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Fly Away Blanket : a modern hand knit quilt

April 16, 2015

Little MaxAlexa has been a mother for 4+ years now, but I am new to this.  One of the most vivid moments I remember about the first days was bringing Max home from the hospital.  A song came on the radio, some generic cheesy love song about ‘always loving you’, etc.  The hormones hit me like a tonne of bricks, I thought, “one day he will grow up and leave me”, and tears streamed down my cheeks.

The crazy (or comical) thing is that a couple weeks later, I was speaking to my Mom on the phone, and without having heard my story, she spoke about driving me home from the hospital, hearing a love song, and having the exact same thought, “one day she will grow up and leave me”, and blubbing her way home.

This spooky identical experience makes me feel like I can’t escape biology and genetics (and becoming my mother).  Are we actually the same person, 30 years apart in time?  As a young person I always felt so different and independent from my parents, but as I age I am forced to admit to myself time and time again how similar I am.

Fly Away Blanket

Bodhi trying to escape from underneath this smooshy squishy garter blanket!

This blanket is named Fly Away both for the motif which is taken from ‘flying geese’ blocks in quilting, and for the bittersweet fact that babies grow up and fly away one day.  Aesthetically it was inspired by some of the fabulous modern quilts I have been seeing on Instagram lately.  I love the bold colours and crisp geometries and wanted to make something like that happen in knitting.

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This striking geometrical design is perfect for the newest addition to your family.  The garter stitch is squishy, cozy, warm and cuddly.  It is also a lovely gift for a grown-up babe who is ‘flying away’ to college, furnishing a new home, or starting a family of their own.  Because the design is modular, you can make it larger or smaller, or knit it in any weight of yarn.

Fly Away Blanket Kit

Order your Fly Away blanket kit by Rainbow Heirloom now – there are three striking modern colourways.

As some of you may know, one of my side projects, when I’m not designing for Tin Can Knits (or taking care of my new little fellow Max) is a hand-dyed yarn line called Rainbow Heirloom.  I’m partial to really vivid colours that really POP, and ideal pairings of design and yarn, and this is what Rainbow Heirloom is focused on.  You can order kits to make the Fly Away blanket here.

These garter-stitch squares are ‘potato chip knitting’… simply, satisfying, and you just want to knit (eat) one more… They are portable and easy to work at knit night, on transit, or while watching TV.  Bit by bit your stack of squares will grow.

Because Fly Away is knit in squares, when you lay out the blanket you have a vast array of options for design!  You can create arrows, diamonds, symmetry or asymmetry.  I suggest you lay out the blanket in a few different ways, take photos, and play around until you have a layout that pleases you.

Fly Away Blanket

Try a few different layouts before choosing the one you like best.

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Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe: 6 new knits all about the babes!

Fly Away is one of the 6 designs in Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe, our newest collection that we are launching one design at a time.  Revel in the surprise and get special preorder pricing of $14 before the last pattern is released!

Max & Bodhi’s Pattern Launch Dates:

  • April 02 – Playdate Cardigan, already live
  • April 16 – Fly Away Blankie, get it today!
  • April 30, May 14, May 28, and June 11 2015 … 4 more delicious new designs!

Want to knit along with us?  Join in the KAL on the Tin Can Knits Ravelry Group.  There’s support, camaraderie, and PRIZES…

If you don’t already get our email updates, now is the time to join!  We’ll tell you as new patterns launch, and share our tips and tricks for beautiful finished projects.

Patchwork Blankets by Tin Can Knits:


9M-dogwood-tmbTCK-POPblanket-tmb-bHUK-vivid-tmb-b

Fly Away Blanket : tips and techniques

April 16, 2015

The Fly Away Blankie is a great big simple and satisfying knitting project.  The pattern is VERY simple, but I’d like to share a couple tips and tricks to share which should make the project go more smoothly.

Fly Away Blanket

Simply squishy garter squares make up this bold modern blanket, the second design from Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe.

First gather up your yarn.  I recommend using a single main colour for the background of the blanket, but you can use odds and ends for the contrast colour stripes.  Or splurge out and order a custom-designed kit from Rainbow Heirloom.

