In a World of Colour, Are We Starving?

Last night, I went round to a friend’s house and she showed me her knitting.  The pattern is simple — just a stockinette cardigan — but the colour is spectacular.  She has chosen a blue so deep, so intense, that I almost felt I was falling into it headlong.  I felt energised just looking at it  …just being near it, in fact.

Celeste Fingering Weight Yarn in Blue Horse

As adults, we shy away from colour.  I first became conscious of this when my daughters were born.  The clothes that they were given by friends and loved ones were full of colour: brimming over with wild, riotous combinations of shades that I would never (at the time) have had the courage to put together myself.  Colours full of life, calling out with joy.

Shades of… Blah

By contrast, when I looked at my own wardrobe, it was made up entirely of drab.  Sensible colours (yawn), muted colours (yaaaawn), black, brown, grey, beige (zzzzzzzz….).  And I wasn’t alone — everyone around me dressed (dresses) this way.  You know it’s true — and, next time you’re in a crowd, look at the colours you see on the people around you.  Sure, there will be one or two red jackets, but that’s it — the rest will be a mass of greys, blacks, browns, and blahs that all merge into one big drab blob of blending-in.  We all blend in.

We dress our children in glorious colour (and we are jealous of them), and then we dress ourselves to blend in  …to disappear.  If colour is primal, if it is the food that nourishes our visual souls, then we are all malnourished.

Stella Fingering Weight Yarn in Carnival

Colour Freedom

I’ve always considered the biggest appeal of knitting or crocheting was the zen-thing — that wave of calm that washes over as you fall into the moving meditation of stitch upon stitch.  And then, of course, there is that wonderful rush of having created something — a garment, a pattern, a new stitch combination — from our own ingenuity and with our own two hands.  Powerful stuff.  But more and more, I’m coming to realise how much the fiber arts also set us free to embrace the glorious colours that we otherwise deny ourselves.  Yeah, there are lovely yarns in neutral/natural shades and they can be formed into beautiful garments.  But it’s rare for a knitter to walk into a yarn shop and choose black.  We are called by the colour.  It sings to us and we are drawn to it.

yarn, knitting, crochet, handdyed, indie dyer
Stella Fingering Weight Yarn in Sweet Dreams

And so here is the other great appeal of the fiber arts: in our knitting, in our crocheting (our spinning, our felting…), we are suddenly free to dive into the colour that our hearts desire, but which we so often deny ourselves.  With the yarn in our hands, colours running through our fingers, we can envelope ourselves in the glorious colours that wake our senses, that make us feel alive and giddy with excitement.

…That let us escape from the blah of blending in.

knitting, crochet, yarn, handdyed, indie dyer
Celeste Yarn in Forgiven

Challenge: To Be Aware

So here is my challenge to you: let yourself become more aware of the colours around you — of the colours that nature presents to you each morning, of the colours that you see through the day, of the colours that call out to you.  And more than that, become aware of the colours that you knit or crochet with, and of the colours that you wear.  Do they match up?  Do you adorn yourself (your home, your life) in the colours that you truly love?  Or do you shy away?  And if you do shy away, why?  Or… perhaps more importantly, why not?

Because colour is primal, colour does feed the soul.   And there is an absolute feast of colour out there, just waiting for you…

knitting, crochet, yarn, handdyed, indie dyer
Celeste yarn in Garden in Spring


Members of the Interstellar Yarn Alliance: be ready for your feast…!

Shop Update: Yarns for a Sleepy Dyer

Sleep, as it turns out, is not optional.  For over a week, I’ve been trying to knock this bug from TNNA on its head.  For ten whole days.  And the bug is beating me because it’s figured out my weakness: I need sleep.

I cannot sleep when I am coughing.  And I am coughing pretty solidly from about 11pm to 4am, when I finally slip into a slumber from nothing more than sheer exhaustion.  But until then,I lie in bed and keep very very still and breathe very very slowly, just willing this cough into submission long enough for me to sleep.  It doesn’t work.

And so, the past ten days have felt like a total loss to me.  Almost nothing done, almost nothing achieved.  *sigh…*  All I want in my bed, and that lovely, dreamy, delicious feeling of just slipping under the surface of sleep…


Is it any wonder that the yarns I’ve put in the shop today are all of the softest, gentlest colours?  Cool blues and sleepy greys that make me think of an inviting bed, of  soft, dreamy light falling through sheer white curtains…

knitting, yarn, crochet, handdyed, indie dyer

From left: Estelle fingering weight yarn in Translucence, Goodbye Blue Sky, a Dept of Rocket Science colourway, and Translucence.


