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The Mitten

January 14, 2015


Like many parents I love reading to my kiddies. We snuggle close and read about caterpillars who eat too much, kids who have to pee, and bears of all kinds! Lately Hunter wants to do the ‘reading’ (to the endless annoyance of Jones) and Bodhi wants to eat the books (to the endless annoyance of everyone).  They have their favorites, including the book The Mitten by Jan Brett.


If you aren’t familiar with the story of The Mitten, it is about a grandson who begs his grandmother to knit him a pair of white mittens. Grandma warns him they will get lost in the snow, and that is the first thing that happens of course! An improbably number of woodland creatures crawl into the mitten and when a mouse crawls on bear’s nose he sneezes! Out the animals come, tossing the mitten in the air for the boy to find.


I like the idea of toys based on books. It brings the story to life in a new way. We already had some of the woodland creatures but for Christmas I filled out the collection and knit them a rather large mitten to accommodate them all!


I kind of winged the mitten. It was worsted weight yarn and I cast on 56 sts with smaller needles, ribbed for a bit, changed to larger needles, did a thumb gusset, etc. just like in the Maize mittens. It came out pretty big, I think an adult large mitten would have done just fine!


The kids loved it (even Bodhi, she is really enjoying chewing on the hare), they pile all the animals into the mitten while I read, or they make up funny voices and stories for the animals. Story time is always my favorite!

What are your favorite children’s stories? Have you read Extra Yarn?

More mittens from TCK

New Years in Tofino

January 5, 2015
Laughing on the shore in Uclulet

Laughing on the shore in Uclulet

For an epic start to 2015, Alexa and I packed up our families and headed to Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  We drove through the frosty mountains, cooked a seafood feast, and soaked in the hot tub watching grey green waves curl and break on the sandy shore.  It was a great way to start the new year… and an inspiring place to plan new designs and special events for the upcoming year!

Upcoming Tin Can Knits Events

  • This Friday, January 9th come meet us in person in Vancouver – we’re having a book signing at Urban Yarns from 7 to 9 pm.
  • If you’re in Yorkshire in February, sign up for a class with Emily at Baa Ram Ewe in Harrogate or Leeds – February 11th and 12th 2015.  Or come along to the evening events to say hello and check out the Tin Can Knits samples, and lovely Titus yarn in person!
  • At the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, March 14th and 15th 2015, you can try on samples, get your books signed, and shop Rainbow Heirloom yarns in person too!  Emily is also teaching 2 classes… sign up now to secure your place!
  • To spend the weekend with Alexa, check out the Fraser Valley Knitter’s Retreat at Springbrooke Retreat Centre on July 3rd to 5th, 2015.
  • You can check out classes with Alexa at Black Sheep Yarns in Port Moody or 88 Stitches in Langley this Winter

New Years in Tofino

A frosty stop on the way

A frosty stop on the way

Tofino is one of both Alexa and my favourite places in the world.  Our business actually started there – on a road trip we took back in 2010, when Alexa and I were walking the beach and she said “we should write a knitting book”… and I agreed!  A year or so later 9 Months of Knitting was born, and our partnership was established.



This trip, with toddlers leading the way, we rambled along the beach and through the wet wild rainforest. There were impromptu science lessons while gazing in tidal pools, lovely family photoshoots, and lots of warm woolies required!


Checking out the tidal pools on Chesterman Beach


Tin Can Knits in Tofino

John and I enjoying a Long Beach sunset.

Bodhi's first ferry ride

Bodhi’s first ferry ride


Max and Nana on Long Beach … he’s wearing a tiny Gather Hat.


Max and Me


Do you have New Year’s traditions?

Or some New Years knit resolutions?  Share with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or Ravelry!  We love to help you through new techniques, hear your stories, and see your finished knits!

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Designs inspired by Tofino!

RT-clayoquot-tmb-aTofino Surfer HatClayoquot Hat

Christmas Sweaters 2014

December 24, 2014


This year I had the bright idea that my children NEEDED Christmas sweaters. Nope, they could not wear any of the sweaters I have already knit them, they needed awesome new coordinated set of sweaters. It’s not the first time I’ve wanted kiddies to wear matching sweaters, especially for their epic Santa pics, you can see Hunter and Jones’ first Santa pic together here, and this it the one from last year:


This is the first year having all of my 3 babies together on Santa’s knee, it was time to go big! I decided on a black and white-ish theme this year, just to mix things up. I originally wanted this to be a stash busting project but that lasted about 5 minutes. I picked up some YOTH and Hazel Knits at Knit Fit in Seattle while I was there and while I had 1 skein of Tosh Vintage in Farmhouse White, I needed 1 more…and although I thought I had a skein of Graphite, I didn’t so I had to get that too.


