5 Reason Why I Love Mini-Skeins More than One-Skein Gradients

5 Reason Why I Love Mini-Skeins More than One-Skein Gradients

Gradients and ombres are awesome!  And they create stunning colour effects in all sorts of projects.   One of my favourite things is going through Pinterest to find amazing ways to use colour in knitting and crochet patterns, and the gradient and ombre projects just jump off the screen.

And while lots of them use single-skein gradient yarns, I gotta tell you that — personally — I prefer Mini-Skein gradients for those projects.  Yeah, it is because SpaceCadet makes Mini-Skeins (of course!) but, here, let me share with you the five reasons why I love Mini-Skeins way more than one-skein gradients

1. You Control the Colour Changes

So you’re knitting something beautiful and the lace section is coming to an end…  and that’d be the perfect place for the colour change to happen, right?  With a one-skein gradient, you don’t have any control over that — you just have to hope everything lines up — but with Mini-Skeins, you are totally in control.  If the lace section ends a few inches before one colour finishes, you simply switch to the next Mini-Skein and carry on knitting.  And your project looks so much more stunning — because you are entirely in control of the colour changes!

2. You can use Mini-Skeins to Add Pops of Colour to Any Project

When you pick up a bundle of Mini-Skeins, it’s easy to think of them as a single unit — something that has to be used up in one project like a one-skein gradient — but Mini-Skeins aren’t like that at all.  Break that bundle up and what you have a bunch of yarn-crayons that you can use anywhere and in any combination.  Pick one colour for a contrasting edging on a collar or cuffs (like MSkiKnits’s beautiful Sanctuary Shrug, below).  Or take a basic gray sweater and line the pockets in bright red that just barely peeks out.

The Sanctuary Shrug by MSkiKnits uses SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins to create a pop of colour

3. You Can Use Them to Create Larger Projects

We do something amazing with our gradient Mini-Skeins — each month’s colourway blends into the next month’s colourway so that, month after month, you can collect a stunning Never-Ending gradient.  One-skein gradients work perfectly in one-skein projects — and, with careful thought, can sometimes work in larger projects — but with the Never-Ending gradient Mini-Skeins, you are free to use your Minis in as large a project as you like!

4.  You can Start Anywhere

So you’ve found this gorgeous gradient and the thing you love love love about it is that amazing magenta right there in the middle of the skein.  Except you want it right on the edge of your shawl where it will really stand out, not buried in the middle.  With a one-skein gradient or even with most mini-skeins sets, you’re stuck — the colour progression is set and it wouldn’t work in any other order.

The Start-Anywhere Gradient Mix, from the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club, July 2014

But our Mini-Skein gradients are uniquely designed to work in a complete circle, so that instead of starting a project at Skein 1 and working through to Skein 5, you could start a project anywhere in the set, and the skeins all work together.  You you won’t get that in any other gradient.  So hooray — your magenta can be on the edge.  You’re completely in control!

5. You can Mix and Match between Gradient Sets (Or… Your Favourite Colour isn’t Trapped)

When we dye a set of gradient Mini-Skeins, we’re telling a colourstory — a story that starts with one hue, moves gently through several others, and finally ends with the last hue — just like a one-skein gradient.  So these colours all work together beautifully within the set, but the cool thing with Mini-Skeins is that you are not limited by the colourstory we dyed.  If you find yourself wishing you could pair up a colour from one set with a colour from a completely different set…  well, you totally can!  Your favourite shades aren’t trapped within their separate gradient  — they’re Mini-Skeins, so you just take them out of their sets and put them together any way you like.

My assistant Jade did exactly that when she spotted three Mini-Skeins from two different sets that she thought would work beautifully together.  Each skein played a bright shade against a background of gray and so, while the brights pop and bounce, the gray ties everything together.  Because they were dyed on Mini-Skeins, none of these colours was trapped within a different  gradient — and the result is gorgeous!

Mix and Match with SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins!


So you see, Mini-Skeins gradients give you amazing control and endless options for colourplay!  Go for a big project or small, create eye-catching pops of colour, and mix-and-match your skeins.  Best of all, you are always in control.  And for that reason more than any other, I love Mini-Skeins for gradients!

You too? Click here to check out the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club!

Mauna Kea: Pattern, Kits, & Knit-Together

Sometimes I find it hard to wait. When I think of an exciting new idea, I want to dive into it right NOW (hence my stash of 15 million started-but-never-finished knitting projects).  When my friend Mel (of the With Mel podcast, formerly Singlehanded Knits) showed me her design ideas for the gorgeous Mauna Kea, I was dying to share it with you guys, but the timing wasn’t right.  Do you have any idea how hard it was to keep quiet about such a stunning pattern?!?  It was SO hard!

