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A HOMS KAL Hearthstone

March 23, 2017

Choosing Hearthstone

It seems Bodhi is getting all the sweaters lately! While I intended to knit up a sweater for Jones during the Heart on my Sleeve KAL, when I went to the stash to choose some yarn I came up with a sweater body, 2/3 done, in about a Bodhi size. The yarn is a beautiful grey/brown called ‘bruin’ in Sweet Fiber Merino Twist Worsted. I can’t remember what the original plan was, but it became the start of a Hearthstone sweater!

My Hearthstone Mods

All of the sweaters for Heart on my Sleeve are worked from the bottom up, so I knocked out a couple of sleeves, finished up the body, and then it was on to the yoke. Since I had a worsted weight yarn at a gauge of 18 sts per 4″ I followed the 1-2 year instructions but used 4-6 year lengths for a sweater that has some room to grow. Check out our tutorial on working a pattern in a different gauge for some useful tips if you’d like to do the same!

After working for ages on stockinette in the round, the yoke feels like a treat and I always love cables!

Are you Knitting Along?

We’ve got a big Heart On My Sleeve KAL running in our Ravelry group (with chat on our Facebook Group too) if you would like to join in. There is still time to knit up a kid’s size, or an adult size if you are speedy! There are some really great prizes… and all proceeds from this collection go to the Against Malaria Foundation to save lives! (We’ve raised US$ 36,640 already, which buys 14,655 nets to protect 26,000 people… the entire population of 40-50 villages). Learn more here.

A Glimpse into the Mind of another Designer

It is always fun, as a designer, to get a look into the mind of another designer by knitting their patterns. I am accustomed to being the one figuring things out, and it is so enjoyable to simply knit when someone else has already done the designing! I had this experience knitting up the kiddie sizes of Romi’s Brightheart and Bristol’s Wholehearted sweater. A few ‘aha, I see what you did there’ moments, and one ‘how did she come up with this? Brilliant!’. Ysolda’s Hearthstone yoke was equally fun, straightforward in instruction, and genius in its simplicity and impact. The finished sweater is beautiful and I love it.

More pretty sweaters from Heart on my Sleeve:





Marley Blanket

March 21, 2017

OK so I’ve officially been obsessed with gigantic chunky blankets, for at least the last year.

After I made the Stashbuster tunisian crochet monster, I immediately thought MAN I NEED TO DO THIS IN A KNIT! And so Marley was born. With 4 yarn weights and 4 size options, this is a very versatile pattern. Also, since you knit it from end to end, you can pretty much work till you get to 1/2 of your total yardage, then you’ll know how much farther you can go!

The super-bulky version that I made is pretty crazy. Let me tell you, while it didn’t take me very long to knit, it ate up a fabulously large amount of yarn. Which for me and my mountain of odds and ends of stash was a great thing! If you don’t already have an unreasonable stash mountain that will never be made into more sensible projects, this may not be the most cost effective project. As the pattern is designed in multiple yarn weights, you can always knit a more reasonable version in aran weight!

This beautifully delicate version was knit in Ginger’s Hand Dyed Super Sheep Aran in the colourway ‘bourbon and water’.

I made the largest size given by the pattern, in super-bulky weight. The finished blanket measures 58″ wide x 83″ long, and it’s a beast! It weighs 4.6 lbs in total (that’s around 2100 g). If you break that down to 100g skeins, that is 21 skeins of yarn. That said, my rationale was that if I didn’t use the yarn, it wouldn’t be of any use! I enjoyed incorporating the odds and ends of dozens of finished projects and designs, and this made the experience a trip down memory lane as I remembered buying, knitting, dyeing, and enjoying each of the yarns which I added in to this special blanket.

unreasonably woolly

If you DO fall into the category of having stash beyond life expectancy (or some similar problem), then hey ho! I’ll share with you how I made this bad boy!

I used a US #19 / 15mm 47” long circular needle, and achieved a gauge of 7.5 sts & 14 rows / 4” in garter stitch. That’s less than 2 stitches per inch… these stitches are BIG.

