Here at the SpaceCadet studio, everyone is gearing up their holiday knitting: small projects that are quick to make, lots of fun, and the perfect gift for the knit-worthy amongst our love ones (…and, y’know, not everyone is all that knit-worthy. You know what I’m sayin’.) So it’s a really special thing, holiday gift making, and you want to choose just the right project combined with just the right yarn. Time to go stash-diving!
Our stash here in the studio is enormous — especially our pile of Mini-Skeins. As we’re putting together those lovely colourful bundles each month, we always make a few extra just in case and, after awhile, they start to add up. So while we were all discussing our holiday projects, we dug through our Mini-Skein stash to choose colours. But many of those skeins are loose — they never actually got put into a bundle — so we felt free to mix and match colours from different months however we thought best. And the results were amazing!
Have you done that too — mixed up your Mini-Skeins from different months? Or do you keep them all neatly in their bundles? The more we played with the colours of those lovely little yarn crayons, the more we realised that we gotta get everybody trying this! Seriously it is so much fun to mix up the months’ colours, and the unexpected combinations are too good to pass up. So what’s the best way to get all our Mini-Skein Club members trying this out? A super-quick, super-fun KAL, of course!
The Mini-Skein Gathered Cowl KAL
Jade has designed the sweet Mini-Skein Gathered Cowl that makes a fabulous holiday gift for anyone on your list (or even… you?). With interesting gathered stitchwork and adorable button detailing, the shorter version is knit with three SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins (and the longer version with as many as you like!), giving you endless colour options!
Pick three colours that coordinate gently for a cowl as eyecatching as the blue one above. Or choose three that contrast boldly. Or get really creative and choose three that both contrast and coordinate, like the pink-green-blue cowl below. For that one, Jade chose three skeins from three different months that, while contrasting for sure, also all have a grey element, which lends an overall cohesiveness even as the colours change from skein to skein. See what I mean? Lots of possibilities!
Cast-On: November 1! And a Pattern Discount!
We’re going to cast on our cowls on November 1 and we’d love for you to join us! The Mini-Skein Gathered Cowl pattern releases on Saturday and you can get a copy by clicking here.
But wait… we’ve got two special treats up our sleeves!
If you’re currently in the Mini-Skein Club (for the October parcel), we’re giving you a copy of the pattern for free. Watch your inbox over the next couple of days for your download code.
And if you’re on our mailing list, you get a code for 33% off! Look for that code in next week’s newsletter. (You are on the mailing list, right? You and your whole knit/crochet group? If not, click here and get on it stat!)
What If I Don’t Have a Stash of Mini-Skeins?
It’s hard to believe, I know, but there are some folks out there who don’t have a stash-mountain of Mini-Skeins to choose from. If that’s you, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered! After we went through all the Minis in the studio to pick combinations for ourselves, we found we were having so much fun, we couldn’t stop! We laid a huge sheet out on the floor, dumped all our Minis in the middle, and spent the whole afternoon mixing and matching to our hearts’ content (it’s something we call our “drinking game”, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…). The result is our Minis Triplets: little 3-skein kits that are perfect for the Mini-Skein Gathered Cowl!
Each combination is unique, so if you see one you really love, you’ve got to grab it fast! And we’ll be shipping the first wave out early next week, so you’ll have yours in plenty of time for cast-on day. Click here to see all the colour combos we came up with!
Your Turn: Raid Your Stash & Join Us!
So whaddya say? Are you ready to cast on some holiday knitting and bust your stash at the same time? We’d love to have you join us! Click here and tell us you’re in — and show off your fabulous colour combination too!
If I had plans to get 2015 off to a rip-roaring start, 2015 had other plans for me. The past ten days have seen my family dealing with a concussion (not mine), a corresponding trip to ER (all’s well), and four cases of full-blown flu (the real deal: high fevers, miserable chills, night sweats… it’s been just awful). The sicker we all got, the more it felt like everything was slowly grinding down to a complete standstill. And it would have, if it hadn’t been for the awesome SpaceCadet team, who stepped in and took over, keeping everything running at the studio, orders and club shipments going out, …and even collecting my family’s medications when we were just too sick to leave the house. I knew Amy, Jade, and Jill were seriously good folk, but I found out just how great they really are this past week.