But some things are worth waiting for.  Take a look at this…

Mauna Kea by Mel of the With Mel podcast, knit in SpaceCadet Lyra yarn

Knit top down with raglan shaping, Mauna Kea features laid-back styling and ribbed 3/4 sleeves. But my favourite thing is the shape, created by some incredibly flattering rib detailing down each side.

Choose to make it in stripes using a SpaceCadet Ombre Kit (as shown here) for a sublime monochrome effect.  Or pick a Gradient Kit for eye-catching stripes with real impact!  And if stripes aren’t your thing?  Skip them, and use any of the Ombre & Gradient Kits in order to create a sweater with colours that gently morph from top to bottom.

Mauna Kea by Mel of the With Mel podcast, knit in SpaceCadet Lyra yarn

The Mauna Kea Knit-Together!

What’s even better than a fabulous new pattern?  A Mauna Kea Knit-Together!  Join Mel for a lively and fun knit-together from Oct 31 to Dec 5.  There will be a support forum on Ravelry, video help for knitters, and lots of great camaraderie!

Important: The Mauna Kea Kits listed here are available for pre-order and will be dyed once the orders close on Sept 15.  Delivery will be in mid-October, in plenty of time for the Knit-Together cast on day.

Mauna Kea by Mel of the With Mel podcast, knit in SpaceCadet Lyra yarn


You can see why I was struggling to keep it a secret, right?  It’s one of those designs that make you just itch to get started!

Kits are available until Sept 15th only — click here to order yours!

SpaceCadet Mauna Kea Kit in South China Sea

 All the Important Details

The Yarn

Lyra is a beautifully spoingy yarn that’s a joy to use, with a cabled 8-ply construction gives it strength and durability.

Fiber Content:100% Superwash Merino; 8-ply
Weight: Each skein is approximately 3.5oz/100g, and the yarn contains approximately 270 yards per 100g

The Kits

Each kit includes five skeins of Lyra and a download code for a FREE copy of the Mauna Kea pattern (the code arrives in the parcel with your yarn).

A lively knit together begins on Halloween for Mauna Kea, with a support forum and video helps for knitters!

SpaceCadet Mauna Kea Kit in Fervent

The Colourways

There are five colourways available:

  • Dark Skies Ombre — grays to create the perfect monochrome effect
  • South China Seas Ombre — sublime blues for the ultimate in laid-back casual
  • Gobsmack Ombre — from deep purple to the softest lilac
  • Fervent Start-Anywhere Gradient — this gradient morphs from deep gray > rich eggplant > stunning fuscia > bright orange > brick red > back to gray. Designed so you can Start Anywhere, it works perfectly as either a gradient or for stripes.
  • Zing Gradient Ombre — this gradient morphs from dark gray > vibrant purple > cobalt blue > zesty lime > back to gray. Designed so you can Start Anywhere, it works perfectly as either a gradient or for stripes.

SpaceCadet Mauna Kea Gradient Kit in Zing!


For striping sweaters:

For sizes S/M/L: use 1 kit
For sizes XL/XXL: use 2 kits (due to the way the stripes use the colours)

For ombre/gradient fading sweaters:

For all sizes: use 1 kit


Kits will be dyed after the ordering period closes on Sept 15 and parcels will be sent out mid-October, in plenty of time for the Knit-Together cast on date of Oct 31.

Ready to join in?  Click here to get your Mauna Kea kit!

SpaceCadet Mauna Kea kit in Gobsmack

It’s Not About Then, It’s About the Here and Now

The other day, I was talking to an acquaintance and, when I mentioned knitting, he said, “It’s nice to see that people still do these old-fashioned things.”  And I know he meant well so I smiled and nodded but — oh! — I was cringing inside.  It isn’t the first time someone’s assumed that I knit to somehow embrace old-fashionedness or history or something equally off the mark, but it never ceases to surprise me that there are people out there for whom knitting and crocheting are so unusual that the only explanation can be something to do with the past.  Whaaaat?!?

Why I knit

But it got me thinking about why I knit  (…and why I dye, for that matter).   I know some knitters and crocheters do it for the finished object but that, if I’m honest, that has never been me.  And I know others who do it for the creative outlet: they modify patterns to put their own mark on them, or just skip that and create designs all their own.  That’s a little closer to my reasons — I’m always coming up with design ideas, but I’m just not skilled enough to turn them into patterns.

But the real reason I knit has nothing to do with being old-fashioned …and everything to do with being in the here and the now.  When I pick up my  needles and begin that rhythm of moving stitches from left to right, I feel everything start to slow down.  My breathing slows, my thinking slows…  There is something about knitting that seems to just take over the part of my brain that is always fretting, nagging, analysing and instead occupies it with the simple acts of knit and purl.

