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!

And Show Season Begins!

Today is an exciting day, because today starts a series of yarn shows that I’ve been looking forward to for months!  This weekend is the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival (15-17 March in Mars PA), followed next weekend by HomeSpun Yarn Party (24 March in Savage MD), then a quick break for Easter before Knitters Fantasy (6 April in Youngstown OH).  It’s going to crazy, busy, fun, exciting, and…  whoooo-boy, pretty exhausting too!

But this year, there is more reason to be excited than usual, because we have some GREAT stuff to share with you this year.  Here let me tell you all about it…

Colourways like you’ve never seen before!

Our show stock this year is focused on one-of-a-kind and unsual colourways.  Yes, there are a few of the standard colourways, but those are always available to you in the shop.  For the shows this year, we’ve really cranked up the dyepots and created some gorgeous, vibrant, eye-catching mixes that you may never see again.  I can’t wait to see what you think of them!

The SpaceCadet's Hand-dyed Yarns at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival

Sparkly Heels & Toes Kits

It started with the idea of knitting socks out of a lovely skein of Stella in one colourway with fabulously sparkly heels and toes with a coordinating baby skein of  our wonderful Lucina.  Who wouldn’t want funky socks with sparkly heels and toes?!?

Socks made from the SpaceCadet's Sparkly Heels & Toes Kits

But then, I thought, why would you stop at just socks?  What about a delicate shawl with a sparkly lace edging? How about lovely mitts with a sparkly lace cuff?

Or wait…  what about sparkly stripes?!?  How cool would that be?!?  I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

The SpaceCadet's Sparkly Heels & Toes Kits at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival


Laura Nelkin’s Juego Mystery KAL Kits

Yep, you read that right!  And yep, when Laura announced the Juego KAL on her blog, six weeks of kits sold out in 36 hours!  We’ve been dyeing like crazy ever since to meet the demand but, at Laura’s request, I’ve dyed a few extras for the shows.  They won’t last long — get in and grab yours quick!

Laura Nelkin's Juego Mystery KAL


Dublin Tee Kits

I adore Melissa Jean’s amazing Dublin Tee!  Can’t you see yourself wearing it to…  well, pretty much everywhere?  So I know you’re going to love our Dublin Tee kits, created in Lyra, Ester, and Celeste — the very yarns that the pattern was designed for — and all packaged up in a sweet little bag for you carry them home and cast on straight away.  And to thank you for buying the kit, we’re treating you to the $7 pattern for free!

The Dublin Tee


The Secret Show-Exclusive Colourway!

Now, this is something really special — a custom colourway that I’ve designed exclusively for these Spring shows.  It’s rich and deep, multi-tonal with pops of colour and hidden surprises…  Intrigued?  I’m absolutely in love with it, but you can’t get it unless you come to the shows.  In fact, you can’t even see what it looks like unless you come and visit us!

Welllll…  I will tell you, it’s in Celeste, which is the lovely 3-ply fingering weight in 100% Superwash Merino that Laura Nelkin chose for her Juego.  And wellll…   I’m not completely heartless — here’s a little sneak peak…

The SpaceCadet's Show-Exclusive Colourway at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival

Ok, but seriously — come and see us at the show!  We’d love to see you!

Don’t Forget…

Oh, and one last thing  — but this is only for the brave…   If love our little SpaceCadet as much as we do, go ahead and ask me for a tattoo!  We had so much fun at HomeSpun last year with all the bold, brave women who wore their SpaceCadet tats with pride, and I would love to do it again.  Arms, faces,  shoulders…  cleavage!  They’re all fair game, and the SpaceCadet’s cheeky grin looks cute on all of them.  So don’t be afraid — let’s tat you up!


And if you can’t make the shows?

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you!  All the great kits you’ve see here will be making it into the shop once show season is over.  So keep your eyes peeled and your needles at the ready.   But if you can get to the shows, do it.  They’re so much fun, and you know you want to!


 The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is open for Subscriptions

from March 8 to March 24 only!

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

Rhinebeck: One AMAZING Weekend!

First it rained.  It was the kind of rain where you discover that the highest setting on the wipers is frighteningly inadequate, where cars slide off the road, where you wonder if you’re going to get there at all.

Rain on the SpaceCadet's journey to Rhinebeck!


And then it cleared, and we suddenly saw how incredibly beautiful autumn in the Hudson Valley really is.

Autumn in the Hudson Valley


The old farmhouse we rented turned out to be wonderful.  It had a lovely pond, and beautiful period features.  And big soft comfortable beds

The Pond at our Farmhouse

Lovely bedroom in our farmhouse


But there was no time to go to bed — there was work to be done — and we headed straight to the Duchess County Fairgrounds to get the Melissa Jean booth set up.  It was a lot of hard work but, by the end, I think it looked fantastic, don’t you?

