As a photographer and mum I take a lot of pictures of my kids. The thing that they will note as they grow is that a lot of those pictures have knitting in them! Hunter was our very first model at TCK and over the last few years the knit community has watched her grow from a sleepy little newborn to a big girl of four. Without further ado, I bring you Hunter in knits:
There you have it, the evolution of our little model! From unisex baby model to smiley pig-tailed sweater model! Thanks for being mummy’s big helper and an all around fabulous kid my Huntress.
More knits modeled by Hunter:
Summer holiday means a bit more time for leisure. Whether it’s a weekend mini-break or a relaxing month spent at the cottage, us knitters often prioritize our projects when we pack up to hit the road.
Whether it’s a simple satisfying take-along project, or something grander, we’ve usually got something on the needles.
Travel Knits: memories in every stitch
I often find that knits created on holiday encapsulate a memory and bring me back to a special time and place. They are beloved keepsakes; souvenirs created as I watched the scenery out a train window, laughed late at night with distant friends and family, or soaked up the sun in a foreign square.
In 2011 I was on the brink of my adventure to Scotland, and to say goodbye to Canada I took the greyhound cross country, visiting friends I hadn’t seen in ages. While I rolled on over the vast continent, I worked on the Branching Out shawl. I remember sitting at my friends kitchen table in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and charting out several lace options. Then, as the landscaped passed on the way to Montreal, knitting and knitting for hours. Every time I look at that shawl, I remember that adventure.
I designed the Lush cardigan while on a visit to Vancouver Island. The bulk of the knitting happened on Labour Day weekend. I sat on a pristine beach on Vargas Island, a tiny little island accessible only by boat, near Tofino. My sister and friends and I spent three days there, camping on the beach, swimming, fishing, and cooking gourmet food over the campfire (you’ll never imagine how much butter and garlic were required for our 3-day trip!). Lounging in the sand, soaking up the sun, I knit, knit, knit. At the end of an unforgettable weekend we headed home, and I wasn’t sure that I’d ever get the campfire smell out of that sweater!
When my husband John and I honeymooned in Greece and Italy, I wanted to work on something very special just for me, that I could have forever as a keepsake of that time. So I knit a gigantic stole-sized Thistle in beautiful DK weight angora from Bigwigs Angora. I knit in the hotel room in Athens, on the beach in Aegina, and in a sunny square in Rome. Luckily, John enjoys reading and lounging when he’s on holiday, so my knitting didn’t cramp his style!
I bet if you think about the things you have knit, many of them will hold a story, a distinct memory of the place or time it was made, and maybe the way you felt or who you were at the time. Do you have a knit that holds a story within? We would love to hear it! Share it in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Summer Holiday Knits
Are you headed an adventure this summer? We’ve got a few suggestions for what project to pack.
For something classic and simple, I’d suggest the Paddle mitts. They make an excellent gifts, and fly off the needles. We made them in a Hudson’s Bay inspired palette, due to our ever-growing love of Canadiana!
If simple knits are your jam, take the Viewfinder cowl along – it’s light as a feather, and perfect for that lovely skein of laceweight you’ve been saving. Alexa photographed this one on her family road trip to the Rockies, overlooking the pristine waters of Lake Louise.
Perhaps you have bigger ambitions? While you road trip across the continent or settle in to the rhythm of life at the cabin a patchwork blanket like Vivid, Fly Away or Pop might be the perfect piece-by-piece knit for you.
Hats are probably my favourite sort of project for travel knitting. When I was visiting Dublin to teach at This Is Knit last month, I made this Stovetop hat for a new little friend!
Our ebooks are a lightweight way to bring your knitting library with you!
There are LOTS of ways to work a provisional cast on, I find this method a little less fussy than the crochet chain method, although both work just fine. I find lefties are concerned this method won’t work for them, but I assure you it is a 2 handed process (just like knitting), you don’t need to work anything differently.
You will need: a crochet hook, your needle, waste yarn
Note: the size of the crochet hook doesn’t matter, the tension of your cast on is determined by your needle, not the hook.
Step 1: Using waste yarn wake a slip knot and place it over the hook
Step 2: place your needle to the left of your crochet hook with the yarn UNDER the needle
Step 3: move your hook OVER the needle, grab the yarn with your hook and pull it through the slip knot on the hook
Step 4: Once you are finished pulling through the loop, the yarn will be OVER the needle. To put it in position to work the next next stitch you need to bring it BETWEEN the needle and the hook so it is again UNDER the needle.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the desired number of sts are on your needle (do not include the st on the crochet hook). Once the last st has been cast on leave the yarn where it is (do not more it under the needle)
Step 5: with your hook, grab the yarn and pull a loop through the loop on the crochet hook
Work step 5 a few times – you are creating a small crochet chain that will help you when you are un-picking the provisional cast on.