Why I knit

And with that most pesky part of my mind thus quietened, I find I can think clearly.  I can focus.  Be it on the conversation when I’m with friends or the sound of the breeze when I’m alone, knitting changes the experience.  It makes it better — and that’s why I knit.


But why do I dye?  Because I truly believe the world would be a better place if everyone were knitting or crocheting.  I mean, c’mon, you know it, don’t you?  And nothing encourages that more than having beautiful, natural yarn in gorgeous, vibrant colours.  So, dyeing is sort of my way of bringing about world peace   …or at least, bringing a little peace into a few people’s lives.  When I dye my yarns, I’m thinking of the person it will go to, and the quiet joy they will experience as the yarn moves through their fingers and the colours change before their eyes.

Why I dye

Oh, and it’s because I really love colour — really really love colour.  There’s always that too.

The Pau Hana KAL starts in less than a week!  And our KALers are swatching their yarns, pinning their ombre and gradient inspirations, and getting ready for cast on on Oct 17!

Most of the last pre-order kits are going in the post today, so there’s time for swatching and colour-play before the start date.  But if you haven’t joined us yet, you can order a Pau Hana kit for custom dyeing, and we will get it into the dyepots for you as quickly as possible so you can join in the fun!  Click here for all the details!

Pau Hana KAL


Oh, What to Cast On?!? Ombre Mini-Skeins!

I had a little dilemma last week: it was knit night, but both of my current WIPs* were at either the point of dividing for the sleeves (that’d be my Vitamin D) or joining in the sleeves (that was my The Old Man and The Sea).  I knew I wouldn’t really enjoy trying to do either whilst carrying on the kind of lively conversations we always have at knit night, so I needed to cast on something that was simple and would be fun to work on while nattering the evening away.

I wandered through Ravelry a bit (…a bit? Is it even possible to wander through Ravelry’s pattern library just a bit?), and asked for suggestions on Twitter.  And though I found so many gorgeous patterns, nothing was jumping out at me as the perfect knit night cast-on.  Maybe, I thought with a shrug, maybe I’ll just have to deal with it and do the sleeves at knit night.

And then, as I turned to go up the stairs, I suddenly spotted the extra bundles of our first ever Ombre Mini-Skein Club parcels and instantly knew what I needed to do.


The SpaceCadet's new Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skein Club Parcels

Aren’t they gorgeous?  The colourway is Tranquility**, which is a mix of deep purples, red purples, and a very intriguing splash of gray-purple.  I’ve loved this colourway since the moment I pulled it out of the dyepot and, yet, I’d never grabbed a skein for myself.  But I suddenly thought, now that all the Mini-Skein Club parcels had gone out…  why not?

I have to tell you, I think they might be even more adorable once they’re wound into teeny tiny balls.  Don’t you agree?


The SpaceCadet's Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skein Club bundle

I needed another skein for the main colour, and chose Sliver, an incredibly gentle and ethereal gray that looks stunning against the dark purples and then almost disappears into the lightest purples.  I know I could have picked something contrasting for more impact (Sage? or maybe even Fizz?), but I really liked that subtle synchronicity that Sliver brought to the Mini-Skeins.


The SpaceCadet's Ombre & Gradient Mini-Skein Club bundles

And so I cast on…  Leftie by Martina Behm — the perfect simple and fun knit night project!  So straight-forward and so addictive…  Just increasing along one side, adding leaves on the other, and counting quick progress stripe by stripe.

And I went off to knit night a very happy girl indeed!

Click Here to Learn More about the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Club


The Pau Hana KAL

We are getting super excited for the Pau Hana KAL starting on October 17!  A gorgeous new design by Mel of Singlehanded Knits, Pau Hana uses the SpaceCadet’s Ombre & Gradient Kits to create a casual, laid-back sweater that’s perfect for chilling out when the work day is done.   And the KAL is a fab opportunity to knit it in camaraderie and support of a whole community of great knitters!  Want to join us?  Click here for all the details!


*in case WIP is new to you, it means “work in progress” …and I usually have a lot more WIPs than FOs (“finished object”). It’s just how I roll.

**There’s also a colourway called Tranquility Blue.  It’s much the same as Tranquility but, y’know…  more blue.  I was just playing with different colourways one day, and came up with them and liked them both so much I decided to dye more of each.  But then I got confused somewhere along the line and called them both Tranquility.  Oops.  So I added “Blue” to one of them.  It’s confusing, I know.  But better than if I hadn’t added “Blue” and just let you all join me in my confusion.  Right?   …Right?

Announcing… Pau Hana!

