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Out Takes

September 11, 2014
You can't win 'em all

You can’t win ‘em all

While creating Road Trip I carefully considered the photographic vision. Even while designing I was envisioning where each piece would be photographed. I wanted to make sure that the knits looked delicious but also that the photos captured the beauty of the places so near to my heart….But things do not always go quite as planned!

With a combination of weather, small children, bugs, camping (and the inevitable dirtiness that goes along with that) and everything else that can get in the way of a photoshoot, there are a few out takes to share:

2 fingers in the mouth, a sure sign that Jonesie has had enough for the day!

2 fingers in the mouth, a sure sign that Jonesie has had enough for the day!

Em helping Jordan after a fall in the woods

I love the shot of Hunter and Emily sitting in the beautiful Cathedral Forest, but it wasn’t without some sacrifice. Jordan fell off the log and Em almost went over trying to help!

Divided attention

If anyone knows a sure way to get 3 kiddies under 4 to look in the same direction, sit still, and look good in their sweaters AT THE SAME TIME I am all ears. Bribery did not work. Not even with chocolate.

Enough already with the hot sweaters mum! It's August!

Enough already with the warm sweaters mum! It’s August!

Em was on hand to model, wrangle kiddies, and put sweaters in place!

Em was on hand to model, wrangle kiddies, and put sweaters in place!

Sometimes kids just need to donkey kick their sillies out!

Sometimes kids just need to donkey kick their sillies out!

While we did get the final shot we wanted, Jones wanted nothing to do with this shoot. Hunter wore 2 different hoodies and 2 different sized mittens to make this work!

While we did get the final shot we wanted, Jones wanted nothing to do with this shoot. Hunter wore 2 different hoodies and 2 different sized mittens to make this work!

Uncle Juju keeping Jonesie out of trouble between takes

Uncle Juju keeping Jonesie out of trouble between takes

This is how many more shots Hunter said she would take. Then she was done.

This is how many more shots Hunter said she would take. Then she was done.

Have any tricks for a problem free photoshoot? Or do you prefer the uncomplicated selfie?

More pretty knits from Road Trip

Choosing a Palette for Colourwork

September 1, 2014



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!

The free Clayoquot toque pattern is a great place to play with colours and make sure you have a stunning palette before embarking on your Clayoquot sweater. So go forth and choose your colours!


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!

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 colourful knits from TCK


Pre-orders are open!

August 29, 2014




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!


Old Growth

Old Growth

The Deal

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!



Apple Pie










Mile One

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’.


Hunter at Mile 1

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!

Clayoquot Toque

Clayoquot Toque

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

ROAD TRIP ::: the inspiration for a new collection

August 26, 2014

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.


That’s me, on my first road trip!

Lake Louise circa 1986

Alexa at Lake Louise circa 1986 (and I think mum is even wearing a knit sweater!)

::: 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!


Giving a cactus some love in Texas

Emily took her most adventurous road trip when she was 19.  She had finished her second year of university and had a job lined up in San Francisco.  After an all-night party, friends dropped her at the Greyhound bus station, and with flowers in her hair she embarked on a non-stop journey from Toronto to California.  Reading Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, and inspired by his example, Em ate nothing for the next three days but apple pie and ice cream in the truckstops where the bus paused. She washed her hair in bus station washrooms and attempted to sleep scrunched into a little ball as the bus rocked its way across the country.  When they hit the desert, she unkinked her spine and shared a smoke with the punk rockers who sat in the back of the bus while watching a red sunrise over the foreign landscape.  Lack of sleep made the trip a surreal collage of new and beautiful experiences.  After 75 hours she arrived in San Francisco, dumped her bag at a hostel, and went to the beach to dip her feet in the Pacific. She was a hopeless romantic then, and not much has changed since!
06-09-20_JMT_ 530-4x6

Em nearing the end of the John Muir trail, a 2-week backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevadas


Em smiling in Death Valley


Our old jeep, loaded with surf boards in Tofino


a whimsical line in the sand

::: 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!

my favorite part of the world to see from the window

one of my favourite parts of the world to see from the window

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.

Gary and Hunter having fun in the setting sun

Gary and Hunter having fun in the setting sun

Snuggles on the beach

Jones enjoying snuggles on the beach

::: 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!


A little preview of some of the delicious knits… Get our emails to learn when the book is live!

::: 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?

Keep up with Tin Can Knits :::   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



Knitting Along

August 5, 2014

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.


Hunter’s Antler Sweater from the 2013 SSKAL

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!

Coffee and yarn, ready to cast on!

Coffee and yarn, ready to cast on!

My Gramps will be in Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in ‘Rainwater’ and I’m still undecided on the contrast (maybe ‘Twig’?).

Emily’s Lush WIP

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:




Gramps: All Grown Up

July 26, 2014

9M-gramps-27aEver 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:


A Yarny Excursion

July 23, 2014

IMG_6074Vancouver 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!



Yummy Shelter from Brooklyn Tweed

Yummy Shelter from Brooklyn Tweed

Another cute little touch in this charming shop

Another cute little touch in this charming shop

Blue Moon Fiber Arts looking good!

Blue Moon Fiber Arts looking good!

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!).

Spotted some Spin Cycle

Spotted some Spin Cycle

Emily eyed Journey in the wild

Emily eyed Journey in the wild

The take home

The take home

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!

The details were all so cute at Told, from the sign on the door....

The details were all so cute at Told, from the sign on the door…. the chalk board behind the counter.....

…to the chalk board behind the counter….. the adorable mugs!

…to the cool mugs!

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!

Bodhi hanging out amongst the yarn

Bodhi hanging out amongst the yarn





I wanted to take this whole cubby home...

I wanted to take this whole cubby home…

This is what I DID take home!

This is what I DID take home!

Ashley checking out the YOTH yarns

Ashley checking out the YOTH yarns

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


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