Selfish Knitting Month

It was Brenda Dayne — she who creates the fabulous podcast Cast-On (you do listen to it, don’t you?  Don’t you?!?) and who just knit this hat with SpaceCadet yarn — who introduced me to the concept of January as “Selfish Knitting Month”.

For knitters and crocheters, the months leading up the holidays are almost always about making things for other people. All our own projects come to a screeching halt as we realise there’s only a few months left(!) and begin to work like mad on our gifts instead. And then, come January, all that is over. And it is time to return to our own projects, our own knitting and crochet. The idea of Selfish Knitting Month magically turns January from cold and dull into something welcome, warm, and cosy. Time to knit for ourselves again!

SpaceCadet Creations Lucina Fingering Weight Yarn with Sparkles for knitting or crochet in "Selfish"

And I have really taken the Selfish Knitting concept to heart in 2012, in two ways.  The first was actually at the end of December, as I was coming up with the newest colourway for the members of InterStellar Yarn Alliance.  I wanted to create a something that would be a real treat for the members…  to welcome in the new year with something so luxurious and indulgent that it would single-handedly banish January’s cold and grey post-holiday funk.

I saw cold days ahead and they transformed into a warm, moody  plum; I felt a bitter wind, and it was a streak of blue-purple; the welcome respite of a cosy fireside became a rich vein of copper gold; and the whole colourway shot through with dramatic streaks as dark as the blackest night.  And to make it extra special, I laid all these colours down over the sparkles of Lucina.

SpaceCadet Creations Lucina Fingering Weight Yarn with Sparkles for knitting or crochet in "Selfish"

The colourway, in honour of the month, is called “Selfish”.  …Well, would you give it away?!?

And the other way that I took Selfish Knitting concept to heart?  Well, it wasn’t voluntary, and it wasn’t so much me as my body that made the decision.  After a December which was just insanely busy and in which everyone except me seemed to come down sick, my body decided enough was enough.  This past week, I’ve been sliding ever-so-slowly downhill, until finally this weekend, I succumbed to cold chills, shakes, and muscles that made my neck and shoulders seize up solidly.  I have spent the past two days mostly in bed, propped up gingerly on pillows, moving as little as humanly possible.

Except, I could knit.  And as painful as my shoulders and neck were (oh, and they were!), it’s been a truly welcome respite to just sit quietly and knit — without having to stop for work-demands or family-demands or…  well, not for anything except for another round of painkillers.  Selfish or what!?  Yep, deliciously so, and it felt great.   I took my skein of Selfish and cast on Karrie Steinmetz’s Walnut Grove.  When I can sit up well enough to take photos, I’ll let you see how it looks.

SpaceCadet Creations Lucina Fingering Weight Yarn with Sparkles for knitting or crochet in "Selfish"

So, Happy Selfish Knitting Month!  What are you doing to celebrate?  Have you cast on something fresh and new, just for you?  Leave a comment and let me know, or even link to you project on Ravelry — I’d love to see!


Oh, there was supposed to be a shop update today, but — for obvious reasons — it will have to come a bit later this week.  Keep your eyes open for it.  And if you liked the look the of this yarn and would like get in on the Yarn Alliance yourself, spaces will open sometime around the end of the February or beginning of March.  Make sure you’re on the mailing list to be the first to hear about it!

…And if you’re in the Alliance, your exclusive email with a chance to get extra skeins of Selfish will be coming soon, so watch your inbox!

Things My Non-Knitting Sister Says: the Trouble with Knit Groups

You may recall that my sister, who spent the last two decades pshawing my suggestions that she try knitting, has picked up the needles at last  …and discovered that she loves it.   She’s on her second garter-knit scarf and carries her WIP with her everywhere.  She’s becoming a knitter.  I’m more than a little stunned.

But so far, she’s been knitting in isolation.  Occasionally, she’s run into a fellow knitter on the bus and they’ve discussed projects and yarns in the short time before her stop arrives but, for the most part, she’s been knitting on her own, without the camaraderie of other knitters.  And that’s not right, is it?!?

SpaceCadet Creations fingering yarn in Merino/Nylon/Bamboo in SeaFoam, for knitters and crocheters

And so I’ve been encouraging her to check out her local LYS’s knit groups.  But it turns out they’re on nights that don’t work with her schedule.  And joining a new group can be a little intimidating, especially for someone who has just learned to knit.  The one night she did make it there, she wandered around looking at the yarn and peeking at the knitting group from behind the shelves — but never got the nerve to actually sit with them and knit.

