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Baby Knits 101

March 27, 2015

When I knit my first baby sweater for Hunter I didn’t know very much about knitting for babies. It was a yellow February Baby Sweater (pattern by EZ) and it was a fabulous bright yellow. I brought it to knit night to show it off and a woman told me I shouldn’t have knit yellow, it looks terrible on babies and brings out their jaundice…it was a bit crushing.

Since then Emily and I have produced four little ones between us and while that woman was wrong (all my littles look just fine in yellow) Em and I have learned a thing or two about knitting for babies. Here are our words of wisdom!

Always knit a size up!

Always knit a size up!

1. Size Up

Just knit one tiny sweater. One sweater that will fit them in those first days when you show your babe off to everyone. Then knit everything 1 size bigger than you think. Projects don’t always get finished in the timely fashion you intend and babies grow, just knit the size up and you’ll be fine.

LOOOOONG cuffs for toddler mittens

LOOOOONG cuffs for toddler mittens

2. Long Cuffs for Mittens

This one is more for toddlers but knit the cuffs long. Really long. They need to go almost to the elbow so that the mitten stays on that tiny little hand, and keeps cold and snow from getting at them.

Prairie Fire

Short sleeve sweaters are awesome!

3. Short Sleeved Sweaters are Awesome

Babies are all about the layers. They need their little arms free to flail about and they are always wearing a onesie under everything. Short sleeved sweaters keep their little bodies warm and their arms free, it is a great match.

4. Superwash Wool is Perfect

Babies can wear wool (yes, a select few will have an actual allergy, but I’m talking general rule here). People were ALWAYS telling me babies can’t wear wool or I needed acrylic for washability. I don’t. I don’t even need superwash (although if I’m gifting I do go with superwash), I hand wash little things all the time and it doesn’t take forever and it is fine.

5. Babies can wear Pullovers… Don’t be a Wuss

Need I say more? It just takes 3 seconds to get it over their squirmy heads and then it’s over. Don’t be a wuss.


6. Newborn heads really are that small… and baby heads really are that big 3 months later! 

Don’t knit newborn hats for summer babies…

7. Back neck shaping is not needed on a baby sweater!!!

They simply don’t have necks. You know that they will have necks eventually but as you can see…the really little ones just don’t.

See? No neck here!

See? No neck here!

8. Wool sweaters are absorptive… perfect for drooly and barfy babies! 

They soak up all the nasty stuff! Wool has antibacterial properties so you are good to go!

So go forth an knit for babies…and keep your eyes peeled for some new wee knits from TCK…coming soon!

Do you have any great baby knitting tips to share?  Want to know all about our new collection the second it comes out?  Say hello on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Ravelry!

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Favourite baby knits from TCK:

Casting on ALL of the Sweaters

March 12, 2015

I have a sweater deadline. This sweater that should have been finished weeks ago… But instead of finishing up said sweater I made sure I cast on the three sweaters I’m planning for me this year, cause that’s important right?


Results of Procrastination…


I seem to have a primary color thing going on….

I’m not sure it is solid planning to cast on all the things, but it sure is fun. Why not you ask? For one, I could learn things from a completed sweater that may help me to make the rest of them perfect. I could finish a sweater and realize I prefer a tighter upper arm, a longer body, or back neck shaping. If I had done them one at a time, I would be able to correct for the next sweater. There is also the forgetfulness factor, if I switch between projects or gasp put one aside, I may forget where I am (not such a big deal in my case) or worse, if I am working in any modifications. But, contrary to all of my knitting common sense, I just wanted to cast on all the things.

Three Yummy Sweaters

Flax in The Plucky Knitter Sweater in 'Princess Phone'

Flax in The Plucky Knitter Sweater in ‘Princess Phone’

My Flax is just simple now. The yoke is done, I’ve tried it on a couple of times and was pleased with the results, so now it is knit knit knit for 20″ or so. Perfect knitting for car rides, coffee with friends, or late nights. While I think the Windswept is the most practical piece to finish for Spring, I suspect the Flax will be done first.

