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Sitka Spruce Hat – DK weight pattern hack

November 21, 2014

sitka spruce hatAlexa isn’t the only one who has caught the hat knitting bug recently… I’ve been knitting up hats at a rapid rate too!

The Sitka Spruce hat, with its architecturally crisp twisted stitch pattern, is a pleasure to knit and makes a great gift.

sitka spruce hat

Nina bundled up on a blustery autumn day in Edinburgh.

Sitka Spruce HatSometimes you have the perfect yarn, and the perfect pattern… but the two don’t quite match up in terms of gauge.  This was the case with this project – I had an exquisite skein of Old Maiden Aunt Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, and I wanted to knit the Sitka Spruce hat.

The pattern is written for a worsted / aran weight yarn (that knits to 18 sts / 4″), and this DK weight yarn knits to 20-22 sts per inch, so I knew I would have to adjust the pattern somewhat.

Sitka Spruce Hat

I cast on more stitches, and worked the pattern stitch for more rounds, and the beanie came out exactly the right size!

How to knit the Sitka Spruce hat in DK weight yarn:

  • Cast on 112 stitches (this is 7 repeats of the 16-stitch pattern… rather than 6 for an aran weight beanie).  Work 1×1 rib brim.  I used 3.5mm needles for the ribbed brim, and 4.0mm needles for the remainder of the hat.
  • Work rounds 15-28 of chart A, then work rounds 1-28 again (this is 42 rounds, rather than the aran weight beanie has only 28).
  • Decrease following the decrease chart B.

These instructions will result in a beanie style hat.  For a beret style, you could cast on 112, work ribbing, then increase 32 sts evenly spaced, to 144 sts total, which is 9 pattern repeats, then work the 42 rounds as described above before decreasing.

Sitka Spruce Hat

I love Old Maiden Aunt’s yarns, and enjoyed a visit to her studio in West Kilbride last summer.  This particular colourway is ‘lon-dubh’ (blackbird), which has an exceptionally deep, dark and moody quality. I had a difficult time capturing its complexity and beauty in photos.

Old Maiden Aunt Superwash Bluefaced Leicester

Old Maiden Aunt Superwash Bluefaced Leicester in ‘lon dubh’ (blackbird)

What are you working on as the days get cold, and the holidays approach? 

Are you making special gifts or cuddly cozy knits just for you?  We’d love to hear about it and have you share your projects and stories with us!

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Some lovely hat patterns perfect for holiday gifting:


RT-stovetop-tmb-aRT-clayoquottoque-tmb-bRT-applepie-tmb-c

Rivulet Shawl and Perfect Fringe

November 4, 2014

When I came up with the concept for the Rivulet shawl I wanted a knit that captured the bohemian nature of the far west coast and all I could think was: fringe! The textured pattern, reminiscent of water on a window pane, is topped off with a dose of fringe. While making many many many 10″ pieces of yarn I thought there must be an easier way to create perfect fringe…and there is!

Cardboard (twice the length of your desired fringe), an elastic band, scissors, and yarn

Cardboard (twice the length of your desired fringe), an elastic band, scissors, and yarn

Materials: Cardboard, cut twice as long as your desired fringe length (mine is about 10 inches), an elastic band, scissors, and your yarn. To attach the fringe I recommend a crochet hook, size not important.

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Cut a small notch in the bottom of your cardboard piece and use this to secure your yarn. Wrap your yarn around your piece of cardboard until you have the desired number of fringe pieces (or just a bunch of times, you can always make more right?). Put the elastic band around the middle of your cardboard.

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Cut along the top of the cardboard, first one side and then the other. Your elastic band will stop the fringe from coming off the cardboard in pieces that are too long.

First, cut along the bottom edge of the cardboard

First, cut along the bottom edge of the cardboard

Then cut along the top of the cardboard

Then cut along the top of the cardboard

Now that you have a bunch of fringe you can attach it to your shawl. Note the holes along each edge, perfect for placing fringe. You can put in fringe every other hole, or each one, depending on your desired level of ‘fringey-ness’.

 

Attaching your Fringe

1. Fold 2 pieces of yarn in half.

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fringegoeshere

2. With wrong side facing put your crochet hook through the hole and pull through just the folded part of the yarn

With wrong side of your shawl facing you insert your crochet hook from front to back.

With wrong side of your shawl facing you insert your crochet hook from front to back.