Hunter’s Sweater

Pattern: Snowflake by Tin Can Knits
Yarn: YOTH yarns Big Sister DK in ‘cracked pepper’ and ‘sea salt’ (that’s right, salt and pepper)



Jones’ Sweater

Pattern: Gramps by Tin Can Knits
Yarn: inspired by this Gramps, Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in ‘farmhouse white’ and ‘graphite’



Bodhi’s Sweater

Pattern: Flax…sort of. Bodhi’s sweater is a fingering weight version of Flax without the garter on the arms. Pattern coming in the new year!
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in ‘quill’ and ‘nekkid’ (hilarious colour name)


And so, this lovely Santa picture was made. I have a feeling they will hate this ‘matchy’ picture for a few years when they are older, but hopefully they will look back 80 years from now and know that their mummy loved them and thought matching sweaters were hilarious.


Keep up with TCK :::

Are you knitting for any kiddies this Christmas?  Tell us about it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or Ravelry! Or join in our #knityourlist Christmas knitting madness!

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Patterns perfect for next year’s Christmas Sweaters:



#knityourlist Project Update

December 20, 2014

“Oh the weather outside is frightful… but the fire is so delightful…”

douglas firs in the wind

The thing I remember most vividly from the house where I grew up is the wind in the trees on stormy afternoons.  My folks still live here, in Black Creek, a small community on Vancouver Island.  Out the window you can tall Douglas fir trees, and when the wet and windy southeasters blow up the Strait of Georgia these big old monster trees wave back and forth while the rain tap, tap, taps on the skylight in the living room.  The wood stove glows, keeping the house warm and toasty, and on miserable days like these we just stay inside and eat soup and crusty bread, drink irish coffee, chat, and knit!

Antler Mittens

Antler Mittens for my Sis – my second #knityourlist FO – in Madelintosh Tosh Chunky in ‘candlewick’

Needless to say, while visiting the sodden West Coast I am very much enjoying #knityourlist – a super epic knit list that Alexa and I are working our way through as we count down to Christmas day. Because designing is my job, I don’t often find the time to make knitted gifts for my family, but this year Alexa and I have taken on a pile of delicious projects. We wrote all about it in this blog post.


Em’s #knityourlist progress:

I am not stressing or fussing… if the projects don’t get done on time, it will be fine. So far, by day 8 / 12 I have completed 2 of my projected 6 projects… hmmm looking at the math I may not get the whole lot done!

Stovetop Hat

 Stovetop Hat in HiKoo Simplinatural in ‘slate’ – my first #knityourlist project… John had to try it on to confirm it would work for him… so it’s not really a surprise!

I’ve finished a Stovetop hat for John, Antler Mittens for my sister Heidi, and am part-way through Lumberjack socks for my Dad and a Campfire pullover for little Max!

Lumberjack Socks

#knityourlist Project 4 on the go… Lumberjack Socks for my Dad in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘koala haircut’ and ‘apparition’

Alexa’s #knityourlist pile of squishy goodness:

Alexa is a star when it comes to whipping out beautiful finished knits!  Despite working her buns off and taking care of 3 children under 4, she seems to accomplish twice the knitting that I do… I don’t know how she fits it all in, but I’m glad to have such a hard-working business partner!


Alexa’s growing pile of #knityourlist projects

So far she’s made a Greystone Hat in Sweet Fiber Merino Twist Worsted in ‘winter’, an adorable little Prairie Fire pullover in Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran in ‘grapefruit’, and the cutest little tiny Flax socks in Sweet Fiber Cashmere Aran.

On top of those projects, she has just knit up a new design for adorable boot toppers!

Paved boot toppers

Paved Boot Toppers – a perfect little gift knit! Knit in Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted in ‘marshland’

Have you #knityourlist yet?

Wanna follow our last-minute knitting on Instagram and Facebook?  You can watch our progress day by day, and share your photos and projects too… we’d love to see what you’re whipping out in time for the big day.  Just tag your posts with #knityourlist

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Cute FREE hat patterns that you can knit up in no time!

Clayoquot ToqueBarley HatAntler Hat

Paved Boot Toppers

December 18, 2014

Paved boot toppers

My daughter Hunter adores her preschool teachers.  When I dressed her up and sent her off on her first day of school, I could only hope that she would like it.  She absolutely loves it, and her teachers are a huge part of that.  Hunter listens to them in ways she would never listen to me, enjoys activities that keep her busy and learning every day, and above all these ladies really care about my kid.