A perfect knit for brunch

A perfect knit for brunch at Jethro’s

Which brings me to my spring cardigan, Windswept! It is moving along nicely, I’ve decided to make it a cardigan (I’ll detail the mods on the blog) but I haven’t made it to the sleeve split yet. The yarn is soft and bright and it makes me happy whenever I pick it up.


Prairie Fire in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘black cherry’

But there was something so alluring about that beautiful Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘black cherry’ that I simply had to wind it, had to find the right needles, had to pull up the Prairie Fire pattern and HAD to cast on. This project is lovely. The deep red is as alluring knit up as it was in the skein and the pattern is kind of addictive. So there it is, the three sweaters I hope to be wearing in the fall!

Anyone else like to cast on all the things at once?

If you haven’t already heard about our Year of the Sweater you can check out all the details here.  And if you’ve already cast on a bunch of sweaters, be sure to tag your posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with #TCK12sweaters2015

More sweaters from TCK

Sweater help!

March 6, 2015

The year of the sweater is well under way (how many have you completed?!) and it is a great time to stock up on sweater patterns while our big BOGO sale is on! Here at TCK we love a good tutorial, and we wanted them to be easier to find so we have re-vamped our help page!


Since there is a lot of sweater knitting going on, we thought we would point you in the direction of our fabulous sweater specific tutorials.  If you are feeling daunted by your very first sweater or are looking for a challenge in steeking we have got you covered! Here are a few of the highlights:

Our 2 free sweater patterns from the Simple Collection, Harvest and Flax are among our most popular sweater patterns. If you have never knit a sweater before I highly recommend starting with Flax. It is a simple and straightforward pullover, knit from the top down so you can try it on as you go. No seaming to worry about, and worsted weight yarn knits up quick!

Harvest is a great wardrobe item, simple and modern. The construction is top down, but with a twist. It has garter details to keep it interesting, but is simple enough to show off a beautiful yarn!

antlerbutton-tutIf it is a cabled yoke you crave, Antler is the answer. A coworker of my husbands just had a beautiful baby girl so I will be casting one on tonight (I think this is my 6th…maybe 7th!). Our tutorial takes you step by step through bottom up sweater construction.

Clayoquot buttonLooking for a challenge? We also have tutorials to go with our Clayoquot cardigan. One on choosing your pallet for colourwork (a great place to start before you head to the yarn shop), and one on steeking for when that scary moment comes!

Our new help page also includes links to all of our technique tutorials. Unsure of how to work an ssk? Need to work a lace chart? Curious about the smocking stitch? We have tutorials for that! If you have any requests just leave a comment on the blog and we will take your suggestions under advisement!

More tutorial accompanied patterns from TCK (buy-one-get-one until Sunday!):


5 Sweet Years… It’s time for a SALE!

February 26, 2015

5 Sweet Years

We can’t believe it’s been 5 years! It seems like only yesterday we were on the beach in Tofino discussing a wild idea: writing a knitting book. Now, here at Tin Can Knits we are constantly striving to ‘up our game’ and bring you more delicious designs, excellent product support, and heart-felt inspiration.

It all started with 9 Months of Knitting, and the adorably classic Gramps cardigan, an instant hit with anyone who knew a baby they could knit for.

Our cheesy love of matchy-matchy, and our commitment to create really high-value patterns inspired baby-to-big sizing, so you can knit our designs for your grandbaby or yourself!

Our love of lace inspired Handmade in the UK, with pretty designs in all yarn weights, some for beginners and others to challenge dedicated lace lovers!

A dedication to teaching inspired The Simple Collection, with 8 free patterns and a plethora of useful tutorials (betcha didn’t think I’d say plethora in a blog post!).

West Coast nostalgia led to Pacific Knits… and then to our latest book, Road Trip! Enjoy the views of the Canadian road trip and some deliciously rustic designs.

On the personal side of things, Alexa and I have produced four babies, made one transatlantic move, celebrated a wedding, and made many yarn-filled visits across the pond. Self-employment blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, and we like to make the most of this mash-up by bringing the playfulness and love of family life into our designs. Our knits are inspired by and photographed on our family and friends, and we only publish designs that we truly enjoyed making.


