Some Surprise News from Sock Summit

Did you get to go to Sock Summit?  Because I didn’t and I was just soooooo jealous of everyone who did.  All weekend long (all weekend? no, for four days), it seemed like everyone I follow on Twitter was at Sock Summit… and having the time of their fibery lives…  and tweeting mercilessly about it.  Mercilessly, I tell you!  Oh, how I wanted to be there.

…And then, I found out, I kinda was.

knitting, yarn, hand-dyed, hand-spun, indie dyer, sock summit, TAAT Designs
At The Summit, by © TAAT Designs, Used with Permission


Well, not me, but my colours.  And not just there, but actually there as part of the winning submission in the Design for Glory competition!  Ok, a tiny part, but a part…  About a week before Sock Summit, my friend Abigail emailed with the news that she and her knitting partners at TAAT Designs had submitted the winning entry, a sock called At The Summit.  The design requirement was for a sock that could be knit modularly — in pieces and then assembled at the last minute — by a team in the Fleece to Foot Challenge.

knitting, socks, sock summit, TAAT designs, indie dyer, hand-dyed, hand spun, Design for Glory
At The Summit, by © TAAT Designs, Used with Permission


And, for their entry, TAAT Designs chose yarn hand-spun from SpaceCadet Creations fiber!  When Abigail gave me the news, I sqeeeeeeeeeed so loudly, I think I scared the neighbours!  I remember when she bought that fiber and…  well, just to think that braid of wool had risen to such heights in the sock stratophere, it kinda blew my mind!

And while At The Summit is a beautiful design and the good ladies at TAAT  — Tesia Walker, Allison Janocha, Abigail Horsfall and Trisha Paetsch — are clearly a very talented bunch of knitters…  I have to admit, I like to think it was the gently undulating shades of SeaFoam that really made the difference in the end.

spinning, fiber, knitting, TAAT Designs, sock summit, hand-dyed, indie-dyer
The Braid of BFL Fiber in SeaFoam


The pattern for At The Summit is now available on Ravelry, or you can buy it directly by clicking here.  TAAT Designs is donating proceeds the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, in honour of Tesia’s husband Ryan.

Congratulations to Abigail, Tesia, Trisha, and Allison on their beautiful design.  Thanks for choosing SpaceCadet colours!  And congratulations also to Meridith Todd, who spun such a fantastic yarn.

And congratulations to that braid of SeaFoam fiber.  Every single time I pack up an order and send it out, I wonder what that yarn or fiber will become.  Never did I think anything I’ve dyed would become something so… Glory-ous!

knitting, spinning, hand-spun, TAAT designs, sock summit, hand-dyed, indie-dyer
The Braid of SeaFoam

I Need Your Help Choosing a Yarn

One of the really fun things about TNNA was just wandering around and looking at all the lovely yarns.  I mean, really.   For someone who loves yarn, who really gets quite giddy around large quantities of it, TNNA was heady stuff!

And the yarns ran the gamut from rustic bulkies to really stunning silk laceweights complete with beads and sequins — everything a fiberista’s heart might desire.  And I really thought I’d be drawn to the finest, most delicate, most beautiful yarns… so when I realised that the one thing that kept jumping out at me was these smooshy, chunky, single-ply yarns, it totally took me by surprise.  But they were wonderful — they looked like clouds, they looked so sheepy… I just wanted stick my face into them and snorgle!

So smooshy!

And, they seemed to be everywhere.  Even though I was trying to look at fingering yarns, my eye kept spotting these chunky single-ply yarns everywhere.  So, I’m tempted to buy some for my autumn/winter dyeing.  And y’know, when I say “tempted”, I kinda really mean “aching”.  As in, I loved them so much, I am aching to get my hands on some and start dyeing!

yarn, knitting, crochet, indie dyer, hand-dyed
Man, I love this yarn...

But there’s a distinct possibility that instead of spotting the emergence of a fabulous new yarn trend, I might be just falling head-over-heels for my own personal preference.  And that you, my fingering-and-laceweight-buying customers, might be reading all this and just going, “Whaaat…???”

knitting, yarn, crochet, indie dyer, hand-dyed
(that's a nickel, by the way, not a dime -- I couldn't find a dime...)

So, tell me, what do you think?  Do these pictures get your heart racing, and your fingers itching to cast on?  Do you want to grab that skein and just smoosh it?  Or does it leave you saying, “Meh…” and happily turning back to the much more delicate yarn of your current project?  Please tell me — leave a comment below, I’d really love to know your thoughts!

Win A Skein of SpaceCadet Yarn!

I am so excited about the InterStellar Yarn Alliance, the SpaceCadet’s new yarn club which opened for subscriptions on Monday, that I can’t wait for the fun to start!  The first parcels will go out in April, but I really want to do something to kick it off right now…

So I’m going to give away a free skein of lovely SpaceCadet Creations yarn to one  of you this week, and all you have to do to enter is talk about the Yarn Alliance in a post on Ravelry!  It can be anywhere on Ravelry except the SpaceCadet Creations and Interstellar Yarn Alliance groups. Once you’ve done that, leave a comment here with your Ravelry name, and you are entered to win a free skein of SpaceCadet yarn!

yarn, sock yarn, knitting, crochet, hand-dyed, hand dyed, handdyed
Shop Update (clockwise from top left: Celeste yarn in Carnival, Estelle yarn in Tree Snake, Estelle yarn in Sunshine, and Celeste Yarn in First Love


And if you’ve like to earn a second entry after that, just retweet a link to the Yarn Alliance webpage or link to this blog post in a post on Ravelry (and please be sure to mention your Twitter name here if it’s different from your Raverly name).