Paved Boot Toppers

For these great teachers this Christmas I am knitting, because that’s the best way I know to show my appreciation for all that they do.  They are three lovely women who often wear tall boots (when they aren’t wearing practical footwear for running after 3-5 year olds!).  So I bring you Paved, a perfect little cabled boot topper.


What are boot toppers you ask?  They are short little leg warmers that peek out of the top of your sexy boots without the bulk of a thick sock.  I whipped up two pairs up in no time!  With braided cables and garter stitch they have a textured simplicity.  They knit up quickly and are a perfect fashionable accessory for the ladies on your list.

Project Details

Pattern: Paved by Tin Can Knits
Sizing: stretches to fit calf 15 (17, 19, 21) inches around
Yarn: 180 (200, 220, 240) yards worsted / aran weight yarn (shown in Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted in ‘marshland’ and ‘evergrey’)



Are you knitting gifts this holiday season?  We are neck deep in holiday projects this year!  You can watch our progress and join in on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Post your knits and tag them with #knityourlist to join in!

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Other gifty knits from TCK


Knit Your List

December 12, 2014

RH-boyfriendjeansThis year Emily and I are in the same time zone and near the same ocean for December!  We are knitting up a storm together and we thought we would share our plans and progress with you.

You can watch us knit through our ‘Mega Lists’ on Instagram and Facebook ( #knityourlist ) but we will also have a re-cap on the blog.  Each day we will post our progress so you can see how speedy (or not) we are!  We have an unreasonable number of knitting projects planned for the next 12 days… we have shared the delicious yarn and fun projects below.

If you are in Victoria, drop by the Beehive tomorrow and say Hi.  We will be knitting and signing books from 11-3, this Saturday December 13th.

Emily’s Mega List :::

Emily has a LOT of knitting to do in a few short weeks.  Luckily she is on ‘I’m the boss’ vacation. This is the kind of vacation one gets when ones owns her own business.  When you’re self-employed you can take a vacation any time, but you usually take work with you. But it’s hard to complain when that work is an epic pile of knitting!

Project 1:  A Christmas sweater for 5-month-old Max.  I had great intentions of knitting not only 3 sweaters for my kiddies this year but a matching one for wee Max as well.  I failed.  So Emily is taking up the torch and making Max his first Christmas sweater.

Campfire Pullover

Yarn: SweetGeorgia Superwash DK in ‘charcoal’, ‘slate’, and ‘silver’
Pattern: Campfire by Tin Can Knits

Project 2:  Booties for Max.  For Max’s very first visit to Canada, Emily plans whip up a pair of adorable Cowichan-inspired booties to keep his little tootsies nice and toasty!


Yarn: Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘apparition’ and a contrast colour to be decided
Pattern: Mukluks by Tin Can Knits

Project 3: A classic toque for John. Emily’s man needs a toasty hat for his first Canadian holiday.

Stovetop Hat

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in ‘rainwater’
Pattern: Stovetop by Tin Can Knits

Project 4:  Cozy socks for Em’s Dad, Gary.  Our Lumberjack socks were inspired by Emily’s memories of her Dad returning home in his truck from a hard days work, taking off his boots and sporting some woolly workman socks.

Lumberjack Socks

Yarn: Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘apparition’ and ‘koala haircut’
Pattern: Lumberjack by Tin Can Knits

Project 5:  A baby sweater for Em’s sister in law.  Joy is expecting her first baby this spring so Em is making a bright and fun sweater to bring baby home in.

Flax Pullover

Yarn: Some conbination of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘apparition’ and ‘koala haircut’ and Madelinetosh Tosh DK in ‘tomato’
Pattern: Flax by Tin Can Knits (*free*)

Project 7:  Antler Mittens for Emily’s sister, Heidi.  These cozy and quick-knitting mittens are an excellent gift for a fashionable gal.

Antler Mittens

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in ‘candlewick’
Pattern: Antler Mittens (child sizes coming soon…!)

Alexa’s Mega List :::

This year, having finished Christmas sweaters for my three little ones (more on those later) I plan to whip up 5 gift knits in 12 days. That is not too tall of an order for a professional knitter right? It’s gonna be a close one!

Project 1: Gift for one of Hunter’s preschool teachers.  Hunter LOVES her preschool teachers. She never stops talking about them and I have seen those ladies in action, they work hard!  So for them I knit.  First up are some boot toppers, stay tuned for the new pattern!


Yarn: Sweet Fiber Merino Twist Worsted in ‘Evergrey’
Pattern: New! Coming soon!

Project 2: Hunter’s other preschool teacher is expecting her first baby in March so a wee sweater is in order.

