The Moment When My Creativity Disappears

The Moment When My Creativity Disappears

I’ve said many times that I like to approach dyeing as an exploration of colour, and when I stand in front of the dyepots and start mixing colours, I sometimes have so many ideas that my hands can’t keep up.  But when that yarn is all dyed and dried, that’s when my creativity seems to disappear on me, because I think that choosing a name for new colourways is the hardest part of all.

Seriously, so hard.

So sometimes, I turn to you guys and the response is always amazing.  I ask on social media for help with names and the ideas come flooding in!  I don’t always go with any one suggestion specifically, but they always push me onward and get my brain moving again.  And that is exactly what happened with both of these colourways.  I had an inkling of a name but couldn’t quite get there…  and then I asked for help and your ideas were what got my mind into focus, and ultimately brought me to two colourway names that are particularly personal and meaningful to me.  Want to see what I chose?


Time Traveller Celeste 580

Time Traveller

When I dyed this colourway — all muted greens and grays, highlighted with dusky golds — my mind kept turning to Salisbury Plain, the high chalk plateau that is home to countless prehistoric monuments, and which was only a stone’s throw from my home in Dorset.  I used to go across it every week, slowing to look at Stonehenge in the morning light, in the setting sun, on cold winter’s days, or warm summer evenings.  In the winter and that far north, the sun rises late and sets early, and I often drove past Stonehenge in the dark of night, searching for the silhouette of the stones in the moonlight.

And Salisbury Plain is the ever present backdrop, a quiet tapestry of gray skies and weathered grasses buffeted in the constant wind, of pale golds and wilted greens — the ancient home of stargazers for thousands of years.  And now also, a place for time-travellers, those who wander across the Plain in search of those same views, and those same stars, four thousand years on.


Nine Stones Celeste 580

Nine Stones

For this colourway, I knew I wanted to capture the magical multi-tonal quality of old stone — layers of soft gray, weathered brown, and a hint of palest blue that seem to have come together organically over many long years.   And it’s named for one of my favourite stone circles, not far from where I lived in England and tucked down a country road with hardly any fanfare to alert a passer-by that the stones are there.
They may have once stood proud in the sun, but now the Nine Stones circle is tucked away amongst trees, moss-covered and eroded by rains across millennia, too shaded now to ever track the stars.  But standing amongst the stones, in the dappled sunlight and the heady smell of wildflowers, I find the circle feels quiet and intimate and… almost gentle in a way that Stonehenge never will.  But the heathered colours of the weathered surfaces of the stones tell a history just as ancient.
New Variegated Colourways

We’ve got eleven stunning new variegated colourways — including Time Traveller and Nine Stones — to share with you!  Want to see the others?  Just click here to go the colourways page and scroll down to the very bottom.
SpaceCadet Variegated Colourways

A Reminder Worth Sharing

A Reminder Worth Sharing

I have to share with you something wonderful that happened this week that reminded me what all this is about.  It’s easy to think that what I do as a dyer and what you do as a knitter or crocheter is about producing things…  about making scarves and hats and sweaters and stuff.  It’s not.  What this is really about is what it does for us — you and me — on the inside. It calms our souls and quietens our minds.  It gives us pause and focus and a kind of joy that I can’t explain that comes from working with beautiful yarn and our own two hands. And, even better, it creates connections with others who share our passion for the fiber arts. There is something there that is so much deeper than simply what we produce and, in the midst of all our busy-ness, it is good to be reminded of that.

InterStellar Yarn Alliance colourway

And here was my reminder this week: I received a message on Ravelry, a spontaneous note from a Yarn Alliance club member to tell me how much the latest parcel lifted her.  She said, “I was having a really crap day (24 years in the military left me with PTSD and severe depression…). Your little parcel was on my steps when I came home… The yarn is gorgeous and the colors just spoke to me. I know it sounds silly, but your yarn helped me find a happy place.”

It doesn’t sound silly to me, not at all. I understand completely the power of yarn to lift your soul — it’s why I do what I do.  And spontaneous notes like that change it from something I have do on my own in a studio to a way of creating amazing, personal connections with other people — with customers, with club members… with you.  To me, that’s something incredible and it makes me feel like I have the best job in the world.

Robin’s Chevron Blanket from Ina Braun on Vimeo.

I got another email a few weeks ago from a Mini-Skein Club member who wanted to share with me a fantastic chevron blanket she’s made with her Minis. It’s so beautiful and brought her so much joy that she created a delightful little video that I just have to show you. Isn’t it wonderful that our shared fiber-passion brought her to me, and then allows me to connect her with you?

