Six Ways to Get the Most of Yarn Shows and Festivals

As we are prepping madly for HomeSpun Yarn Party this weekend (March 22 in Savage MD) and the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival next weekend (March 27-29 in Pittsburgh PA), I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to make a yarn show or festival really spectacular — for us as vendors but also for you as an attendee.  And while you might think that’s pretty straightforward — just walk around and look at all the lovely yarn, right? — there are actually some specific things you can do to get the most out of the yarn shows and festivals you attend this year.  Here are six of the best:

Come see the SpaceCadet crew at our Spring Shows! 2

Tip #1: First, GO!!!

This one is crazy, right?  I mean, of course you go!  But it’s surprising the number of knitters and crocheters I meet at trunk shows or other events who tell me they’ve never been to a yarn festival.  And I totally get it — there are crowds and parking issues, and maybe a distance to drive (or… heh heh…  maybe some self-control issues…?) — but the experience is totally worth it.  This is your opportunity to not only take classes and meet other like-minded folks, but also to spot new design and colour trends, and to “meet” in person the yarns you would otherwise be able to see only online.

So take this opportunity to explore every booth and snorgle all that lovely yarn.  At SpaceCadet, some of our most delicious yarns just don’t sell online.  It makes me crazy that our customers can’t tell how incredibly soft that extra cashmere makes Aurora (at 20% cashmere, it is amazingly softer than yarns with just 10%!).  They can’t see how subtle and beautiful Lucina’s sparkles are through a computer monitor.  And though I’ve managed to capture the sheen of Maia in photographs, how can that also show its incredible softness and drape?  As wonderful as these yarns are, their best qualities come alive only when you see them in person.  If you’re looking online, you’re getting only half the story.  So come to the show and meet in person the yarns you’ve been curious about — it’s a completely different experience!

Tip #2: Head to your Favourite Vendors’ Booths First

Though it may seem easiest to just wander around the festival and look at the booths as you come to them, there’s a real advantage to checking out the show map and head to the your favourite vendors’ booths first.  We often debut fantastic new yarns and products at our shows, and they can sell out fast.  This year, we have an amazing Show Exclusive Colourway that I think you’re going to love — it’s just wonderful, with layers and layers of colour that seem to reveal themselves afresh every time you look at it.  We’ve dyed what we hope is plenty —  but shows are so unpredictable that it’s always worth getting to our booth early so you’re not disappointed.

So take five minutes when you first arrive at a festival to sit down with the show map and quickly work out which booths you really want to see, and head for those first.  Or, even better, look at the map online before you even get there — it makes the anticipation that much more fun and, I promise, you’ll be so glad when you snag the sell-out yarn of the show before anyone else even sees it!

The SpaceCadet's Show Exclusive Colourway for Spring Shows

Tip #3: Check Out the Show’s Special Events

Many shows have more than just classes and a market — giveaways, designer talks, and fashion shows all add to the fun.  You don’t want to miss any of those — and some of them are last minute additions — so make sure you check not only the show’s programme, but also your favourite vendors’ websites.

At this year’s Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, we’ll be hosting book signings by festival headliner Alasdair Post-Quinn, Craftsy instructor and author of Extreme Double-Knitting.   It’s a collaboration directly between SpaceCadet and his publisher, Coop Press, so it’s not in the festival programme, but we’re so excited to have Alasdair on hand to chat with our customers about his designs and double-knitting — and you’ll only find out about that by keeping up with our blog.  Yarn shows are full of wonderful surprises but to make sure you don’t miss the best stuff, check out the special events on both the show’s and the vendors’ websites.

Tip #4: Start at the Back of the Show

Ok, you’ve been waiting for the show to start, the doors have opened at last, and there, right in front of you, is a sea of amazing yarny goodness so beautiful that you want to dive into the first big pile you see.  Resist that urge!  Because right behind you is a sea of other knitters and crocheters who want to do the exact same thing, and those first booths are going to get crazy crowded really fast.  But at the other end of the show — far away from the doors and all the other festival-goers — are a bunch of booths that are completely empty.  And having been a vendor, in one of those booths, I can tell you that the other end of the show stays fairly quiet and empty for quite a while before the crowd finally makes it down there.  That means that if you head there first, you can have 30 minutes of peaceful shopping (and first dibs on the best stuff!) before those booths get crowded.

Work your way from the back of the show to the front and you’ll still get to see everything, but you won’t be fighting the crowds every single step of the way.  And you’ll get a whole different experience of the show!

