I had plans for this week — I had great plans — but here it is, Friday already, and as I look back, I realise the week has got the better of me.  I seem to have spent most of this week rushing… scrambling…  really struggling to get things done.  And the harder I’ve pushed, somehow the less I’ve seemed to get done.  It’s been very frustrating!

And even though I’ve felt like I don’t know why this week was so unproductive, the truth is, I do.  Somehow, ever since the holidays, I have lost my rhythm — dyeing on the wrong days, blogging on the wrong days, working far too late into the night and then struggling to catch up the next day.  Trying to mould my days around me, and ending up totally out of sync instead.

That is not my 2011.  My 2011 is going to be calm, ordered, organised, productive, and purposeful.   And so I am going to get my rhythm back.  I am going to stop, rework the schedule, and get back on top of things.

I had a really good blog post planned for tonight but, though I scrambled through today with all my might, I never managed to get the photos taken for it.  And as I sat here last night trying to think of a work around for that, or even a whole ‘nother blog post — squeezing my brain for ideas like an orange for juice — I suddenly realised that I was doing (again) what I’ve been doing every day since the holidays.  But what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working, and I decided to stop.

So, I have no blog post for you today.  Instead, I am going to spend the day working very hard on slowing down.  I’m going to take things at a sensible pace, focus on the calm, and try find my rhythm again.  And maybe, by not trying so darned hard to get everything done in a big rush, I will manage to get most things done — with a bit more success.

I’ll start with a nice cup of tea.  It’s the best way to start any endeavor of calm, don’t you agree?  And then I’ll start off into 2011 afresh — and this time, I’ll just put one foot in front of the other.


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

LAST CHANCE to enter for a $25 Gift Certificate!

The contest to win a $25 SpaceCadet Gift Certificate ends tonight, so — quick! — make sure you’re entered!  All you have to do is go the SpaceCadet Creations Facebook page and click the “Like” button right at the top — and that’s it, you’re in with a chance!

After that, you can earn up to four additional entries by:

  • Share this contest with your friends on Facebook
  • Tweet a link to this contest on Twitter
  • Mention this contest in a post on Ravelry
  • Subscribe to this blog, if you haven’t already.

And then leaving a comment to let me know that you’ve done it.

Full details on how to enter can be found in this post here.  Thanks for entering and GOOD LUCK!

The SpaceCadet’s Facebook Page — and Free Yarn!

Facebook is where you catch up with your friends.  And keep tabs on your workmates.   And feed your curiousness about your old classmates… and maybe your old boyfriends (but, ermm… perhaps it’s best if you don’t look up old boyfriends — let those sleeping dogs lie).

And now, Facebook is also where you can keep up with everything to do with the SpaceCadet!  The SpaceCadet Creations Facebook page is live at last and it’s filled with news, colours, fiber, and yarn, yarn, yarn.  Is there anything better than that?

Well, yeah…  there is.  Free yarn is better!   And so, to celebrate the launch of the SpaceCadet Facebook page, I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to one lucky winner — and all you have to do to be entered is to like me.  What, you already like me?  Awwww, you’re so sweet!  But, hey, let’s make it official: go to the SpaceCadet Facebook page and click on the “Like” button (see the big red arrow in the picture below).  Everyone who clicks that button between now and Sunday 24 October will be entered to win!

(And if you’re already a fan and clicked that button, don’t worry — that just means you’re already entered!)

Once you’ve done that, I’m giving you four extra ways to earn additional entries:

  • Share this contest with your friends on Facebook
  • Tweet a link to this contest on Twitter
  • Mention this contest in a post on Ravelry
  • Subscribe to this blog, if you haven’t already.

And then leave a comment here to let me know and giving me your Twitter/Rav/Facebook name so I can tie it together.

So that’s five ways to enter — and the winner gets to pick $25 worth of SpaceCadet goodies to feed the fiber-addiction!  Hey, who loves ya?



Small print: Contest begins on 11 October 2010 at 00.01am and ends 24 October 2010 at 11.59pm. All entries must be made during that time to be valid, with the exception that “Likes” made previous to the start date will be considered valid as well.  All entrants will be verified and must complete the mandatory entry (that is, clicking the Like button on the SpaceCadet Creations Facebook page) before completing the ‘extra’ entries. Completion of ‘extra’ entries must be mentioned in a comment on this blog post to qualify, and comments must include the commenter’s Twitter or Ravelry name (as applicable). Invalid entries will be disqualified. Winner will be announced on this blog and must respond within 72 hours or we reserve the right to choose another winner. SpaceCadet Creations reserves the right to substitute prizes. Prizes cannot be redeemed for cash.

Scenes from a Fiber Life: the Art and Science of Hand-Dyeing

Years ago, when I was a corporate buyer, I remember my boss explaining that buying was both an art and a science.  I didn’t really understand what he meant at the time — surely it was just a matter of knowing how much should be in stock and plugging in the numbers, wasn’t it?  It was simple.  What was he on about “art”?

I didn’t really get it until I’d been in the job for some time, and I found myself explaining some of the basics to our intern.  She was plugging in the numbers — just plugging in the numbers — and coming to conclusions that I knew would spend our money in all the wrong places.   And as I explained that there was more to it than just the number, that was the moment that I realised what my boss meant by “art”.  Over time, I’d been quietly and unconsciously learning to follow to my instincts as well as the numbers, learning to apply both art and science.  And when I watched that intern making those simple, novice mistakes, I began to understand the value of staying tuned into both.

Today I tried to duplicate Westerly, the beautifully shaded colourway from the Tradewinds quartet that I showed you last week.  And there I was, duplicating the recipe exactly when…  I just suddenly didn’t trust it.  My instinct told me the colours weren’t right.  My instinct told me to add a bit of this, mix in a little more of that…

My instict wasn’t right.  This is what came out of the dyepot…


It’s beautiful for sure, but it’s not Westerly.  And though I think I’m going to love it when it’s dried and reskeined…  there’s no denying that it’s not Westerly.


Which just serves to remind me that, even though dyeing is undoubtedly an art as much as a science, and even though a dyer’s colour sense is borne of instinct, it’s important to remember and never to forget the first rule of the second dyelot: even when you want to follow your instinct…