The other day, I printed out the packing slips for the Knerd bag orders we’ll be shipping soon — there are so many that I wanted to get a head-start on writing the hand-written thank you I include on each one — and when I looked at how many there are, my wrist started feeling sore just in anticipation!  But I am so grateful for our SpaceCadet community and customers that I always take the opportunity to make that connection.  I love writing a personal note in every shop order that we send out.  When I write the dyer’s notes for the Yarn Alliance or the SpaceMonsters Club, I’m sharing with each club member personally.

Just a few notes to write 2 580

When you open a SpaceCadet parcel and it lifts your soul, I get that.  When you knit or crochet with SpaceCadet yarn and it takes you to a happy place…  oh, I totally get that.  I feel exactly the same, and it’s why I do what I do every day.  It is an honour to connect with the SpaceCadet community — with you — and I am so grateful that I get to do so.

Yarn Alliance subscriptions are open for only a few more days.  When you join us, you receive gorgeous yarns in exclusive club-only colourways, fabulous gifts, a 15% off coupon, and entry to a wonderful community of folks who totally get your yarn obsession!  Click here to see more and join us.  But hurry — subscriptions close on Sunday.

Click to learn about the Yarn Alliance yarn club!

PS — Before I mentioned the message above from our Yarn Alliance member, I wrote to ask if she minded if I quoted it.  I hadn’t planned to include the part about her struggles with PTSD or depression, but she replied, “…you can use any part of it, even the PTSD…. I am not ashamed of it. I sometimes joke about my ‘earning’ it.”  And y’know,  I think she’s right — she has earned it — and the more I thought about that, the more I wanted to recognise it.  I am so very glad she let me share that with you.

A Quick Trip to Hong Kong

If you have ever come and seen us at a show, you probably met my friend Natalie.  And even if you haven’t, you’ve seen her impact at SpaceCadet.  When I started playing around with dyes, she encouraged me to dye more.  When I started selling my yarn on Etsy, she helped me to think big.  And as the business has grown, she has acted as a sounding board, an idea bank, free labour, and some serious moral support.

But if you came to the shows we did these past two weekends, you won’t have seen her.  And enough of you asked about her that I know she was missed, so I wanted to share with you the view Natalie was looking at while we were at the shows.

Daily Peaces 3

At the end of last year, Natalie was promoted at work and her company moved her to Hong Kong.  She is already well experienced in living all around the world (Japan, East Timor, Egypt, and Thailand), so this came as exciting prospect to her.  And sorry as I was personally to see my dear friend go, I know this is such a good thing for her that I couldn’t really be too sad.  I mean, there’s always Skype, right?  Virtual knit night!

But while Skype shows me the inside of her new apartment (so bright and lovely!), that’s not enough for me.  I’m full of curiosity! I want to see Hong Kong!  I want to see where she walks to work, where she gets her groceries, her view from her office, where she goes at the weekends.  I know this is her adventure, but there’s a part of me that really wants to tag along too.

Daily Peaces 1

Before she left, Natalie discussed doing a 365 project — taking a picture of her world every day for a year — and I was super excited to have that chance to travel vicariously through her.  But an international move is huge and overwhelming and, somehow, her 365 project never got started.  I kept asking her about it…  and asking…  and… ok, I admit, I was nagging a little.  But, y’know, I really wanted to see her world!  Don’t you?

Well I am over the moon to tell you that, now that she’s had a little time to settle in, she’s finally started taking her daily pictures.  She’s posting them to social media and asked me to help her set up a photo blog as well.  And even though she’s only three days in, the pictures are just as interesting as I had hoped.

Daily Peaces 2

Want to join me and travel along with her?  Oh yeah!  Go follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or visit her blog, Daily Peaces.  And please leave a comment and show her a little love — and you can help me pay back a little bit of all that wonderful encouragement that she gave me back when SpaceCadet first started.

Sharing our SpaceCadet Christmas Tradition

I have a million things going on this morning and, if you celebrate Christmas, I’m sure it’s the same for you.  But before we get stuck into the hustle and bustle, I wanted to take a moment and wish all of you — knitters, crocheters, designers, friends, suppliers, and most of all, our wonderful customers and club members — the very happiest of holiday seasons.  In this crazy time of year, I wish you a little stillness and peace, the love of family and friends, and — of course! — a bit of quiet time to knit.

For us, Christmas starts with our family tradition of decorating the tree on Christmas Eve.  Even if the tree has come into the house weeks before, nothing but the lights go on it until the night before Christmas.  And then we spend all day together, rolling out salt dough and gingerbread for the ornaments, stringing each one, and finally dressing the tree in ribbons and handmade ornaments before its big day.  Of all the holiday preparations we go through, there is none I like so much as this one, none that feels so homey and Christmas-y to me.

And I just wanted to share it with you…

The SpaceCadet's Christmas Tree

Warmest Holiday Wishes to You All!


Oh, and if it’s Christmas morning and you’re still in a bit of a panic because you forgot a present… Or if someone you know still hasn’t yet gotten yours (ahem — like my husband!), don’t worry, there’s always SpaceCadet Gift Cards.  They arrive within minutes to save the day and your recipient will never be any the wiser!  Click here to grab one.


