Creating A Year-Long Mini-Skein Project

The other day, I was going through photos from earlier this year and, as I scrolled from month to month, I kept coming across images of my assistant Jade’s Northeasterly. The pattern is for a blanket but she decided to work it as stole, using the Never-Ending Gradient of 2019’s Mini-Skein Club bundles.

And the pictures were kind of blowing me away…

Mini-Skeins from the first few months of 2019

She cast on in January and has worked patiently through each month as they come along. After finishing each section, she’d bring it to the studio so we could take photos and document the process (that bit was so much fun!)

And even though we both knew (of course) that each month flowed into the next, there was something absolutely magical about seeing the whole year’s gradient flow come together on her needles, right before our eyes…

Mini-Skein Club colours from January to May 2019

Using Minis for a Year-Long Project

The fabulous thing about doing a project with a year’s worth of the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skeins is that, even though it creates being a really epic finished object, it’s not really ever that much effort to produce. Because it’s broken up from one month to the next, with a slower pace and plenty of downtime between club parcels arriving, Jade said she felt fresh every time she picked up her needles and returned to work on it.

And something amazing: to produce this stunning project (which is now almost to big to photograph!), Jade didn’t even use a full mini-skein for each colour. She was using the end-bits that we have leftover when we break the full-size skeins into mini-skeins. So that kind of begs the question… just how epic could a project be if each mini-skein is used in full?!?

Peach into Mint: the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club colours May-June 2019

Come Join In!

And the reason that I’m sharing this with you is that Jade is currently working on her next Mini-Skein Club project. Like both her 2019 and 2018 projects, it’s modular and simple to knit one month at a time something that will show off the Mini-Skein Club’s colours to full advantage.

And my question to you is, would you like to join her? Whether you join the Club and work with each new bundle as they arrive in the year, or you work from stash, I know both she and I would love to see you cast on an epic project alongside her!

It can be a simple pattern or something more challenging, for the whole year or just for a part. And of course, it doesn’t have to be the same pattern Jade chooses… whatever (knit or crochet) pattern tickles your fancy and that can be worked with your minis month by month will be perfect.

Transitioning through September’s Mini-Skein colours

How to Get Started

  • If you don’t already have a stash of the SpaceCadet’s gradient minis, join the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club! It’s a ton of fun because every month you’ll receive a sweet bundle of Mini-Skeins in Ombre&Gradient colours that flow from one month to the next. Click here to get all the details.

 

  • Then, if you’re as excited as we are at the prospect of creating a something wonderful with your Mini-Skein Club yarns, make sure you’re on our mailing list and then send us a quick email and say, “I’m in!” Don’t worry, you’re not committing to something big and scary — just to emails of encouragement from me and a casual camraderie of working on our Mini-Skein Club projects in community.

 

  • And if you’d prefer a project that uses just a few months’ worth of minis instead of the whole year, that’s fine too. The Never-Ending Gradient’s colours are so ever-changing that each season takes on its own personality and makes it perfect for smaller projects. And you stay in the club only as long as you like, so it’s entirely up to you!

 

  • Let’s use the hashtag “spacecadetminiskeins” on Instagram to share photos. And if you’ve got project ideas, let me know, so I can share them in a future email.

 

  • And if you have a friend who might like to join in too, use the share buttons below so they can see for themselves what fun it’s going to be!

 

November’s explosion of Mini-Skein colour

Ready to See How It Came Out?

I cannot tell you how stunning her finished 2020 project is!  Fortunately, I don’t have to…  take a look for yourself!

 

Even better, the Never Ending Gradient continues into the coming months!  We’ve been busy planning the Mini-Skein Club’s new colour direction and I couldn’t be more excited. Most of all, I hope you’ll pick up your needles or your hook and join us as we create the next epic project!

Can’t Pronounce It…  Gotta Knit It!

Can’t Pronounce It… Gotta Knit It!

I love seeing people who have found the thing they are passionate about.  There is nothing so infectious as the excitement and enthusiasm of someone who knows what they love and just dives in head first.

