5 Reason Why I Love Mini-Skeins More than One-Skein Gradients

5 Reason Why I Love Mini-Skeins More than One-Skein Gradients

Gradients and ombres are awesome!  And they create stunning colour effects in all sorts of projects.   One of my favourite things is going through Pinterest to find amazing ways to use colour in knitting and crochet patterns, and the gradient and ombre projects just jump off the screen.

And while lots of them use single-skein gradient yarns, I gotta tell you that — personally — I prefer Mini-Skein gradients for those projects.  Yeah, it is because SpaceCadet makes Mini-Skeins (of course!) but, here, let me share with you the five reasons why I love Mini-Skeins way more than one-skein gradients

1. You Control the Colour Changes

So you’re knitting something beautiful and the lace section is coming to an end…  and that’d be the perfect place for the colour change to happen, right?  With a one-skein gradient, you don’t have any control over that — you just have to hope everything lines up — but with Mini-Skeins, you are totally in control.  If the lace section ends a few inches before one colour finishes, you simply switch to the next Mini-Skein and carry on knitting.  And your project looks so much more stunning — because you are entirely in control of the colour changes!

2. You can use Mini-Skeins to Add Pops of Colour to Any Project

When you pick up a bundle of Mini-Skeins, it’s easy to think of them as a single unit — something that has to be used up in one project like a one-skein gradient — but Mini-Skeins aren’t like that at all.  Break that bundle up and what you have a bunch of yarn-crayons that you can use anywhere and in any combination.  Pick one colour for a contrasting edging on a collar or cuffs (like MSkiKnits’s beautiful Sanctuary Shrug, below).  Or take a basic gray sweater and line the pockets in bright red that just barely peeks out.

The Sanctuary Shrug by MSkiKnits uses SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins to create a pop of colour

3. You Can Use Them to Create Larger Projects

We do something amazing with our gradient Mini-Skeins — each month’s colourway blends into the next month’s colourway so that, month after month, you can collect a stunning Never-Ending gradient.  One-skein gradients work perfectly in one-skein projects — and, with careful thought, can sometimes work in larger projects — but with the Never-Ending gradient Mini-Skeins, you are free to use your Minis in as large a project as you like!

4.  You can Start Anywhere

So you’ve found this gorgeous gradient and the thing you love love love about it is that amazing magenta right there in the middle of the skein.  Except you want it right on the edge of your shawl where it will really stand out, not buried in the middle.  With a one-skein gradient or even with most mini-skeins sets, you’re stuck — the colour progression is set and it wouldn’t work in any other order.

The Start-Anywhere Gradient Mix, from the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club, July 2014

But our Mini-Skein gradients are uniquely designed to work in a complete circle, so that instead of starting a project at Skein 1 and working through to Skein 5, you could start a project anywhere in the set, and the skeins all work together.  You you won’t get that in any other gradient.  So hooray — your magenta can be on the edge.  You’re completely in control!

5. You can Mix and Match between Gradient Sets (Or… Your Favourite Colour isn’t Trapped)

When we dye a set of gradient Mini-Skeins, we’re telling a colourstory — a story that starts with one hue, moves gently through several others, and finally ends with the last hue — just like a one-skein gradient.  So these colours all work together beautifully within the set, but the cool thing with Mini-Skeins is that you are not limited by the colourstory we dyed.  If you find yourself wishing you could pair up a colour from one set with a colour from a completely different set…  well, you totally can!  Your favourite shades aren’t trapped within their separate gradient  — they’re Mini-Skeins, so you just take them out of their sets and put them together any way you like.

My assistant Jade did exactly that when she spotted three Mini-Skeins from two different sets that she thought would work beautifully together.  Each skein played a bright shade against a background of gray and so, while the brights pop and bounce, the gray ties everything together.  Because they were dyed on Mini-Skeins, none of these colours was trapped within a different  gradient — and the result is gorgeous!

Mix and Match with SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins!


So you see, Mini-Skeins gradients give you amazing control and endless options for colourplay!  Go for a big project or small, create eye-catching pops of colour, and mix-and-match your skeins.  Best of all, you are always in control.  And for that reason more than any other, I love Mini-Skeins for gradients!

You too? Click here to check out the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club!

