Shop Update: Clean and Dirty

When we think of spring, we all picture clean colours: the clear blue of cloudless sky, the bright shades of new flowers, and new grass sprouting up through the earth.  But what we actually get is a little dirtier than that: grumpy dark skies, rain-soaked puddles and lots of mud, and days that can’t decide whether to be kind and warm, or cold and cruel.

Today, Spring is rainy and grumpy.   But there are new yarns in the shop.

From top to bottom:  Estelle yarn (80/10/10 Superwash Merino, Cashmere, Nylon) in Pollen, a DoRS colourway, Tuesday Blue, Storm Clouds, Mucky Pup, Spice Trade, Monday Red, and a DoRS colourway.

yarn, sock yarn, knitting, crochet, hand-dyed, handdyed, hand-dyed, hand painted, indie dyer, dyer, spacecadet, space cadet

A Surprising Yarn for Summer Knitting

Note from the SpaceCadet:  My friend Natalie (peacethrufiber on Ravelry and Twitter) is a fantastic knitter and spinner who creates amazing garments with yarns she spins almost exclusively on spindles.  

The SpaceCadet and I were talking the other day about summer knitting and summer yarn.  She asked me what I knit with most during the warmer months, and I think I surprised her when I answered, “Wool.”

summer knitting, yarn, wool, handdyed, sock yarn, space cadet, spacecadet, indie dyer
Celeste yarn in a one-of-a-kind colourway

But if you think about it, summer knitting with wool makes a lot of sense.

First there are the qualities that make knitters love wool for winter knitting, such as great stitch definition and memory.  These things are just as true in the summer as they are in the winter.

Then there’s the way wool feels on the needles.  I knit cotton, linen and other more traditional, cellulose based summer yarns, but I can only knit with them for so long before the stiffness of the yarn starts to tire my hands.  Then it’s back to the soft and pleasant hand of wool, with a grateful sigh.

Finally, there’s the fact that, done right, wool is really an excellent choice for summer wearing in addition to summer knitting.  People often think of wool garments as cold weather gear but, in fact ,wool is much more versatile than that.  It actually regulates temperature, keeping the wearer warm in cold weather, and cool in warm weather.  Add in its fantastic moisture-wicking properties, and it starts to look a lot more attractive for summer.

knitting, yarn, wool, summer knitting, spacecadet, space cadet, handdyed, indie dyer, sock yarn
Celeste yarn knit on US size 8 needles (5mm)

Of course, if you pull on a heavy, worsted-weight wool sweater in the middle of July, you will probably end up uncomfortable.  Fortunately, there’s no need.  There has been a little flurry of garment patterns written over the last few years using fingering and lace weight yarns at a loose gauge to create light, breezy, warm weather garments.  I’ve already started a fingering-weight  wool sweater for this summer, and am totally enjoying it.  I’m using a size 8 needle, and the resulting fabric is soft, sheer and gauzy.  I’m looking forward to wearing  it on vacation in June!

What are you going to be knitting this summer?  Got any patterns in mind that will look great in a skinny wool yarn on big needles?

knitting, yarn, sock yarn, summer knitting, handdyed, indie dyer, spacecadet, space cadet
Skinny wool yarn, big needles... airy and light.

Pattern RollCall: The Knits You Loved at HSYP!

At HomeSpun Yarn Party, we had finished two pieces that got so many comments, so many questions, so many compliments, that I knew they had to be showcased in a Pattern Rollcall!

Paint the Sky

The first was the Paint the Sky wrap by Susan Wolcott of Y2Knit, a beautiful rectangular scarf with delicate yarn overs that rise up the length of it like bubbles through water.  Knit in a semi-solid yarn, the pattern would really shine, but done in a varigated yarn, it becomes an absolute gorgeous riot of colour.

© Susan Wolcott, Used with Permission

We knit ours in one skein of Lucina yarn in a gentle pink-and-purple colourway called Sweet Dreams, and it was gorgeous!  But it would look stunning in any of these yarns that have just gone in the shop:

yarn, hand-dyed, sock yarn
(clockwise from upper left): Lucina sparkly yarn in Most Ardently, Swollen, Carnival, and Baroque



The second finished piece that got so much attention was the Fleurdelise One Skein Triangle Shawl by Michelle Miller of Fickle Knitter Designs.

© Fickle Knitter Design, Used with Permission

This was knit for me by my friend Natalie (as my birthday present!) using one skein of Lucina in SouthEasterly,  a yarn that is varigated but all without a great deal of contrast in the colours.  With a more complicated lace pattern like this, it often works best to use a yarn that’s either semi-solid or has a simpler change of colours.  Personally, I’d love to see how it comes out in two of our most popular colourways, Sugared Violets and Beguile.

yarn, sock yarn, hand-dyed
(left to right) Lucina Yarn in Sugared Violets and Beguile

You can see why these patterns got so much attention at HSYP, can’t you?  So beautiful!

Welcome to Monday! No, Tuesday. No… Wait…

Is it Wednesday already?  Wednesday?!?  Ach!  I meant to blog yesterday!  Errr… I mean Monday.  And do a shop update.  Have I done the shop update?!?