KnitCircus Pattern Collection Giveaway

But there’s something far more exciting for the rest of you than going to sleep.   Today is the day that I draw the three winners of the KnitCircus Summer 2011 Pattern Collections!    First, a huge thank you to everyone who participated — I really enjoyed reading your comments and find out your favourite patterns and articles.

And now, the winners are…


Dawn Hays


Congratulations!  You’ve won the complete Pattern Collection from the Summer 2011 issue of KnitCircus!

Please email me at spacecadetcreations (at) gmail (dot) com with your email address (and remind me of your Ravelry name), and I’ll pass your details onto Jaala Spiro at KnitCircus so she can send you the collection.  Enjoy!

TNNA — The Place To Be

My throat is sore, my nose is stuffed and my head is pounding, pounding, pounding.  And, under normal circumstances, I’d be feeling pretty sorry for myself.  Probably tucking myself up in bed with a nice a cup on tea and my vapours nearby.  But, actually, I’m not feeling so sorry for myself.  What I’ve got is TNNA flu, and it’s the sort of ailment that is so much fun to catch, it’s almost worth having.

TNNA is the The National Needlework Association, the trade organisation for all things fibery, and this past weekend was their biggest tradeshow of the year.  The official reason to go is because it’s the place to scout out new suppliers, spot new trends, and learn new skills.  But the reason is because it is just SUCH a blast.  Imagine a knit night where where every where around you are the designers you admire the most, the editors of your favourite knitting magazines, and the dyers whose yarn you covet…  Can you see that in your mind?  Doesn’t just the very thought of it feel delicious?  That’s TNNA.

I loved talking with Jaala Spiro, editor of KnitCircus (on the right). She is so much fun!  And a genuinely nice person — I’m so pleased I got to meet her.  And next to her, that’s Michelle Miller, the Fickle Knitter, whose pattern I wore at HomeSpun Yarn Party and featured here.

I finally got to meet Sarah Wilson, the Sexy Knitter, who made those fabulous custom Knitter’s Tool Tins for the InterStellar Yarn Alliance, and who designed and knitted this amazing jumpsuit.  And next to her is Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches — we ended up having a really interesting conversation in the bar that evening, and she is just a delight.

And I got to chat with so many others that I never got any pictures of: Amy Singer, Clara Parkes, Lisa Shroyer (editor of Knitscene), Stefanie Japel, Andi Smith, Shannon Okey, Ysolda Teague, Mary-Heather Cogar, StevenBe, Nicky Epstein, Rebecca Velasquez, Melissa Leapman, and…  and…  Oh!  There were so many knitterati, I’m sure I’ve forgotten some…!  But, suffice to say, it was a fantastic weekend.

And on a more serious note, regarding the actual business of bringing you beautiful yarns to knit with, I discovered some gorgeous new yarns that I am… erm… dying to dye.  And a bunch of fun notions and accessories that just might end up in a Yarn Alliance parcel or two…

So when I got home and my throat began to get sore, and my head started to ache, I knew exactly why.  Big events with lots of people like that…  they always bring on the lurgy, don’t they?  There’s just too much chatting with too many people, too much shaking of hands, not to catch something.  But… was it worth it?


My Favourite Online Knitting Magazines (and the best giveaway yet!)

The thing that I love about knitting, the thing that calls me back to the needles time and time again, is the way knitting grounds me.   There is something about the warmth of the yarn, the feel of the needles, the gentle repetition of stitch upon stitch that makes the whole world slow down a little so that I can exist just in that moment.  And that incredible sense of calm is the way it’s been making other knitters feel too — for generations and generations.  Knitting is ancient, simple, essential.

So every now and again, when I stop and reflect on how the knitting world has changed in the last ten years, it blows my mind a little.  I use my phone to keep track of the rows I knit, I can check Ravelry to see how my pattern worked out for hundreds of other knitters, and I tweet back and forth with my favourite designers.  Knitting is still ancient, essential, and grounding   …but now it’s also all about the techno.  Yeah, sometimes that really blows my mind.

And one of the best things to come out of this techno-revolution is the rise of online knitting magazines.  Fresh, individual, quirky, and oh-so-vibrant — opening an online knitting magazine gives an instant virtual fiber rush.  It makes you want to cast on something gorgeous.  It makes you want cast on now.