Prairie Fire Pullover

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran in ‘grapefruit’
Pattern: Prairie Fire by Tin Can Knits

Project 3: A slouchy toque for a teenage cousin.  It’s rare when a teenager requests a knit, not to mention 2!  So I am fulfilling a request for slouchy toques.

Greystone Hat by Melissa Thomson

Yarn: Sweet Fiber Merino Twist Worsted in ‘Winter’
Pattern: Greystone by Melissa Thomson

Project 4: Another slouchy toque for my other teenage cousin, also by request.

Tall Dark & Handsome Hat

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in ‘Graphite’
Pattern: Tall Dark and Handsome by TCK

Project 5:  Baby Bodhi booties. I’ve noticed Bodhi has had cold toes these last few days so she needs some hand-knit socks to keep her warm!  I dug up some pretty lovely left overs from our Malt blanket sample for these.

Rye Socks

Yarn: Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted in ‘Tea Leaves’
Pattern: Rye by Tin Can Knits (*free!*)

Cheers to casting on way too many knits!

Is this a totally unreasonable amount of knits to finish in 12 days… Yes, yes it is.  But that’s how we roll.  Do you have a crazy list of holiday knits?  Is everything off the needles and under the tree… or are you cramming a lot into the next few days?  We’d love to hear about it – join us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and see how far we get through this delicious list of projects!

Join in: you can post your list, and tag your posts with #knityourlist

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 seasonal quickies from TCK :::


December 4, 2014

YOTH Yarns in ‘cracked pepper’ (photo from YOTH)

A few months ago I had the chance to visit Tolt Yarn and Wool with some friends (more about our adventures here) and I picked up one precious skein of Yarn On The House (aka YOTH) yarn. It was a pale greenish shade (one of a kind) and it was Big Sister DK, which I thought was an excellent name for a yarn weight. Well, I’ve been a bit obsessed ever since.

Antler Hat in YOTH Big Sister DK (colour ooak)

Antler Hat in YOTH Big Sister DK (colour ooak)

This is the hat I made with my one precious skein. I hummed and hawed for a looooong time on this one. What to make, what to make! Finally I chose the Antler Hat. I knit the largest size on 4.5 mm / US #7 needles since it’s DK, not worsted like the pattern calls for, and I gifted the finished hat to my neighbour.

YOTH Gradient. 800 Yards of Little Brother

YOTH Gradient. 800 Yards of Little Brother

It was then that I spotted this beautiful gradient on Shannon Cook’s instagram feed (aka so very shannon). Well, after I admired it so much, the lovely Veronika (Big Sister herself) brought me this stunning yellow gradient at Knit City and I have been petting it ever since. Petting you ask? I haven’t quite figured out what it will be yet (a design for sure but lace, fair isle, color blocks…who knows!) so it sits beside my knitting chair, where I occasionally pet it while I ponder the future of these 800 yards of fingering weight yarn.

RAW Palette (photo from YOTH)

Soon after KC the team at YOTH launched their first line, the RAW palette! All of the colours have delicious, food inspired, names like Caviar and Portabella. There are 2 weights, Big Sister (DK) and Little Brother (fingering), both a luxurious mix of Merino, Cashmere, and Nylon.

YOTH Gradients on display at Knit Fit Seattle

YOTH Gradients on display at Knit Fit Seattle

The YOTH booth at Knit Fit Seattle (photo from YOTH) Check out the cool sign!


I had a chance to see it all in person at Knit Fit Seattle and picked up a couple of skeins for a Christmas sweater for Hunter (more on that epic project later). Her Snowflake sweater is in Big Sister DK in Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt. Does it get more perfect than salt and pepper?! The yarn is a little heavier DK than the original yarn we used for the Snowflake. It’s perfect to keep Hunter cozy but when I knit a sweater for me I think I’ll go up a needle size and make a swatch to make sure I get the drapey fabric I desire.

YOTH Snowflake for H

Hunter’s Christmas Sweater: Snowflake in YOTH Big Sister DK in ‘cracked pepper’ and ‘sea salt’

Not only does YOTH produce gorgeous yarns, the geniuses behind it are also super fun. I had a chance to hang out with Veronika and Danny (little brother) at Baaad Anna’s last weekend and it was a blast. They are clearly a tight family because when Veronika decided to start a yarn company she asked little brother to join in and he gave her a very enthusiastic yes. Their whole story is here and it is just lovely.

Em hanging with Veronika and Danny at Baaad Anna's

Em hanging with Veronika and Danny at Baaad Anna’s

I’m looking forward to more knits in YOTH yarns (I already have a bit of a stash)! Have you had a chance to try it yet? What colour name is your fave?

TCK Patterns perfect for YOTH yarns:


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