It’s been crazy here the past week.  There are only a few days left before Homespun Yarn Party and we are working like mad to finish the dyeing and get the last of the loose strings tied up (ha ha — no pun intended!).  And, as well, I’ve been putting together the Welcome Packs for the the new members of InterStellar Yarn Alliance.  It’s been so much fun seeing people sign up, that I can’t wait to get started on the first parcels in April!  Busy busy days…  but exciting too.

yarn, knitting, handdyed, hand-dyed, spacecadet, space cadet, sock yarn
Shop Update, clockwise from top left: Celeste yarn in Sincerity, Stella yarn in Heartthrob, Estelle yarn in Avarice, and Lucina yarn in Swollen

HomeSpun Yarn Party

So, if you live in the DC-Baltimore area and you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, please come see us at the HomeSpun Yarn Party.  It is a fantastic event, a showcase of over 30 indie dyers and spinners, so you know you’ll have a fab time.  And we’d love to meet you!

Homespun Yarn Party
Sunday March 27, 12noon – 5pm
Historic Savage Mill 8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763

InterStellar Yarn Alliance

Don’t forget, there’s just over a week left to sign up for the SpaceCadet’s InterStellar Yarn Alliance!  It’s been wonderful fun watching people join and introducing themselves in the Yarn Alliance group.  It’s going to be a great yarn club, so if you like the idea of having a parcel full of yarny goodness arrive on your doorstep every other month, come and join us!

And finally, the shop update

yarn, knitting, sock yarn, spacecadet, space cadet, hand-dyed, handdyed
Shop Update, clockwise from top left: Celeste yarn in Cove, Stella yarn in SeaFoam, Estelle yarn in Translucence, and Estelle yarn in Petrolhead

With everything going on, I’ve managed to sneak in a quick update!  Here’s a bit of colour to brighten up your Wednesday.

…Is it Wednesday already?  Wait!  How did that happen?!?

InterStellar Yarn Alliance Launch Winner!

The response to the SpaceCadet’s InterStellar Yarn Alliance Launch contest was FANTASTIC!  I so enjoyed reading all your comments, and seeing all your posts on Ravelry.  Thank you all so much for participating!

I have just run the numbers through‘s online random number generator and it has chosen a winner.  BUT, before I tell you who it is (because suspense always makes these things so much more fun, don’t you think?)…


SpaceCadet Yarn Reviewed by KnitPurlGurl

knitpurlgurl, sock yarn, yarn, knitting, spacecadet

So before I give you the winner’s name, I want to tell you all that I recently got the chance to meet the wonderful KnitPurlGurl at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, and she’s absolutely lovely — I really wish we’d had time to grab a cup of coffee and sit and knit together for a while!  I gave her a skein of SpaceCadet Estelle yarn and she’s posted a review of it on her website.   If you’ve never used SpaceCadet yarn before, please pop over and see what KnitPurlGurl thinks about it.


The Winner

Ok… ok… I’ve made you wait and you’ve been patient, so here we go…  The winner of a skein of SpaceCadet Creations yarn in the the InterStellar Yarn Alliance Launch giveaway is…


Congratulations!  Please send me an email with your name and postal address, and I’ll get yarn out to you asap.

Thank you to everyone for participating.  And if you didn’t win and you’re feeling down about that, please do come join us in the Yarn Alliance, where you’ll get the excitement of a mystery parcel of yarn again and again!

A Book to Forever Change Your Sock Knitting

Note from the SpaceCadet: My friend Amy (DPUTiger on Ravelry) is a knitting teacher, a quilter, and a newly-minted weaver. And she’s been kind enough to write a series of posts about her favourite ways to start new sock knitters on their journey…

I’m back – finally! — for the final installment in this Sock Knitting series, and this is the post where I gush about the knitter and book that completely changed my knitting life:

Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters

sock knitting, sock yarn, knitting, socks.

When I discovered this book, I had knit one pair of toe-up socks with short-row heels and toes — not an experience I ever wanted to repeat.  I was chugging along on socks knit using the Yarn Harlot’s Basic Sock Recipe that I referenced in my last blog post. I was even using double-pointed needles to do it!

So I was about to give up on sock knitting entirely, despite the pile of very pretty and seductive sock yarn I had accumulated (of course, the stash that felt large at that time is roughly 1/10th of my current sock yarn stash. But we won’t talk about that, will we?).  I had just moved across the country, from Los Angeles back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, and had begun exploring the various LYSs in the area.  While meeting a friend from my new knitting group at a local store, I picked up a copy of New Pathways on a whim and took it home.

Thank God that I did that!

What makes this book so special? What is it about this book that changed my knitting life?

• I will never pick up stitches for a sock gusset again.

• I will always knit perfectly-fitting socks, whether they are for me, my sister-in-law with the teeny-tiny feet, my husband with ginormous ski feet, or anyone else that I want to knit for.

• Cat’s short-row technique for the heel turn has invisible wraps. Really. I’ve never found another short-row/wrap-and-turn technique that I could honestly describe as invisible.

• Not to mention the fact that Cat’s “La-Linc” and “La-Rinc” increases are quite handy in many circumstances — and that almost all of her techniques are detailed through videos on YouTube.

In the most simple terms, to create a New Pathways sock, you knit a tube, then a funnel (increasing by two stitches every three rounds), turn the heel, decrease and knit another tube. That’s it. Those increase lines could be random, could be on the top of your foot, the bottom, the inside, the outside … it doesn’t matter.

Cat Bordhi is my knitting idol. I joke that I would like to be Cat when I grow up, but I know I’m not that fearless. Normal humans make a mistake or deviate from their planned knitting path, and they back up to fix it. Not Cat. She follows her mistakes and sees where they take her.  I’ve taken a class with Cat, and this woman makes no bones about protecting her “secret sauce.” Instead, she wants everyone to know the good stuff.

And if you’re local and want to learn what I know about this book, I’m teaching New Pathways starting on Saturday at Bloomin Yarns.  Come join us!