The fold goes over the hook

The fold goes over the hook

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throughtheloop

Using your hook, pull the 4 loose ends through the loop you have created. Pull tight to secure. Voila, fringe!

Fringe accomplished

Fringe accomplished

SHARE the knit knowledge :::

Do you have knitting friends who could use this tutorial?  Share this post, or let them know about the great free patterns they could try from The Simple Collection.  And join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!

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More Road Trip inspired by the west coast:

 

Baby Crazy Knitting!

October 26, 2014

Bodhi ClayoquotWhile working on Road Trip, Emily and I were both pregnant…and the nearer to the release date the more pregnant we got!

Max and Bodhi are about 5 weeks apart with birthdays in June and July. Picture it now: 2 tired and sick pregnant ladies writing a book with an 8 hour time difference…it was epic.  The best part though? Baby knits!!!

Shortly after Bodhi was born I became completely obsessed with the idea of matching sweaters. I’ve always been a fan but it was suddenly a very pressing need. Jonesies’ Caribou sweater was hot off the needles, so while we were on a photoshoot in the Rockies I cast on for the Bodhi size. It was only a couple of skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, no time at all really… the same amount of knitting as a hat right? When that was blocking my fingers got itchy. I’d already knit 2, what was one more? Thus this picture was created!

Alexa does excessive amounts of baby knitting :::

Next I had the brilliant late night idea (you might know how that goes) to start a Road Trip wardrobe for Bodhi. She suddenly seemed (in the August heat) like she might need a hat..maybe Stovetop… and what about a Prairie Fire sweater? It’s only a few hundred yards, just a couple of evenings and I would be done!

Prairie Fire

Instead of getting it out of my system it only made things worse! Well, I had to make another Clayoquot Cardigan to create our Steeking tutorial (no, a swatch certainly wouldn’t suffice), and Apple Pie needed a tutorial too…

It seems there may be more matching knits in their future too, since I mainly choose earthy colours I really only need to knit the Hunter sized version, the other two will happily wear the hand-me-downs. I have visions of Antler and Gramps, maybe Campfire or Flax…the matching possibilities are endless!

Caribou Cardigan

Emily’s new knitwear model :::

With Alexa as an inspiration, it was only a matter of time before I started my own stack of baby knits!  When Max was only a twinkle in his father’s eye (what a quaint expression!), I began whipping up little hats, cardigans and blankets.  I felt it was important to prepare for the day when I would have a tiny knitwear model of my own to dress up!  Here are a few of the highlights of his first 3 months (in knits!):

3 Days old… I was surprised that none of Max’s baby-size hats fit him when he was a newborn… who knew they had such tiny heads?!  This is a tiny Stovetop.

Clayoquot hat

So with tiny newborn heads in mind, I knit a teeny tiny Clayoquot Toque (check out the free pattern!), but then I mislaid it for a few weeks… and now it’s too small! Lesson #2… babies heads grow very quickly!

Vivid Blanket

4 weeks old… I designed the Vivid blanket with babies on my mind… and dyed up this blanket kit to make the perfect rainbow blanket!   A contented Max is wearing a tiny version of our free pullover pattern Flax, knit in sock-weight yarn.

Baby Flax

3 Months … I think our Flax pullover is a perfect baby knit… it’s fast, unisex and you can jazz it up with stripes, as I have here (it’s knit in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘young temptress’ and ‘black cherry’)

Prairie Fire

This lime green prototype version of the Prairie Fire pullover is knit in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘almost spring’.  The short sleeves make it a perfect layering piece!

baby antler cardigan

Lastly, this isn’t a new knit – it is one of the original baby Antler cardigan samples (knit by Alexa)… but I couldn’t resist sharing Max’s super satisfied grin…

There are certainly more adorable baby knits on the horizon… stay tuned and keep your needles ready!

Some more adorable baby knits…


ClayoquotCable me softly bootiesGramps Cardigan

Let’s Make a Pom Pom

October 19, 2014

One of the great things about knitting is that there are so many different ways to do pretty much anything. There are many knitting styles, many ways to work an increase, a decrease, there is just a lot of variety. Same goes for pom poms! There are a few types of pom pom makers, or there is always the low tech cardboard method. I love a good pom pom maker, they make pompoming (I made that word up) easy. I think Emily avoids putting pom pom’s on her knits because she’s too thrifty to get a pom pom maker.