The SpaceCadet's Show Exclusive Colourway for Spring Shows (except this is last year's colour)

Tip #5: Get the Class Schedule to Know When to Shop

Every show I’ve ever done has had times when the booth is a crush of people and other times when it’s completely quiet, and the two usually correspond to the class times.  When all the classes are going on, the market floor is usually quiet — and a real pleasure to shop — but the minute classes let out (and they all seem to let out at the same time), it’s suddenly so crowded that you can’t even get into some booths.  Take that time to go and find some lunch, or just knit and chill with some new friends you made in class.  Then, if there’s a time when the classes start up again but you haven’t got one booked, that’s the time to head to the market.  You’ll be able to shop in peace, to really look at what’s on offer, and chat to the dyers and vendors you’ve been wanting to meet.  Shopping during class times rather than when they’re out is the difference between a festival that is fun and relaxed and one that is needlessly stressful.  Check that schedule and then swim against the tide!

Tip #6: Remember that We’ve Come to Meet YOU!

This is probably the most important tip for making most of your festival or show.  Crazy as it sounds (to me, at least), we’ve had long-time customers email after a show to say they were right there in front of our booth, but they never came up to say hello because they didn’t want to “bother” us. And that makes me so sad, because the very best part of going to a show is getting to meet our customers face to face!

We’re there to talk to you, so please do come and say hi to us.  If you’ve got questions about our yarn, ask us (it’s one of our favourite subjects!).  Or show us the pattern you want to make and let us help you choose a yarn.  Now, you’ll get our best attention if you follow some of my earlier suggestions and visit the booth when things are a little quieter (such as when the show first opens or during class times).  But no matter when you come and see us, just remember that we’re there to meet you, so please do come and say hi!

The Yarn Alliance is Open until March 29th

The InterStellar Yarn Alliance opened on Friday and subscriptions have just been flying!  It’s so exciting to welcome all the new and returning members — because it’s a fantastic club and I know we’re going to have a great time together.  Want to join in the fun?  We’d love to have you aboard!  Click here to find out more — but hurry, subscriptions are open only until March 29.

The SpaceCadet's premiere yarn club, the InterStellar Yarn Alliance, is open for subscriptions until March 29 only. Click to learn more!







Check out our Fabulous Spring Show Specials!

The weeks right before a show are always a weird mix of wildly excited and crazy busy, all at the same time at the same time.  And, as we prep for the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival this weekend (March 14-16, click here for a map) and HomeSpun Yarn Party next weekend (March 23, click here for directions), it feels like there are a million things going on at once.

I have a full-scale mock-up of our booth in my living room right now (even though it doesn’t actually fit in my living room), there are bags of yarn everywhere, and I am trying to keep track of no less than five separate to-do lists at the moment.

But we are bringing so many cool things to our Spring shows this year that it’s worth all the chaos.  Wanna see what’s in store?

The SpaceCadet Show Exclusive Colourway

I think creating our Show Exclusive Colourway might be my favourite part of show-prep.  This is a one-of-a-kind, non-repeatable colourway that is available exclusively at our Spring shows.

ShowExclusive Colourway Sneak Peek with banner

This year’s colourway is called Northern Lights and, just like its namesake, it is a swirl of ethereal and intense colour.  When Jade was twisting it up, she called it “mesmerizing”, said she couldn’t stop looking at it.  I know it’s going to go fast — make sure you get to the booth quickly!


Ombre & Gradient Kits, perfect for Pau Hana!

I love watching people discover our Ombre & Gradient Kits, so we’re bringing a bunch of them.  These are the full-skein kits, enough to create an adult sweater with that gorgeous colour-morphing effect.


And the beautiful Pau Hana from Singlehanded Knits was designed specifically for our Ombre & Gradient Kits.  Do you love it as much as I do?  We’ll have the pattern available right alongside the yarn that inspired it!


Mini-Skein Bundles

We’ve got tons of SpaceCadet Mini-Skein bundles to bring to the shows.  Think of them as yarn crayons and let your imagination run wild!  If you’ve been coveting the recent Mini-Skein Club parcels, or if you’ve ever fancied trying SpaceCadet yarn but didn’t know where to begin, these little skeins are the perfect place to start!


Hana Hou Kits

I am blown away by Hana Hou, the newest design from Singlehanded Knits.  To support the KAL that will start in May, we’ll be offering Sweater Kits of Lyra, perfect for Hana Hou.  Buy one of the kits and we’ll give you the pattern for free so you’re all ready for the KAL when it starts.  Come and pick your favourite colourway!


The gorgeous Asola Stole

And we’ll have the gorgeous Asola Stole by Pittsburgh designer Amy Maceyko.  Designed in SpaceCadet yarn and constructed with an intriguing oval shape, this is one design you’ll really want to see in person!  Amy will be teaching at Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet and stopping by our booth between classes — do come and say hello!