Whether it’s ballet or body art…  it really doesn’t matter.  The thing that is so awesome is that pure love that a real passion brings out.  Jeni’s has it for ice cream.  Amy Manko has it for heritage breed sheep.  And Katy Carroll has it for cables.

So when we ran into her at Stitches and she took some of our yarn home with her, I had…  oh, just a little inkling of what it might become.  A cowl, she said.  And mitts.  She didn’t have to tell me it would have cables.  “Katy Carroll’s Cabled Cowl,” I tried to say to the rest of the SpaceCadet crew… and failed.  You try it: Katy Carroll’s Cabled Cowl… Katy Carroll’s Cabled Cowl… Kaby Carroll’s Catled Cowl…  Kaby Cawoll’s Catled Cow…

katy-carroll-cabled-cowl

“And mitts!” they reminded me.  Yep, Cabled Mitts.  I can say that one.

They’re knit in Lyra, with its fantastic stitch definition that is just wonderful in cables.  Actually, Katy said, “Lyra is the PERFECT cabling yarn.” And given how much she does cables, she’d know.  The Plummy Cowl takes 230 yards (so, about 1 skein) and is in one size.  The Plummy Mitts are available in S/M/L  and take between 180-200 yards of Lyra.

katy-carroll-cabled-mitts

(But wait…  if you’re itching to cast on, make sure you scroll to the bottom first for info about your discount!)

 

Shop Update This Saturday!

lyra-shop-update-2

Lyra is, in fact, one of our most popular yarns.  So much so that when Katy told us the pattern would be ready and released this week, we looked at our stock and realised we’d better get dyeing!  So there will be a Lyra shop update this Saturday at noon (EST) — look for lots of our standard colouways plus one very special Limited Edition colourway that is gorgeous but which (probably) won’t be available again.  Seriously, gorgeous.

What a sneak peek?  Oh, alright then…

adjusted-5-of-5-3b-550

You’ve got holiday knitting coming up, right?  No, really, it’s almost October!   And the Plummy Cowl and Mitts are super-quick knits with lots of twists to keep your interest (yep, did that on purpose) and we’ve got yarn ready to go right out to you.  I see a match made in heaven here.  Except for the giving it away part…   someone’s gotta be seriously knit-worthy for something as pretty as cables inside cables.

Get a Plummy Discount!

And if all that cable-y goodness isn’t enough, Katy is treating the folks on the SpaceCadet mailing list to a 30% discount on the pattern.  You’ll get it in the newsletter on Tuesday, so order your yarn on Saturday and you can pick up the pattern while your yarn is on its way to you!  If you’re not on the mailing list, you’ll miss out, so click here and join it now.

And then relax, knowing you’re going to face autumn’s chill in some serious cabled style!

katy-carroll-cabled-collage

Our Giveaway Winners — and an Eye-Popping Pattern Pick!

Our Giveaway Winners — and an Eye-Popping Pattern Pick!

Fun stuff today!  I’m going to announce the winner of the Sarah Jordan Shawl pattern giveaway!

But, before I do, I wanted to share with you a pattern I came across and just fell in love with because it’s just so whimsical and cool.  And best of all, it’s the perfect for one of my favourite things…  SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins!

(You know I love patterns like that, right? But, if you’re reading this first thing in the morning, may I suggest a good solid swig of your coffee before you read on.  This colourplay is wild.)

Rock the Party knee socks
by Trisha Paetsch

Rock the Party knee socks by Trisha PaetschI wasn’t lying, was I?  It’s a colour explosion!  You can see why I took one look at them and thought, Mini-Skeins.  And whether you’d choose to knit them just a few inches above your ankle or right the way up to your knee, they change things up every inch or so, so you know that you’d never get bored.  I think they’re adorable, fabulous, and so fun, and I just had to share them with you.

(Quick, another gulp of that coffee, ok?  There you go. Better now.)

Want some more Mini-Skein Ideas?