I chose a marled ombre of various stash yarns, starting with deep purples through red, orange and yellow to white. I had previously done a bit of a stash purge, pulling out all the odds and ends and partial balls and things that I knew I would likely never cast on as newer and more intriguing yarn finds would take precedence. So I had a few bags of yarn which were arranged roughly by colour, and these are what I pulled my yarn from.

Stash Mountain

I started with the deep dark purples; and proceeded through to white. I held what ‘felt like’ the right number of yarns together, and found it was easy to adjust on the fly by adding or removing strands as it seemed necessary, or as I ran out of one yarn or another. See the detail photos below for a sense of how many and what weight yarns worked to create this super-bulky gauge.

Marley Blanket

One bulky, two aran weight, and two sock weight strands.

Marley Blanket

One DK, 2 lace, and 5 sock strands, including some angora which added a really magnificent halo.

Marley Blanket

One chunky, one DK, two sock, and two lace strands. The higher contrast in this section gave a more tweedy / speckly effect.

Marley Blanket

One aran, and three worsted / heavy DK strands.

Marley Blanket

Three worsted / DK strands, and two sock strands.

Marley Blanket

One aran, two sock, and four lace strands.

Marley Blanket

One bulky and 5 lace strands. I found that I had a lot of lace-weight yarn in my stash, and despite loving to knit lace, I don’t tend to knit it using lace weight yarn. So holding strands together to make up heavier weights seems like a good strategy for me to get these yarns out of the stash and into the world!

Now that Marley has featured prominently at both Knit City and the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, it will make its happy home on my couch, to keep me warm and cozy while I knit and watch TV.

Do you love knitting blankets? We definitely do! So much so that our latest book, Mad Colour, featured a total of FOUR blankets! They are such a fabulous way to use up odds and ends, and to create delicious multi-coloured confections!

Mad Colour Blankets

Mad Colour includes 4 blankets: Pop, Bounce, Polygon, and Marley.

Neve was so little and new when I finished this blanket!

We’re pretty in love with marling (holding 2 or more yarns together to get a speckled or blended effect). There’ll be more on that soon!

Polygon Blanket by Tin Can Knits

This is a marled version of the Polygon Blanket that I’ve been gradually working on since we released Mad Colour.

Badass Blankets from TCK:

Fly Away Blanket by Tin Can KnitsBonfire by Tin Can KnitsDogwood Blanket by Tin Can Knits


An Antler for Bodhi

March 16, 2017

I had some grand plans for my 2016 Christmas sweaters (as I only have one level of plan: grand!) but in the end, Hunter still fit her Britannia sweater from last Christmas and Jones wore the Tenderheart sweater from Heart on my Sleeve. Wee Bodhi got a new sweater though, an Antler. As the youngest of 3 she has an amazing wardrobe of hand-me-downs, but rarely something Mama knit just for her. She took to it quite readily and has requested more yarn ‘for a sweater for me, so I will be cozy’.

This sweater is all about my favourite cable, the Antler

I think between Emily and I we have knit an Antler sweater of some kind each year since we first released the pattern in 2012. There have been baby gifts, sweaters for us, and lovely Antlers for our little ones. In worsted weight with all the detail in the yoke it knits up quick with just enough interest at the end to keep us going!

Antler’s through the ages! It is one of my very favourite baby gifts, and Em’s too. Antlers for Max, Bodhi, Hunter, Emily, Alexa, and some babies to be! 

For Bodhi’s Antler I wanted it to fit just right for Christmas, but in hindsight I should have gone up a size for a little more wear (will I ever learn?). I used YOTH Father in ‘cracked pepper’, a yarn that I definitely want a sweater in for myself! Light and warm, all the best things about wool, and with a softer spin, Bodhi wears it next to the skin without issue. The dark grey was a bit of pain to knit at night, but the colour gives this sweater a timeless quality and makes it a very wearable wardrobe piece. I might just have to knit up another in the next size….or 2, man these kids grow like weeds!

Looking like a big girl, modeling with the promise of ‘hot chockit’

If you are a bit tentative to try it, the Antler makes a great first sweater and we have a step by step tutorial that takes you from cast on to button band!

Who have you knit an Antler for? Share your photos on your favourite social spot with the hashtag #antlersweater

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates button-ravelry-40

Let’s make 2017 a good one!