Setting up the Melissa Jean Designs booth at Rhinebeck

Setting up SpaceCadet yarns in the Melissa Jean Designs booth at Rhinebeck

Setting up SpaceCadet yarns in the Melissa Jean Designs booth at Rhinebeck


And then it was two amazing, whirlwind days of yarn and buttons and so many lovely customers and some super-cool fiberista friends…  We were so busy, I forgot to take pictures of almost everyone (ooops!).

SpaceCadet Creations at the Melissa Jean Designs booth at Rhinebeck

Choosing buttons at the Melissa Jean Designs booth at Rhinebeck

Melissa Jean Buttons!


And then, before I even knew it’d begun, it was all over!  The booth was taken down and the car all packed up, and we started on the long looong journey back.

SpaceCadet Creations all packed up to go home!


And when we finally arrived home after 9 hours of driving, I made myself a well-deserved cup of tea, and looked back at the weekend with a crazy rush of emotion.  It was an amazing weekend, and I felt so excited and so happy.

…And ohhhh sooooo tired!


(With huge thanks to Melissa Jean for featuring SpaceCadet yarn, and to Natalie and Kristen for making everything go so smoothly.)


Shop Update!

Lots of yarns went back into the shop yesterday.  Lots more will go in today and over the weekend, including some fantastic one-of-a-kind colourways that you won’t want to miss.  Click here to keep your eyes open for them!

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

A Sneak Peek at the Dublin Tee!

If you ask me what day it is, I don’t know.  If you ask me what time it is, I’ll be no help to you.  And if you ask me which way is up, I might end up pointing in any direction.  Rhinebeck is only two weeks away and, though life keeps trying to derail the whole thing, I am keeping my nose to the grindstone and powering through.

And you know I love it but…  well, if you’re not made of either yarn or dye, I probably have no idea what to do with you right now!

But just before I run back into the studio (run, SpaceCadet, run!), I just want to quickly share with you a sneak peek at the Dublin Tee by Melissa Jean Designs.  It’s debuting at Rhinebeck, but I got to see one of the sample being knitted up and snapped some pictures for you guys.

The Dublin Tee by Melissa Jean Designs knit in SpaceCadet Creations Lyra yarn


In a way, it’s a simple tee.  But the beautiful cable work gives it stretch and shaping that takes that tee to whole ‘nother level.  It is just stunning.

The Dublin Tee by Melissa Jean Designs knit in SpaceCadet Creations Lyra yarn


The yarn in these photos is SpaceCadet Lyra, an incredibly sproingy sport weight yarn in 100% superwash merino.  What? You didn’t know “sproingy” was a word?  There is no other way to describe it!  When you squish it between your fingers, it just goes sproing right back into shape!

The Dublin Tee by Melissa Jean Designs knit in SpaceCadet Creations Lyra yarn


The Dublin Tee will be available at the Melissa Jean Designs booth at Rhinebeck, so please do stop by and see it…  see us…  see the sproing!  And if you can’t make it to the festival, it will be available through the Melissa Jean website after its debut.

The Dublin Tee by Melissa Jean Designs knit in SpaceCadet Creations Lyra yarn


Don’t those pictures make you want to cast on right now?!?  Yeah, me too. And you know what?  As soon as I’ve got all this dyeing done and the festival is over, that is exactly what I’m going to do!

Psst… Wanna See the Yarn Alliance Parcel?

I was really nervous when I sent out the InterStellar Yarn Alliance parcels this month.  Really nervous.  I knew I’d taken a risk — I knew it — but I also knew I had dyed the colours that I’d had in my heart, the colours I needed to dye…  And if the dyer follows her heart, that surely must be right.  …Right?

But still, I was nervous.  Because I know a lot of people buy hand-dyed because they love deep, rich, saturated colour, and this colourway was anything but that.  I’d dyed a washed out colourway, of the sort that I’ve fallen head-over-heels for lately, where I gently swirl layer upon layer of colour into the dyebath, and then watch as it settles delicately onto the fibers.  Watching it happen is breath-taking, the yarn it creates is beautiful.  And the result when you cast on and begin to knit is ethereal, sublime  …simply amazing.

Are you ready?  Here it is…

SpaceCadet yarn for the InterStellar Yarn Alliance in "Refresh"
It was exactly what I hoped it would be.  From every angle, I was in love!  I just wanted to grab it and smoosh it and… oh!

I just hoped the Alliance members loved it as much as I did.

SpaceCadet yarn for the InterStellar Yarn Alliance in "Refresh"
In the SpaceCadet’s Log, I explained my inspiration — the colours in my garden as  Spring arrived in sudden rush, then retreated and the cruel cold returned, and then Spring began anew.  And so there are flowers in my garden both dying and blooming, and I wanted to capture the colours of Nature’s confusion.

The SpaceCadet's Log -- Dyer's Notes
And then…!  And then there was the goody, and this I knew would be exciting.  I’d asked Melissa of Melissa Jean Design to create some custom buttons for the InterStellar Yarn Alliance.  And when the parcel containing them arrived, I was so excited, I spent a full five minutes bouncing up and down in my kitchen.  They’re ADORABLE!