Now that all of your sts have been cast on you can start working with the yarn for your project. If you are working in the round, your work will not be joined in the round until the second round.
NOTE: The first round after this type of provisional cast on should be knit or purled. If you work ribbing or a pattern stitch it will be difficult to un-pick the provisional cast on (it will work but it doesn’t ‘unzip’ easily like it does if the first row/round is entirely knit or entirely purled)
So you have worked your provisional cast on (either this one or this one) and you are ready for step 2: unpicking your provisional cast on and putting the live sts on the needles.
Unpicking the provisional cast on and putting sts back on the needles:
Step 1: Unpick the knot in your crochet chain and start to unravel.
Step 2: Start picking up sts. You can either insert your needle first, then pull the provisional cast on loop out, or you can pull the provisional cast on loop out first and pick up the hanging live st.
There you have it! Continue picking up sts and un-picking the provisional cast on until you have them all. Sometimes there is one fewer stitch than you cast on, even though you don’t have any dropped sts. This happens because the pick up is actually 1/2 stitch off and it’s easy to miss the first one. Not to worry, just increase by 1 st on the next row.
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Patterns that use the provisional cast on:
People often ask how Alexa and I balance our business with motherhood. I’m not sure how Alexa has managed so well all these years, but I can now tell you how I’ve enjoyed / survived the first year. I will admit up-front that compressing my full time job (Tin Can Knits) plus the running of a new business (Rainbow Heirloom) into a part-time schedule worked around a new and demanding little family member has not been easy!
Motherhood (and/or being an entrepreneur)… it’s heavy lifting
A few weeks after Max was born, I decided that the term for my new normal would be ‘heavy lifting’. Motherhood was clearly going to be heavy lifting, and keeping the wheels turning at Tin Can Knits and Rainbow Heirloom at the same time was going to require more of the same.
On the upside, I was able to work while Max was sleeping away, contented as a bean (I rocked the moses basket with one foot as I typed). Although working through my ‘maternity period’ was essentially required (Alexa had Bodhi at the same time, and there was no way we could both take a year off), I also enjoyed the pleasure of continuing my work, which I understand is something that some women miss.
It has also been a HUGE pleasure to have my own baby ‘in the book’. Photographing our designs on my precious little peanut brought a whole new sense of poignancy about the process for me. Becoming a mother made me understand the pleasure of these little knits in a real, emotional way that I hadn’t before.
just strap the baby on and go
Outside of some amateur dramatics, Max has been a trooper, a very accommodating ‘take-along’ baby. At 12 weeks, he came to Yarndale, where he slept under the table while I signed books, breastfed while I chatted business to industry contacts, and charmed the socks off hundreds of knitters!
At the Edinburgh Yarn Festival I built up the display booth with a (grumbling) little one strapped to my back. He’s travelled miles too, visiting Canada, Holland, and Spain – such a big carbon footprint for a little dude.
thanks for the support!
I have been very lucky as my husband John has taken the last 6 months in paternity leave to spend time with Max and do some software development from home. It has been a pleasure for John to share Max’s baby days, and allowed me half time working hours without the anxiety or cost of outside childcare.
It has also been crucial having Alexa (aka the best business partner in the world) in my corner, understanding, hard-working and uncomplaining as she wrangled her own new baby number 3!
let’s raise a glass to the moms and dads everywhere
Max’s party is a spanish tapas themed affair, so I’ll be enjoying sangria and home-made ice cream cake because there’s no such thing as Dairy Queen here in the UK (why?! I don’t know). I’ll be celebrating little Max, but I’ll also be celebrating me, because it’s been a big year, and I’m proud I made it!
This year is the year of the sweater here at Tin Can Knits! In case you hadn’t heard, we are knitting 12 sweaters in 2015. The rules are loose (this is knitting after all, who needs rules?!), they can be big or little, you can finish sweaters you started years ago, and sleeve length is up to you!
There is a Ravelry group here and all the details of our KAL are spelled out here.