Asola Stole

The very best part of the show

But for all the great stuff we’re bringing to the show, the very best thing is something we actually can’t pack…  I cannot wait to see so many of our customers in person!  It is truly the best part of every show we do — seeing your projects, putting faces to names, and really getting to know you guys.  I love it, and I leave every show on a high that lasts for days.

So please, come to the show and introduce yourself.  We can’t wait to see you!

This Weekend: HomeSpun Opens And Yarn Alliance Closes

Before I say anything else, I just want to remind you that subscriptions to the InterStellar Yarn Alliance close in just TWO DAYS, and there are only a handful of spaces left.  If you’ve been thinking of joining but haven’t grabbed your place yet, do it now before subscriptions close on Sunday night!

Click here to learn more or to join the SpaceCadet's InterStellar Yarn Alliance yarn club for knitters and crocheters


How to be a Super-Awesome Fangirl!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches asked me to write a guest blog post about how to be a great customer (and fan!) at yarn shows.  So often, a show is such a conflicted situation: on the one hand, we’re dying to chat to customers that we’ve only been able to “meet” online but then, the booth is often just so crazy-busy that we hardly have the chance to really talk to anybody!  What’s a dyer to do?!?

SpaceCadet Creations at HomeSpun Yarn Party

Well, like so many things in life, the best thing to do is start with a plan.  And my guest post for Stacey goes through the basics of how to plan out a yarn show trip so that you get to spend some quality time with the vendors you’re dying to meet up with.


HomeSpun Yarn Party This Weekend!

HomeSpun Yarn Party

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect, because this weekend we’re heading to Savage MD for HomeSpun Yarn Party, one of my most favouritest yarn shows of the whole year.  The place is packed with indie makers selling all hand-made, home-made, and just gorgeous stuff!

We’ll be taking…

  • More of those coveted kits for Laura Nelkin’s Juego Mystery KAL.  These are the yarn and beads that completely sold out in an absolutely frenzied 24 hours earlier this month, but we’ve held a few back for our spring shows.  If you want one, get in there and grab it quick!


  • The Show Exclusive Colourway — a gorgeous yarn in deep, rich colours that I’ve designed that will be available only at the shows we’re doing this spring.  You gotta be there to get it and, until the shows are over, I can’t even show you what it looks like!  The skeins we took to Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet absolutely flew off the shelves, but — lucky you! — I kept a second a batch safely back in the studio to take to HomeSpun Yarn Party.


  • More kits for Melissa Jean’s Dublin Tee, and in some exciting brand-new colourways, including one called “Fizz” (any guesses what colour that might be?), one called “Fire”, and one — just one kit — that I may never be able to repeat again and looks like this…

A one-of-a-kind SpaceCadet colourway for Melissa Jean's Dublin Tee Kit


  • Plus Sparkly Heels & Toes kits, Mini-Skein kits, and hundreds and hundreds of skeins of amazing, hand-dyed SpaceCadet yarn.   …Oh! And SpaceCadet tatoos — make sure you ask for one!


HomeSpun Yarn Party

Sunday, March 24, 2013 from 12-5pm
Historic Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763
Want a map? I gotcha covered

So if you live anywhere in the DC-Baltimore area, you absolutely want to make sure you’re there!  We can’t wait to see you guys!

Tatting You Up!

HomeSpun Yarn Party was amazing!  So much fun, so many people, and a near mob-scene at one point!

But first, let me just remind you that there are only two days left to join the SpaceCadet’s yarn club, the InterStellar Yarn Alliance.  I’ve already been working on the yarn and goodies for the first parcel and it’s going to be fabulous, so if you’ve been thinking about joining and haven’t had a chance yet, don’t  wait!  The Yarn Alliance closes for subscriptions on March 31.

Click here to learn more or to join the SpaceCadet's InterStellar Yarn Alliance yarn club for knitters and crocheters

Ok, now, back to HomeSpun…  The place was hoppin’, absolutely crazy.  It was wall-to-wall indie spinners and dyers and, the minute the doors opened, it was wall-to-wall fiber-loving customers too.  At one point, I actually found myself pushed out the booth on the other side of the aisle, and physically unable to get back into our booth!  It. was. wild!!!

The SpaceCadet booth at HomeSpun Yarn Party

And I’m tickled pink to tell you that part of the reason for the madness was… everybody loved the SpaceCadet tattoos!  I was hoping people would like them — they loved them.  I was running around the booth just trying to get one on everyone who wanted one.  Customers waving and gesturing, calling out, waiting for me to put a tattoo on them — or even taking a couple and putting them on each other.  Before I knew it, there was little SpaceCadet all over the place.  I was thrilled!!!

I stuck one on my cheek, of course (but you’ve already seen that).  And then I got a bit risqué and stuck one just below my neckline…

SpaceCadet tattoo from SpaceCadet Creations, hand-dyed yarn for knitting and crochet


But then, some of my customers thought that was the perfect spot too!

A SpaceCadet chest tattoo!

And the thing about the tattoos is that they were the perfect icebreaker.  Suddenly, all the customers waiting in line were helping each other put them on, discussing whether they should go for shoulders, wrists, or biceps…  It was so cool to see so many people getting into the spirit!  Oh, and then…  they started comparing yarn.  Of course they did!  It’s what fiber people do!

Lots and lots of customers sticking SpaceCadets right there on their cheeks.  Including my two lovely assistants…

The SpaceCadet's lovely assistants get into the spirit of HomeSpun Yarn Party

(Don’t they look fabulous?!?)

We came home feeling on fire — happy, exhilarated, exhausted.  HomeSpun lived up to everything we hoped, and our customers were so much fun.  Our next show is Knitters Fantasy on April 14 and it’s going to be a crunch to get ready for another show so soon but…  I can’t wait!


Hey, don’t forget — only two days left to sign up!

Click here to learn more or to join the SpaceCadet's InterStellar Yarn Alliance yarn club for knitters and crocheters

Written All Over My Face

The last couple of days have been crazy busy — I’ve been running around doing last minute things to prepare for HomeSpun Yarn Party this Sunday in Savage MD.  But yesterday and I had to stop everything and play for wee bit.

Just stop and play, like a kid.

Because something wonderful arrived in the post.  Something I’d ordered completely on a whim, and just hoped it’d turn out all right, thought I’d probably love it but wasn’t really sure…

When I ripped open the package I found this…

They're SpaceCadet tattoos!!!!

And I immediately let out a squeeeeee!!!!

And then, I immediately did this…

Wrinkles? Wrinkles?!?  Yeah, that's why half the photo is out of focus...

(Disclaimer:  My nose is not that big.  Somehow, I seem totally incapable of taking a close up that does not involve either enlarging my nose to alarming proportions or causing it to become misshapen in a startlingly Gérard Depardieu-esqe fashion.  Seriously.  I have no idea why.  Also, the crazy amount of out of focus area?  That hides wrinkles.  Yeah, I can see some of you nodding.)

But back to the tattoos.  Ok, now, I admit I’m probably a lot more excited about this than you are.  The thing is, I love my little SpaceCadet.  He hangs out with me all day long — on labels, on my project bag, and on the original drawing I made of him, stuck on the corkboard over my desk.   So to see him suddenly appear on a bunch of temporary tattoos just made me feel downright giddy.  I mean, a SpaceCadet tattoo!  How cool is that?!?

So, If I Wear One, Will You Wear One Too?

Ok, how does this sound…  We’ll be taking these funky little SpaceCadet tattoos to HomeSpun and giving one to every person who signs up to the SpaceCadet mailing list (oh yeah, a copy of the SpaceCadet’s Guide and a tattoo!).  And — and here’s the fun part — for everyone who puts their tattoo on right then and there, we’ll give them 10% off their HomeSpun purchase!  How does that sound?

And if you’re not going to HomeSpun but you really really want one of these cool little tattoos, just remind me in the notes of your next order and I’ll pop one in your parcel.  And when you wear it, you gotta send me a photo! Ok?


(Hey, don’t forge:  InterStellar Yarn Alliance memberships will be open for only another 7 days.  If you’ve been meaning to join and haven’t yet, don’t let the subscription time close before you get a chance!)


HomeSpun Yarn Party March 25 …and a Shop Update

Exciting news!  We’ve been accepted to HomeSpun Yarn Party again!

HomeSpun Yarn Party — March 25, Savage MD

HomeSpun is a fantastic event that showcases indy spinners, dyers, and other makers.  It’s not the biggest show you’ll ever go to but the quality of fibery goodness is simply off the scale!

And it is an incredibly fun show to do — the atmosphere is electric!  Because the people who come to HomeSpun truly love hand-dyed and it is so exciting to get to meet them, see their projects, talk about the yarn and the colours they love.  I can’t wait!

SpaceCadet Creations will be one of the indy hand-dyers at HomeSpun Yarn Party, March 25 in Savage Mill MD

So, if you’re in the DC-Baltimore area on March 25, come to Savage Mill in Savage MD, and fall headlong into hand-dyed nirvana.  We’d love to see you!


Shop Update

And in case you can’t make it (…or in case you just can’t wait!), I’ve done a shop update.  There’s some incredibly gorgeous laceweights in semi-solid colours, and Estelle and Stella in variegated colourways that will take your breath away.

So grab a big gulp of air and… dive in!

Click Here to see the Shop Update of new SpaceCadet Creations yarns for knitting and crochet