Picking Perfect Patterns for Your Mini-Skeins

Picking Perfect Patterns for Your Mini-Skeins

I love seeing what our Mini-Skein Club members make with each month’s parcel — there have been some amazing projects (have you seen this?!?).  But I suspect there are a few members who love those adorable little skeins but then are at a bit of a loss as to what to make with them (is that you?).

We have a wonderful Mini-Skein Ideas board on Pinterest, of course, and it’s chock full of inspiration.  Each one illustrates a really cool way of incorporating Mini-Skeins into a project but, as intoxicating as all those pictures are, you might not spot exactly what jumped out at us about that picture.  So, here, let’s go step by step through the ideas (plus pattern suggestions!) that we love most for using SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins.

Mini-Skein Idea #1: Ombre or Gradient Fade

Ok, I know, this one’s obvious and it’s the one that everyone ‘s mind jumps to first, but for that very reason, we have to include it — it is the quintessential Mini-Skein technique.  Take your Mini-Skeins and arrange them in order by either colour intensity or rainbow order (or whatever makes visual sense to you) and then just work them into your project in that order.  You can choose a pattern specifically designed for multiple colours, or you can take a plain vanilla pattern and simply change colour at regular intervals.  Or, you can take a pattern that was designed for a single-skein gradient and work it in Minis!  The advantage?  With Mini-Skeins, you are totally in control of when the colour changes happen!

How about some pattern ideas?

A Straight-up Ombre Fade: Hawaiian Snowflakes by Mel Ski is a simple mitt design created for in SpaceCadet Lucina Mini-Skeins.  Quick and satisfying, they perfectly show off a beautiful ombre fade.

 Hawaiian Snowflakes by Mel Ski

Combining a Gradient with a Solid: The Balinese Cardi by Elizabeth Green Musselman was created with a self striping gradient yarn cleverly combined with a semi-solid colourway for the main body, but you can create the same effect with two bundles of our Ombre & Gradient Mix Mini-Skeins.

 Balinese Cardi by Elizabeth Green Musselman

Adapting a Solid-Colour Pattern: So here we have an example of a pattern that was designed for a solid colourway, but looks stunning in a gradient fade using SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins: Eyeblink by Heidi Alander.  My assistant Jade knit this with one bundle of our Ombre & Gradient Mix Mini-Skeins combined with a coordinating semi-solid skein for a breathtaking summer shawl, showing just how stunning Mini-Skeins can be even in a pattern that wasn’t originally designed for them.

Eyeblink by Heidi Alander

Mini-Skein Idea #2: Stripes Combined with Solids

This one is lovely, because there are so many options and so many ways to customise it.  Anytime you see a striped pattern on Ravelry or on our Pinterest boards — especially a two-colour striping pattern — imagine it instead done in a series of ever-changing Mini-Skeins contrasted against alternating stripes in a solid yarn.  And it can work beautifully whether the stripes are wide or skinny, and whether you chose to work it in crazy, contrasting shades or work gently through a gradient fade.

Stripes are such a treasure trove of possibilities that I could hardly narrow down the choices!  Check out alllll these great pattern ideas…

Using Simple, Straight-Forward Stripes: I love Justyna Lorkowska’s Carly, because it’s the perfect laid-back sweater.  But look at this pattern with fresh eyes and, instead of two colours, imagine the smaller stripes in alternating Mini-Skeins in a riot of different shades.  Personally, I don’t think I’d even I’d worry about coordinating them — I’d just dive into my stash and go with whatever gorgeous colours I grabbed first!

Carly by Justyna Lorkowska

Going for Bold Stripes: Take a simple shape and use eye-catching, chunky stripes to make a bold statement — and Kate Jackson does it perfectly with her Madeline Shawl.  The knitting is easy but the impact is huge.

Madeline Shawl by Kate Jackson

Stripes that Shake It Up:  You don’t have to be straight-laced!  Pick a pattern that keeps things interesting with a cheeky  wiggle.  Nikki Jones’s Cuba Street hat is a perfect choice, whether you keep it all in one colour family or pull in the whole rainbow!

Cuba Street by Nikki Jones

Versatile Stripes for More Choice:  When I look at Anna Stasiak’s Simply Stripes shawl, I see a plethora of possibilities.  Knit it in two main colours as Anna has, and you can use a Mini-Skein to make that central stripe really pop.  Or use a set of gradient Mini-Skeins to gently move the one colour from dark to light (or vice versa) and watch how that contrast changes the intensity of the second solid skein.  Or just go wild and contrast a solid skein against a different Mini-Skein for every new stripe — a riot of colour!