I understand.  It’s hard to join a new group, knitting or not.  And…  well…  she’s seen with her own eyes how crazy knitters get!  So, yeah, I can understand…

SpaceCadet Creations Luna Laceweight yarn in Merino & Silk, in Covetous, for knitters and crocheters

I was on the phone to her this week.  “Oh! Oh! I have to tell you!” she suddenly exclaimed.  “It’s about the knitting…”  She’d been chatting to a neighbour who, out of the blue, mentioned something about knitting.   My sister pulled out her WIP.  They discussed projects, yarns…  and then, the neighbour said she wasn’t going to the knitting group that week.

“The knitting group?” my sister inquired.

It turns out that there is a knitting group in her apartment building.  What’s more, it turns out that there are a lot of knitters in her building.  So many, in fact, that there isn’t enough room for all the knitters in the building to join the group.  My sister has been knitting in isolation in her flat whilst, all the while, surrounded by knitters on all sides, and never knew it.  She squealed a little as she told me.

Here was a group she could join!  These were people she already knew, and liked  …and they’re knitters too.  It couldn’t be more perfect.

SpaceCadet Creations fingering yarn in Merino/Nylon in Translucence, for knitters and crocheters

BUT… this group also meets on a day that doesn’t work with her schedule.  Ok, I said, so maybe you could open a sort of second “branch” of this knitting group, on a day that works for you.  And people could go to either or both, whichever best fits their schedule.

She laughed out loud at the thought.  “You mean, in a few weeks’ time, I could actually belong a knitting group?  That meets in my flat?!?”

Yeah…  I guess she…  well, she really could.

You remember I said up at the beginning that her knitting adventure has me a bit stunned?  Yep, at that moment, you could have knocked me right over with a feather.


Oh, hey, listen…  Thursday is Thanksgiving (which has totally taken me by surprise — were you ready for it?!?).  So first, a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

And then, of course, Thanksgiving starts the madness that is the holiday shopping season, so I want to give you a heads up that I will be launching a special Holiday Gift Subscription the the SpaceCadet’s yarn club, the InterStellar Yarn Alliance.  It’s a fabulous way to give a gift to a knitter or crocheter in your life that will keep them happy all year long.

And be quick, because spaces are limited and the Alliance doesn’t open to new members very often at all.  But more than that, I’ll be offering a special one-day introductory discount on Black Friday only.  So, enjoy your turkey, have a wonderful wonderful Thanksgiving…  and then, on Black Friday, let everyone else go mad rushing off to the shops, and you can score yourself some great Gifts of Yarny Goodness without even changing out of your PJs!

(Want a reminder on Friday morning?  Do make sure you’re on the mailing list!)

The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club Goes LIVE!

Last week I mentioned to you that I was about to launch a new website.  And I said I was excited but I know well enough that I was probably the only one who was really interested in it.  But now I want to ask you to do me a favour, please — a personal favour.  I thought I was excited, I really did, but the truth is I had no idea how excited I really would be when the site launched.  And here’s why: I built it myself!  Myself!!!

Six weeks ago I didn’t know CSS from HTML from my elbow (and, truth be told, I probably still don’t!) but I found some great resources, got focused, worked my backside off, and…  and…   well, this is the result.

Image of the new SpaceCadet Creations Yarn Website

…Can you hear me squeeeeing from there?!?

So will you do me a favour please?  I know website lauches never really matter much to anyone except the launcher (me!), but please get excited with me!  Jump to the comments and give me a WOOT!  — because, seriously, who ever thought I could build a site like this?!?  And I am just so fired up!

The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club Goes Live!

Ok, that’s enough of the exciting-for-me stuff (and, hey, thanks for getting excited for me too).  Now let’s get to the exciting-for-you stuff…

About a month ago, I came across a tweet  that mentioned a word I’d never seen before: hexipuffs.  And I was thinking, “What the heck is a hexipuff?!?”

Hexipuffs knitted from SpaceCadet Creations yarn
These, as it turns out, are hexipuffs. Very cute... Very addictive!


And then all of a sudden, within a week, it seemed like mini-skein projects were everywhere… The BeeKeeper’s Quilt, the Babette Blanket, the Sock Yarn Blanket… (Oh man, I looove that Sock Yarn Blanket!). See what I mean? Mini-Skein projects are hot!

So then I realised, what would make a mini-skein project even more fun? Getting a surprise box of wonderful mini-skein colours each month to add to your project! 


The SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club

Join the SpaceCadet’s Mini-Skein Club and every month you’ll receive an exciting parcel containing a hand-picked selection of gorgeous Mini-Skeins, perfect for adding to (or starting!) your project. You can choose your subscription level: Single (five 20g skeins), Double (ten 20g skeins), or Triple (fifteen 20g skeins). And you can cancel your subscription as soon as you have enough Mini-Skeins for your project.