Here my three hands-down favourites:

Did Knitty start the online knitting magazine craze?  Even if it didn’t, it did for me.  Knitty is the brainchild of Amy Singer, who launched her online magazine alllll the way back in 2002, and quickly became the starting point for thousands of new knitters and the launching pad for hundreds of new designers.

knitty, knitting magazine, knitting patterns, knittingFilled with informative features that help new knitters find their feet and advanced knitters move on to higher planes, and offering instant access to a library of entirely free patterns, Knitty has revolutionised the concept of accessibility for a whole generation of knitters.


Twist Collective

The Twist Collective began with a mission: to treat designers and writers honourably by giving them a place  to display their talents and get paid fairly for their work, while still having the option to use and build on their work after publication.

twist collective, knitting magazine, knitting patterns, knittingBut beyond even those loftly ideals, what the Twist Collective ultimately achieves — through luscious photography and beautiful designs — is downright seductive.


knitcircus, knitting magazine, knitting patterns, knitting

Starting out as a print publication, KnitCircus transitioned to an online format in 2010, and I’m so glad it did!  Another magazine with an emphasis on treating designers fairly, KnitCircus is also committed to supporting indie fiber businesses, which gives readers the wonderful opportunity to discover new dyers and fiber artists that they might not otherwise find.

knitcircus, knitting magazine, knitting pattern, knittingI find KnitCircus an absolute pleasure to read, partly for the totally trivial reason that the pages flip by delightfully (just like a real magazine! go try it!) and mostly because the articles are absorbing, the photography is sharp and fresh, and the patterns are utterly lovely.

Enter to Win the Entire KnitCircus Summer 2011 Pattern Collection

And here’s the bit that’s got me crazy-excited: KnitCircus‘s editor, Jaala Spiro, has generously offered me three copies of the KnitCircus Summer 2011 Pattern Collection to give away!

Wait, what’s that?  Did I just hear you go squeeeee?!?  Oh yeah, I know you did!

Ok, here’s what you have to do to enter:

  1. Click on the links the three magazines above and choose your  favourite pattern or article out of all of them (just one favourite, not three).
  2. Then, come back here and leave a comment below telling me what your favourite is (and feel free to tell me why — I’d  love to know!).

Now, because this is such a fabulous prize, I’m going to give you a way to get two  bonus entries.  To enter up to twice more, all you have to do is:

  1. Retweet this tweet on Twitter, and/or
  2. Mention this contest in a post on Ravelry (anywhere except the SpaceCadet group board and the InterStellar Yarn Alliance board)
  3. Then, make sure you leave a comment here to let me know you’ve done it (include your Twitter and Rav names).

And there you go — you’re in with three chances to win one of three copies of the Summer 2011 KnitCircus Pattern Collection.  And you can’t beat that with a stick stack of magazines!

Rock the details: Sweepstakes opens when this blog post is published and closes on Mon June 20 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 in a comment on this blog post a favourite pattern/article from one of the three knitting magazines) before completing the ‘extra’ entries (retweeting the specified tweet and/or mentioning this sweepstakes in a post on Ravelry). Please take note: completion of all 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 after sweepstakes close and must respond within 72 hours or we reserve the right to choose another winner. No purchase necessary. Only one entry per person. SpaceCadet Creations reserves the right to substitute prizes. Prizes cannot be redeemed for cash. No geographical or age restrictions apply because knitting knows no barriers.

Shop Update and Pattern Contest Winner!

Someone…  who shall remain nameless…  Someone in our house is celebrating a birthday this week.  A big, BIG birthday.  The sort of age you know you’ll get to someday, but you never really believe you’ll ever reach.  A tough birthday   …but a fun birthday.

So, on Sunday, we had a big family celebration, and it was a fantastic day.  You can imagine the scene in your mind: a table spread with amazing food, glasses filled deep with buttery white wine, a luscious chocolate cake covered in strawberries… And everywhere, everywhere that beautiful, dreamy, glowing light of a summer’s afternoon, gently dappled as it falls through the trees.  It was a glorious day, and a glorious start to a new decade.