It’s time for a SUPER EPIC SALE!

Buy one, get one free!

On any of our patterns AND ebooks.

If you buy two ebooks this is a SUPER DEEP DISCOUNT… so check them all out now!

Simply shop on Ravelry or on the Tin Can Knits website, and the discount will be applied automatically!

The Small Print: This sweet sale runs from Thursday February 26 to Midnight Sunday March 8th, 2015.  Print books are not included.  There are a few patterns that are not included: Raindrops – Adult, Chrysanthemum, Wenlock, Crossed Cardigan, Winterberry, Sword Fern, and Pont Neuf – these designs are published by other companies, and we just don’t have the right to give them away.



2015 is the year of the sweater so this is a great chance to stock up on patterns for your next sweater adventure!


We hope you have a wonderful day, and take a little time out to do some knitting!

Knit Love – Emily and Alexa

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More sweaters from TCK:


Em’s Sweater Plan

February 20, 2015

blog-antler-em-max-052015 is The Year of the Sweater#TCK12sweaters2015 – and I’ve got some pretty darn ambitious plans!

As well as knitting 12 or more sweaters, I also plan to participate in Me Made May (showcasing and working on my handmade wardrobe), run a 1/2 marathon, and take swing dancing lessons!  It’s going to be a great year.



matchy matchy… it’s cheesy but we love it!

Sweater #1 of 12 is done (that was the Flax for Max).  And as of about 15 minutes ago (literally) sweater #2 of 12 is done: an Antler cardigan for me.  It was even completed before the end of February (although I must admit, I started it AGES ago…!).


Max and I wearing baby and big Antler cardigans, knit in Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted in ‘honey wilkes’ and Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in ‘antler’

I adored working with this yarn... and wearing it is even better!

I adored working with this yarn… and wearing it is even better!


I’m so pleased that I finally have an Antler for myself! I can tell this will be a cozy wear-every-day sort of sweater.

Are you planning to knit an Antler cardigan for yourself or a little one?  We’ve got an entire in-depth tutorial here, so be sure to check it out before you cast on.

monster sized lists and moderately sized results

As far as project planning goes, my habit is to plan REALLY big, and then finish a small percentage of what I planned.  I’m OK with this as a strategy, because it means I end up accomplishing quite a few projects and adventures, even though there are many that I don’t get to.  I make a lot of ‘mega lists’ along the way.  Anybody else like this?

Em’s mega sweater list

  • Flax pattern hack for my 2-year-old niece Millie… it’s going to be in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘princess rockstar’ pink, and will have a lace panel at the sleeves instead of garter stitch.


    Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘princess rockstar’ and the lace stitch I’m planning to use in my Flax pattern hack.

  • Lacy little number for my friend Chantal… it’s a secret new design that I’m working on
  • Cozy pullover for my husband John… it’s a secret new design that Alexa’s working on
  • Snowflake pullover for myself (maybe I’ll finish it in time for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival?)


    Snowflake pullover in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘tidepool find’ and ‘jaded’

  • North Shore for Max – I’m thinking it will be a cardigan version, and I’ll knit it Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in greys and blacks and white.

    North Shore pullover

    A tiny North Shore for Max in Rainbow Heirloom greys.

  • Clayoquot Cardigan for me – it’s my favourite design from Road Trip, I just really need one!
  • One or two sweaters from other designers: Ysolda, Kate Davies, Norah Gaugan, Brooklyn Tweed are all on my list of potentials…

 Any opinions?  Which designs should I make for me?

what sweaters are you planning this year?

Tag your posts #TCK12sweaters2015 and join in the fun on our Ravelry group, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. We have some really big things in store for our TCK fans this year… make sure you get our email updates so you don’t miss out!

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Popular TCK sweaters


Hearts for Valentines

February 14, 2015

IMG_9301It’s Valentines day! A day for red and pink and hearts and sweets. A perfect day to re-button an old sweater and maybe add some heart shaped patches to a Gramps sweater.



Hunter got a new black and white polka dot dress for Valentines so I went looking for her Lush cardigan to go with it. When I found it I remembered, the buttons I had put on it were too small. They would hold the sweater closed for a bit but it was only a matter of time. So I busted out my scissors and gave this sweater a make-over!