(But the question is… can you ever have enough Mini-Skeins…?)

And here’s the really cool thing: the skeins are a mix of all the SpaceCadet’s beautiful yarns. Some are Celeste and Stella, there’s a touch of cashmere with Estelle, and the subtle sparkle of Lucina. And perhaps even some of the more unusual yarns from the Dept of Rocket Science — a bit of silk, some alpaca, maybe some bamboo or BFL… If you’ve ever wanted to try the different SpaceCadet yarns, the Mini-Skein Club is a GREAT way to do it!

Subscriptions are limited — Join Now!

Click Here to Join the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Yarn Club!


Mini-Skein FAQs

What sorts of colourways can I expect in my parcel?

Each parcel is made up of a selection of SpaceCadet colourways, hand-picked to work together, with at least one contrasting colourway to add some zing! You can choose between

  • the Gentle Mix, which contains mostly Semi-Solids or Gently Variegated yarns, and
  • the Wild Mix, which is made up mostly of those exciting Wildly Variegated yarns.

All together, they look terrific and will be a great addition to your project.

What are the different subscription levels?

There are three levels, to cover you for the month no matter how fast you knit!

  • The Single Mini-Skein Subscription is five 20g skeins for $28
  • The Double Mini-Skein Subscription is ten 20g skeins for $54
  • The Triple Mini-Skein Subscription is fifteen 20g skeins for $78

(Shipping costs are exactly the same as in the SpaceCadet shop: $4.49 for the Single subscription level, and $1.49 for each additional level.)

When will my parcel arrive? And when will payment be taken?

All parcels go out on or around the 10th of each month, and the deadline for new subscriptions to be included in that shipment is midnight on the 1st of that month (every Mini-Skein is wound by hand, so we need a bit of notice to get your parcel ready!).

Domestic deliveries are sent by Priority Mail, which usually takes about 2-3 days. International deliveries are sent by USPS First Class mail.

Your payment will be processed on the day you subscribe, and will automatically repeat on the same day each month of your membership.

When does my subscription end?

You can end your subscription whenever you have collected enough Mini-Skeins for your project (or, any time you like). And it’s easy to unsubscribe! Just click on the Unsubscribe button on the Mini-Skein Club page.

Anything else I should know?

When you join, you’ll be added to the Mini-Skein Club mailing list, which we use only to easily let you know of any important information or changes to the club in the future.

Oh, and once you’ve joined, please do come over to the SpaceCadet Creations group on Ravelry and tell us all about the project you’re making or planning to make. We’d love to hear about it and see your progress!

Ready to jump into the Mini-Skein Mania?

Click Here to Join the SpaceCadet's Mini-Skein Yarn Club!

Hexipuffs knitted with SpaceCadet Mini-Skein yarn for the BeeKeeper's Quilt

Things My Non-Knitting Sister Says: She Said Yes

Do you remember my sister?  I’ve mentioned her on the blog before.  She’s incredibly supportive of SpaceCadet Creations but she’s never been a knitter, never been the least bit interested, and so when she helped me out at several yarn shows this past year, she was pretty much completely unprepared for the experience.  Like when she saw the line that stretched all the way down the sidewalk as knitters and crocheters waited for the doors to open at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival (“People are here already?!?  They’re waiting?!?”).  And her shock that vendors were going shopping and buying yarn from other vendors (“Why would they do that?  Don’t they have their own yarn?”).  And then the beautifully entertaining look on her face when she finally encountered her first fiber-crazed knitter (“These people are crazy!” ).  Ah yes, watching my sister’s initiation into the world of yarn has been very amusing indeed!

I have tried, on and off for twenty years, to get her to try knitting and she’s never been interested.  I’ve explained how relaxing it is, how grounding.  I described it in terms of yoga and meditation.  I’ve held mouth-watering yarns in front of her.  But nope, knitting was my thing, and definitely not for her.  And helping out at yarn festivals didn’t seem to make any difference at all.  So I felt really confident when I chose the title for this series of blog posts: “Things My Non-Knitting Sister Says”.  Because my sister does not knit.

And then, a small miracle has occurred.  Somewhere in the world, the earth has moved, a sea has parted, perhaps the planet ceased spinning on its axis for one brief moment…  Because earlier this summer, my sister learned to knit.