Hand-Made SpaceCadet Buttons by Melissa Jean Designs
And what’s more, she did a bunch of different colours!  Mix and match, everyone!

Hand-Made SpaceCadet Buttons by Melissa Jean Design
But the very best bit?  I got to keep all the extra buttons that Melissa made — all her experiments and test runs.  I love them!  And I feel like I should make something wonderfully crafty and clever with them, but I don’t know what.  What would you make?

Leftover Melissa Jean SpaceCadet buttons for meeeeeee!!!!!

Hey, don’t forget: this weekend is the SpaceCadet’s Grand Tour of Cleveland!  If you’re anywhere in the northern Ohio/PA area, come on out and see us.

Friday, May 11 at River Colors Studio
1387 Sloane Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107 (map it!)
(216) 228-9276

Saturday, May 12 at Soft N Sassy
8047 Broadview Rd.
Broadview Hts., OH. 44147 (map it!)
Phone: (440)746-9650

There will be lots of gorgeous yarns, fabulous SpaceCadet tattoos, tons of fun…  and I’d love to meet you!

It’s All in the Details… Melissa Jean Handknit Design

Somehow….. somehow it turns out this weekend is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (MDSW).  And even though I’ve had my hotel room booked for months, it has still managed to sneak up on me.  Will you be going?  If you will, please look for me — I’m not vending (I wish!) but I’ll be shopping and having the fibery time of my life!  You can spot me by the SpaceCadet tattoo on my cheek and please stop and say hi — I’d love to meet you guys in person!

But listen, there’s someone else who’ll be at MDSW that I want you to meet, and even if you’re not going to be there this weekend, you’ll still want to get know her.  Her name is Melissa Tompkins-Stahl and she creates beautiful buttons and knitting patterns as Melissa Jean Handknit Design.

Melissa Jean handmade buttons


I’d mentioned previously that I met her at Rhinebeck, but I love her work so much, I wanted to get a little more in depth with her and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.


The Dublin Tee by Melissa Jean Designs

Which came first, the buttons or the knitting patterns? And which do you feel is more your ‘true’ calling?

Knitting definitely came first.  I was writing children’s patterns and making them up as kits.  I wanted to write the patterns, dye the yarn and source the buttons. I met some potters who made buttons for me, but I had specific ideas of how the buttons should look, I decided to start making them myself.  I worked for a pottery called MacKenzie-Childs and felt comfortable venturing out on my own…however, there was still a learning curve. I had to do quite a bit of research along with trial and error before my buttons were good enough!

As far as knitting, I knit a lot but have not released any new patterns in a few years.  I am waiting for my youngest to go to school full time, which she will do this fall.  I have 2 patterns to release this summer…Dublin Tee (pictured below) and Janey Pullover (a rerelease actually).  With my kids in school, I feel I can better meet deadlines…pattern writing involves more than just me…test knitters, tech editors, photo shoots, and the public.  Buttons making is much more solitary and I can fit it in as I can.  I can’t wait to get more ideas out of my sketchbook and onto my needles.

 So, tell me what you love about your job…

I love that I work in my studio at home…I can crank my music, or listen to podcasts and work.  It affords me time to take care of my family while doing something meaningful to me.  I also like the process of making buttons, working with my hands, with color.  I love the element of surprise when I open the kiln and find shelves of color…that never gets old!

 Buttons by Melissa Jean Designs

How crazy does it get for you before a big show like MDSW or Rhinebeck?  How many buttons do you bring, and how long does it take for you to make them?

No matter how far in advance I start gearing up, the 2 weeks before Maryland and VERY busy.  I bring about 5,000 buttons (I did not count) but there are a lot!

Where will you be located at MDSW this year?

I’ve changed from a tenter to a barn dweller this year.  I will be hunkered down in Barn 4, booth 12.

Gorgeous handmade buttons by Melissa Jean Design

What new or interesting buttons are you taking that we should be looking to nab at MDSW?

This year I’ll have very small buttons with shanks, I am very excited about.  They lend themselves well to sock weight yarn. On the other hand, I will also have some very large buttons, great for bags, hats and shawls. I will also have a beautiful teal color and a deep red.

Where else can we buy your buttons and knitting patterns?

My website is   Besides Maryland, I vend at Finger Lakes Fiber FestivalNY Sheep and Wool fest (Rhinebeck), Fiber Festival of New England, Yarn Cupboard Retreat. But keep an eye on my website’s event page because I may be adding a festival or three this year.  As far as shops, I have not ventured into wholesale yet…..but hope to this year, so follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook page.

Gorgeous handmade buttons by Melissa Jean Design

Don’t you love her buttons?!?  I do — and I’m going to buy a ton of them at MDSW so if you want them, you better get there before I do!  I have a hankering to knit some lovely wide wrist cuffs and put Melissa’s buttons all over them.  What do you think?

Oooh, and there’s one button up there in particular that’s really calling to me — ten points to the first person to guess which one it is!