Today’s shop updates are yarns that evoke beautiful, lazy, summer days.  Days filled with good food and plentiful wine.  Days filled with golden sunshine, and evenings of glorious twilight.  Even if it’s not your birthday this week, you deserve a little celebration too…

Stella fingering weight yarns in Row 1: Carnival (both images); Row 2: DoRS 110106-002 and City Park; Row 3: Sweet Dreams and Spice Trade

yarn, sock yarn, knitting, crochet, hand-dyed, handdye, indie dyer


Pattern Contest Winner

And now, the moment I know a lot of you are waiting for!  The winner of the Leslie Thompson and Rock and Purl Pattern Giveaway is…


Congratulations!  Send me a quick email to spacecadetcreations (at) gmail (dot) com to confirm your correct email address, and I will pass your info onto Leslie and Rock&Purl Ruth.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

(…and just to let you know that we’ve got some more great contests coming up in the near future, so stick around! If you’d like to hear about them first, be sure to subscribe to the blog, using the subscription box over there in the right-hand column)

When Pooling Goes Right

Last week, I asked you guys to give me your questions and tell me what intimidates you about hand-dyed yarns.  And I loved the responses — I got some great food for thought, and you guys prompted me to ask a couple of experts to contribute to the ebook and answer some of your questions.  Exciting stuff!

yarn, hand-dyed, handdyed, indie dyer, knitting, crochetAnd that post has started several really interesting conversations with friends about their approach to hand-dyed yarns.  In each of these conversations, there have been some saying they are always trying to avoid pooling, and there are others saying that they just sit back and go where-ever the yarn takes them — treating it as an adventure, a journey to be traveled, whether the yarns pools or not.  I have to admit, I loved hearing that because, as a dyer,  that’s how my creative process often feels too — a little adventurous, a little out of control.  Sometimes I’m in charge and the colours follow my lead, but sometimes…  sometimes it’s better to stop controlling and just go where-ever the colour takes me.  Sometimes it takes me to some really beautiful places.

The Beauty of Pooling  (…no, really!)

And pooling can be the same way too.  Yes, absolutely, sometimes pooling can be horrible — just horrible — and I totally get why knitters and crocheters strive to avoid it.  But sometimes pooling can take a really exciting turn that gives spectacular — and unexpected — results.

Take this scarf for example, knit by my friend Megan.  Now, we’ve all seen pooling that forms diamond patterns before, but I have to say I’ve never seen a more perfect and even example than this.  And though this was entirely unintentional, it adds so much to the scarf — gives it a real feeling of fun and adventure.  In fact, she liked it so much that when she switched to her second skein of yarn, Megan was really careful to join it in such a way that the argyle-pooling continued uninterrupted all the way to the end of the scarf.  Spectacular!

knitting, handyed, indie dyer, yarn,
Photos used with permission

Pattern: Here and There Cables by Norah Gaughan;  Yarn: SpaceCadet Creations Lucina in Megan’s Frost


So, ok… being surprised by nice, evenly repeating pooling along a nice, even rectangle is one thing, but when you get patterned pooling on a shaped project like a hat, that is really something.  Here’s a one that Megan knit (that woman has some kind of uncanny pooling gift, I tell ya!) for a little girl with brain cancer, and when I saw the pooling, I nearly fell off my chair.  Check out the pictures — this is not colourwork, this is the yarn just pooling in a beautiful way.  I love the way the stripes work through the colours and then back out again in reverse order, and they stay in that formation right up until they hit the sharpest decreases in the crown.  Amazing!

knitting, yarn, hand-dyed, handdyed, indie dyer
Photos used with permission

Pattern: Swirl Hat by Mandie Harrington;  Yarn: SpaceCadet Creations Estelle in Ice Skating


But what if stripes and argyle-diamonds aren’t your thing?  Well, check out this shawl by Karrie of  Because it’s crocheted instead of knit, the stitches move the colours about in a different way… and it produces small squares of pooled colour that look to me just like tiled mosaic.  Honestly, I can’t take my eyes off it!  Breathtaking!

crochet, yarns, handdyed, hand-dyed, indie dyer, yarn
Photos used with permission

Pattern: Wycheproof Shawl by Rebecca Velasquez;  Yarn: SpaceCadet Creations Estelle in Cold Flame

.So, have you ever had a project start to pool in a really beautiful way?  Did you love it?  And did you do anything special to encourage the pooling?


Pattern Giveaway

Don’t forget, there’s only a few days left to enter the Pattern Giveaway to win beautiful shawl patterns from RockandPurl and Leslie Thompson.  Click here to see the patterns and get entered!