Click Here to grab a SpaceCadet Gift Card


It’s Not About Then, It’s About the Here and Now

The other day, I was talking to an acquaintance and, when I mentioned knitting, he said, “It’s nice to see that people still do these old-fashioned things.”  And I know he meant well so I smiled and nodded but — oh! — I was cringing inside.  It isn’t the first time someone’s assumed that I knit to somehow embrace old-fashionedness or history or something equally off the mark, but it never ceases to surprise me that there are people out there for whom knitting and crocheting are so unusual that the only explanation can be something to do with the past.  Whaaaat?!?

Why I knit

But it got me thinking about why I knit  (…and why I dye, for that matter).   I know some knitters and crocheters do it for the finished object but that, if I’m honest, that has never been me.  And I know others who do it for the creative outlet: they modify patterns to put their own mark on them, or just skip that and create designs all their own.  That’s a little closer to my reasons — I’m always coming up with design ideas, but I’m just not skilled enough to turn them into patterns.

But the real reason I knit has nothing to do with being old-fashioned …and everything to do with being in the here and the now.  When I pick up my  needles and begin that rhythm of moving stitches from left to right, I feel everything start to slow down.  My breathing slows, my thinking slows…  There is something about knitting that seems to just take over the part of my brain that is always fretting, nagging, analysing and instead occupies it with the simple acts of knit and purl.

Why I knit

And with that most pesky part of my mind thus quietened, I find I can think clearly.  I can focus.  Be it on the conversation when I’m with friends or the sound of the breeze when I’m alone, knitting changes the experience.  It makes it better — and that’s why I knit.


But why do I dye?  Because I truly believe the world would be a better place if everyone were knitting or crocheting.  I mean, c’mon, you know it, don’t you?  And nothing encourages that more than having beautiful, natural yarn in gorgeous, vibrant colours.  So, dyeing is sort of my way of bringing about world peace   …or at least, bringing a little peace into a few people’s lives.  When I dye my yarns, I’m thinking of the person it will go to, and the quiet joy they will experience as the yarn moves through their fingers and the colours change before their eyes.

Why I dye

Oh, and it’s because I really love colour — really really love colour.  There’s always that too.

The Pau Hana KAL starts in less than a week!  And our KALers are swatching their yarns, pinning their ombre and gradient inspirations, and getting ready for cast on on Oct 17!

Most of the last pre-order kits are going in the post today, so there’s time for swatching and colour-play before the start date.  But if you haven’t joined us yet, you can order a Pau Hana kit for custom dyeing, and we will get it into the dyepots for you as quickly as possible so you can join in the fun!  Click here for all the details!

Pau Hana KAL


Seven Weeks Later…

I’ve just gotta share this with you because, this week, we have been doing the happy dance — a lot.  As you may recall, we had a slight disaster midway through the summer when a big (biiiiiiiiigggg) storm rolled in and dumped approximately 25 feet of water in 15 minutes (or maybe a little less) which completely overwhelmed our drain and so the water surged in under the door instead and partially flooded our family room.  If you never saw it, all the sorry details are here.

ByeBye Carpet

Fortunately, the damage didn’t reach the levels of a lot of lower lying areas around us, and I was able to get most of our stuff up and away from danger, but the carpet was a complete (uninsured!) write-off.  And the asbestos flooring we discovered underneath it meant that the room was wholly unusable until the carpet could be replaced.

That was seven weeks ago.  Seven weeks ago.  And it’s taken this long to get the room dry, the carpet ordered, and the installation booked.  But on Wednesday….



…on Wednesday, THEY INSTALLED OUR NEW CARPET!!!!!!!  Wooooot!!!!  I know it’s only our family room we were missing but, somehow, it feels like we have our whole house back again.  Things that have spent the last seven months in the wrong place are finally able to go back to where they belong.  And we are able to sit in the family room again of an evening, have a cup of tea, and discuss the day just like we used to do.  I know we could do that anywhere in the house, but somehow it feels so much more right now.


And all I want to do, every time I see that lovely expanse of fresh, new, clean, lovely carpet is to cheer.  Hoooooooray!!!!

Speaking of cheering, here’s something to make some noise about.  If you’ve been waiting for the InterStellar Yarn Alliance to reopen for subscriptions, your wait is almost over.   The SpaceCadet’s premier yarn club opens this Sunday Sept 1 (actually, midnight on Saturday) until Sept 16.  Spaces always go really quickly, so be ready.

The SpaceCadet's InterStellar Yarn Alliance yarn club

And for those of you who’ve clicked here and got yourselves on the Yarn Alliance mailing list, I may just open up subscriptions a wee bit early for you.  …Such are the perks of reading all the way to the bottom(!).