One thing I haven’t been able to do while I’ve been sick is get to my computer, so I couldn’t share with you this great interview with Jenise Reid, the designer of the January Pullover, or answer your emails about the KAL. So instead of closing the January Pullover kits this past weekend as I’d planned, I’ve decided to extend sales of the kits until January 26 (click here), so that I have the chance to answer your questions and you can get to Jenise a little better.
An Interview with Designer Jenise Reid
Hi Jenise! Let’s start with an introduction: who you are and how long you’ve been knitting and designing.
Hi! I learned to learned to knit back when I was 18, and really wanted to make a little toque for my nephew. I was using a pretty fingering weight yarn, and was annoyed with how very long it took. I don’t think I picked up the needles again till a couple weeks later, but after a couple projects I was hooked. A couple years later I decided to try writing a pattern for one of the sweaters I had made, and before I knew it I was designing and writing patterns full time! That toque took me maybe 6 hours, and somehow I have come to the place where I consider 30 hours of knitting to be normal amount of time to spend knitting something. You could say I have embraced slow!
What inspires your designs? And which of your designs are your favourites?
Everything inspires me – it really just depends on the collection/design. In the case of January Pullover, early last year I decided I wanted to make a whole collection of sweaters, and I was going to make them exactly the way I wanted them. For me, that means skinny yarn, lots of stockinette, and precise shaping. Fit is important, curves are important, though they do make the pattern a little more complex. I am thankful to be releasing the collection myself – each pattern is on the long side to clearly explain what is going on, and if I sent them in to a print publication, they would either simplify the shaping (which makes them fit so perfectly), or over simplify the pattern and make it hard to use/understand.
I tend to love the one I am currently knitting the most, but Falling Leaves definitely has a special place in my heart as my first best-seller. It was the success of that blanket that convinced me that it could be worth while to give knit design a full time try as a business, so the fact that I am designing today is thanks to it!
The fit. This is the first time I have used bust short row shaping in one of my patterns, and I am really impressed with how much it improved the way the sweater hangs. The pattern includes directions on bust shaping for everyone a “C” cup or above, or the short rows can be skipped. As my sister said when she first saw it, it almost looks store bought thanks to the fine yarn and crisp gauge. But when I compare the fit to any store bought sweater, it is obviously superior. You can’t buy knit sweaters with bust shaping!
I think a lot of the reason why handknit sweaters have such a bad reputation is due to the thought that a knitting pattern should take a minimal amount of pages and words. Yes, it is much easier to follow the pattern for a sweater that is just a rectangular box with sleeves stuck onto the sides. You can fit the whole pattern on one page. The trouble is (as a Home Ec teacher expressed it) “Ladies, we are not shaped like refrigerators!”
If you want your sweater to wrap neatly and smoothly around your curves, you need shaping, you need curves, and you need options. The pattern is longer, and a little harder to follow, but when it comes to a sweater that makes you look great, it is so worth it! I tried to make this pattern simple to adjust, and took a good deal of care on the larger end of the sizes. If that boxy sweater makes a size 2 look like a shapeless mass, there isn’t any hope for a size 26! January will still have a tidy drop sleeve, a shapely neckline, and will glide smoothly over those size 26 curves.
One of the reasons January is so flattering is due to the yarn — SpaceCadet Oriana. I have it in a tight gauge that gives it body, and it does a great job of smoothing over little lumps and bumps. The matte sheen to Oriana also helps with this – no shine to magnify wrinkles!
We created a custom colourway for the January Pullover — what is it that drew you to these colours for it? Do you think the sweater would work in any other colours?
Only recently did I decide I actually liked red again – I hadn’t worn anything red for years! This particular shade is just gorgeous, and goes well with everything from denim to charcoal to browns. I love the play between the maroon and rust tones as they fade between each other. I think January’s deep red gives it a calm air, ready to take on anything. For a more playful look, I think Feather would be delightful. For a flexible look that is easy to dress up or down, Dark Skies is the one!