Rainbow Heirloom Fly Away Blanket Kit

Fly Away blanket kits from Rainbow Heirloom… check out all three delicious rainbows!

The blanket was designed in a heavy DK / light worsted weight yarn but it can be knit in any weight of yarn, as it is a modular design.  If you knit it in a different weight simply use needles appropriate to your yarn, and knit a square or two to test what the finished size of the squares will be, and the yardage required for each square.

Top Tips for the Fly Away Blanket

  • Leave long tails for seaming at start and end of each square, and at the CC stripe.
  • Weave in the other ends as you go to make for less finishing at the end!
  • Play with the blanket layout before starting to seam it together
  • Sew the blanket squares together kinda loosely, with RS facing
  • Pick up along the edges (rather than picking up and knitting) for a tidy edge

Get Started Knitting Your first Square

You knit in MC yarn to a certain point, then change to CC yarn to begin the stripe.  Leave a 6 inch tail on the CC yarn, and as you knit the first row in CC, weave in your MC yarn tail while you are knitting.

Fly Away Blanket Square

How To Weave In Yarn Tails as you Knit

Insert the RH needle into the stitch on the LH needle.  BEFORE you wrap the working yarn around the RH needle tip to knit the stitch, you will throw the yarn tail OVER the working yarn (so it wraps around the working yarn). Then complete the stitch.  Repeat, always throwing the yarn tail over the working yarn before working each stitch.

 

 

I usually do this for 10-12 stitches, or a couple of inches, before dropping the yarn tail and continuing to knit normally to the end of the row.  Then I cut the yarn tail fairly close to the work.  Voila – one less tail to weave in later!

When I complete the CC stripe, and switch back to MC yarn, I weave in both the MC and CC ends at the same time.  Upon completing the square, I leave a long tail for seaming.

Fly Away Blanket

The result is a square with a long MC tail at start and end, and a single CC tail at one side.  The CC tail is useful if you are seaming CC to CC, because then the seaming yarn doesn’t create a contrasting line.

Choose a Blanket Layout

You may have already developed a concept before you began to knit, but if not, get started playing around with your squares, arranging them into different layouts.  There are a wide range of designs that can be created.  If you take photos of each before you rearrange the squares, you can look back and compare one layout to another.

Fly Away Blanket

Once you’ve completed your squares, try a few different layouts before choosing the one you like best.

How to Seam the Garter Stitch Squares Together

To seam the squares together, I laid them out and sewed the squares into pairs first, then sewed the pairs one to the next.

Fly Away Blanket

Use a blunt yarn needle, and the long MC yarn tails that I had left at the start and end of the square.  With the right sides of the work facing, simply insert the needle under a purl bump on one side, then the corresponding purl bump on the other square.  Tighten the seam up gently as you go, leaving it somewhat loose.  When seaming a CC stripe to another CC stripe, use the CC yarn tail.

How to Pick up Stitches along a Garter Stitch Edge

To work the edging, you will use a really long circular needle (or two shorter needles if you don’t have a really long one), and pick up stitches along each square.  I suggest you do this without the working yarn, just using a needle.  This technique is called ‘picking up’, rather than the technique used more commonly, which is called ‘picking up and knitting’.  Work from left to right along the edge, inserting the LH needle tip through the purl bumps at the edge of each square.

 

 

After you’ve joined your edging yarn and worked the border, all you need to do is weave in your remaining ends and block your finished blanket.  Then find somebody cute to cuddle up with underneath!

Fly Away Blanket

Check out the wide range of useful tutorials on our website, and get our email updates to learn more!

Tin Can Knits Tutorials

We’ve got loads of fabulous in-depth tutorials and technique posts…

Baby Show Winners!

April 14, 2015

Thanks so much to everyone who entered our #TCKbabyshow contest! Out of a couple hundred entries it was quite the challenge to choose the winners!