It’s amazing what a big difference buttons can make!

How to make heart shaped patches for Gramps

When Emily R took over the Gramps sweater, she was not happy with the patch placements (to be fair, they were not really near her elbows). So she decided to re-place them….and make them hearts while she was at it! I had put heart patches on a wee sized Gramps a few years ago, so why not a grown up version? Here’s how to make heart shaped patches for your Gramps.


Heart Patch Pattern (modified from these instructions)

Kiddie hearts

Left and Right Heart Humps

Row 1:  cast on 2 stitches
Row 2:  kfb, kfb (4 sts)
Row 3:  purl 4
Row 4:  kfb, knit 2, kfb (6 sts)

Once you have made 1 heart hump, cut yarn, place sts on hold, and make the second.
Once you have made both heart humps place them on a single needle ready to purl. You will have 12 sts.

Row 5:  purl
Row 6:  knit
Row 7:  purl
Row 8:  k2tog, k8, k2tog-tbl
Row 9:  purl
Row 10:  k2tog, k6, k2tog-tbl
Row 11:  purl
Row 12:  k2tog, k4, k2tog-tbl
Row 13:  purl
Row 14:  k2tog, k2, k2tog-tbl
Row 15:  purl
Row 16:  k2tog, k2tog-tbl

Bind off purlwise and weave in the ends.


Grown up hearts

Left and Right Heart Humps
Row 1:  cast on 6 sts
Row 2:  kfb, k4, kfb
Row 3:  purl
Row 4:  kfb, k6, kfb
Row 5:  purl
Row 6:  kfb, k8, kfb

Once you have made 1 heart hump, cut yarn, place sts on hold, and make the second.
Once you have made both heart humps place them on a single needle ready to purl. You will have 24 sts.
Row 7:  purl
Row 8:  knit
Row 9:  purl
Rows 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26:  k2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog-tbl
Rows 11, 13, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29:  purl
Row 28:  k3tog, k to last 3 sts, k3tog-tbl
Row 30: k2tog, k2tog-tbl
Bind off purlwise and weave in the ends

Patches are ready to be sewn on. A perfect hearty addition to an already adorable sweater!


What love inspired knits are you working on?

Valentine friendly knits from TCK:

Alexa’s Sweater Plan

February 11, 2015

With the year of the sweater underway (if you missed it details are here) it is time to make a serious wardrobe assessment for myself. I only really have 1 knitted sweater for myself, my Antler cardigan. While I have a lot of kiddie sweaters and a few designs planned for 2015 I will also be knitting 3 sweaters for me!


First up is a Prairie Fire pullover. I’m going to knit it in the GORGEOUS Rainbow Heirloom Sweater Emily gave me for Christmas (the color is Black Cherry, of course). I have knit a few smaller sizes of this sweater and I love it. The lace repeat isn’t too tough for me to memorize but it probably won’t be conversational knitting.

Conversational knitting definition: knitting that can be done while carrying on a conversation. The opposite of conversation knitting would be quiet corner knitting.

Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘black cherry’

Which brings me to a dilemma. I have this beautiful yellow (it’s called Princess Phone) in Plucky Sweater. I originally intended to knit myself a Gramps sweater with a nice brown contrast color, but now I’m thinking I would love a Flax in this color. Decisions decisions.

Plucky Knitter Plucky Sweater in 'princess phone'

Plucky Knitter Plucky Sweater in ‘princess phone’

I also have a beautiful stash of Tanis Fiber Arts Amber Label DK in ‘seabreeze’. I am going to knit myself a Windswept sweater in it, but I think I’ll make it a cardigan instead of a pullover (I’ll post all the details, don’t worry). I love the lace panel on the Windswept and have been wanting to knit one since Emily first showed me a sketch!

Tanis Fiber Arts Amber Label DK in ‘seabreeze’


So my question for you is, which sweater are you knitting for yourself in the year of the sweater? Do you throw on a pullover? Prefer an open cardigan?

sweaters Alexa is knitting in 2015


Working on #tck12sweaters2015 ? Join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!

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