Are you ready for this: I have FINISHED 12 sweaters. *Alexa takes a bow and thanks you all for your applause*. It’s July. The only trouble is, a few of them are designs that I can’t show you…yet! Here are a few of the ones I can show you:
I know, I know, I’ve been a little obsessed with the Flax sweater. I have knit 5 already this year! It’s really just the most perfect baby present. Quick and simple but very effective. I’ve also finished one for me! It is blocking now so I will be doing some modelling in the near future. And in case you didn’t know, Flax is a free pattern!
I didn’t just start sweaters, and they aren’t all kiddie ones! I finished this Grace sweater, by Jane Richmond, in Sweet Fiber Sweet Merino Lite. I started this sweater with the intentions of finishing it for Knit City…2013! Well I finally put on the button band and the sleeves in time for Mothers Day this year.
Emily has also been clicking her knitting needles to get to her sweater goal in 2015. She is in the same boat as I am, not being able to show you ALL the sweaters she’s knit so far, but here are a few highlights.
Even though I have achieved my sweater goal I’m not nearly done! I still have 3 sweaters for me on the needles (Prairie Fire, Windswept, and Antler), yarn wound up for September sweaters for the kids (more Flax, I can’t get enough!), I was thinking some Christmas sweaters (knitters have to think ahead) and more designs of course. What can I say, I’ve caught the sweater bug!
So how are your 12 sweaters in 2015 coming?
More sweaters from TCK
Alexa and I love designing enjoyable knits. What do we love even more? Publishing free patterns that are accessible to everybody, making them perfect for sharing and teaching knitting. You’ve probably heard about The Simple Collection, 8 modern free patterns with in-depth tutorials, but you might not have seen some of our other free patterns.
So if you’re looking to save a little cash, or try out a new technique without too much commitment, you know where to find fabulous free patterns! Our free patterns go through the same rigorous process as our pay patterns, you can count on the same concise pattern writing, thorough testing and technical editing. Browse our website, and look for the patterns with the asterisk in the photo… that means FREE!
Conquer colourwork with three free patterns:
These adorable little hats and ornaments are great learner projects. Sized for the entire family, they make perfect gifts too! If you’re not quite sure where to start, look at our tutorials on how to knit fair-isle, choosing a colour palette, and how to read knitting charts.
Learn to love lace with two free patterns:
Here at Tin Can Knits we love lace. Yup, we really love it. And we want to share this love with you! We’ve got a great beginner’s lace tutorial, and an in-depth look at how to read knitting charts. So grab a free pattern and get started today!
Overcome your fear of cables with these free patterns:
Cables aren’t as hard as you think. As the game of thrones enthusiasts love to say: “Winter Is Coming” (of course it does every year), so cast on for a cushy cabled hat today! If it’s your first time, check out our tutorial on how to cable.
New knits all the time…
If you love free patterns, you should get our email updates! We’ll tell you about new designs, great sales, and excellent tutorials as they are launched. This post has featured just a few of our free patterns, browse through the others on Ravelry, or on our website. Please help us continue to provide these great resources by sharing this post with your friends, and joining the chat on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!
Is there a specific technique you’d like to learn next? Let us know in the comments, and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.
Free Patterns from TCK:
You may be feeling the heat of summer (in places that have hot summers, sighs Emily in the cool of Edinburgh), but we’re always thinking ahead to quick knits for fall and winter. Formerly Emily’s Chunky Cable hat, Northward is a super quick chunky cable hat, now sized from baby to big, and fabulously free!
Northward: simple cushy cables
Northward Project Details :::
Pattern: Free Pattern – download now!
Sizing: baby (child, adult S/M, L); fits head 14 (17, 20, 23) inches around
Yarn: 70 (80, 100, 120) yds worsted / aran wt yarn. Shown in Madelinetosh Home in ‘charcoal’ and ‘tart’
Needles: US #9 / 5.5mm 16” circular and US #10.5 / 6.5mm 16” circular and DPNs, baby size worked entirely on DPNs
Gauge: 14 sts & 20 rounds / 4” in stockinette on larger needles
Notions: stitch marker, cable needle, darning needle
Is it time to tackle cables?
I always say that cables are the best kept secret in knitting! They look impressive, but to be honest, basic cables aren’t that much more difficult than your standard knit and purl. We’ve got a step-by-step tutorial here, so just download Northward and cast on now!
Do you teach knitting?
If you’re teaching a beginners cable class, the Northward pattern or the Antler Hat pattern are ideal free patterns to base your class upon. You are always welcome use Tin Can Knits free (or paid) patterns for teaching, that’s what they’re designed for! Would you like to learn more about our free patterns and tutorials? Get our email updates so you don’t miss out on the new designs and subscriber-only specials.
Other cozy cable projects by TCK: