So, I’m standing there in the studio, mixing colours in the dyepots, when my husband appears in the doorway. It’s a rare treat when he stops into the studio and I’m always pleased to see him. We start chatting, while I apply this colour and then that to the yarn…
And when I look down, I realise the yarn looks completely different from what I’d been trying to dye. Completely! Different! And… I don’t know what I did to achieve it. Chatting and dyeing — they do not mix. And what’s more, I love this new colourway. Whatever it is, however I did it, I looooove it.
But I should be able to figure this out, right? I mean, I know the colours I mixed, I just applied them in some strange order. It shouldn’t be too hard to reverse-engineer. Right? Right?
People, I’ve been trying. Trying and trying! And while I haven’t quite hit it yet (damn! what did I do?!?), I’ve produced some really beautiful yarns in the process. And they went into the shop today!
And those aren’t the only colours I’ve fallen in love with lately. Check out these purples…
And I did some warm browns and jewel tones… Oh! Aren’t these lovely?!?
And then… and then… I decided to play with the negative space a bit, and try lay down the softest, lightest, most barely-there layer of colour I could. What do you think?
And if some of these colourways look a bit too wild for you and you’re not quite sure how you’d use them, then keep you eyes open for my new ebook, Launching Into Hand-Dyed. It’s a 42-page guide designed to walk you through choosing and using even the most highly variegated colourways. I’ll be launching it in the next week, so do look for it!
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?!?
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…
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.
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!
Last weekend was Rhinebeck, otherwise known as the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and one of the best and most exciting fiber festivals in the country. Or… so I’d been told. I’d never been to it before, but this year the stars aligned and I got my chance!
Rhinebeck was everything I hoped for. Sheep, alpaca, llamas, kangaroos (seriously!), fair food, fine food, wine, spinning wheels, spindles, fiber, and yarn yarn yarnyarnyarn. At the Ravelry meet-up (above), I got the chance to meet Laura Nelkin, a designer I’ve featured here before and whose work I’ve admired a long time. I also ran into the delightful Ariane of Falling Stitches, my friend Julia of Knitterly Things, my friend Gwen of GwenErin Natural Fibers, and Ravelry’s own Mary-Heather and Sarah (wearing a fast-asleep Carlton).
But never mind all that, because I discovered two people whose products I loved so much that I really thought you’d want to meet them!
First is Melissa Tompkins-Stahl, whom I liked right from the moment I met her but — more importantly for you — who also makes absolutely lovely ceramic buttons. Seriously, they are like candy for knitters. My friend Kristen introduced us and pointed out how beautifully the colours of Melissa’s buttons and colours of SpaceCadet yarns go together. Kristen put several buttons against a cowl she’d spun with SpaceCadet fiber and she was right. Melissa and I clearly share a colour connection, and if you’re ever looking for buttons for a project you’ve made with SpaceCadet yarn, it’s worth looking at her website…
And the other person is Leah LaFera of Ulster Soaps. I knew I needed to check out Leah’s stall even before I saw it — the smell of her soaps was tugging at me! And when I got there and met Leah, I knew I wanted to tell you about her. I’ve always wanted to try soapmaking (don’t you?), so I asked her a whole bunch of questions, and she answered them all so enthusiastically. It’s clear she loves what she does! I chose some soaps: Peppermint Delight, Lavender Dream, and Lemon Poppy Seed (nom nom nom!) and I knew I wanted to share them (and her!) with you too.
And of course, there was all that yarn — so much fun to look at it, to smoosh it, to pet it! And it inspired me to do a shop update…
A friend mentioned the other day that I haven’t done a Pattern Roll-Call in a while and, as I realised she was right, I also realised I knew exactly which patterns I wanted to include! Usually, I focus on one-skein projects that work well with hand-dyed yarn but, just lately, everywhere I look it’s been mini-skeins mini-skeins mini-skeins… So I think it’s in the stars that I have to do a few Pattern Roll-Calls focusing on all the fantastic mini-skein patterns that are so hot right now.
And the place to start is with the Beekeeper’s Quilt by Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits. It’s the pattern that’s turning everyone into hexipuff addicts and it’s just so intriguing. All those puffy little hexipuffs, all mixing their colours together gently, and the result is a like a patchwork quilt but with a funky, modern twist. So cool!
