Choosing a palette for colourwork is a challenge. It seems as though you can just choose a few colours you like and go nuts right? Well let me tell you from experience, this is not the case. Choosing the palettes for the Clayoquot cardigan and toque took what felt like a million swatches and a few failed hats before I finally settled on the colours I did! Here are a few tips to choose your colours (and avoid the million swatches like me!)
Light and Dark
The key to a good palette is a mix of light and dark. If you choose 3 dark colours (or 3 light) there will be a low level of contrast and the difference between the pattern and the background won’t be as crisp as you might like. I prefer to choose my main colour first, usually something distinctively light or dark (I find medium a little harder to go from), then the accents.
Once you know your main colour it’s time to have some fun. Do you want your hat or cardigan to have a fun and bright feel? Perhaps something more neutral subdued? A cool palette or something warmer? There are many ways to go once you have your main and here are a few examples to get you going:
These are a couple of prototype hats Emily created in Rainbow Heirloom Yarn. On the left: MC Fluffy Bunny, CC1 Favourite Auntie, CC2 Killer Flamingo – Emily went with a lighter background colour and 2 darker contrasts. Notice that the contrast colours are similar, there isn’t much contrast between them but there is high contrast between the MC and the CC’s.
On the right: MC New Asphalt, CC1 Fluffy Bunny, CC2 Aussie Sunshine – for this hat the background colour is dark while the contrast colours are lighter. There is less contrast between the contrast colours but Aussie Sunshine is a very vivid colour, making it pop.
MC Something Blue, CC1 Winter, CC2 Marshland – (Sweet Fiber Merino Twist DK) for this hat I went with something wild for the main color but I wasn’t happy with the contrast between the first contrast colour and the main colour, not quite zippy enough! (zippy being a technical term)
These are the final colour palettes I used for the hats and the sweaters (all in Sweet Fiber Merino Twist DK). A few things to note:
For Hunter’s sweater I used a dark MC (Marhsland), a light CC1 (Paper Birch), and a medium CC2 (Something Blue). Enough contrast to go around!
For Emily’s sweater I went with a light MC (Winter), and 2 dark contrasts (Marshland and Moss). I wanted the deep blue and green to mimic the sea. While both the contrast colours are darker, the green is saturated and vivid, letting it shine next to the blue. The pattern really pops!
For Eric’s toque I went with the same palette as Hunter’s sweater but in a different way, lighter background color, dark CC1, and a medium CC2
For Bodhi’s toque I chose a darker background (Sea Glass), a light CC1 (Canary), and a medium/dark CC2 (Spanish Coin), a good mix of light and dark, neutral and colourful, making for a fun hat!
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!
More colourful knits from TCK
Now that we have whet your appetite for the open road, how about a knit to get you started? Road Trip is now available for pre-order, Clayoquot is ready for your instant gratification, and the Clayoquot hat pattern is FREE!
About the Book
Road trip has 14 knits inspired by the open road, including 4 seamless sweaters and 10 delicious accessories all sized from baby to big. This collection of nostalgic back country knits came from our love of a good road trip. Pack your yarn and needles and hit the road with us!
Road Trip is available for pre-order!
The Ebook:Pre-order the ebook now for just $16 (it will change to $18 upon release of the book, so get it while it’s hot!). You will receive the Clayoquot cardigan pattern right away and the full ebook will be sent to you in early October.
In Print: The print book is also available for pre-order now for $23 and you will also get the ecopy of the Clayoquot cardigan pattern right away, the full ebook in early October, and the print book will ship in mid October.
Clayoquot: Just want the Clayoquot cardigan? It is available now!
The Clayoquot cardigan was inspired by Mile 1 of the Trans Canada Highway, the pier in Tofino, BC. The beautiful blues and greens of the Pacific ocean waters and forest beyond are mimicked in the rich, deep colours of hand dyed Sweet Fiber yarns. We used Merino Twist DK, Emily’s cardigan is in ‘Winter’, ‘Marshland’ and ‘Moss’, while Hunter’s is ‘Marshland’, ‘Paper Birch’, and ‘Something Blue’.
To photograph the Clayoquot cardigan I took Hunter and Emily to the pier. They looked out into the vast Clayoquot Sound dressed in their matching sweaters. I’ve been to the west coast of Vancouver Island many times and there is always an inspiring sight to behold, I’ve seen protesters protecting the majestic forests, kayakers and paddle boarders heading out onto the water, Orca whales and black bears, and so much more. It is such a busy and vibrant place!
Clayoquot is *gasp* steeked! If steeking is new to you, fear not, we will be releasing a step by step tutorial to take the scary out of cutting your knitting coming up next week!
*Free* Clayoquot Hat Pattern!
You can also pick up your free Clayoquot hat pattern today. Need a little colourwork practice before embarking on a steeked sweater? This is the perfect ‘swatch’ to get your colour combination just right!
Cast on for a little colourwork today!
More knits inspired by a road trip to Tofino
Emily and I have been busy ladies this year. We brought two new babies into the world, Max and Bodhi (destined to be some sort of crime fighting duo with names like those), and we have been working on another baby, our fifth book, Road Trip: 14 knits inspired by the open road.
