A Look at the InterStellar Yarn Alliance Parcel

Ok… (looks around)…  ok, I think everyone’s got their parcels by now, so I think I’m safe to share the latest InterStellar Yarn Alliance parcel…

The light has changed recently, as summer turns into autumn.  There’s something more golden about its cast, it falls at gentler angle.  The aura of the end of summer is unmistakeable, and I wanted to capture that in a yarn.

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Merino/Bamboo/Nylon fingering yarn in End Of Summer

So I chose this gorgeous 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Bamboo, 10% Nylon fingering weight, because Bamboo really captures the light to create a beautiful sheen across the yarn.  And then I dyed it in the shades of summer fields, as the grass turns to a deeper shade of green, and then begins to fade to gold.

To me, these colours perfectly capture the End of Summer.  And so that’s exactly what I named it!

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Colourway: End Of Summer


And here’s something really fun:  this month, I had Debbie at Divine Scentsations create some wonderful, hand-made soaps for the Yarn Alliance members.  She did four scents — Lavender, Peppermint Leaf, Lemongrass Tea, and Citrus Lavender — and they are incredible!  I can show you pictures but… oh! If only you could smell them!

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Soaps from Divine Scentsations

One of the Alliance members said she knew she had Lavender even before she opened the package.  These soaps smell amazing!  I kept trying to pick my favourite scent but… it’s impossible.  They’re all really different but soooo delicious.

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Yay for InterStellar Yarn Alliance goodies!


Don’t forget, the InterStellar Yarn Alliance is open for subscriptions right now (and will close again after September 17).  To find out more about the great stuff that Alliance members get, click here.  And if you want to join the Alliance and be a part of all this fun, just click on the button below…Click here to join the InterStellar Yarn Alliance

The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is OPEN for Subscriptions!

I am so excited about this!  It’s the 2nd of September and that means…

(drumroll please)…

The InterStellar Yarn Alliance is open for subscriptions!

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What is the InterStellar Yarn Alliance?  It’s the SpaceCadet’s fantastic yarn club, and it’s a hell of lot of fun.  If you like SpaceCadet yarns, you’ll love being in the Alliance.

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Each member will receive an exciting parcel delivered every other month containing:

  • SpaceCadetTM Creations yarn (light to medium weight) in an exclusive Yarn Alliance colourway (guaranteed not to be offered on the SpaceCadet website for at least 6 months)
  • A great Yarn Alliance gift tucked into every parcel!
  • The SpaceCadet’s Log exploring the inspiration for each colourway.
  • An InterStellar Yarn Alliance group on Ravelry where you can discuss WIPs, ask questions, and share FOs with fellow members.
  • The InterStellar Yarn Alliance newsletter with periodic special offers exclusively for members.
  • A 15% off coupon every six months

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Subscriptions: 6 months (3 parcels) $125; or 12 months (6 parcels) $235

Parcels will be sent out in late October, December, February, April, June, and August. Subscription openings will be available in March and September. Shipping within the United States is included in the price; extra charges apply for shipping outside the US.

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Calling All Yarn Adventurers

There’s a lot of experimentation that goes on in the SpaceCadet studio — experimentations with new colour combinations, experimentations with new yarns and fibers.  And it’s a hell lot of fun (!) that produces a lot of wonderful yarns.  It also produces a lot of yarns that may be the start of something great or… that may be one-of-a-kind specials, never to be seen again.

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Merino/nylon fingering yarn in "Submerge"

And while most knitters and crocheters stick to the more tried-and-true colourways, there is a small, core group of my customers who really, really love this kind of yarn.  I think of them as Yarn Adventurers — customers who like to break new ground, who want to try new things, who love the possibility of knitting with a yarn that no one else may ever their hands on.

If you’re a Yarn Adventurer, I’m talking to you.  Later this week, I’m going to put a new button over there in the right-hand column.  Look for it — it will say something like “Yarn Adventurer” or “Yarn Voyager”, I’m not sure yet.  And when you click on it, you’ll get the chance to sign up for a new newsletter just for people who like you.  In this newsletter, I’m going to offer the first chance at some great experimental yarns.   You’ll see them before anyone else does.  You’ll see them waaaaay before they ever go into the shop — in fact, they may never even get into the shop.  It’ll be first-come first-served, and you’ve got to be on the list to know about it.  Watch for that button later this week!