Check out our Mini-Skein Ideas board on Pinterest!  Jade and I get our kicks hunting out the coolest Mini-Skein ideas and collecting them all together.  Some are patterns and some are just creative and interesting ways to use mini portions of yarn to add pops of colour to your knitting or crochet.  Click here to get inspired!

 

The Winners of the Sarah Jordan Shawl Kit Giveaway

Ok, I know this is what you’ve been waiting for, so let’s get right to it.  You’ll remember that a couple of weeks ago, I featured two of Sarah Jordan’s beautiful shawls, Embossed Lines and Margalit, which she’d designed in SpaceCadet yarn.  And then she and I decided to make things even more fun by giving away each of the patterns with the yarn it was designed in to two lucky winners.  So many of you entered — thank you all so much!

And now, without further ado, let’s announce the winners…

The first pattern is Embossed Lines and comes with a skein of SpaceCadet Lucina yarn in Drizzle.

Embossed Lines by Sarah Jordan, designed in SpaceCadet Lucina yarn

And the winner is…

 Barbara Gibbs

 

The second pattern is Margalit and comes with a skein of SpaceCadet Aurora yarn in Tickled.

 Margalit by Sarah Jordan, designed in SpaceCadet Aurora yarn

And the winner is…

 Wendy Melillo

 

Congratulations!  Please send us an email to missioncontrol(at)spacecadetyarn(dot)com, confirming the email address you used to enter and giving us your postal address, so we can get your prize out to you!

 

The SpaceCadet’s Pattern Picks: 3 Fab Patterns from Dark Matter Knits

Finding our Pattern Picks is one of the most awesome parts of my job — I scroll through Ravelry, browsing gorgeous pattern after gorgeous pattern, and still get to call it “work”.  But this time, the scrolling was over pretty quickly.  Because I ended up on Elizabeth Green Musselman’s Ravelry page (you know her as Dark Matter Knits and from the Dark Matter Knits podcast) — and BOOM — I found three patterns that I just fell head over heels for.  And I think you will too — check them out…

 

Bettina Cowl and Mitts

Bettina Cowl and Mitts by Elizabeth Green Musselman

Now if I’m honest, I don’t usually recommend variegated yarns for lace patterns — most of the time, the colours hide the complicated stitchwork and the result is often not everything it could have been.  But I have to admit, every time I look at the Bettina Cowl and Mitts, I just see it in the grey-blue-blacks of Blueshift, one this month’s limited edition colourways.  Even though it’s variegated, I think here the stitch pattern would work with the colours, shifting them around to create an almost heathered effect.   I love the little details: the buttons, the lovely leaf motif, and the way you wear the cowl three different ways.  And if a variegated yarn doesn’t work for you, I think the stitchwork would look stunning in Lyra in a semi-solid like Feather or Dark Skies.  Don’t you agree?

 SpaceCadet's Limited Edition colourway Blueshift

 

Frankenfingers

Frankenfingers by Elizabeth Green Musselman

How could I not share these with you?!?  They’re so adorable!  Designed originally for self-striping yarn, Frankenfingers would work perfectly with SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins.  And what’s more, using minis lets you choose your own colour sequence!  Use our Gradient Mix to morph from colour to colour or to create an ombre fade.  Or pick our Multicolour Mix and go for something eclectic and fun!  They’ll work in almost any of SpaceCadet’s fingering weight yarns, but choose Celeste or Ester for light and easy knitting.

 

 

Balinese Cardi

Balinese Cardi by Elizabeth Green Musselman

Now, this is just breathtaking! Created with a self striping gradient yarn cleverly combined with a semi-solid colourway for the main body, you can create the same effect with our Ombre & Gradient Mix Mini-Skeins — March’s minis would look stunning paired with coordinating semi-solids in Drizzle.  Or, if you’re really adventurous, go completely off-trail and knit this in a SpaceCadet Gradient Sweater Kit.  I’d love to see it in our favourite gradient colourway: Fervent!