The giveaway opens now, and closes at the end of Thursday, so you have to be quick!  I’ll announce the winner here on Friday.

yarn, sock yarn, knitting, crochet, hand-dyed, handdyed, hand-dyed, hand painted
Shop Update (clockwise from top left): Celeste yarn in Forgiven, Estelle yarn in Evening Fog, Celeste yarn in Spice Trade, Celsete yarn in Spare Change


Which means that by the end of the week, one of you will be the owner of a new skein of SpaceCadet yarn.  Because you need more yarn in your stash, don’t you?  Don’t you?!?

Of course you do!

spinning, fiber, fibre, merino, alpaca, hand-dyed, handdyed, hand dyed, hand painted
Shop Update (clockwise from top left): Alpaca & Merino fiber in Translucence, Alpaca & Merino fiber in SuperNova, BFL fiber in HandJive, Alpaca & Merino fiber in Beguile

The details (they’re not difficult, I promise!): Contest closes on March 17 2011 at 11.59pm EDT and all entries must be made before the close. All entrants will be verified and must complete the mandatory entry (that is, mentioning the SpaceCadet’s InterStellar Yarn Alliance in a post on Ravelry) before completing the ‘extra’ entry (tweeting a link to the Yarn Alliance). Completion of entries must be mentioned in a comment on this blog post to qualify, and comments must include the commenter’s Ravelry or Twitter 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.  See, that wasn’t too bad, was it?

A Bad Week with a Good Ending

I like to do my shop updates for Monday or Tuesday, and start your week with a little fibery eye-candy. But this past week was completely hijacked by a terrible winter cold that has hit the whole family. Everything has come to a complete halt.

And rather than my days being filled with steaming dyepots, they were filled with steaming cups of tea…


Well, actually more like this. When I’m not feeling well, I want a lot of tea…


We-e-e-ell…. ok… When I’m really ill (and I’ve been really ill), I always turn to my mother’s never-fail cough medicine: warmed honey with a (generous) splash of Scotch.  Taken by the teaspoonful and poured down the back of the throat, absolutely nothing soothes a scratchy and nagging cough so well.

So… ok…  ok!  Maybe my week looked a bit more like this…

Tea, honey, Scotch, a box of tissues, me under the duvet…  and no shop update.

But something wonderful happened this week too — something really exciting that’s saved the whole miserable, cold-filled week…  SpaceCadet Creations made its 100th sale!  And that makes me want to celebrate.  So this week, instead of a shop update, I’m giving you a wee treat: every order placed between now and midnight on Thursday will get 10% off.  It’s just a little thing, a little gift from me to you to say thank you for all of your support.  Just enter the code “100Sales” at checkout to claim your discount.

And if you happen to have a bit of a cold too… Well, come over here and sit next to me.  I’ve got a box of tissues, and we can share a nice pot of tea.  …And maybe some of Mum’s cough medicine too — it really is lovely.

Small print: Offer ends Friday 17 December 2010 at 12.00am (EST). Discount excludes shipping and any applicable tax.  Discount cannot be redeemed for cash.

Spinning Up Clouds of Baby Alpaca

So while I was waxing lyrical about the new cashmere in the shop, I never said a word — not a word — about the little something I had up my sleeve for the spinners.  Why?  Because the holidays are all about surprises!

And this was a surprise worth keeping: the most amazingly soft combed top made from 50% Baby Alpaca and 50% Superfine Merino wool.  It’s incredibly light, incredibly soft…  It feels like clouds in your hands.  And it dyes up beautifully.

Baby Alpaca and Superfine Merino wool combed top 150/50 Baby Alpaca/Merino blend in Evening Fog (left) and Tarnished (right)

For those of you who’ve never tried alpaca, I turned to my friend Natalie — a more experienced and excellent spinner — for some advice.  She said, “Alpaca is warmer and lighter than wool.  For knitting, a worsted weight yarn would make an awfully warm sweater – possibly too warm for daily wear.  On the other hand, if you want outer gear like hats and gloves, a thick, woolen spun alpaca would be like carrying around your own little furnace!

“Alpaca is a little more difficult to control than straight wool because it has a shorter staple length and feels sort of slippery.  I hold my hands closer together when I’m drafting to adjust for the shorter staple length.  I also try to get twist into the fiber more quickly than I would usually do with wool.

“Also, remember that alpaca has practically no memory.  So, for knitting, it often works better blended with other fibers that will give it a little bit of elasticity and memory.”

Baby Alpaca and Superfine Merino wool combed top 250/50 Baby Alpaca/Merino blend in Rhubarb and Custard (left) and SeaFoam (right)

The blend of superfine merino and baby alpaca together will give your yarn the elasticity and memory that you need for knitting.  And the extra lightness and warmth that the alpaca gives you yarn will be perfect for warm winter mittens and hats.

And as I was in a mood for dyeing fiber, I went ahead and did a batch of Blue-Faced Leicester as well.  Enjoy!

BFL combed top Clockwise from top left:  BFL Combed top in Spice Trade, Sweetpeas, SeaFoam, and Sweetpeas.

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!