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Merino/Nylon fingering weight yarn in "Half-Light"

There’s just one thing I ask for if you sign up for this new newsletter, and that’s feedback.  You are going to be one of the first people to try a new base, to see a new colourway.  You are my man on the ground.  And I need to know what you thought of it.  So, for any yarns or colourways I’m debating about, I may get in touch with you after your purchase to ask your opinion, to get your thoughts.  If you’re up for that, and you’re up for a little yarn adventure, then make sure you are on that list!


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Merino/bamboo/nylon fingering weight yarn in "Torment"

Now, let’s get to the yarns in the shop update this week!  Every one of them is the sort of yarn that will go in this new newsletter but, until it’s set up, I’ve put these in the shop.  First, there’s a pair of merino/bamboo/nylon yarns in a beautiful, luminous, almost oxidised green called “Torment”.  I’m crazy about this shade!

And then, the rest of the yarns are on a merino/nylon base that…  that I…   well, I bought it by accident.  Yeah, I know!  I just marked the wrong box on the order form and, well, there you go.  Almost ten pounds of the wrong yarn arrived a few days later and I faced the choice of owning up to my mistake and hoping the supplier would take the yarn back or…  just dye it.

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Merino/nylon fingering weight yarn in "Plunge"

So, I dyed it up (I mean, why not? I love to dye!) and you know, what?  I am so glad I made this mistake.  I think I’m a little in love with this yarn!  It’s an ordinary merino/nylon blend, smooth and quite light, but there’s something about it that I just love.  It’s the way it takes colour — it’s almost lustrous.  I love this yarn.  I’m soooooo glad I ticked the wrong box!

(Oh, by the way, the yarn in the first picture?  There are six skeins of it, easily enough to do a whole sweater, maybe a bit more.  If you fancy that, grab it up quickly!)

Hesitating About… Hesitating

You know how it is when you really want something, but you hesitate?  I’ve been doing that quite a bit lately.  I used to do yoga to a programme on television called  Namaste Yoga.  I loved it — 30 minutes of calm in the middle of a hectic day.  But the channel changed its line up and stopped showing the programme and I stopped doing the yoga and…  well, I’ve really missed that bit of calm.

There are other yoga programmes, I know, but I really liked this one.  Every now and again, I’ll go and have a look at the website and… hesitate.  And then, the other day, I discovered that they’d put an entire episode online, and watching that reminded me how much I’d loved it.  It’s $100 for the whole set: two seasons, 26 episodes.  It’s not much, really.  It’s one month’s membership to an actual yoga studio.  A bargain!

And yet… I find myself hesitating.  Not because I don’t want them — I do! — but because…   I don’t know.  What is it that is making me hesitate?

Whatever it is, it’s the same thing that so many women struggle with.  How many of us have snuck yarn into the house?   How many of us have stashed new skeins in ridiculous places so they won’t be spotted?  How many of us have held a skein of yarn and squished it between our fingers and felt giddy, like a kid sneaking sweets from the jar?

And here’s the thing: we shouldn’t feel that way.  We work hard for our money and, what’s more, when we do unwind, we spend our leisure time productively.  We knit and crochet.  We make hats and scarves and socks and sweaters for friends and family and charity and… ourselves.   Heck, we make Christmas gifts!  We don’t sit in front of the telly idly flicking channels (ahem!) — our hands are busy.

And we do yoga.   Or, I did yoga.  Mmmmm… maybe I’ll do yoga again..


What is it that makes you hesitate?  And why?  Or, on the other hand, what do you never hesitate about?

(And… why am I hesitating about the yoga videos?!?  Should I get them?)

September Events You Don’t Want to Miss!

I looked at the calendar today and realised that September follows August… I don’t know that happened, but apparently, that means September is next month!  And that’s great because there’s a lot of super fun stuff happening in September…

PLY Party in Baltimore

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First, we’re going to the PLY Party at Lovelyarns in Baltimore on Sept 11th.  Lovelyarns is a cool little LYS in Hampden that began carrying SpaceCadet Creations yarns over the summer and we’re delighted that they invited us to be part of the Peace Love Yarn (PLY) party, their yearly gathering of indie hand-dyers and spinners.  And they just posted a really cool little SpaceCadet bio on the PLY website.
If you’re in the Baltimore area, please do come out and join us! We’d love to meet you.

Ply Party
Sunday, September 11, 2011
12:00 – 6:00 PM
Lovelyarns 846 W. 36th Street  Baltimore, MD 21211
(click here for a map)

It’s going to be so much fun!