SpaceCadet Gradient Sweater Kit in Fervent

But you know what? Even though the first thing you notice about the Balinese Cardi is the amazing colour, it’s a really beautiful design in its own right.  The stitch detail down the sleeve and front placket is just delightful, and the shaping is flattering.  If bright colour isn’t your thing, knit it in a semi-solid Sweater Kit and let those design details shine!

 

Limited Editions Close on Saturday

Don’t forget that the Limited Editions of our March Mini-Skein colourways close on Saturday.  And it’s so exciting because this month’s selections are stunningly beautiful!if you’re in the Mini-Skein Club, you have access to all of our colourway picks but, even if you’re not, we’ve got a few for you too.  Click here to see the colourways and grab a few skeins for yourself!

SpaceCadet's Limited Edition colourways

Three Pattern Picks to Bring Out the Best in Variegated Yarn

I get excited about variegated yarn (which is great, right? I mean, considering what I do for a living and all…) but variegated yarn can be tricky.  Pick the wrong pattern and it might pool or flash.  Pick the wrong yarn and it might turn into a multicolour mess.

But… but… when you combine the right variegated yarn with a pattern that compliments its colour changes, the result can be magical.  The latest SpaceMonster colourway, “As Winter Goes”, is dyed on SpaceCadet’s smooshy bulky-weight Elara in a wonderful mix of custard yellow, rich rust, and a washed out violet — that is just beautiful in the skein and will look amazing in a stitch pattern that moves the colours around in interesting ways.

As Winter Goes2

Wait, what do I mean by “interesting ways”?  My favourite stitches for colourways like this one use cables, slipped stitches, yarn overs, and the like to move the colours around — vertically as well as horizontally — within the fabric.  In fact, one of our SpaceMonster Club members did exactly that and her results are just gorgeous — click here to see!

But picking the right pattern to do that isn’t always easy, so want a little help choosing projects that will look amazing with this yarn?  We’ve got you covered!  Here are our Pattern Picks for the February SpaceMonster colourway, “As Winter Goes”…

Pattern Picks for “As Winter Goes”

Boot Candy Boot Cuffs/Boot Toppers Pattern by Sara Gresbach

Boot Candy Boot Cuffs

This past Christmas, I received a gorgeous pair of knee-high boots that I have worn pretty much every single day since the holidays.  And what does every great pair of boots deserve?  Some beautiful hand-knit boot toppers!

What I love about Sara Gresbach’s design is the way she uses cables (without purling) to subtly move the stitches around on a stockinette background.  The effect is lovely in a solid yarn as pictured here, but would work wonderfully to blend the colours in a variegated yarn like “As Winter Goes”.  Simple, quick, and just so cute — I might go cast on!

 

Cordiale by Heather Zoppetti

Cordiale

Here’s another amazing example of a using simple stitch technique to manipulate colour.  Look carefully at Heather Zoppetti’s stunning Cordiale and you can see the slip stitches working their magic against a stockinette background.  To me, it looks almost like the wings of birds flying across the fabric.

Worked in a variegated yarn like “As Winter Goes”, those slip stitches would lift the changing colour up out of the horizontal line of its original row to break up any pooling or flashing, and create a wonderful, randomised effect.  All while keeping you toasty warm — can’t beat that!

 

Mikkey by Lee Meredith

Mikkey

I love love love what Lee Meredith does with yarn — her approach to knitting is innovative and almost architectural.  And she never ever shies away from deliciously bold use of colour!

Lee designed Mikkey in three shades of SpaceCadet Elara —  Dark Skies (the gray), How Dare You! (the orange), and Tickled (the pink) — with a 2-color slip-stitch pattern which gives completely different looks on the two sides.  But I’d love to see it knit in the sublime colours of “As Winter Goes” paired with the soft gray of Dark Skies for a more natural effect.  Or  for something really eye-catching, contrast it against a beautiful purple like Plume.  Either way, it’s a stunning pattern that will bring out the best in any smooshy, variegated yarn.

 As Winter Goes

The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club will re-open for subscriptions in June.  If you want to be the first to know (and get early-bird registration), get on the SpaceMonster mailing list!