Step 1: get out your pom pom maker. There are lots of sizes, I tend to think bigger is better when it comes to pom poms!

This is my pom pom maker. There are many like it but this one is mine.

This is my pom pom maker. There are many like it but this one is mine.

Step 2: Open the pom pom maker and wrap your yarn around one side. This is not the time to skimp on yarn, go nuts or you will end up with a limp pom pom and no one wants that!

Open 'er up

Open ‘er up

Start wrapping and don't stop until you can't stand to do any more.

Start wrapping and don’t stop until you can’t stand to do any more.

Step 3: Close the side you just wrapped and start on side 2.

Close one side and start on side 2

Close one side and start on side 2

Your pom pom has been wrapped!

Your pom pom has been wrapped!

Step 4: Cut your pom pom.

pom pom cut here

Cutting

Cutting

Now you have cut all the way around

Now you have cut all the way around

 

Step 5: tie your pom pom. I tie it a few times and use a good sturdy knot. You don’t want bits of pom pom escaping!

Your tying yarn goes around the pom pom (in the same place you just cut)

Your tying yarn goes around the pom pom (in the same place you just cut)

Step 6: take your pom pom maker apart

Release the pom pom!

Release the pom pom!

Voila, pom pom! Sew it onto your favorite hat to add a bit of whimsy.

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Looking for more pom pom information? I recommend Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts and her full pom pom tutorial here, she uses a different style of maker and recommends sending your completed pom pom through the dryer in a mesh bag for a ‘fulled’ look. If you are looking for the low tech cardboard method check out the gals at Pom Pom Quarterly and their cool pom pom garland and tutorial here.

SHARE the knit knowledge :::

Do you have knitting friends who could use this tutorial?  Share this post, or let them know about the great free patterns they could try from The Simple Collection.  And join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!

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More pom pom worthy designs by Tin Can Knits

 

 

Knitting Apple Pie

October 2, 2014

applepie(2)If you are casting on for an Apple Pie hat (and I really think you should) here are a few tips and tricks to help. Get you Apple Pie pattern, worsted weight yarn, and let’s get started!

 

Construction

The Apple Pie hat is worked starting from the doubled brim to the crown. A provisional cast on allows you to join in the doubled over brim as you go, no seaming later!

Doubled Brim

First up work a provisional cast on. This cast on will be un-picked after the ribbing is complete to join the doubled over brim.

Provisional cast on and ribbing have been worked

Provisional cast on and ribbing have been worked

Once you have completed your ribbing, you will un-pick the provisional cast on, placing your stitches on a spare needle (size isn’t too important, anything the same size or smaller than your larger needle).

Un-picked provisional cast on stitches are now on a spare needle

Un-picked provisional cast on stitches are now on a spare needle

Once your stitches are on a spare needle you will fold the spare needle inside the hat. Your spare needle will be lined up with your live stitches (pictured below).

This is what your folded brim will look like

This is what your folded brim will look like

Next, take your larger needle and knit the first stitch from the front/outside needle, and the first stitch from the back/inside needle together.

You are working these stitches together to close up the doubled brim.

You are working these stitches together to close up the doubled brim.

 

Knitting the two stitches together

Knitting the two stitches together: the larger needle is going through the first stitch on the front/outside and back/inside needle, joining the doubled brim.

After a few stitches this is what your knitting will look like. Stitches from the front and back are joined together on the larger needle.

After a few stitches this is what your knitting will look like. Stitches from the front and back are joined together on the larger needle.

What your work will look like from the inside

What your work will look like from the inside

Now that your doubled brim has been joined you can carry on!

Cabling Over Marker

If you haven’t cabled before check out our in-depth tutorial on cabling here. Here is how you cable over marker:

1. Place the last 2 sts of the round on your cable needle and hold in back of work

2. Remove marker

3. Knit 2 sts from left needle

4. Replace marker on right needle

5. Knit 2 sts from cable needle

Ready to work last cable of round. You will be working the 2 sts before the marker and the 2 sts after the marker.

Ready to work last cable of round. You will be working the 2 sts before the marker and the 2 sts after the marker.

replacemarker

2 sts are on the cable needle held in back, 2 sts from left needle have been worked, the marker has been replaced on the right needle. Next you will work the 2 sts from the cable needle.

Marker is now back in the right spot and the first 2 sts of the next round have been worked.

Marker is now back in the right spot and the first 2 sts of the next round have been worked.