Without further ado here they are:

Most hilarious: This was definitely my favorite category! We have 2 winners and each will receive a skein of the fabulous Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock in ‘sea glass’

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Most Hilarious by @jesieost

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Most Hilarious by @rusty_flowers

Classically adorable: I know, babies are really all adorable but we had to choose! Winner of Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe is:

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Classic Adorable @crazed4crafts

Best Vintage Baby Knit: Thanks for digging out those old pics! I also couldn’t choose just 1 winner. The winners of Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe are:

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Vintage Baby Knits from @housefullofjays

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Vintage Baby Knits from @femmemayhem

Best in Show: Winner of 2 luscious skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label Cashmere Sock had our all around fave pic is:

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Best In Show from @saraknitsalot

And a couple of adorable honorable mentions go to my aunt @tessaweinrath and @tanisfiberarts for a couple of great pics:

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Baby Rowan in a vintage peach onesie!

This is my grandmother in a cute hand knit sweater circa 1930!

This last one is my grandmother circa 1930 looking cute in a hand knit sweater!

For more fun join us on Ravelry for our 12 sweater challenge or for our Max and Bodhi’s KAL!

The Baby Show – #TCKbabyshow

April 9, 2015
The Baby Show

A scene from BBC’s Call the Midwife… 1950s babies on display with colour-coordinated mums.  So much adorable vintage knitwear!

While Alexa and I don’t advocate baby pageants, we do love baby photos… the more ridiculous the better, why take babies too seriously?!

As we knit our way through Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe, we thought it was a perfect time to pull out the baby photos, and we want to see yours too!  So we’re having a fabulous baby + knits photo contest on Instagram… starting now, and ending at the end of day Sunday, April 12th.

Check out that hairline baby! That's Alexa in front of a lovely hand knit blanket circa 1984

Check out that hairline baby! That’s Alexa in front of a lovely hand knit blanket circa 1984

TO ENTER… simply post a photo on Instagram that’s about baby + knitting (you need to have an account, but setting one up is easy and free), and tag it @tincanknits and  #TCKbabyshow.  If you want, you can post more than one!  It doesn’t have to have an actual baby in it (you can just post your knits), but we love to see their chubby little faces.  Children are adorable too, it doesn’t have to be JUST wee babes.

My mum knit me this jumper in 'popcorn' stitch (she used 1 big needle and 1 small needle)

My mum knit me this jumper in ‘popcorn’ stitch (she used 1 big needle and 1 small needle)

CATEGORIES… Emily and Alexa will be the judges!  With 4 babies between us, we consider ourselves experts in the field of baby and knit related hilarity.  We’ll select winners in the following categories, and share them on the blog next week!

  • Most Hilarious
  • Classically Adorable
  • Best Vintage Baby Knit (pull out those old photos of you in scratchy woollies!)
  • Best in Show… our all-round favourite photo from the bunch!
Grumpy

Grumpy

PRIZES… WE LOVE PRIZES… There’ll be 2 yarn prizes, and 3 book prizes, so post your fav photos now!

1. 2 skeins of Supersweet Sock from Sweet Fiber in ‘Sea Glass’

2. 2 skeins of Purple Label Cashmere Sock from Tanis Fiber Arts

3 and 4. An ecopy of Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe

 

My mum knit this cardigan for me too! With a little help from a co-worker... (PS how hilarious is my Dad in the 80's?!)

My mum knit this cardigan for me too! With a little help from a co-worker… (PS how hilarious is my Dad in the 80’s?!)

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few that Alexa and I picked to set the mood…

Antler Cardigan

Most hilarious cute photo of Max (he’s wearing an Antler cardi)… I just love his satisfied smile.

Tin Can Knits on Instagram

One of our favourite ways to share our designs is through the photo-sharing community Instagram.  Instagram is designed to be used on your phone or tablet, but you can get a sense of what kind of photos we share by looking at our feed here.

Tin Can Knits Instagram

We share photos of what we’re knitting, new designs, and lovely yarns!

Some of our favourite knits for little ones:


 

Studio Field Trip!

April 6, 2015

what will become of this gorgeousness? Who knows....

