Scenes From a Fiber Life: Dyeing Like I’ve Never Dyed Before

When I blogged earlier this week that I’d been given a last minute chance to be part of the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, I was feeling a little giddy.  I kept letting out sudden squeals so loud that I was frightening everyone around me.

Four days later, the giddy is still there.  The excitement is still there.  But you can add in a good dose of trepidation and a lot of tired too!  Because, this week, I’ve gone from my usual pace of dyeing about a dozen skeins a week to dyeing 20 skeins per day.  Wait — did you catch that?  From a dozen skeins per week to 20 per day…!  And I’m going to keep up that frenetic pace every single day for the next three weeks.  That’s how many skeins I need to get dyed, dried, reskeined, twisted, and tagged in order to have enough to do this show justice.  Tired?  I haz it!


But you know what?  For all that tired and all this crazy, there is an big upside — and that is that the studio is starting to look amazing!  There are skeins hanging everywhere, beautiful fibers draped along the walls, and vibrant colours beginning to fill the room…  It is absolutely the most wonderful sight on a bleak and cold January day.

And so, even as I am working my backside off, I am reminded that I love my job.  And that’s gotta be one of the best feelings in the world.

Of course, most of these skeins are headed to the show, but I’m going to grab a few of them and put them in the shop for you.  Keep an eye out for them early next week!

The Season for Luxury

The holiday season is upon us and suddenly, I’m in the mood for something a bit luxurious.  I don’t know if it’s the chill in the air, or the lovely smells of wintery comfort-food, or thoughts of all the gift-giving to come…  but I have been wanting to snuggle down and knit with something really luxurious.

Cashmere, I thought.  Cashmere is luxury.  And I knew it would be soft, and I knew it would feel heavenly, but I wasn’t really prepared for just how luscious it is…

Estelle Fingering Yarn in Nutmeg Spice Trade (left) and Burnished (right)

Let me introduce you to Estelle, a stunningly soft 4-ply fingering yarn, in 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Nylon, and 10% of that most wonderful Cashmere.  The superwash will prevent it from felting, and the nylon adds the strength needed for socks and mittens, but it’s the cashmere — oh, that cashmere — that makes all the difference!  And this is not me talking this yarn up — I was quite genuinely surprised by how soft this yarn is, how squishable, how… well, just how luxurious it is.  I have not been able to stop petting it all week!

I also haven’t been able to stop dyeing it.  I may never go back to ordinary yarn again…  Care to join me?

Estelle Fingering Yarn in Steel Leaf (left) and Evening Fog (right)

Cooking Up Something Special

In every home across the country this week, the scene will be exactly the same…  There will be mixing bowls filled with the most amazing treasures, and pots gently bubbling on the stove.  There will be the old favourites and new recipes, last minute changes and quick saves when things go wrong.  A pinch of this and a dash of that…

And it’s been no different here.   Well…  ok, then, maybe a wee bit different here in the SpaceCadet house.  Here’s what I’ve been busily cooking up this week…

Stella Yarn in Spice Trade

BFL Fiber in SeaFoam

Stella Yarn In Funky Ballet Shoes

Celeste Yarn in Frost

BFL Fiber in Flock of Parrots


Celeste Yarn in Iris

…Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Shop Update: A Gift for a Wee Miracle

A dear friend of mine is about to have her baby boy — a little miracle after a lot of broken hopes and heartache — and I am overjoyed for her.  So I want to send something special to welcome him into the world.  The first thing I thought about, of course, was the colour…

I didn’t want to go with the typical baby pastels or box him into blueblueblue.  So I went down to the studio and mixed up a few colours that I thought would be just right — that would be interesting, exciting, but still perfect for a baby boy.


And when I pulled it out of the dyepot, it was exactly what I had in mind.  I’m seeing a little cardigan and a pair of matching booties.  And I can’t wait to cast on!


But first… I dyed a couple more skeins for you.

Stella Fingering Weight Yarn, Superwash Merino and Nylon, in SeaFoam

The sea rolls in, and softly out again… leisurely, relaxed, as if it has nothing better in the world to do. Softly in, softly out, and making that wonderful, rich sound — the gently fizz of blue-green SeaFoam melting into the sand.

Each skein is over 100g of Stella, a beautiful and distinctive 2-ply fingering weight yarn in 80% Superwash Merino and 20% Nylon. There are two skeins available, sold separately.

Fiber Content: 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon
Weight: Approximately 3.7oz / 105g (approximately 400 yards per 100g)
Colourway: SeaFoam, 101113-003
Care Instructions for the final item: Hand or Machine wash, Lay flat to dry.

Each item is individually hand-dyed by the SpaceCadet, using professional grade acid dyes which are mixed by hand from primaries. Please be sure to buy enough for your project as the colours may not be able to be reproduced exactly.
SpaceCadet Creations is a smoke-free, pet-free environment.
Please remember that the colours in pictures may vary depending on your computer monitor. The colours in the photos are as accurate as possible.

Shop Update: From Flat on My Back

You may have noticed that there was no shop update on Monday, as there usually is.  Nor on Tuesday, which is when I usually do the update if Monday gets too busy.  There were yarns ready — drying, or in the process of being reskeined, some weighed, some tagged…  But I was not ready.

I was flat on my back in agony and holding as still as I possibly could.  Over the weekend, my neck and shoulder had seized up completely and, man oh man it hurt!  I mean, they’ve seized up before, a few times in my life, but never like this.  Imagine, if you will, me lying on my back in bed, with no pillow, nothing to contort my spine away from the support of the mattress, and I moved my foot — just my foot! — and it sent a spasm of pain shooting up through my shoulder and my neck and wrapped right around over my skull all the way to my eyes.  That kind of agony.

Stella yarn in Faded Garland

The doctor is satisfied that it is muscular and not skeletal (I was worried), and I now have some painkillers the size of horse-pills that are working a small miracle.  Bit by bit, I am gaining more mobility — and having to remind myself not to rush it, that everything can wait…  even though I am desperate to get back work.  There were so many exciting things happening this week, and so many wonderful yarns!

Celeste Yarn in Stewed Cranberry

And so keen was I to get them in the shop that I took advantage of those pills and pushed myself a bit too hard yesterday.  The result is that there are now some lovely yarns in the shop    …and, I am flat on my back again today.  Not anything like before, but just a little reminder from my muscles they are not to be trifled with and I must respect them and take things slooooowly.

Luna Laceweight Yarn in Rapeseed

But I did get some really exiting stuff into the shop…  There’s enough Megan’s Frost to make a sweater — with two more skeins of Frost waiting to go into the shop as soon as I’m able.   And there’s four skeins of Stewed Cranberry, with two more in the studio ready to be reskeined.  A beautiful skein of Laceweight in the most amazing golden-yellow.  And a skein of Stella in a lovely, quirky colourway called Faded Garland.  Enjoy!

And please keep your fingers crossed for me, ok?

Celeste Yarn in Megan's Frost


Pattern Roll-Call: Get Ready, Get Set…

Now, let me just stop here and give you fair warning that I am about to tell you that the holidays are around the corner.

I know, I know.  That last post — the one right there below this one — has jack-o-lanterns in it and I know it feels waaaay too early to be even thinking about breaking out the holiday decorations and baking cookies and wrapping presents and…   But we are a special breed, you and I.  We are fiberistas.  We don’t just rush out to the stores and buy our gifts at the last minute.  We make gifts — each gift unique, each stitch fashioned with love for those people we care about most in the world, and who understand just what a hand-made gift means.

And that kind of gift-giving takes time…  which is why, for the likes of you and me, the holidays really are right around the corner!  So to get your gift-giving ideas flowing over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some great patterns for quick holiday gifts.

And let’s start with something from Kate Gilbert, who designed the incredibly popular Clapotis scarf (with 16,395 projects listed on Ravelry!).  But my eye was caught instead by her beautiful Marina Piccola socks.  I just love the way the simple pattern so perfectly evokes ripples across a water’s surface.  And I think it looks like a quick but really interesting knit for holiday gift-giving.

© Kate Gilbert, Used with Permission

You know this pattern would really shine in a rich colourway such as Desert Wine, but I’d love to see these how these socks came out in a more variegated yarn such as DayLilies or Plumberry.  I think the combination could be quite stunning.

Stella Yarn in Desert Wine
Celeste Yarn in DayLilies
Celeste Yarn in Plumberry