Personally, when I try to pick a color, I tend to dig through my closet and pick out what I think I would wear with the sweater. If I can’t find anything I think would go well, I decide if I love the color enough that it would be worth it to go find and buy something just to match the sweater, or if I should consider a different color. Being more thoughtful about what colors will actually work with the clothes I *already* own has really increased how much I wear my handknits! I actually have a handful of sweaters I made but never wear just because they don’t match anything, and it really bugs me.
What do you enjoy about running a KAL for one of your designs? And what do you do to ensure your knitters have a great experience?
KALs are a highlight for me – I check in a couple times every day, and it is always a lot of fun to discuss color, yarn, techniques and fit. I don’t know many people who knit locally, and I love talking about it!
There are always those knitters who are not a standard size, and I love being able to give advice on how to work with the pattern to get a sweater that fits YOU perfectly! Besides that it is fun to help, I also consider the KALs to be educational for ME — being in touch with what kinds of questions knitters may have, and thinking though fit issues helps me to write a better pattern next time.
So, you live in British Columbia and I know you guys get a lot of snow. How deep is the snow outside your house at the moment?
This year has been a fabulous snow year – I love it! Two days before that photoshoot, we had the largest dump in 48 hrs since the 70’s, about 2 feet. That is my driveway at home – the plows were too busy on the main roads to get any side roads. I think everyone on our street who tried to get out got stuck, and so everyone was digging everyone else out.
I didn’t try to drive anything anywhere – walking was bad enough! (By the way, while I wouldn’t wear a short sleeved sweater out for a long time, January was warm enough to pop out of the house with a shovel for 15 minutes to help dig a car out). Since then, we have had yet another foot or so, but nothing like those two days!
I am such a fan of Jenise’s work and, if you were a part of her Sari Cari KAL last summer, I know you will be too. I’m delighted she chose SpaceCadet Oriana for this design and asked us to create these beautiful kits and, as I said, we’ll be keeping the kits available until January 26th to make up for lost time. Click here to grab yours and get in on the fun!
If you decide to take Jenise’s suggestion and try the January Pullover in either Feather or Dark Skies and order before the end of January 26th, we’ll make sure to dye your yarn in time for the KAL Cast On. Just let us know in the order notes during checkout and we’ll take care of it!
And speaking of lost time, I am on the mend at last but definitely still under the weather, so I’d be really grateful if you’d keep your fingers crossed that I shake this flu off quickly. And virtual cups of tea are allllways gratefully accepted anytime!
After the all the excitement and fun of the holidays, the first week back to January’s cold reality can come like a slap in the face. No more tree, no lights, no parties to go to… just the darkest days of winter stretching out for months ahead. So what is there to look forward to in the first week back at work? How about a beautiful new pattern from Jenise Reid in an exclusive SpaceCadet colourway…
Conveying a simple and casual look, but with well thought-out details, the January Pullover is designed to create a great fit. I’ll let Jenise explain…
For me, January has always been the month when you can be confident that there will be snow on the ground, and the snow will be there the whole month. (all of February too) It is cold here! So, my January sweater is one that is suitable for wearing indoors. Shorter sleeves so they don’t get in my way when I am doing stuff, and a cozy but not too warm fingering weight merino.
Simple, casual, drop shoulders, right? Not really… a cleanly fit drop shouldered sweater is not a box with sleeves! To fit the body perfectly, you need some curves and slopes and angles. Oh, and if you want the loose body to hang smoothly, you might also need some short rows over the bust. But fear not, all the details are written into the pattern for you and it will be quite simple to knit up a sweater that fits as beautifully as a store-bought one or better.
(See the little stripes running down the back? I love those!)
When Jenise and I first discussed this sweater, I was delighted when she asked if I’d create a brand-new colourway for it. She sent me some images of the colours she had in mind, and I set to work at the dyepots. She was aiming for rich russets, browns, and burnt siennas, the perfect warm shades for cold winter days. Dyed on Oriana, our beautifully draping eight-ply fingering yarn, the result is Caelum (pronounced “see-lum”), which I named after a small constellation visible in the dark January sky.
The January Pullover KAL
And to celebrate the January Pullover’s launch, Jenise is turning it into a fantastic KAL! If you enjoyed her Sari Cardi KAL back in July, you know what a good time you’re in for. There’s great community in the Feminine By Design group, fun prizes, and personal help from Jenise all along the way.