A week ago I had an awesome opportunity: a golden ticket to see the Sweet Fiber dye studio! I got to see where Melissa works her magic and even help experiment with a new colorway!

skeins all in a row

pretty skeins all in a row

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The Studio

Checking out the Sweet Fiber dye studio was awesome. I got to see Melissa’s set up, check out the many skeins of freshly dyed yarn hanging, see her dyes all lined up in a neat row. I asked about a million questions (which she patiently answered) and here is my favorite quote:

“The important thing is that each skein is beautiful, that’s what really matters”

I think this really speaks to me as a knitter. Knitting, to me, is wearable art and we are trying to create something beautiful and unique. The fact that knitting is also often useful only adds to the greatness of it! Dying yarn for Melissa is the same way. Each skein is a unique piece and she dyes each skein by hand, making sure all of her yarn and colorways meet her high standards.

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After talking a bit about her colors, I got to try some dying of my own! I mostly just gave a little input, throwing in my love of oceans, greens, and blues. Melissa took it from there!

what will become of this gorgeousness? Who knows....

what will become of this gorgeousness? Who knows….

The Yarn

I have long been a fan of Melissa’s subtle and beautiful colorways. As an Emily Carr graduate she uses her love of color and art to influence her pallette. I think of her colors as sort of a deep, mature, rainbow. I’m most recently obessed with her greens.

moss

chartreuse

olive

I can’t remember when I discovered her beautiful yarn, but I have been hooked every since. Her Cashmerino 20 and Cashmerino Worsted are currently some of my favorite yarns to work with. Buttery soft with an amazing depth of color. Our newest pattern Playdate is knit up in the Cashmerino 20 and let me tell you what a treat it is to knit with! I went a little Cashmerino crazy over Christmas so I’m also working on an Apple Pie hat and Hunter’s newest Flax sweater is in Olive.

The Designs

Melissa's Bedford Cowl in Cashmerino Worsted in 'marshland'

Melissa’s Bedford Cowl in Cashmerino Worsted in ‘marshland’

Melissa is also a designer, and while I rarely have time to work from other designers patterns (something I am always hoping to correct!), I made time for her Greystone hat and Bedford cowl.

yarn becoming a deep grey

yarn becoming a deep grey

It was great to get out of the ‘office’ and see yarn in the wild! It is nice to see where those beautiful colors come from and inspiring to think what patterns I will work on next in this lovely yarn! Thanks for a great day Melissa!

More great TCK pattern in Sweet Fiber yarn

Playdate

April 2, 2015

New mummies everywhere are pulling out their calendars and planning a playdate with the baby down the block.  This classic cardigan is just right for putting your best foot forward with a new friend!

We set out to create the perfect piece for any wardrobe, baby or big, and the thought of matching baby and daddy cardigans didn’t hurt either.

Playdate Cardigan

Playdate is sized for mamas & papas too!

Why does every baby need this cardi?  Layering is perfect for babies, and with a casual drop shoulder design in sock weight yarn, this sweater fits the bill.  Knit up in a lovely wool it is light but warm, a baby wardrobe must!

Playdate Cardigan

Max’s ‘smart face’

Playdate Pattern Details

Playdate Cardigan PatternPlaydate is the first instalment from Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe: A Tin Can Knits Club.  The collection has 6 designs, and 3 size up to adult!  They are modern, seamless, unisex and fun-to-knit… just what you expect from Tin Can Knits.

To get the pattern you can pre-order the ebook or the print + ebook here.  You will get the Playdate cardigan pattern right away, and a new pattern will be sent to you every 2 weeks.  Pattern Launch Dates: April 02, April 16, April 30, May 14, May 28, and June 11 2015.

Not keen on the surprise?  Just wait and see as the designs are released.  All the patterns will be available individually once the final pattern has been released.

Playdate Cardigan

Our samples are knit up in Sweet Fiber Cashmerino 20 in ‘Canary’, ‘Sea Glass’ and ‘Spanish Coin’.

Sweet Fiber Cashmerino 20, luxuriously soft and baby-tested!

For Playdate we had the pleasure of using Sweet Fiber Cashmerino 20, and the results are luxurious! This yarn is buttery soft with the amazing depth of colour that Sweet Fiber is known for.  A treat for a tiny new person, or for yourself.  Melissa is currently selling her Cashmerino 20 in all of her gorgeous colorways here, hurry!

Max and Bodhi had a great time together when we photographed this collection.  They played nice most of the time...