Simply Stripes by Anna Stasiak

Try Stripes that Aren’t Stripes: Justyna Lorkowska’s Masgot shawl creates a sublime background in alternating 2-row stripes of garter stitch and then uses short rows to add in pools of colour — innovative stripes that aren’t stripes but which give you no end of ways to incorporate a rainbow of your Mini-Skein colours.  Go for soft or go for bold — Masgot will be stunning either way.

Masgot by Justyna Lorkowska

Ok, so there are two great ways to use your Mini-Skein stash, and I hope it helps you to look at the patterns on Ravelry and our Pinterest board with fresh eyes.  But there are lots more ways to work with Minis, so keep your eyes open for Part 2!



The Hardest Part of Creating a Colourway

If I asked you to guess what the hardest part of creating a new colourway is, what would you guess?  You might think it’s choosing the colours, but colour is everywhere and I can’t dye it all fast enough.  If you think it’s formulating the recipe…  well, that’s gets easier with time and now it feels almost like second nature.  Nope, the hardest part might really surprise you (it does for me almost every time…)

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club, April 2015

The Hardest Part is Coming Up with the Names!

Seriously, it’s crazy-hard.  You wouldn’t think it is, but I find myself turning the yarn over in my hands and struggling and struggling (and it makes me feel better to know that whenever I ask someone to help me, they have just as much trouble…  phew!)

But latest colourways that we’ve chosen for full-size versions of Mini-Skein colourways were an exception.  They were easy.  It started with the sweater kit of the Ombre & Gradient Mix — this month, Jade and I decided to explore neutrals (something we haven’t done nearly enough.  We went to the dyepots and started with a gentle progression through shades of stone, from the lightest silver to deep gray, and then highlighted each skein with washes of taupe and steel blue.  Our goal was to create colourways that will blend and morph across your stitches to create something subtle yet truly stunning.

Full Skeins and Sweater Kits of SpaceCadet® ‘s April Mini-Skein Colourways!

So the logical colourway name was  MoonRock, right?  But, y’know, that felt just not quite right, so I began thinking a little differently.  I’ve always loved the name given to the dark patches on the Moon, the Lunar Maria…  perfect!

 Limited Edition yarns from SpaceCadet Mini-Skein colourways, available until May 30

The lunar maria are dark plains on the Moon, formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. Early astronomers who mistook them for actual seas and so called them maria, the Latin for “seas”.

Like an exploration of the moon’s surface, the Lunar Maria sweater kit works through shades of Stone from the lightest silver to deep gray, and each skein is highlighted with washes of taupe and steel blue.  Blended together in stitches, these shades morph to create a beautiful study in neutrals.

(Where’s the order button? This kit is exclusive to April Mini-Skein Club members. If that’s you, look for an email arriving shortly with your members-only link!)

Finding that Perfect Name

But what about names for the other colourways on offer this month? Well, Lunar Maria led me to the Wikipedia list of the features of the Moon and there I discovered an absolute treasure trove of fantastic names!  How about “Sea of Cleverness” (Mare Ingenii)?  Or “Sea of Crisis” (Mare Crisium)?  Or even the fabulous “Sea That Has Become Known” (Mare Cognitum)?!?

Aren’t they awesome?!?

So, ok, I’ll have to use those sometime in the future (how could I resist?!?) but, in the meantime, here’s what I’ve chosen for the other Mini-Skein colourways.  You can see how perfect each one is for its corresponding colourway.  And for possibly the first time ever, choosing colourway names was so much fun!

Limited Edition yarns from SpaceCadet Mini-Skein colourways, available until May 30

Early astronomers who mistook the dark plains on the Moon for actual seas and so called them lunar maria, the Latin for “seas”. The lunar Mare Undarum means “Sea of Waves”.

Moving from glowing blues to stunning violets, and from vibrant pinks to deep greens, the shades of Mare Undarum is an adventure from one stitch to the next!