And here’s another that’s really calling to me: The Sock Yarn Blanket by Shelly Kang. I’m crazy about this design! That’s partly because I’m a sucker for mitered squares but also because I love how it looks like feathers of some fantastical bird flowing down from top to bottom. Again, a million colours that really shouldn’t work together and yet, somehow they do… This pattern also comes with some really helpful tutorials to get you started.
And then there’s the Babette Blanket by Kathy Merrick. And the thing I love about this pattern is that it demonstrates how beautifully the Mini-Skein craze works in crochet. And I also love how these three examples show the way Mini-Skeins can work in any colour combination — bright or subdued, matching or contrasting, each one is just gorgeous!
See what I mean? As a dyer, these projects really get my blood pumping, because they are just so full of glorious colour! I want to dive in and roll around in them! Mmmmmmm…. Gorgeous!
And if these patterns have got you as excited as they’ve got me, do check out the SpaceCadet’s new Mini-Skein Club. Each month you’ll receive a surprise selection of gorgeous SpaceCadet yarns delivered to your door, so that you can try out all the SpaceCadet bases and feed your mini-skein project addiction!
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.
…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?!?”
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!
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!
There has been so much going on here — so much! — that I feel I am about to burst! And it’s all just about ready… a-a-almost there… So today’s shop update will be a mini-update so I can quickly get back and finish all this up and share it with you. More on that update at the bottom.
But right now, let me tell you what I’ve been working on…
First, a new website! I’m really excited about it because it’s beautiful, everything I’d hoped for. But the reason that’s really cool for you is that it’s going to allow me to a whole bunch of new things that I couldn’t do before (one of them is my new club, which I’m going to tell you about in a second).
But there’s a really important thing you need to know about this website change. If you subscribe to my website via my mailing list, you don’t need to do a thing. But if you subscribe via WordPress, you’ll need to change over to the mailing list — and that’s super easy to do. Just click here to join the mailing list. See? Easy and done! (If you want to ensure you don’t receive duplicate emails during the transition period, you might also change your WordPress settings, like this.)
Remember that Super Secret Thing I was telling you about? Oh, I am so excited about this…! And if you’re addicted to hexipuffs, dreaming about the BeeKeeper’s Quilt, falling head over heels for the Babette blanket, or any of the other wonderful mini-skein patterns that are cropping up everywhere these days, then you will be super excited too! The SpaceCadet Mini-Skein Club is coming and it will not only be a regular supply of those addictive little skeins, but also give you the perfect opportunity to try out all those wonderful SpaceCadet yarns and colourways that you’ve never used before. Think of it as a mouthwatering knitters’ and crocheters’ sample pack, delivering yarny goodness to your door every month…
I cannot wait to get the Mini-Skein Club started! If you can’t wait either, make sure you’re on the mailing list to be the first to hear when it goes live!
The ebook is with the editor and is so close to being finished, I can taste it! I know a lot of people aren’t sure how to approach knitting or crocheting with hand-dyed yarn, so I’m hoping this ebook will help ease any nervousness. It’s an introductory guide to hand-dyed yarn: how to use it, how to care for it, how to understand it so you can dive into hand-dyed without fear. If that sounds just right for you, then get on that mailing list to be sure you hear when it’s ready for download!
Oh, and this is really cool — the editor has been blogging the process of putting the ebook together. Check it out!
And finally, here’s the shop mini-update I promised you, two yarns that I am just crazy about…
First is a colourway that I’ve called Inlet, because I see all the colours of shimmering and shallow water — blues, greens, grays — with the glint of something precious resting at the bottom. I absolutely love this colourway! The yarn is 70% superwash merino, 20% bamboo, and 10% nylon, so it has that lovely glossy sheen.
And another yarn in that same lovely bamboo base… This colourway is Contrary and I just love the intensity of those cool, cool blues…
So, lots of stuff going on. It’s been crazy busy but soooo exciting! And if you’re excited too, keep checking back to see if the website has changed. Once it has, the ball starts rolling on everything else too…