Max and Bodhi had a great time together when we photographed this collection. They played nice most of the time…

Playdate by Tin Can Knits

But all playdates go bad in the end…

A Max & Bodhi Knit Along

Interested in knitting along with Max & Bodhi’s wardrobe?  Join our KAL group on Ravelry.  Each completed project gets you an entry into a draw for some fab prizes!

As we launch the upcoming patterns from the collection, we’ll also be sharing new tips, techniques, and some funny baby stories too.  The best way to stay in touch is to get our emails, but we also love to share 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 Tin Can Knits on Ravelry

More delicious baby things from TCK:


Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe – 6 knits all about the babes!

April 1, 2015
Max & Bodhi's Wardrobe

Max and Bodhi are looking kinda chilly! They need some new warm woolies!

Last Summer Alexa and I welcomed two new little darlings into the Tin Can Knits family, and decided it was definitely time for a new baby collection!  A lot of tiny knits and some crazy photoshoots later, we bring you Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe – On Thursday April 2, you can pre-order the ebook and will receive the first pattern!

Disclaimer… no babies were ACTUALLY harmed in the making of this book!  This, of course is the perspective of Alexa and I… but Max and Bodhi may disagree.  There were some intense moments:

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Crocodile tears… and lots of smiles!

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The stars of the collection had some bad hair days… and some good hair days!

Get Ready for Delicious Little Surprises:

MB-flyaway-preview-BTake pleasure in the anticipation, and joy in the surprise!  We are launching these lovely baby knits one at a time, starting this Thursday, April 2nd.  Every second week you will get a special new pattern, in time to cast on for the weekend!

Max & Bodhi’s Pattern Launch Dates:
April 02, April 16, April 30, May 14, May 28, and June 11 2015

Surprises are fun, so we’re keeping these designs super secret until they are launched, but what can we tell you for sure?

6 Adorable New Patterns:

Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe contains 6 designs, and 3 of them size up from baby to big… so you can knit an adorable matching sets for you and your wee one.  There will be:

  • something to keep tiny toes toasty
  • something to keep you and your little one snuggled up warm
  • something to keep little baldy heads cozy
  • classic woolies to keep you (and your darling) looking smart on your first playdate
  • something to clothe those adorable little baby butts!

MB-flyaway-preview-APlaydate by Tin Can Knitsbaby butts

Two Ways to Buy:

Max & Bodhi's WardrobeYou can get your ebook on Thursday, April 2nd, when the first pattern is released!

On Thursday, April 2 you can Pre-order the ebook for only $14 (it goes up to $16 when the final pattern is launched!), and you will receive the PDF patterns one at a time as they are released.  In addition you will get the complete ebook PDF on June 11th, once the final pattern drops.

Max & Bodhi’s Pattern Launch Dates:
April 02, April 16, April 30, May 14, May 28, and June 11 2015

Prefer a print book?  Starting on Thursday April 02, you can pre-order the print + ebook for $18 plus shipping.  You will receive the PDF patterns one at a time, the complete ebook PDF on June 11th, and your print book will ship out to you in mid-June too.

If you’re not 100% sure that this baby collection will be über adorable and fun-to-knit… then you probably just don’t know us very well!  But seriously, you can simply wait and see if you like the patterns as they are launched.

Hazel Knits is just one of the gorgeous yarns in this collection!

Hazel Knits is just one of the gorgeous yarns in this collection!

Join in … we’re hosting a KAL with some fabulous prizes!

The main ‘prize’ of any knit-along is the act of sharing stories and inspirations with your fellow knitters… but some lovely yarn and book prizes don’t hurt either!  All the details, and the KAL itself will begin on Thursday April 2nd on the Tin Can Knits Ravelry group.  You can also watch as we share little teasers, and drooly (droolworthy?) baby photos on social media:

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates Tin Can Knits on Ravelry

There is also a wee something in Sweet Fiber Yarns coming!

There is also a wee something in Sweet Fiber Yarns coming!

New Tips, Tutorials and Stories

These new designs will be accompanied by some new technique tutorials, and some heartfelt and humorous posts about family, and the love that we all put into our hand knits.  We’re also going to tell you about the talented hand-dyers who made the lovely yarns. If you’d like to follow along, make sure to get our email updates.

Other Tin Can Knits Collections:


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