Click to buy

Limited Edition yarns from SpaceCadet Mini-Skein colourways, available until May 30

Lunar Mare 3 is the third colourway from the Lunar Maria Sweater Kit, named for the dark plains on the Moon. Early astronomers who mistook them for actual seas and so called them maria, the Latin for “seas”.

Like an exploration of the moon’s surface, Lunar Mare 3 is a stunning mid-gray stone, highlighted with washes of taupe brown and steel blue.  Blended together in stitches, these shades morph to create a beautiful study in neutrals.

Click to buy

Limited Edition yarns from SpaceCadet Mini-Skein colourways, available until May 30

Early astronomers who mistook the dark plains on the Moon for actual seas and so called them lunar maria, the Latin for “seas”. The lunar Mare Anguis means “Serpent Sea”.

A stunning combination of murky yellow-greens and soft cool grays that deepen into a rich charcoal, this colourway perfectly embodies the shades of a Serpent Sea, don’t you agree?

(Where’s the order button? This kit is exclusive to April Mini-Skein Club members. If that’s you, look for an email arriving shortly with your members-only link!)

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 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

Full-Skeins of March’s Mini-Skein Colourways!

A customer recently emailed to tell us that she loved all our Mini-Skein bundles but wanted to tell us that “some months they are outstanding”.  We put so much enthusiasm into each month’s dyeing that I just can’t tell you how much that meant to me.  And I have to say, I think March’s Mini-Skeins fall right into that category of “outstanding”.  Check them out:

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club, March 2015 580

Are you drooling over any of them?  I am particularly drawn to the Gradient Mix this month (on the left).  There is just something about those intense jewel tones mixed with subtle grays and blacks that get my fingers itching to cast on!  And if you’re feeling the same, here’s some great news…

Full Skeins and Sweater Kits of SpaceCadet® ‘s March Mini-Skein Colourways!

Each month, we pick our favourite colourways from both the Multicolour and Gradient Mixes, and offer them to you as full skeins and sweater kits on a selection of SpaceCadet bases. Some are exclusive to the Club members and some available to everyone, so you can order one skein or a sweater’s quantity — it’s up to you — to make a gorgeous, full-sized project with those fantastic Mini-Skein colourways!

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skeins Now Available as Sweater Kits


Ready to see this month’s full skein picks? Here they are!

Blueshift — from the Gradient Mix

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club Full-Sized Skeins -- Blueshift 4 580

A Blueshift is a shift in the lines of an object’s spectrum toward the blue end, indicating that an object is moving toward the observer.

Blueshift is a stunning combination of blues, grays, and blacks that swirl and shift across the skein.  Reminiscent of the deep night sky and available on three different bases, it creates a dramatic look for anything from shawls to cardigans to capes.

Click to order

Spring Tide — Members’ Only Multicolour

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club Full-Sized Skeins -- Spring Tide 2 banner 580

The Spring Tide occurs only when the Earth, Moon, and Sun are in a straight line

Dyed in sublime shades of soft grays spiked with sunbeam golds and oranges, which blend together to create touches of beautiful sea-greens. Available on three different bases.

(Where’s the order button? This colourway is exclusive to March Club members. If that’s you, look for an email arriving shortly with your members-only link!)

Aurora Polaris — A March Multicolour

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club Full-Sized Skeins -- Aurora Polaris 3 580

The Aurora Polaris is the aurora of the Northern Hemisphere, also known as the Northern Lights

Drenched with the luminous greeny-blues and vibrant yellows of the Northern Lights, Aurora Polaris creates a colourplay that welcomes spring with abandon.  Available on three different bases.

Click to order

Blackberry Winter Gradient Sweater Kit

The SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club Sweater Kit in Blackberry Winter banner 580

Blackberry winter refers to a cold snap that often occurs in late spring when the blackberries are in bloom.

This colourway moves from a deep lavender through vibrant raspberry before descending into a deep grays and blacks.  Available on three different bases, it would be stunning in a full sweater, and equally beautiful paired with a contrasting colour for gradient stripes.

(Where’s the order button? This kit is exclusive to February Club members. If that’s you, look for an email arriving shortly with your members-only link!)


Here’s how it works:

If you are a member of the Club that month, you have access to all the colourways we are dyeing that month, including exclusive access to

The Full Gradient Mix as a Sweater Kit!
Each month, our gorgeous Gradient Mix is available as a full sweater kit exclusively to the Club members who received a bundle that month. If you’re in love with the Gradient Mix’s wonderful colour shift and are itching to use it in a larger project, you can order it as a breathtaking five-skein sweater kit.

