti — the owner of Stitch Sprouts, author, and a designer published regularly in all the major knitting magazines — discusses the difficulty in making a living as a designer and her decision to take a day job. Interesting reading.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you won’t have seen the amazing Year of Gradient from 2018’s Mini-Skein Club Ombre&Gradient Mix that my assistant Jade has knitted.  Each month, she made one hexagon from each mini in that month’s bundle (which still left her with plenty of yarn for other projects) and her goal is to join them all up together in a wrap that is sure to be stunningly eye-catching!

(doesn’t a year’s worth of gradient look amazing?!?)

But first, we laid them all out together on my deck to capture the full glory that is a year of the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club!  (Can I tell you, by the time we were done, it was so hard to fit the whole thing in one shot!  It’s a ton of colour!)

Each month for our Mini-Skein Club, we dye an Ombre & Gradient Mix that flows from last month’s colours into the next month’s colours, to create a Never Ending Gradient. It’s seriously so cool! To find out more, click here.

Casual Cadence by Lisa K. Ross

I love the kind of knitting that lets your mind relax and get into the rhythm of the stitiches and this shawl does exactly that with simple textures to keep things relaxed while showing off the changing colours of the yarns.  A perfect match for SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins (especially if you mix and match from the Mulitcolour Mix!), Lisa is offering our newsletter readers an exclusive 20% off the pattern with the code SPACECADET through the end of June.  Woot!

Wingspan by Kyle Vey

It’s been hard to miss this incredibly innovative design on Ravelry and social media of late but, if you haven’t spotted it yet, allow me to fix that for you.  Designed to mimic a pair of feathered wings, the shawl can be worn draped to draw attention to the unusual shape or wrapped to look more subtle.  It’s so much easier to understand if you click through to see all the photos.  I’d love to see it it worked up in the SpaceCadet’s Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skeins, where you can start the colour anywhere in the gradient and control the colour changes yourself.

Open Waves Top for Women by LoopinglyMade

With the warmer weather, the hunt is on for cool cover-ups that look stylish but let the breeze flow through, and this crocheted top caught my eye immediately.  Its straight-foward shaping keeps the stitchwork simple and I love the V-neck styling.  Designed in sport, I think I might be inclined to play with my gauge a little and try holding double our bamboo yarn, Maia, in two different colours for an interesting effect in a nice light fabric.

Ok, I’m about to run a bunch of labels for orders and club parcels that are going out today and I’d better get busy with it!  I hope your day is filled with fibery goodness the way mine will be and, until next time, all my best!