*insert sound of a record scratching*

The SpaceCadet's sister's knitting, with SpaceCadet Creations yarn
My sister's very first knitting project: a garter stitch scarf

I’m trying to remember how it came about, exactly.  Did my sister ask to be taught?  Did my friend Natalie just decide it was time she learned?  I’m not sure but, either way, I just remember the two of them sitting on the couch, Natalie patiently showing her how to hold the needles, and my sister quietly chanting, “in, around, out, and off… in, around, out, and…”.  By the time my sister left for home, she had that rhythm downpat, Natalie had given her the needles, and she had a brand-new skein of SpaceCadet yarn cast on for a garter stitch scarf.
Weeks went by and I heard nothing.  I was almost afraid to ask, imagining the needles untouched, the cast-on stitches left exactly as they had been when she left.  And then, at last, a text message…  it said, “I don’t know what you’ve done to me, but I CANNOT stop knitting.  I’ve been doing it every day.  This is amazing!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to the world a new knitter.  And I ask you to welcome her into the fold, into our wonderful universe of fibery goodness.  She is taking baby steps, to be sure — and please, do try not to spook her — but she is most definitely on her way.  I’m so proud of her!  And if you are too, please, leave a comment and let her know — new knitters need encouragement, don’t you think?

The SpaceCadet's sister's knitting, with SpaceCadet Creations yarn
Her first (inadvertent) attempt at lacework!
The SpaceCadet's sister's knitting, with SpaceCadet Creations yarn
But by the end, she'd created beautifully even stitches

And here’s the best bit — the next time you see her at a yarn festival, sitting there taking payments and handling the money, and you’re holding a huge pile of yarn and gazing at it and petting it fondly, you can rest assured she probably doesn’t think you’re crazy any more…  Little by little, row by row, she’s starting to get it!

An Open Letter

An Open Letter to Those who Don’t Get the Fiber Arts

I am not doing this to recreate the past.  I don’t harbour any fantasies of wearing petticoats or a bonnet.   And I don’t knit because I want to feel domestic.

I do this to free my soul.  I do this to work in colours that make my heart sing.   I dye because I see in my mind hues and shades that are bursting to be let out.  And so I do let them out, laying them down in dye upon fiber – vibrant shades poured out over wool, over silk, over the ordinary of life.

SpaceCadet Yarn 2

And when, at last, I cast those colours onto my needles, I feel a calm wash over me as I work them up into a fabric of my own making — the needles clicking softly and the colours gently blending and contrasting.

I know you think this is old-fashioned, but it’s not.  It is as modern as imagination, as current as discovery, as now as creativity.  Would you ask a painter why he doesn’t just take a photograph?

And it’s ok if you don’t get it.  I understand.  But I just wanted to say – I just wanted to say out loud – that this is nothing about old fashioned.  This is what I do, and I do it now.  I am a fiber artist.

SpaceCadet Yarn 1


Maybe I’ll Become a Cook

Sometimes it’s good to push yourself outside your comfort zone.  And if it works, it’s such a boost to the ego!  And when it doesn’t…  well…

Well, indeed.  Last week I pushed myself right out of my comfort zone and straight into yellow.  I don’t do yellow a great deal — it’s just never been a personal favourite of mine.  But yellow is a great colour — sunny and bright, and filled with warmth.  It was time to tackle yellow.

And, while I was pushing outside my comfort zone, I decided to shake things up even more by trying a new dyeing technique.  It was something I’d never tried before — indeed, I’d never even seen it done before — and I got excited about it as soon as I thought of it.  The technique would create very short bursts of colour — just one, two, maybe three knit stiches long — and unusual blends of shades.  I couldn’t wait to try it.

And so I took a deep breath and mixed up my yellows…  and in went the yarn.

And what came out did not thrill me.  The yellows were beautiful, but The Technique had not worked the way I had expected at all.  The short bursts of colour were there, but were much more ragged at the edges than I had hoped, and the shading was simply too haphazard for my tastes.  I pursed my lips and shrugged…  Chalk it up to a learning experience and be done with it, I thought.

“I like them!  They’re interesting.  They’re… earthy!”  Turning these yarns over in her hands, my friend clearly saw something in them that I hadn’t spotted at first.  And she was right.  The shades are earthy, and the colour changes aren’t ragged as I first thought, they’re organic.  And the yarns, I suddenly realised, are beautiful.  Even if they weren’t what I was expecting and are completely outside my comfort zone.

So here they are!

The idea behind this one started as Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but when it finally dried, I realised it makes me think so much more of Sunflowers, of their lovely golden yellow petals and dark seed-centers, of the earth they sprout from and the sun that nourishes them…

And this one… this one…  I am trying to think of a good name for it, but time and again, all I see is Pasta in a Garlic Pesto.  Even though the colours are exact, no matter which way I turn it, no matter how I look at it, that’s the only thing that comes to mind.

You know, if this dyeing gig doesn’t work out, maybe I could become a cook…