Now you have cabled over marker. Tricky part is over! Carry on with the pattern, proceeding to decreases when your hat has reached the specified (or desired) length. Block your hat and wear it out on a blustery day!

applepie

SHARE the knit knowledge :::

Do you have knitting friends who could use this tutorial?  Share this post, or let them know about the great free patterns they could try from The Simple Collection.  And join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!

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More cabled knits from TCK:

Road Trip is Ready!

September 26, 2014

emailupdatesept18

It’s here, it’s here! Road Trip is ready. If you have pre-ordered a copy the full ebook with be in your Ravelry Library or your inbox, and if you haven’t ordered yet, do it soon because the price goes up October 1st!

Road Trip: 14 Knits Inspired by the Open Road is available for purchase. The ebook is available for $16 (the price goes up to $18 on October 1st) and the print book plus ebook is available for $23.

 

Photographing Road Trip

Bonfire: keeping cozy on the beach

There was only one way to shoot a book like Road Trip, so inspired by beautiful scenic drives and nostalgic memories of trips past: we had to hit the road! My husband Gary and I packed first 2, then 3 kids, a ton of camping stuff, and all the knits in the beast (our Jeep), and Emily and Jordan followed behind. We first went to Tofino, then a month later we packed up our gear again (and a 3 week old baby this time) and headed to the Rockies.

Emily and Jordan fulfilled many roles on these trips and I would be remiss if I didn’t offer up a great big thanks. They were models, friends, aunty and uncle, stylists, navigators, child wranglers, and most of all they were a lot of fun! We couldn’t have done it without you two!

Matching Stovetop hats in a romantic momemt

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Tofino

Tofino is a little town on the Pacific side of Vancouver Island. I have been taking road trips there with my family for the past 20 years and while it has changed a bit, it’s still the hippie town I remember at it’s roots. I have surfed, seen Orca whales in the wild, lounged on the beach, hiked through the woods, and had many many coffees at the Common Loaf in Tofino. I have fond memories there and it will always have a place in my heart.

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On the way to Tofino we passed Cathedral Forest. Old Growth was photographed there with the giant Redwoods as a back drop. The trees seam to reach the sky and the beautiful mossy forest floor is a sight to behold. Old Growth was inspired by these beautiful trees so it was great to be able to photograph a little girl in front of a very large and very old tree.

We shot Paddle, Stovetop, and Bonfire on the beach near Incinerator Rock.

Paddle: A Hudson Bay Company inspired palette

 

The horizon is broken only by beautiful black rocks on the beach and a common Tofino sight: surfers! Hunter and Jones enjoyed running up and down the beach, climbing on the driftwood, and drawing in the sand (okay, maybe they didn’t make the sign below…Emily also enjoys a good sand sign)!

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Rivulet was photographed near one of the beautiful forest pools on the way home from Tofino. Emily was dressed in her road trip finest and donned a wistful look while channeling her inner woodland nymph.

When I was kid my brothers and I would have jumped into that pool, not caring how warm or cold it was, yelling and splashing all the way!

 

The Rockies

 

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It has been said a million times but there is no other way to describe the Rocky Mountains but majestic.  Rising out of the earth in all their craggy glory they are an incredibly beautiful sight.  In the heart of the Rockies is Banff National Park, and this is where we headed for our second photo shoot. This time we had 3 kiddies in the back seat, and what seemed like a lot more stuff for such a small person!

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Caribou and Viewfinder were photographed at one of my favorite places, Lake Louise. The grey-blue waters are framed on either side by green forested mountains and in the distance there is a stony mountain face covered by a glacier.

Apple Pie was photographed at the CPR Railway Heritage site near Lake Louise, but it was inspired by the most famous of roadside eats: the Apple Pie. Everyone has a story of their favorite apple pie and many are from the road. Emily, after reading Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, ate nothing but apple pie on a bus trip all the way from Toronto to San Francisco. My husband likes to stop at the Hope Diner (in Hope, BC) for a slice a la mode when he passes through.

Where do you get your favourite apple pie on the road?

More from Road Trip:

 

Steek!

September 18, 2014

IMG_1220I know I know, steeking is super scary. Every knitters greatest fear realized: cut knitting! What if it unravels? What if all of that beautiful work comes apart? Well, I tell you, it won’t. Armed with some steeking knowledge you will be just fine. Let’s get started!