Read about our inspirations for this book, our traditions and our adventures, and check out a sneak preview of the delicious knits. We are launching the book very soon… hop on our email list and we’ll let you know when it’s ready!
::: roadtrips – a family tradition :::
I have always loved a good road trip. I think this love of the road dates back to family road trips we took when I was small. That’s me, peeking out of the back of our VW Van on my first camping trip in the Rocky Mountains. Hopping in the car with my parents, and not much later my brothers, there was a sense of adventure and endless possibilities. I would band together with my siblings, friends for the trip, and get to know my parents in a different light. Memorable conversations, sights, and experiences were guaranteed.
::: roadtripping in search of adventure :::
Emily is a woman of great adventure. She has taken many journeys across and around North America, by bus, car, and bicycle. She loves to head out into the hills with nothing but the pack on her back and always returns feeling refreshed and re-energized. Road trips are an excellent opportunity to go off the beaten path, venture out into the unknown, and to challenge yourself in new ways. They offer a chance to re-connect with yourself and think outside the box. You return home with a different perspective on life and renewed enthusiasm for projects… knitting or otherwise!
::: the romance of the open road :::
Road trips also offer a sense of romance. There is something very exciting about getting away with a new love. Long car chats, shared adventures, and romantic locales give you time to get to know one another without distractions. Sipping lattes at a quaint cafe, enjoying a pint in a rustic mountains pub, or taking a stroll down a wooded path are fond memories I hold. When I was a bit younger, I went on a road trip with my boyfriend. We enjoyed endless conversation about everything under the sun and it was then I knew I would marry that man. Seven years later I did, and Gary still loves a road trip as much as I do!
Now Gary and I take our three kids on the road and it is as great as I remember. We visit all of our favourite spots but they are somehow different. Seen through little eyes with boundless enthusiasm, everything old is new again. Their young sense of adventure makes me feel renewed.
::: Road Trip : 14 Knits Inspired by the Open Road :::
Road Trip is a book of designs inspired by all of these things, by nostalgia, romance and adventure, looking forward and back. Beautiful views from winding mountain passes to leisurely afternoons in quaint coffee shops. So grab your needles and yarn, pack up the car, and take your knitting on the road!
::: Road Trip is COMING SOON :::
For more details on the patterns and ordering stay tuned, announcements are coming soon!
In the mean time, tell us about your most memorable road trip! What are your favourite memories and experiences on the open road?
Sometimes knitting seems like a solitary hobby/habit/lifestyle, especially if you are missing the love of the LYS. Well, this summer there are 2 ways to keep in touch with knitters working on the same project as you! The Summer Sweater KAL is on at Very Shannon and Anna of Baaad Anna’s is hosting a Gramps Grown up KAL too!
First up, the Summer Sweater KAL. This will be my second time with the SSKAL, last year I whipped up an Antler sweater for Hunter that I love and an Urban Hiker for Jones. The Urban Hiker met with a rather unfortunate incident while blocking on the patio (a bird flew over…and unloaded on my sweater). It is waiting patiently by my dye pot to become a different (and darker) colour to this day.
This year, I’m upping my game. I’m knitting a Gramps in a grown up size for Bobby. I agreed to knit Bobby a sweater about 3 years ago when I knit a sweater for a baby shower for his little girl. I usually don’t knit sweaters for other grown people (except my mum) but he was just so smitten with the idea of matching hand knit sweaters I couldn’t resist! My intentions were good, but my free time is low so the sweater remained an idea until now. This SSKAL is the perfect kick in the bum to get me going!
My Gramps will be in Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in ‘Rainwater’ and I’m still undecided on the contrast (maybe ‘Twig’?).
Emily will be working on a Lush sweater again this year (who can get enough of that pattern?!). She is knitting it up her Rainbow Heirloom yarn in ‘Favourite Aunty’ and you can check out all the gritty details here.
You can find all the SSKAL details as well as the sign up info here. It started on July 30th and ends September 24th, follow along on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #sskal14 There will be prizes so make sure you sign up!
Baaad Anna’s is a very community oriented shop. There always seem to be knitters hanging out on her comfy couch, there are toys for the wee ones, and customers often appear on the blog, modeling their recent FO’s. Anna has been begging for the grown up Gramps for ages and when it finally arrived she was ready to start a KAL! To join along you can check out her Rav group here or Instagram and Twitter along with the hashtag #grampskal
More TCK sweater that would be perfect for a KAL:
Ever since we first released the Gramps pattern in 2011 (I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already!) we have had requests for this sweater in grown up sizes. Well the grown up Gramps is here at last! Now you can knit your adorable little grump and your more mature grump the very same sweater.
The original Gramps was inspired by the idea that wee babies look a lot like grandpas. They just have that grandpa face! It’s adorable to think about small children with little pockets for their pipes and elbow patches to cover years of wear and a generous shawl collar too! They look old and young, vintage and new, all at the same time. But what of the adults who love this look? Now we have something for them too!
