A Club Bonus — The Sanctuary Shrug

A Club Bonus — The Sanctuary Shrug

I passionately believe that knitting and crocheting make people happier — that kind of deep-down happiness that comes from being settled and content.  Even in times when nothing seems to be going right, working with yarn and needles can create a small sanctuary of much-needed peace.

The Sanctuary Shrug by Mel Ski 2

And I also believe that knitting and crochet can help us to become friendlier, kinder, more generous.  I’ve seen it time and again: when I step out of my comfort zone to ask a stranger what she’s crocheting, when folks at knit night make a new member feel completely at home, and even when one of our customers was so generous as to pay for an entire year in the SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club for us to give away (that one blew me away!).  I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised when these random acts of kindness and spontaneous generosity happen, but they are always heartwarming.

The designer Mel Ski is a member of our fingering-weight yarn club, the InterStellar Yarn Alliance, and she used her March skein of Aurora to knit the Sanctuary Shrug, a sweet little thing to go round your shoulders on summer evenings when the air starts to cool.  Originally designed for her Outlandish Clan Kit, which used SpaceCadet Lucina and Oriana yarn (as you’ll see in the photos of the blue and brown version), it’s a pattern that would work with almost any Yarn Alliance colourway or SpaceCadet fingering weight yarn.  I love the delicate lacework — so like the summer vines climbing up our porch railings.  It’s the kind of practical and beautiful knit that I just adore: lovely to wear but also quick to work up… so you can get to the wearing all the sooner.

The Sanctuary Shrug by Mel Ski 3

The pattern is available on Ravelry here, but here’s the best bit…  because Mel is a member of the Yarn Alliance and loved knitting this pattern in a club yarn, she has decided to share it with all the current members of the club as a free bonus club treat.  Isn’t that wonderful?!?  I really do love the way knitters and crocheters can be so generous about sharing their passion — and I am delighted that Mel has included her fellow club members this way!

If you’re a member of the Yarn Alliance, look for an email later this morning with a download code so you can get the Sanctuary Shrug on your needles straightaway.  And if you’re not a member, click here to read more about the Yarn Alliance and — most importantly — get on the club mailing list.  We won’t bombard your with messages, but you will get advance notice and early-bird sign-up when the subscriptions open up again in September!

The Sanctuary Shrug by Mel Ski 4

Speaking of clubs opening up, I can’t believe it’s almost June (whaaattt?!?) and nearly time to open subscriptions to the SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club, our bulky-and-worsted weight club.  We are dyeing yarn now (it’s so gorgeous!!!!) and prepping the gifts for the last shipment for current members before subscriptions open on June 5.  If you’re not in the club but you love smooshy big yarns, click here to read all about the SpaceMonster Club and get on the mailing list!

The SpaceCadet's SpaceMonster Mega Yarn Club open on June 5th!

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 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

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


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


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!

I Just Have to Show You This! (Plus: Mini-Skein Pattern Picks)

We’ve got some beautiful Mini-Skein Pattern Picks for you this month but, before we get to that, I’ve just gotta share something with you.  We’ve had so many awesome changes to the Mini-Skein Club lately (such as the innovative 360° blend of the Start Anywhere™ Ombre&Gradient Mix and the stunning month-to-month flow of the Never Ending™ Gradient) that I really wanted to update the club page to reflect that.

Two Mix Image 600

And what I really wanted was to to show it all off in a new video:  something bright, happy, bouncy, and fun — everything that the Mini-Skeins bring to our club members every month.

Now, the trouble was that I really didn’t know much at all about creating videos.  But I decided to try to teach myself Premiere Pro and, after a really steep learning curve on and a lot of frustration(!), I finally got the video I was hoping for.  And I’ve been dying to share it with you ever since!  I hope you’ll forgive me just a little showing off, but I’m just so darned proud of it.  Here is our new Mini-Skein Club video:

(Squee with me?)


January’s Mini-Skeins

This month, we took our Mini-Skeins in a moodier direction.  Both the Multicolour and the Ombre&Gradient went a little darker and pensive — and I have to tell you, I loooove the way that plays into the Never Ending spectrum.  After all those bright colours, a little depth looks really amazing.  Where do you think we’ll take it next month?

Never-Ending Gradient Oct-Nov-Dec-Jan 600(click here for a larger image)


Jade’s Mini-Skein Pattern Picks

Ok, you’ve waited long enough!  So, without further ado, let’s turn it over to Jade for her Pattern Picks for this month’s Mini-Skeins…

Happy Colours Blanket & Tutorial by Just-Do

Happy Colours Blanket & Tutorial by Just-Do
Maybe it’s the shorter days, or that everything outside has gone gray, but I’ve been craving bright pops of colour lately – and this crocheted blanket has plenty!  With options for large and small circles, varying yarn weights, and adjustable dimensions, it’s an extremely versatile way to use 3 (or more!) bundles of minis and a contrast colour.  The colours (either the new never-ending ombres or bright multis would be stunning) will pop against a white or pale shade (like Sliver) or dazzle against a black or dark shade (like Dark Skies).  And the best bit from our point of view? They look a bit like planets in space!


Abyss by Marnie MacLean

Abyss by Marnie MacLean
I came across this shawl in early November, and knew it would be perfect for ombre or gradient minis, if it just didn’t require so much yardage (960 yards, which would be at least a double subscription!)  That very problem, though, is exactly what makes it so perfect for the never-ending ombres – the delicate drape and smooth stockinette stitch would showcase all the subtle shifts in colour, and the size of the shawl ensures that you’ll flow through at least two full gradients and into a third!


Coquettish by Asja Janeczek

Coquettish by Asja Janeczek
And if you’re looking for something for just one bundle of minis, try this gorgeous pullover that features a feather-and-fan accent at the yoke, cuffs, and hem.  It looks great in two contrasting colours, but how much fun would it be with an ombre or gradient bundle against Sliver, Drizzle, or Dark Skies?  You’d only need 1 bundle of mini skeins, and depending on size, 3-4 skeins of a contrast colour.


Last Chance to Enter our Giveaway!

Don’t forget to enter our fabulous giveaway for a copy of Curls, Hunter Hammersen’s stunning new book of patterns, and a skein of SpaceCadet Oriana yarn to cast on with.  All you have to do is click here and leave a comment at the bottom of the post, telling us what you love most about Hunter’s designs.  But hurry — the giveaway closes Sunday night!


Giveaway! Win a copy of Curls, the new book of patterns by Hunter Hammersen, and a skein of SpaceCadet Oriana yarn!
For full official rules, go to http://wp.me/p1TnPQ-1Uf

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