And with a colourway as beautiful as Caelum, we just had to do kits! Custom yarn and beautiful pattern in one neat parcel, it’s everything you need to cast on and knit your own January Pullover just as beautiful as Jenise’s! Click here to grab your kit.
All the Details
Oriana is an sock twist fingering yarn with 8 plies that give extra strength and durability.
Fiber Content: 90% Superwash Merino, 10% Nylon; 8-ply
Weight: Fingering; Each skein is approximately 3.5oz/100g, and the yarn contains approximately 420 yards per 100g
Caelum, pronounced “see-lum”, is a small constellation visible in the dark January sky. Dyed in rich russets and browns and burnt siennas, our kit-exclusive colourway is designed to be wonderfully warm for cold winter days.
Each kit includes four or five skeins of Oriana in the custom colourway, Caelum, and a download code for a FREE copy of the January Pullover pattern (the code arrives in the parcel with your yarn).
The pattern is sized to fit busts 26-30 (30-34, 34-38, 38-42, 42-46, 46-50) inches, using 4 (4, 4, 4, 5, 5) skeins.
“Cast on Day” is Feb 23, to allow time for the yarn kits to be dyed and shipped. The KAL wraps up on April 30th. And there are great prizes too, which will be randomly awarded throughout the KAL.
Are you as excited as I am?!? I know that the first week back after the holidays can feel dark and dreary… but with a simple design as beautiful as the January Pullover to cast on, suddenly everything seems so much brighter — a wonderful welcome to the new year!
This weekend, I’ll be doing a trunk show at KNOTS in Chardon Ohio and, along with a huge pile of yarn, Mini-Skeins, and Ombre Kits, I’ll also be taking a stash of some really amazing one-of-a-kind colourways. They are the result of several weeks of pure colour-play, experimenting with the dyes and seeing what happens when I just follow where the colour takes me. Some are moody, some are intense, some are wild — all of them are stunning.
But when I take yarns like this to shows — yarns that resulted organically rather than by careful design — I always find a few customers who pick them up and are completely stumped. They turn the yarn over in their hands and, especially if it’s highly variegated, look at it in frustration and say, “But what would I make with it?”
The key to using a wildly multicoloured skein is to find a pattern that manipulates the yarn to use those colour shifts to their best advantage. Sometimes a colourway is so beautiful that straight stockinette can do that, but more often, a pattern that uses slipped stitches, dropped stitches, or other techniques that move the colour vertically as well as horizontally will create amazing results. And multicolour yarns also really shine paired with a semi-solid yarn in a pattern that alternates between the two.
We are such a fans of variegated yarns here at SpaceCadet, and of all the possibilities they hold (so many awesome possibilities!), that we decided to create two wonderful resources for our customers who need inspiration for those amazing multicoloured yarns they’ve just fallen in love with.
The SpaceCadet Variegated Yarn Project Ideas Board on Pinterest
We’ve curated a wonderful collection of variegate pattern ideas to wander through. The idea here is not so much to choose a pattern (although you might find the perfect one — just click on the pattern’s image to find it on Ravelry) as to immerse yourself in possibilities. Scroll through interesting stitch patterns, new techniques, and innovative ideas that you can try with that beautiful new colourway you’ve bought. Here, why not grab a nice cup of tea and click here to wander through it yourself?
The Variegated Yarn Pattern Suggestions Thread on Ravelry
What’s better than a Pinterest board full of stunning project images? A collection of pattern ideas that YOU can help create! Our Variegated Yarn Pattern Suggestions thread on Ravelry is put together by our fans and customers — people who love SpaceCadet yarn and know what works beautifully with it.
The ideas our group shares are fantastic and the rules are simple: (1) every pattern suggestion has to include an image and (2) chatting is encouraged but when you post a reply to the thread, you have to include a new pattern and image as well. The result? A fun, interactive lookbook of variegated project ideas. Click here and come join in!
Last Few Days to Order a Mauna Kea Kit!
Don’t forget this weekend is your last chance to order a Mauna Kea Kit and get in on the KnitTogether fun! Worked in either stripes or a gradient fade, Mauna Kea features raglan shaping, 3/4 sleeves, and incredibly flattering rib detailing down each side.