I have always loved a shawl collar. It makes a sweater look casual and vintage. It conjures images of fireplaces, farmhouses, and newspapers for me. I can picture both my father and my grandfather in worn sweaters, sitting by the fire with their newspaper (I realize this comment is kind of dated in the digital age, an iPad would be more up-to-date but you get the picture!). This classic knit is oh so cozy, with details to keep you warm while looking cool.
Gramps is knit from the top down, shawl collar and button bands are picked up and pockets and elbow patches are sewn on last. To knit a Gramps of your own here are the materials:
Pattern: Gramps by Tin Can Knits
Yarn: We used Madelinetosh Vintage. Hunter is wearing size 2-4 in ‘robin red breast’ and ‘whiskey barrel’, Jones is wearing 6-12 mo in ‘whiskey barrel’ and ‘well water’, and Emily is wearing size S in ‘charcoal’ and ‘smoke’)
Needles: US #7 / 4.5mm and US #6 / 4.0 mm (or as req’d to meet gauge); baby – 6-8 yrs: 32”+ circ and DPNs in ea size
8-10 yrs – Ladies L: 40”+ circ and DPNs in ea size Ladies XL – 4XL: 47”+ circ and DPNs in ea size, plus 16” circ in larger size for upper sleeve
If you are daunted by raglan sweaters, short rows, or pockets you can check out our fabulous Gramps tutorial here. We will take you step by step through the sweater knitting process.
The only question is: Who will you be knitting up a Gramps sweater for?
More sweaters for wee ones and grown ones from TCK:
Vancouver has an abundance of wonderful yarn shops and in my job I get to frequent them all (it’s tough work but someone has to do it). Last weekend I had a great opportunity to hit the road with some knitterly friends and check out a few shops across the border: Churchmouse Yarn and Teas and Tolt Yarn and Wool in Washington. I arose at an awful hour, packed up Bodhi and away we went!
Our first stop was Churchmouse Yarns, a great little shop in a super cute neighborhood on Bainbridge Island. The ladies gushed over Bodhi while helping us with our yarny needs. I’ve been knitting with Brooklyn Tweed lately so I was drawn to their full collection of Shelter, all in a pretty cabinet display. There was recycled cashmere, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and Spin Cycle yarns to oggle too. I nabbed some great toggle buttons and some Shelter in Plum (might be a cabled cowl or scarf, not too sure yet… wheels are turning!).
Next stop was Tolt Yarn and Wool and I am just in love! The whole shop has a wonderful antique vibe with beautiful wood pieces to hold the pretty yarns. Not to mention the friendly and helpful staff, they treated us like knitting queens. Tolt carries some fantastic yarns that I haven’t seen too often including YOTH Yarns, Quince and Co, and Hazel Knits. I picked up a skein of the YOTH Yarns Big Sister DK (80/10/10 merino, cashmere, nylon) and Em picked up a whole sweater’s worth. I can’t wait to get it on the needles!
I first met Hazel Knits yarn at Vogue Knitting and have been petting the lovely skeins I bought there ever since. I knit Hunter a little sweater in their sock yarn and the colour depth is amazing. I wanted to take home the whole display but settled on enough ‘Emerald City’ for a Hunter sweater and the last skein of ‘Sedge’ because I had to have it!
The crew and I skipped down the road with our full bags to a little cafe for the best egg salad sandwich I have ever eaten then it was back on the road. A long but wonderful day. Thanks again to Ashley for organizing and to Em and Tabitha for being fun car-mates!
Where do you go on your yarny adventures out of town?
TCK patterns perfect for YOTH Yarns
Well, it’s been a little over a month and I’m finally writing about Bodhi! Those of you who follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter have seen her around, she has already had her first flight and her first camping trip. She has modeled her first sweater and smiled her first smile. She rolled over (it was a couch assist so I’m not sure it was for real) and she likes to look at her dangling toys. She’s a pretty easy kid and is adapting well to the chaos that is our home.
The best part about having 3 kids is their relationship as siblings. They love, they fight, and they play together. Hunter was instantly in love with Bodhi and we called her mama Hunter for a while. I think Hunter held her more than anyone else for the first 3 days of her life. Jones was a little more apprehensive about this new little creature in his home. He missed having the full attention of his big sister. Now that everyone is used to having a wee sister here, Jones has come around. Each morning he greet her with a surfer dude ‘hey Bodes!’. Hilarious.
And what of Bodhi’s knit wardrobe you ask?! I will start with the 2 littlest sweaters. I knit her this lovely Flax when I first found out I was pregnant. It is the wonderful Cashmerino Worsted from Sweet Fiber in ‘Ecru’ and I eked it out of 1 skein (it was dicey but I managed). I was especially happy to have this wee sweater when we took the family on a camping trip in the Rocky Mountains. Bodhi was snug as a bug!
This little number is an Antler sweater I knit in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted ‘riptide’ and it is a hand-me-down from Jonesie. It fit Jones for about 5 minutes after I finished knitting it (I started it after he was born) and it was pristine for Bodes. I put it on her yesterday in the heat of summer for a few quick pics and she took it like a champ. Welcome Bodhi and may there be many delicious knits in your future!
Is there a new baby in your life? What are you knitting for the shower?
More yummy baby knits from TCK