More cabled goodness from TCK:






A Clayoquot Hack

March 14, 2017


Well, the 2016 hackathon may be over, but I still love a good hack! While making a sweater for my Mum’s 60th birthday I decided to hack the Clayoquot cardigan, making it a pullover.

My Mum has always loved red, grey and plaid. These are her wardrobe staples, classic and unchanging. This means it is fairly easy to make things for her because I know what will work, and what will be worn often. So I embarked on a sweater for mum with some classic geometric fair isle in red, white, and charcoal; a guaranteed win!


Ever since I designed the Clayoquot cardigan in 2014 for Road Trip, I have wanted to try it out as a pullover, and this seemed just the right opportunity. Mum even requested a pullover, perfect! I used the beautiful Sweet Fiber Merino Twist DK in ‘charcoal’, ‘Ina’s red’ and ‘winter’, a combination I adore! The sweater took a *smidge* longer than I had hoped, but no matter, it’s done and it’s perfect!

How I Hacked It:

The hacks were pretty simple for this one. The important points are:

Sleeves: work these exactly as written.

Pockets: I skipped them.

Body cast-on: cast on 1 less stitch than it calls for in the pattern. Your steek stitches aren’t needed but your 1″ button band won’t be there, so it actually all evens out.

Charts: you don’t need the steek stitches or the edge stitches for the charts, just the repeats. To work the charts in the yoke you want to make sure the number of sts you decrease to is divisible by the chart repeat (so if the chart repeat is 8 sts, the number of sts you have should be divisible by 8). A few sts decreased here or there isn’t going to make or break your sweater, throw in a couple of extra k2togs to get to the number you need.

Join at the yoke: The Clayoquot cardigan was knit from the bottom up, that means the body and sleeves were knit first and then joined together for the yoke. In the original sweater there is a steek in the middle, so there is no pattern jog (well, there is, but it’s in the steek so you can’t notice it). But for a pullover you want the beginning of round (BOR) to be at the back (I put mine at the back of the left shoulder).

To accomplish this work your joining row as follows: knit 1/2 your body sts minus your underarm sts, knit across one sleeve, place your underarm sts on waste yarn, knit to end of the body except the underarm sts (place those on waste yarn), knit across sleeve sts, place BOR marker. You are now joined for the round with the marker at the back of the left shoulder.

Short Rows: You’ll need to position your back neck short rows around the centre back, (because we re-positioned the BOR marker, if you work the short rows as written they will end up around your right shoulder and front, not quite what you are looking for).


Voila! A perfect pullover. Mum loves it, and it was a pretty relaxing knit, with a little fair isle at the yoke to keep things interesting.

More Fair Isle fun from TCK:






Ridgeline at EYF

March 9, 2017

It’s that time of year again, time for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival! This year we will be sharing a booth (M9) with the lovely Nina of Rainbow Heirloom, and to celebrate we have a new pattern, Ridgeline, in the newest Rainbow Heirloom yarn: Heritage DK. We will be giving away 25 copies of Ridgeline to the first 25 people to the booth on Friday and Saturday!

Highlights from EYF 2016!

Ridgeline is a hat and mitten set inspired by those excellent vintage photographs of people on the ski slopes. Picture a gal in a warm hand knit toque and mittens thrown on, perhaps, with a fair isle yoked sweater, long wooden skis, and a smile. This set features graphic chevrons that shift the colour from one to the next. I have been enjoying colours in 3s lately so this set fit the bill!

Nina is wearing her beautiful Lush cardigan along with the Ridgeline set

Ridgeline Details

Pattern: Ridgeline

Yarn: Rainbow Heirloom Heritage DK (shown in ‘snow melt’, ‘wicked pacific’, and ‘golden north’)
for hat: MC: 60 (80, 110, 130, 160) yds; CC1: 30 yds; CC2: 45 (55, 65, 90, 100) yds
for mittens: MC: 80 (110, 140, 160) yds; CC1: 15 (20, 30, 35) yds; CC2: 25 (30, 40, 45) yds

Suggested Needles: US #3 / 3.25mm and US #5 / 3.75mm

If you are anywhere near Edinburgh this Friday or Saturday, definitely drop by the Tin Can Knits booth (M9). You can peruse our books, get your copy signed, and see all the lovely new knits from Heart on my Sleeve and Mad Colour in person!