The KnitTogether starts Oct 31st, and orders close on Monday Sept 15. Click here to grab your kit!
Sometimes I find it hard to wait. When I think of an exciting new idea, I want to dive into it right NOW (hence my stash of 15 million started-but-never-finished knitting projects). When my friend Mel (of the With Mel podcast, formerly Singlehanded Knits) showed me her design ideas for the gorgeous Mauna Kea, I was dying to share it with you guys, but the timing wasn’t right. Do you have any idea how hard it was to keep quiet about such a stunning pattern?!? It was SO hard!
But some things are worth waiting for. Take a look at this…
Knit top down with raglan shaping, Mauna Kea features laid-back styling and ribbed 3/4 sleeves. But my favourite thing is the shape, created by some incredibly flattering rib detailing down each side.
Choose to make it in stripes using a SpaceCadet Ombre Kit (as shown here) for a sublime monochrome effect. Or pick a Gradient Kit for eye-catching stripes with real impact! And if stripes aren’t your thing? Skip them, and use any of the Ombre & Gradient Kits in order to create a sweater with colours that gently morph from top to bottom.
The Mauna Kea Knit-Together!
What’s even better than a fabulous new pattern? A Mauna Kea Knit-Together! Join Mel for a lively and fun knit-together from Oct 31 to Dec 5. There will be a support forum on Ravelry, video help for knitters, and lots of great camaraderie!
Important: The Mauna Kea Kits listed here are available for pre-order and will be dyed once the orders close on Sept 15. Delivery will be in mid-October, in plenty of time for the Knit-Together cast on day.
You can see why I was struggling to keep it a secret, right? It’s one of those designs that make you just itch to get started!
Lyra is a beautifully spoingy yarn that’s a joy to use, with a cabled 8-ply construction gives it strength and durability.
Fiber Content:100% Superwash Merino; 8-ply Weight: Each skein is approximately 3.5oz/100g, and the yarn contains approximately 270 yards per 100g
Each kit includes five skeins of Lyra and a download code for a FREE copy of the Mauna Kea pattern (the code arrives in the parcel with your yarn).
A lively knit together begins on Halloween for Mauna Kea, with a support forum and video helps for knitters!
There are five colourways available:
Dark Skies Ombre — grays to create the perfect monochrome effect
South China Seas Ombre — sublime blues for the ultimate in laid-back casual
Gobsmack Ombre — from deep purple to the softest lilac
Fervent Start-Anywhere Gradient — this gradient morphs from deep gray > rich eggplant > stunning fuscia > bright orange > brick red > back to gray. Designed so you can Start Anywhere, it works perfectly as either a gradient or for stripes.
Zing Gradient Ombre — this gradient morphs from dark gray > vibrant purple > cobalt blue > zesty lime > back to gray. Designed so you can Start Anywhere, it works perfectly as either a gradient or for stripes.
For striping sweaters:
For sizes S/M/L: use 1 kit
For sizes XL/XXL: use 2 kits (due to the way the stripes use the colours)
For ombre/gradient fading sweaters:
For all sizes: use 1 kit
Kits will be dyed after the ordering period closes on Sept 15 and parcels will be sent out mid-October, in plenty of time for the Knit-Together cast on date of Oct 31.
But I wanted to quickly share with you something wonderful that’s been happening in the SpaceCadet group on Ravelry! Now, we love collecting Mini-Skein project ideas for our club members on our Mini-Skein Ideas board on Pinterest — there are just so many fabulous and creative ways to add colour to your projects and scrolling through our Pinterest board is downright delicious.
But then I had a brainwave! As well as our collection on Pinterest, why not make this collaborative, and have all of you guys add your ideas too? So I started a thread on Ravelry — a place to share Mini-Skein project ideas and create a gorgeous look-book of patterns, an idea bank that we all contribute to. And it has become absolutely magic!
There are just two rules, and they are simple (and pretty fun too!):
Every suggestion has to include an image. Whether it’s a pattern on Ravelry or your own project, the idea is to create a visual idea book — and to be visual, it’s gotta have images! (and links are great too)
Chatting is welcome BUT you MUST also include an image and pattern idea in that same post. So, you can post a comment or reply to someone else’s post, but then you also have add in a pattern suggestion (and image) of your own in that post.