InterStellar Yarn Alliance Subscriptions Opening

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And the other thing that September means is… subscriptions open for the InterStellar Yarn Alliance!  If you’ve watching all the fun stuff that Alliance members have been receiving in their parcels and want the chance to join in, keep your eyes open.  More details will be coming soon, but be sure you are signed up for the SpaceCadet newsletter to be the first to hear when subscriptions go live!

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A Surprisingly Difficult Question

There’s been a fascinating conversation going on over on Twitter.  It started with a question that the ladies at Lorna’s Laces had been discussing, and it seemed simple enough.  In fact, when I heard it, I thought instinctively that I knew the answer…   Of course I knew the answer!  It’s an easy question!

…Until I really began to think about it, and then I realised, I had no idea what the answer is.  And it’s not easy — not at all.  The question is:

What is the difference between an indie business and a corporate business?

Particularly when it comes to the crafting/creative industries, where is the line that separates the two?

Now, you’re probably doing exactly what I did, and thinking, “I know an indie business from a corporate business!  It’s obvious!”  And, maybe it is, but… I’ll tell you what, it’s a bloody hard thing to define when you actually try to do it.

When most people think of a corporation, they instinctively think of large office buildings or big factories but, in truth, almost any kind of business — even tiny ones — can be incorporated.  All it really signifies is the way the business is structured for financial and legal purposes.  A corporation might as likely be run out of someone’s spare bedroom as out of some glass-and-steel skyscraper.

So, I started out thinking that maybe it was the terms that were confusing, and I tweeted that maybe the difference was really between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’…  or was it ‘professional’ and ‘hobbiest’?

But that wasn’t right because, really, the nature of an indie business is that it’s… a business.  And anyone seriously running a business, even a small one, is going to be beyond amateur, beyond hobby.

M.K. Carroll and Cathy (@glamsmitten) tweeted back with “Indie vs Industry?” and Ruth at RockandPurl suggested, “Mass-market vs Personal Touch”.   And then M.K. asked, “At what point is something ‘mass-market’?” at the same time that I tweeted, “Is the keyword, ‘handmade’? Can something be both mass-market and handmade?”

I really thought I’d hit the nail on the head.  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, actually.  Yep, the key was ‘handmade’!

And then M.K. replied, “Mass-market crochet items are ALL handmade. There is no machine-made crochet.”  Damn! She was right!  And further, “Couture uses a lot of handwork (e.g. ‘petits mains’) – it’s not mass-market.”  And there was a picture of a Chanel dress being carefully stitched by hand.

Chanel is definitely corporate, at least in my mind.  At one point someone asked if was about the ownership of a company…  the difference between private companies and publicly traded ones?  But then someone said that Lion Brand is a family-owned company.  And I thought about a company I used to work for back in my “corporate” days — a huge, multinational company with tens of thousands of employees… which was entirely family-owned.

Huh! This was turning out to be a much, much more difficult question than I had first thought!  And though the Twitter conversation continued on for some time, not one of us was able to come to a satisfactory answer.  Was it the size of the company?  Does having employees mean you’re not indie anymore? Or is it the amount of money a company makes?  Or is it the intent of the company?  What is ‘intent’ anyway, when almost all companies — large or small — are in business primarily to make money?

So, even though it feels like it would be an instinctively easy question to answer, it isn’t.  How do we define the difference between corporate and indie?  It’s much more thorny than it appears.


That Twitter conversation was yesterday and, all day today, the question has simmered gently in the back of my mind.  While I was in the studio dyeing, I pondered it, and it percolated while I packed up orders to go out.  And at some point today, an answer bubbled up that started to feel a bit right.  I’ve turned it over and over in my mind and, so far, it still feels right…

Is the difference between ‘indie’ and ‘corporate’ the extent to which the owner is involved in the making?

I’m thinking that a company stays indie so long as the owner or founder is regularly in the studio creating — even if it’s only for part of the time.  When the owner moves out of the studio completely, and leaves the making entirely to employees…  maybe that’s when a company crosses the line from ‘indie’ to ‘corporate’…?  Can you imagine a company of 150 people where every single person spent as much time creating as they did in the office — would that make the company feel ‘indie’ even with so many employees?  When the owner was right there in the studio with her sleeves up alongside everyone else?  Maybe a company moves over to ‘corporate’ only when it allows most of its focus (and time) on the business side of things rather than the creative side.

So far, that answer feels right to me.  But then, every answer I’ve come up with so far has felt right, and then turned out to be wide of the mark.  What do you think?  How do you define the difference between corporate and indie?  I’d love to know, because I’m amazed by how difficult it really is!