Pattern Picks for In These Dark Woods, the Latest SpaceMonster Colourway

The December SpaceMonster parcels went out last week and, before I show you Jade’s fantastic pattern picks, I just have to share with you the gorgeous colourway that inspired her and and the fabulous gift that accompanied it.

**Spoiler Alert!** If you’re a SpaceMonster Club member and you haven’t seen your parcel yet, look away now if you don’t want to spoiler the surprise! (And if you’re not a SpaceMonster, there’s only 3 days left to join — click here!)

This is In These Dark Woods, inspired by a darkening wood at nightfall, bathed in the rich and mysterious colours of the dying light, and changing constantly before your very eyes.  I dyed them using a freeform technique that allows the yarn to absorb the dye however it pleases, soaking up one colour here and other colour there, and gives a result that is as exciting as it is unpredictable. No two skeins are alike and, while they are all similar, the goal with a colourway like this is not for them to match exactly but to simply go together, each one’s differences enhancing the skeins around it.

 
But just as much as the yarn, we were super excited to send out the gift that went in this month’s parcel.  It was a gorgeous wooden SpaceMonster box, handmade for us by Craig at Turns2Art, and absolutely perfect for holding all those notions and tools that always end up everywhere.  And Doug, one of our SpaceMonster members, documented the process as he opened his box and revealed his skein of In These Dark Woods…

The SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club Gift for Dec 2014

 

But when you’re holding an amazing skein like this in your hands, it can be hard to decide what to make with it.  So I asked my assistant Jade to choose a few patterns for this colourway, and she’s come up with some fantastic suggestions.  Over to Jade…

Pattern Picks for In These Dark Woods

As soon as I saw this yarn, I knew it was going to be special.  And the more I worked with it, the more I loved it – each skein was different but equally stunning.  As I twisted and tagged them, I kept thinking ‘oh, now, this one’s my favorite’ and ‘this would be perfect for …’.  So many patterns popped into my head that it was hard to pick just three!  (Check out our Pinterest boards to see the rest.)

 

Nola Cloche by Hilary Smith Callis

Nola Cloche by Hilary Smith Callis
If you’re like me and need to cast on *right now*, go ahead!  This little cloche is instant gratification, and can be made with just one skein of Capella.  The smooth stockinette will emphasize the rich variegation of In These Dark Woods and the simple, yet striking, cable twist adds interest and a bit of panache… Perfect for adding a pop of color to dull wintry days.

 

Yvonne – A Neck Warmer by Quadshotyarn

Yvonne - A Neck Warmer by Quadshotyarn
For those of you that prefer crochet, we’ve got you covered!  This month’s SpaceMonster yarn is perfect for you – Capella crochets up beautifully, and the textured stitch pattern of this neck warmer will make the colors ebb and flow into jewel-like pools and pops.  It will work with one skein, but to make it extra squashy and decadent, try using two and holding the yarn double!

 

Gale by Alicia Plummer

Gale by Alicia Plummer
And if you love In These Dark Woods as much as I do and just want to wrap yourself up in it, try this stunning winter poncho.  It’s pure comfort knitting – simple, with a straightforward construction, but enough texture to keep things interesting – and just the thing to keep you warm as Winter gets going.  Since it takes 5-6 skeins, it’s also the perfect way to showcase all the variation in this colourway.  Each skein will make the others pop, or you could alternate them for a blended, more nuanced look.

 

(I’ve got to tell you, it was really hard to pack the skeins into their little treasure boxes and send them off… I really wanted to keep them all for myself!  Maybe we could count that a fourth, unofficial pattern pick?  All The Skeins, made into a giant smooshy afghan!)  

 

The SpaceMonster Club Closes on Sunday

As you can see, the SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club is an  awesome club.  Focusing on smooshy worsted and bulky yarns (and great gifts), it’s a fantastic adventure for these cold winter days — or the perfect holiday gift! The SpaceMonster Club closes on Sunday Dec 21, so click here now for all the details and get in before it’s gone!

 

SpaceMonster Club Dec 2014 Closes 525