Need to Know:

There are many ways to steek, this tutorial outlines the method I used for the Clayoquot cardigan. If you would like more information on some different methods of steeking (or more info on steeking in general) check out Knitty, Eunny Jang, and the queen herself, Kate Davies.

Starting:

What you will need to steek: a sweater, some yarn (you can use the same colour yarn as the sweater MC or a contrasting one, I found it didn’t matter so I used a contrasting colour to make this tutorial clear), a crochet hook a few sizes smaller than the needle size for the sweater, a darning needle, and scissors.

Knit and blocked

Knit and blocked

First up, knit yourself a sweater and block it. I knit the Clayoquot cardigan (with the alteration of contrasting pockets). Sew down your pockets, and weave in your ends. Ends should be woven AWAY FROM THE STEEK. Now you are ready to roll.

weaveinends

Where the steek is:

The Clayoquot pattern has 5 steek stitches (numbered below). The right crochet reinforcement will use half of stitch 3 and half of stitch 4, and the left crochet reinforcement will use the other half of stitch 3 and half of stitch 2. The cut comes right down the middle of stitch 3.

whichstitch

 

Crochet Reinforcement

First you will need to secure your yarn to start your reinforcement.

1. Make a slip knot onto your crochet hook

2. Put your hook through the top of stitch 4

3. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your hook)

4. Pull your working yarn through these two loop (you will now have 1 loop on your hook)

First make a slip knot over your crochet hook.

1. make a slip knot over your crochet hook.

2. Put your hook through the top of stitch 4

2. Put your hook through the top of stitch 4

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3. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your hook)

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4. Pull your working yarn through these two loop (you will now have 1 loop on your hook)

Next you are going to make a single crochet chain down the steek, through half of stitch 4 and half of stitch 3

1. Put your crochet hook through the right half (or leg) of stitch 4 and the left half (or leg) of stitch 3

2. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your crochet hook)

3. Pull your working yarn through these 2 loops (you will now have 1 stitch on your hook)

IMG_8302

1. Put your crochet hook through the right half (or leg) of stitch 4 and the left half (or leg) of stitch 3

2. Pull through a loop

2. Pull through a loop (you will now have 2 loops on your crochet hook)

You will continue working steps 1-3 in each stitch until you have worked all of the stitches. At the end, put your hook through the center of stitch 4. Pull up a loop, pull your working yarn through both loops on the hook. Cut your yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail, and pull the tail through the last live stitch, fastening off your work.

At the end, put your hook through the center of stitch 4

At the end, put your hook through the center of stitch 4

Fasten off your last stitch by cutting your yarn and putting the tail through the last live stitch

Fasten off your last stitch by cutting your yarn and putting the tail through the last live stitch

Your first reinforcement is complete

Your first reinforcement is complete

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This is what it looks like from the other side.

Your first crochet reinforcement is complete! The second reinforcement is worked in the opposite direction, starting at the bottom of the sweater and working your way to the top. You will be working your single crochet chain through stitches 2 and 3.

Both reinforcements are complete. See how the crochet chains naturally lean away from where you are going to cut?

Both reinforcements are complete. See how the crochet chains naturally lean away from where you are going to cut?

 

Cut!

Take a deep breath, some sharp scissors, and here goes nothin’!

Start cutting!

Start cutting!

Keep going, don't chicken out now

Keep going, don’t chicken out now

You now have one steeked sweater, congratulations!

You now have one steeked sweater, congratulations!

 

Picking up the button band

Picking up the button band is the same as any sweater, just a little further in than usual. Insert your needle from the right side to the wrong side and draw up a loop. Continue picking up at the rate specified in your pattern. You may also want to check out the ‘steek sandwich’ that Kate Davies uses.

Picking up stitches

Picking up stitches: The yarn is coming from the wrong side to the right side.

Button bands complete

Button bands complete

Sewing down the flap

When I finished steeking my sweater and putting on a button band I found there was a little extra flap. In order to keep the ends from rubbing I sewed down the flap for a little extra security.

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All sewed down and secured

All sewed down and secured

All that’s left are a few ends, blocking, and some buttons to sew on! Your pullover is now a cardigan.

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Wanna hear about these tutorials as they are released?  Get our excellent emails!

 

SHARE the knit knowledge :::

Do you have knitting friends who could use this tutorial?  Share this post, or let them know about the great free patterns they could try from The Simple Collection.  And join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates button-ravelry-40

More fun colourwork from Tin Can Knits

 

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