One Multicolour Mix Colourway as a Club Member Exclusive
You know the Multicolour Mix is an explosion of colour! Each month, we pick our very favourite Multicolour Mix colourwayand make it available exclusively to our Club members who received a bundle that month.

If you’re not a member of the Club that month, you’re still in for a treat!

One Gradient Mix Colour in Full Skeins There’s always one colour out of the Gradient Mix that we pull out of the dyepots, gasp, and think, “I want a whole sweater in this colour!”  Great news: we pick our favourite and offer it in full skeins to everyone!

One Multicolour Mix Colourway as Full Skeins Each month, the Multicolour Mix is an adventure in colour and we never know how many of its colourways we’re going fall head over heels for. We pick one that we really enjoyed dyeing and offer to dye you some more!

But you’ve gotta be fast! They’re available for two weeks only!

Because we’re always getting ready for the next month’s dyeing, these full skeins will be available for a very limited time — two weeks only — to allow us to get them dyed, prepped, and out to you as quickly as possible. So make sure you’re watching the blog or — even better — get on our mailing list so you never miss the release of new colourways!

What to get access to all the colourways next month? Join the Club!

Working with mini-skeins is like drawing with yarn, and each little bundle of colour becomes a new and exciting addition to your palette! The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club is a wonderful way to discover all the amazing, creative things you can make with these gorgeous little skeins — delivered straight to your door! Click here to learn all about it.

Click to learn about the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club!

From Skein to Swatch: How a Variegated Colourway Changes

I was chatting with my assistant Jade last week about the process of turning full-sized skeins into Mini-Skeins, and she commented that she had been really surprised by how much a variegated colourway could change when the skein was rewound into mini size.  And of course they don’t actually change but, the thing is, breaking the larger skeins down into mini-skeins redistributes the colours, mixes them up, so our minds perceive that the skein has changed colour.  And that has a big impact not only on the skein itself, but what you eventually make with it.  Jade wrote a post about it in the SpaceCadet Ravelry group and it was so interesting, I thought I’d share it here too.

Spoiler Alert: March Mini-Skeins

Now, before we move onto Jade’s post, let me warn you that it does contain images of one of March’s Mini-Skein colourways.  If you’re in the club and you want to be surprised when your bundle arrives, don’t scroll any farther.  But DO save this post to read later — it’s a really interesting topic.  Ok, now, let’s turn it over to Jade…

Stephanie and I have been talking about exciting new things for Mini-Skein Club members, and an offshoot of that discussion revolved around how different full skeins and mini skeins look.  Until I started really working with yarn (not just knitting, but seeing the whole process from dyeing to twisting, and especially making Mini-Skeins), I noticed but didn’t understand why the colors of the variegated yarns I loved never quite came out the way I thought they would.

I’d see lovely patches of color, and it would knit up as stripes. Pretty, but where were those beautiful pools? Or, I’d see yarn that looked like a soft, even blend of colors and, out of nowhere, there were the pools, but not where I wanted them. It was a mystery, and I wondered how the same skein managed to look so different.

Here’s where the spoiler alert comes in: One of the March Gradient skeins illustrates this perfectly, and I just had to show you. So, consider this a sneak peek at this month’s Minis…

One Skein, Three Ways

In the pictures above, you can see the whole skein loose at the top, another skein of the same color that’s been twisted in the middle, and (still) the same color re-skeined as a mini.  Each looks so different!

The loose skein at the top looks like two colors flowing evenly into each other. Twisting that skein makes the colors pool into beautiful bands, and the gradient effect is hidden. And in the mini skein, the colors are redistributed so that the skein almost looks striped (which is a big clue as to how it’s might knit up).

And, here’s how this color looks knitted in a swatch:

The Same Skein Knitted Up

At this size (28 sts of stockinette with a 2 st garter border), it’s very nearly self-striping. From the whole skein, it looks like it should have been a smooth transition from blue-purple to deep pink, while the twisted skein made it look like it would have pools of purple, blue, and pink. Instead, the mini skein gave the best preview: nearly striped.

The things you learn when you start learning to dye yarn and make mini-skeins…!

