Variegated Yarns: Fabulous Resources for Pattern Ideas

This weekend, I’ll be doing a trunk show at KNOTS in Chardon Ohio and, along with a huge pile of yarn, Mini-Skeins, and Ombre Kits, I’ll also be taking a stash of some really amazing one-of-a-kind colourways.  They are the result of several weeks of pure colour-play, experimenting with the dyes and seeing what happens when I just follow where the colour takes me.  Some are moody, some are intense, some are wild — all  of them are stunning.

One of a Kind yarn from SpaceCadet

But when I take yarns like this to shows — yarns that resulted organically rather than by careful design — I always find a few customers who pick them up and are completely stumped.  They turn the yarn over in their hands and, especially if it’s highly variegated, look at it in frustration and say, “But what would I make with it?”

The key to using a wildly multicoloured skein is to find a pattern that manipulates the yarn to use those colour shifts to their best advantage.  Sometimes a colourway is so beautiful that straight stockinette can do that, but more often, a pattern that uses slipped stitches, dropped stitches, or other techniques that move the colour vertically as well as horizontally will create amazing results.  And multicolour yarns also really shine paired with a semi-solid yarn in a pattern that alternates between the two.

Fabulous Pattern Idea Resources for Wildly Variegated Yarns, from SpaceCadet

We are such a fans of variegated yarns here at SpaceCadet, and of all the possibilities they hold (so many awesome possibilities!), that we decided to create two wonderful resources for our customers who need inspiration for those amazing multicoloured yarns they’ve just fallen in love with.

The SpaceCadet Variegated Yarn Project Ideas Board on Pinterest

We’ve curated a wonderful collection of variegate pattern ideas to wander through.  The idea here is not so much to choose a pattern (although you might find the perfect one — just click on the pattern’s image to find it on Ravelry) as to immerse yourself in possibilities.  Scroll through interesting stitch patterns, new techniques, and innovative ideas that you can try with that beautiful new colourway you’ve bought.  Here, why not grab a nice cup of tea and click here to wander through it yourself?

The Variegated Yarn Pattern Suggestions Thread on Ravelry

What’s better than a Pinterest board full of stunning project images?  A collection of pattern ideas that YOU can help create!  Our Variegated Yarn Pattern Suggestions thread on Ravelry is put together by our fans and customers — people who love SpaceCadet yarn and know what works beautifully with it.

The ideas our group shares are fantastic and the rules are simple: (1) every pattern suggestion has to include an image and (2) chatting is encouraged but when you post a reply to the thread, you have to include a new pattern and image as well.  The result?  A fun, interactive lookbook of variegated project ideas.  Click here and come join in!

The SpaceCadet's Variegated Yarn Pattern Suggestion Thread on Ravelry

Last Few Days to Order a Mauna Kea Kit!

Don’t forget this weekend is your last chance to order a Mauna Kea Kit and get in on the KnitTogether fun!  Worked in either stripes or a gradient fade, Mauna Kea features raglan shaping, 3/4 sleeves, and incredibly flattering rib detailing down each side.

The KnitTogether starts Oct 31st, and orders close on Monday Sept 15.  Click here to grab your kit!

Mauna Kea Kits from SpaceCadet

The SpaceCadet's InterStellar Yarn Alliance yarn club, open Sept 9-22 only

FAQ: But What Do I Do With Them?

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

Doing a show is always exciting and energising, but one of the best things is that I come away with a better understanding of what our customers want.  Just talking to the folks who walk into our booth is all it takes — when I hear the same question coming up again and again, I know it’s something that’s important to you guys.

“What Do I Make With Them?”

And so it was this weekend at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival.  Everyone was drawn to the big bowl of SpaceCadet Mini-Skeins, but we kept hearing the question, “But what do I make with them?

Click for fabulous Mini-Skein ideas!

To be honest, I struggle a little to answer this question — not because I can’t think of an answer, but because I can think of so many.  The thing is, with Mini-Skeins, it’s not so much a matter of finding patterns for them as it a case of just finding inspiration, because Mini-Skeins don’t have to follow rules.  You can use them all together in one project, you can use one on its own to add an accent, you can go for matching colours or you can mix them all up.  Yes, Mini-Skeins are little bundles of yarn but, actually, I think of them more as yarn crayons that you use to add a punch of colour to your project in any way you fancy.  And when you do that, it’s a whole different way of approaching colour in your knitting and crochet.

Get Inspired!