More Tin Can Knits to see in person at EYF:





My Tenderheart

March 7, 2017


This will come as no surprise to those who have been following Tin Can Knits for a while, but Emily and I love geometric fair isle. The tiny repeats in the Tenderheart pattern were really fun to swatch and choose and I doubt we are done with the idea yet!

While one of us usually takes the lead on a design, our patterns with Fair Isle are among our most collaborative. We go back and forth on chart variations, make a few swatch hats, and the final product is usually a mix of us both.


Tenderheart has a simple construction, like all of the patterns in Heart on my Sleeve, it is worked from the bottom up (sleeves and body first, then all joined together for the yoke). The Fair Isle is a small repeat, with short floats, perfect for those with limited colourwork experience.

Tenderheart Details

Pattern: Tenderheart from Heart on my Sleeve (proceeds from this book are all going to the Against Malaria Foundation, so get your copy now!)

Yarn: DK weight yarn
MC: 350 (400, 500, 650, 800, 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2200) yds
CC: 140 (140, 150, 170, 230, 240, 250, 270, 270, 300, 330, 400, 430, 520, 580) yds

We used Madelinetosh DK for the grown up version in a few of my favourite colourways: Antler (the perfect neutral cool white), with Tart and Scarlet for the contrast.

For Jonesie’s sweater I used John Arbon Textiles Knit by Numbers DK. Emily knit up a Prism hat from Mad Colour in this yarn and I couldn’t wait to cast on a sweater in it! The yarn is soft and heathered and the colourwork really popped in the black and white!


I love the contrast cast-on detail (I might have been adding it to everything lately!), and of course, the heart on my sleeve. This heart motif was created by Mary Jane Mucklestone, a genius at Fair Isle, who has literally written the book on it!

If you haven’t joined the Heart on my Sleeve KAL yet, check it out! There are fabulous prizes and lots of knitters clicking away already.

More fabulous Fair Isle from TCK:







The Sleeve Swatch

March 2, 2017
Ysolda's Hearthstone from Heart on my Sleeve

Ysolda’s Hearthstone from Heart on my Sleeve

So, it is often said amongst knitters that they do not enjoy swatching (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out our tutorial on gauge in knitting here). Even those who swatch anyways don’t love it, so here is our tip to sort of avoid swatching in a bottom up sweater, like all of the sweaters in Heart on My Sleeve.

A good swatch:

Confession time: I really only swatch for new designs and sweaters. I’ve been knitting a long time and I’m pretty confident my gauge will be right on (and that I need to go down a needle or 2 when it comes to ribbing). Armed with this information and a willingness to rip out a 1/2 finished hat/scarf/shawl because I’m not happy with the gauge, I go forth and cast on.


A lovely garter gauge swatch

Garments are a whole other thing. Garments need a good swatch. A good swatch should always be indicative of the finished garment. It should be pretty big (at lease a 6″ square), it should be done the way the gauge in the pattern states (if it is over a cable pattern, measure it over a cable pattern, if it is on the smaller needles knit it on the smaller needles), it should be washed and blocked (some yarns change rather drastically after blocking), and if the gauge is given in rounds, the swatch should be in the round.

Tenderheart from Heart on my Sleeve

Tenderheart from Heart on my Sleeve

Sleeves as a gauge swatch:

Why must it be so complicated?! Some of us have a slightly tighter or looser gauge when we purl, so if you work an entire sweater in the round, it may be significantly different than if you had worked it back and forth. While you could do a swatch in the round (cast on, join for working in the round, knit for about 6″, bind off, cut your swatch and measure the gauge), in the case of a bottom-up sweater it seems more prudent to just cast on a sleeve.

Grab your smaller needles, bust out some ribbing, and start in on the sleeve. Once you get 4″ up the sleeve put the live sts on waste yarn and block your sleeve. If you find you are happy with the gauge, you can just carry on. If not, you can rip back to the ribbing and start from there with a smaller or larger needle as needed.

This handy dandy method fulfills the needs of a gauge swatch and the need to cast on RIGHT NOW at the same time. It’s the perfect solution.

More sleeve-first knits from TCK:







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