Exciting Changes to the Mini-Skein Club!

Y’know, sometimes I live up to the SpaceCadet moniker just a little too well (…I say “sometimes” mostly because it makes me feel better, but I suspect there are a number of people reading this who are thinking, “Really, Steph? Just sometimes?”).

But I digress. Sometimes I live up to the SpaceCadet name just a bit too much, and this week would be one of those times*.  Because early this week I sent out a pretty big announcement to the members of the Mini-Skein Club.  And then I happily went about my week — dyeing, twisting, packing for shows — and I totally forgot that I should probably tell the rest of you about it.

So let me put that to rights right now.  The big news in the Mini-Skein Club is….

Ombré & Gradient Mini-Skeins!

Three Ombre kits 2

I’m sure you’ve seen the ombré and gradient kits that have been flying out of the shop lately.  I absolutely adore dyeing ombré kits — not only are the results gorgeous but, as a dyer, the process is endlessly fascinating to me.  But it was when I was looking through Mini-Skein project ideas that I realised how perfect the two would be together.  Projects such as Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark’s Sweet Hexigon Cowl (below left) and Emily Ross’s Burano (below right) are just begging to be made in ombré and gradient yarns.

And really, so many Mini-Skein patterns would not just work beautifully in ombré and gradient colours but, in many cases, would work so much better, whether the bundles were used individually or as several months’ worth combined together.

ZL Hexagon281ZL Burano5281h

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I would be much better serving the members of the Mini-Skein Club (particularly those who prefer a gentle colour mix) if I offered an Ombré & Gradient option.  I put a few feelers out on Twitter and Facebook, and the response was overwhelming: everybody said yes the ombré mix!

So, from the September parcels onwards**, the Mini-Skein Club is going to change.

  • The Gentle Mix will become the Ombré & Gradient Mix — five Mini-Skeins that morph gently from dark into light or from hue to hue.
  • And the Wild Mix will become a Multicolour Mix — essentially very similar to what it is now: an assortment of variegated and semi-solid yarns that work together and yet still provide exciting contrasts.

Isn’t this exciting?!?  I think it’s going to be great fun for all the club members and I can’t wait to see the projects they come up with.  I am already searching Ravelry for patterns that will work beautifully with the two new mixes (have you seen something that would be perfect? Do tell!).

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

And, maybe most of all, I’m kinda really relieved that I finally remember to tell you guys…

*sigh*   SpaceCadet indeed.


*Really, Steph? Just one…?

** Is this a permanent change or temporary?  I’m not sure, but we’ll try it for a while and then change it later if that feels right.  The Mini-Skein Club has always been something of an adventure of discovery, so let’s just go with it and see!

Dark Skies… And the Flood that Followed

I love a summer rain storm.  When I am in Britain, I really miss the kind of earth-pummeling, window-rattling, bone-shaking thunderstorms that you get here in the States.  There is nothing like the smell of a brewing storm carried on the breeze, building in the yellow air, pushing all the heat and humidity away in its path.  I love the fierce flash of lighting, the answering crack of thunder, and the lovely hypnotic rhythm of the rain on the roof.  And that they often come at night, when I am tucked cosily under the duvet and can listen to all the exciting madness outside from the safety of my bed, makes summer storms all the better.

Last Tuesday night, we got a fabulous storm — one with all the elements I love the most.  The rain was hard, the lightening spectacular, the smell was earthy and gorgeous.  As it rolled in, I got into bed with a grin on my face, and the duvet pulled up tight under my chin.

Storm Video

But this storm had more in store than I expected  …or had ever experienced before.  Instead of banging and crashing and then moving on, it stayed and it grew.  At 8am I was abruptly woken by lightening and thunder that exploded simultaneously — directly over the house — and looked outside to see rain coming down so hard that it was actually being driven uphill on the street outside the house, by the sheer force of the storm.  I rushed downstairs to check the drain outside our backdoor — it’s the only true weak spot around our house, which sits at the top of a hill and has otherwise excellent drainage all the way around.

Cut that Carpet!

And halfway across the family room my footsteps suddenly went SPLOSH.  It was the distinct sound of a stepping into a puddle, except I was inside my house, walking across the carpet.  The drain was draining as well as it could, but it simply couldn’t keep up with the sheer volume of the water, which was now cascading through under the door, where the carpet welcomed it like a thirsty sponge.  I grabbed everything I could carry, and hastily moved it to drier ground.

ByeBye Carpet

The carpet is a total write-off — no surprise there — and, sadly, not covered by insurance.   Also, within 24 hours, it was just about the stinkiest thing I have had the misfortune to share an enclosed space with.  As much as I dread the expense of replacing it, never was I so happy to see something leave the house!

Unfortunately, when they lifted the carpet, we discovered that it wasn’t concrete underneath as we’d expected, but the the original tiles…  made of asbestos.  We’ve been told they’re fine so long as we don’t disturb them in any way, but I feel really quite freaked out just knowing they’re here.  I don’t even like walking on them.   *shudder*   And honestly, I cannot wait to get them covered back up again.


But shall I tell you a small miracle?  The water, which also cascaded down into our basement before it finally found the drain, ran right past but not into all the SpaceCadet yarn we had stored there.  You could have seen my heart start up again when I realised that.  Small miracles indeed!

So now, after dehumidifiers, air-scrubbbers, and fans — four days of living in a house that sounded an awful lot like an airplane taking off —  and anti-microbial sprays and wall scrubbing and chaos, we are licking our wounds but realising it could have been a lot worse.  Of course, we’re still scrambling over furniture and boxes that are all in the wrong places.  And reeling from the cost of the clean up, and the price of new carpet (oh!!!), and dreading the future cost of boring a bigger hole for that drain.

And several customers and the Mini-Skein Club members have had to wait a little longer for us to get orders out — but that is probably the very best part of the whole story.  Because when I sent out emails to my customers explaining what happened and offering my apologies, I got the most wonderful, caring, heartwarming replies in return.   I got customers who answered me not as someone (not) supplying them with their yarn, but as a person facing a crisis, and offering sympathy and patience as we get things back together.

You guys, that meant the absolute world to me.  Truly it did.  Thank you.

SpaceCadet Ombre and Gradient Yarn Kits (Colourway: Crush)

Awww but heck, let’s not end this on a soppy note, right?  Before the storm and the chaos, I’d been playing around with something that’s really been intriguing me lately: Ombre and Gradient Kits.  I absolutely love the idea of creating a whole garment in colours that gently change from deep to light right before your eyes.

But I couldn’t leave well enough alone — even as I was dyeing some lovely semi-solid ombre kits, I was aching to pour more colour over them.  So look closely at these kits and you’ll see that most of them are not flat colour.  Not by any stretch!   Crush (above) moves from reds to pinks to just a touch of purple and then bursts into warm oranges.  Cove is deep teals that blend into kelly greens and then almost into yellows.  And Thwack is exactly what it sounds like(!) — bright and bold blacks and blues and purples.  Click here to check them out for yourself.

SpaceCadet Cove Ombre Yarn Kit

Dyeing these has been incredibly fun!!!  I wanted to create kits where the colours changed not only in depth of shade, as you move vertically from skein to skein, but also across each row, as the yarn gently changes hue every few stitches.  I think those two elements working together are going to create amazing, vibrant fabric — a wondrous adventure to create.  I can’t wait to see the results!

 SpaceCadet Dark Skies Ombre Yarn Kit