I have an announcement.  But before the announcement, I have a little funny story that I want to share with you.  My friend Mel, otherwise known as MSkiKnits of the Singlehanded Knits podcast (you watch it, right? because, seriously, she records on the beaches of Kauai)…  Anyway, Mel has been busy designing a fantastic pattern with a SpaceCadet Ombre & Gradient Kit — actually, two patterns, and here’s where the funny bit comes in…  because she hadn’t named one of  patterns yet, so she kept referring to as “the sweater”.  But when she said that, I somehow got the wrong sweater in my mind.

So she was phoning me up and asking questions about the kits and how they would work with the pattern.  And I was happily answering her questions.  And sometimes it all suddenly wouldn’t seem to make any sense to me and I’d paused confusedly… or sometimes she’d pause…  But then we’d get ourselves back on track and everything would seem fine again.

MSkiKnit's Pau Hana knit in a SpaceCadet Creations Ombre & Gradient Kit


And then the other week, she told me that the pattern was ready for release at last.  Hoorah!  But as she went on to describe the details, suddenly it all started to not make sense again.  And so I finally owned up to my utter confusion and said, “Hang on, Mel.  What… wait, what exactly are we talking about?”  And that’s when she and I suddenly realised that the entire time we’d been talking — through all those phone calls — she’d been asking about one sweater, and I’d been answering about a comletely different sweater!

*sigh*  …SpaceCadet indeed.

Not to worry, the pattern is gorgeous.  The yarn works with it beautifully.  You’re going to love this!

And now the announcement…

MSkiKnit's Pau Hana knit in a SpaceCadet Creations Ombre & Gradient Kit

This is Pau Hana

Pau Hana is a beautiful Dolman style sweater by MSkiKnits of the Singlehanded Knits podcast, designed completely around SpaceCadet Creations Ombré & Gradient Kits, to capture one of the hottest trends in colour right now.

Pau Hana is knit top down,with a beautiful center panel pattern repeated in the cuffs and bottom edge detail. Front and back panels are knit side to side in parts and joined together in the round beneath the arms. After joining, a series of decreases gently shape the sweater to flatter all figures. Upper and lower bottom arm seaming is simple and enjoyable.

The positive ease in this sweater makes it perfect…for all sizes, all layering choices, all seasons.

Want to see this sweater live? Head HERE for a peek at it on Mel on the blog and in the podcast on the beach in Hawaii at sunset!

MSkiKnit's Pau Hana knit in a SpaceCadet Creations Ombre & Gradient Kit

The Pau Hana Kit

And, hey, guess what?  In celebration of the pattern’s release, I’m doing a limited number of Pau Hana kits!   The kits are created with Lyra, the SpaceCadet’s gorgeously sproingy sport weight, and each kit includes:

  • either four skeins for size XS, S,  and M (32″, 34″, 36″ bust)
  • or five skeins for sizes L, XL, XXL (40″, 42″, 44″ bust)
  • a FREE copy of the Pau Hana pattern with five pages of detailed directions
  • an instructional video, provided exclusively with each SpaceCadet Pau Hana kit purchase, which explains how to weigh yarn, join and transition most effectively.

The SpaceCadet's Pau Hana Ombre & Gradient Kits!

To buy a Pau Hana kit, click the button below and then be sure to choose a colourway option that is marked “Pau Hana” to ensure you get the pattern and bonus video.

Click here to buy a SpaceCadet Pau Hana Kit!

(These kits are limited in quantity but, if we run out, I’ll open the listing to pre-orders for as many more kits as I have yarn in stock.  If you click over and there are none left, be sure to come back shortly to nab one of the pre-orders!)


And look, if a whole bunch of you are grabbing a kit and casting on, we might as well make this a party, right?  So let’s turn this into a Pau Hana KAL!

The Pau Hana Knitalong is a fabulous way to knit this gorgeous jumper in the company a whole bunch of other excited and enthusiastic knitters!

You’ll be able to share your progress, get support and extra instruction on the best way to use the intriguing colour changes of the Ombre and Gradient Kits, and enjoy the camaraderie as we all work through this beautiful project together.  It’s gotta be the very best way to knit — c’mon and join us!

MSkiKnit's Pau Hana knit in a SpaceCadet Creations Ombre & Gradient Kit

The KAL will begin in mid-October and run for about six weeks.  Each week there will be benchmark goals to help keep you on track, but you don’t have to worry — everyone can work at their own pace, and the only requirement is that your share your progress and help us all cheer each other along.

Ready to join the fun?  All the updates and information will be post on the SpaceCadet’s Ravelry page.  Click here to join the group, and then say hello in the Welcome thread!

I can’t wait to get started, can you?  Ok, who’s in?

The SpaceCadet's Pau Hana Ombre & Gradient Kits!