So where to go for inspiration?  Probably the best place is the SpaceCadet Mini-Skein Ideas board on Pinterest.  Jade and I have curated a fantastic collection of project ideas to get you started — everything from gorgeous striped cardigans to quick hats and mitts to adorable amigurumi.  Some of the projects are constructed entirely from Mini-Skeins and many others are designed to use them as accents but, either way, there is a wealth of inspiration there just waiting to spark your imagination and get you thinking of creative ways to use Mini-Skeins in all kinds of different projects.

Click for fabulous Mini-Skein ideas!

(If you’re not already a Pinterest user, let me tell you, it’s possibly one of the most addictive places on the web.  But it’s one of the most useful as well.  Almost every image, or “pin”, links through to the original source — just click on the image to go to the webpage it came from.  And so as you pin images and build your pinboards, what you’re actually doing is collecting bookmarks   …Bookmarks that are beautiful to look at, easy to peruse, and wonderfully inspiring.  See how it could get addictive?  To start using Pinterest, click here to join and then start following us at SpaceCadetYarn!)

And your next stop, of course, should be Ravelry.  Add “mini skeins” to your pattern search, and it will give you all sorts of projects specifically designed to be made with these little bundles of yarny goodness.

Click for fabulous Mini-Skein ideas!

Oh, and I just have to share with you…  on the Singlehanded Knits podcast this week, my friend Mel and her sweet daughter Alana model their latest take on Mini-Skein creativity (fun spoiler: it includes pom-poms!).  I think it might be my favourite episode ever because, as much as I love playing with colour and dyeing up all these wonderful little yarn crayons for you guys, absolutely nothing compares to seeing the innovative ways that folks turn them into completed projects!

Got some SpaceCadetMini-Skeins in your stash? Fantastic!  Come over to the SpaceCadet group on Ravelry, and show us how you’ve used them to colour your world.  We’d love to see!

Orbiting the Fiber Universe, 17 January 2012

Another wrap-up of all the great fiber arts news that’s caught my eye of late…

Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches Guides you through Choosing Colours for your ProjectYou know my world is about colour — I talk about it all the time.  And I am convinced that working with beautiful colour makes everyone else’s world better too.  So I just love this quick guide to choosing your own colours for for crochet patterns, from Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches.  And of course, everything she says works for knitting too!

You’ve probably heard about those programs that teach inmates to knit and crochet, right? Personally, I can’t get enough of them, probably because I so wholeheartly believe that the fiber arts are life-enhancing.  But this article — where inmate are able to use knitting to reach out to kids who are facing the same tough situations they once faced — really touched me.

The number one thing most of my customers tell me they love is the colour of their yarn. And the close second is always the softness.  But, if you can step beyond those two essentials for a moment, come and have a look at these amazing crocheted wire sculptures by Ruth Asawa.  Just breath-taking. (And, when you’re done, you run straight back to soft and colourful, I promise!)

I loved this knitted Happy New Year sign from Mansha Friedrich in Hanover, Germany.  What better way to set yourself up for a year of fibery goodness?!?

Do you speak Finnish? Or wait… is it Danish? No, Norwegian?  Or… oh well, whatever it is,  I bet you will loooove this knitted wallpaper as much as I do.  Knitted walls for the win!

And now, for something really, really important.   It’s not fiber related but, people, this has totally changed my life.  Seriously, it has.  Read this article about olive oil — or, even better, click the link at the top of the page and listen to the actual radio programme.  And then, go out, scour those labels and find yourself some olive oil that was mechanically processed.  And watch your life change.  Well, we use a lot of olive oil in our house (a lot) so it was life-changing for us, but I promise it will at least improve yours a bit.

…No, seriously, do it.  It has changed. my. life.


Oh! and something really exciting happened — I finally got Pinterest!  I mean, I’d taken a little wander through it before and I thought it was pretty but… meh.  Another social networking site?  Another thing I’m supposed to keep up with?  Yeah, I wasn’t that into it.

But then this week, it finally clicked.  It’s for bookmarking webpages, but better.  Instead of a dropdown menu full of words that all jumble together, it’s visual, so I can remember instantly what it is and why I saved it.  Every pin clicks through to the original source.  And it’s social, so I can see all the cool-tempting-interesting stuff other people are bookmarking and grab it for myself — the colours, the images, the ideas.  Half the stuff in this post came from Pinterest.  And… it’s so beautiful.  Really, really beautiful.

I love it.  I’m hooked!  If you’re already hooked too, please come and follow me.   And if you’re not yet hooked, just click on that link and play around a bit. Once you realise it’s for much more than just looking at pretty pictures, I bet you’ll be hooked too.

Follow Me on Pinterest