So How Does a Variegated Skein Work Up?

This is a question we get asked all the time.  A customer will pick up a skein of beautiful, variegated yarn at a show and say to me, “Now, how will this look when I knit it?”  It’s an easy question to ask, but it’s got a far more complicated answer than you might think.

The reason is that there is no one way that a variegated yarn will work up in a project.  Just as that same skein looked completely different loose, twisted, and reskeined (as in the three pictures above), so it will look completely different again depending on whether you knit or crochet with it;  whether you choose plain stockinette, garter, slipped stitches, or openwork; whether you work a small circumference in the round or cast on a huge piece on straight needles.  All of those factors (and more) will impact where and how the colours will move on your fabric.  So it’s next to impossible for me to look at the skein in your hands and easily answer question.

But the good news? With a little forethought, you are in complete control of the colours!

The Impact of Different Stitch Types

Let me demonstrate.  After Jade knit that initial inch or so of stockinette, I asked her change it up a bit, to do some different types of stitches.

The Impact of Different Stitches on Variegated Yarn

You can see from the picture above that, after the stockinette at the bottom, she moved on to slipped stitches, then a simple yarn-over lace, and finally, a 2×2 rib at the top.  And what do we see?

First, the striping that was so evident in the plain stockette almost completely disappears in the slipped stitch section.  Moving the yarn out of the straight back-and-forth rhythm blends the colours much more evenly, so that almost every stitch appears to be a different colour to its neighbour.  And if you knit a whole sweater that way, the overall visual impact would be of a fabric that appears to be a single colour.

In the yarn-over section above that, we see that the colourway’s appearance has changed yet again.  The stretched out stitches act to highlight the individual hues of the variegated yarn, giving each one a solo moment in the spotlight.  And even more interestingly, there’s even a kind of very subtle pooling happening on the left, where all the purple stitches have joined together.  Beautiful!

Finally, we have the rib stitch at the top.  Like the stockinette, rib is primarily a side-to-side stitch, so there is striping but this time it’s broken up — and made more subtle — by the stitch texture.  Showing that even a very simple stitch pattern can have a big impact on the look of a variegated yarn.

But How Do You Know?!?

There are many more ways that your choices can impact the way your yarn colour will behave. Be it your choice to knit or crochet, your pattern selection, stitch type, needle size, or any number of other things, one skein of variegated yarn can come out looking incredibly different depending on what you choose to do with it.

But how do you know?  Well, I have great news: there are ways to decode an untwisted skein just by looking at it, so that you can accurately predict how it will behave and which choices will bring out its beauty best.  And I’m going to be putting together a series of blog posts (and perhaps some videos) to help walk you thought that process.  They’ll be coming in the next few months, so click here to get on the mailing list and make sure you don’t miss them!

But That Won’t Be Until…

…until after these great Spring Events that we’ve got coming up!

Fri March 13 — The SpaceCadet’s InterStellar Yarn Alliance opens for Subscriptions!
The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is the SpaceCadet’s premiere yarn club, known for its amazing colourways and fantastic gifts. It’s open for subscriptions twice a year for two weeks only — from March 13 to 29 — and spaces always go fast. Set your alarm and then click here to grab your spot first!

Sun March 22 — HomeSpun Yarn Party, Savage MD
Possibly our favourite-est yarn show of the year, this super-fast, super-furious event is always pure crazy and intense fun for anyone who craves hand-dyed and hand-made yarny goodness. A one day show that features only small and indie makers, it’s so worth the trip to the beautiful Savage Mill — if you live in the DC-Baltimore area, please come and see us!

HomeSpun Yarn Party

Sunday, March 22 from 12-5pm
Historic Savage Mill 8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763 Just off I-95, plenty of parking!
Admission is FREE!

Fri-Sun March 27-29 — Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, Pittsburgh PA
Our hometown festival just gets better and better each year! Having rapidly outgrown all its previous venues, we are super excited that this year’s festival will be at the Westin Convention Center hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. Three glorious days of yarn and fiber fun, plus we are thrilled to be hosting festival headliner Alasdair Post-Quinn (author of “Extreme Double Knitting” from Coop Press) for book-signings in our booth. If you’re in the western PA area, we’d love to see you!

The Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival

Fri-Sun, March 27-29
Westin Convention Center hotel, next to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh