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MAD monochrome

June 22, 2017

back to black. and white. and grey. and all the shades in between!

Don’t let the name put you off! If bright bold and crazy colours aren’t your jam, you will probably still love some of the projects in Mad Colour!

For many of the designs, we’ve worked a more sedate or monochrome version which shows just how versatile these designs are. Even if you’re not into colour, the texture patterns and graphic designs, worked in a monochrome palette, might be just the right next pattern for you!

Calming and crisp, the waves of the Bounce Blanket are beautiful in greys.

 

The Chromatic sweater is perfectly classic in black and white stripes!

Undertone is crisply minimal in grey and black.

And the Bumble sweater can be subtle rather than crazy when worked in neutrals.

Try an ombre! We used a white MC throughout the Awash scarf, with an ombre of CCs from black to lightest grey. This created a subtly beautiful fabric.

Do you struggle with colour? Perhaps it just doesn’t fit into your wardrobe? Try working in neutrals and see if your knits get a little more play.

I love going to Ravelry for pattern inspiration! Using the advanced pattern browser, you can search for projects using specific colour combination. Check out the exquisite results of my search for projects in black & white!

On the other hand, if you love ALL the colours, then use them all and get a little crazy!

Hunter, Emily and Jordan in almost ALL of the Mad Colour knits! And yes, it was the hottest summertime when we took this photo!

What are you working on now? Share your knit story with us!

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Monochrome lovelies from Tin Can Knits:


Low Tide Cardigan by Tin Can Knits

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5 Years of Pom Pom

June 15, 2017

We have long been fans of Pom Pom Quarterly. From the very first issue I bought I was hooked. It was issue 5 and the photo theme was Boho camping, I couldn’t resist! I not only enjoy the knits, the styling, and the fabulous photos by Juju Vail, I also love the interesting articles, and the recipes! If you haven’t listened to the Pomcast yet, I highly recommend it. You can even hear Tin Can Knits in episode 5. Pom Pom just celebrated their 5 year anniversary and it just so happens that Tin Can Knits has had 5 patterns in 5 different issues!

The latest Anniversary Issue includes a new design from us, the Rave shawl. Rave has a heavy does of garter stitch with a braided cable (my current obsession) offering maximum texture. The simplicity of the single cable makes this a relaxing knit, perfect for summer vacation knitting, ready to wear when the evenings cool again. I’m personally planning a speckled version next!

Our very first Pom Pom pattern was the Ammolite cowl, another cabled favourite of mine! We later included that one in Road Trip, with the crossing cables mimicking the branches in the forest.

Next was the Winterberry blanket, another garter heavy project (what can I say, I love that squish!). While I am normally not so into bobbles, this blanket is a clear exception, I love the way they evoke hanging winterberries! We later included Winterberry in our wintry book, Great White North.

We have had 2 sweaters included in Pom Pom through the years, the first was Wenlock (look familiar? That’s right, we included that one in Mad Colour). I adore this sweater with an ombre in the yoke. This design came way back when Emily first started Rainbow Heirloom and was immersed in a world of colour! Rainbow Heirloom is now run by Nina, who also loves a good ombre, this is her Wenlock sweater in the pinks:

When Pom Pom decided they wanted to include a few men’s patterns in Issue 14: The Wool Issue we jumped at the chance! We designed Hitchcock, a casual unisex henley that works for everyone. It is a quick knit in worsted weight with line details and lots of texture.

And so, congratulations on 5 great years Pom Pom! We can’t wait to see what comes next!


More cables and garter from Tin Can Knits:

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Birthday Girl Bodhi!

June 8, 2017

Bodhi is wearing her Hearthstone sweater from Heart on my Sleeve

It was a big day in our house this past weekend, our little Bodhi turned 3! I know, I hear we millennials like to over-celebrate the little things, but folks, the littlest turning 3 is big around here. 3 means she dresses herself in the morning (often to hilarious effect). 3 means she can go to swimming lessons with just her and the instructor, no parents in the pool. 3 means if she is thirsty, she just goes and gets herself a cup of water. 3 means this year I will teach her to crack an egg by herself and she can carry her own backpack when we go for a hike. 3 means major independence!

Bodhi has been in knitwear since the day she was born, I brought her home in this colourful Vivid blanket! I thought she would get the fewest knits made just for her, but I was completely wrong. As the littlest she gets the most ‘prototype’ knits, and she has maximum hand-me-downs. Poor Jonesy-in-the-middle ends up with the fewest knits (but I’m working on it)!

When Bodhi was only a few weeks old we took her camping in the Rocky Mountains to photograph Road Trip. She travelled like a champ and I even whipped up a little Prairie Fire for her! Only a few months later she would be 1/2 the inspiration for Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe.

There is something so lovely about seeing my little ones growing up all wrapped in hand knits! Bodhi is such a wonderful little girl, smart as a whip, quick to laugh, and always with just a hint of sass in everything she does. She has always wanted to keep up with her siblings so she comes to things quickly through sheer force of will. Cheers to you on your big day my baby!

Bodhi is wearing: 1999, Prism, The World’s Simplest Mittens, Flax Light, Bowline, and Precipitation


More knits I have planned for Bobo

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Danny Dolly

May 31, 2017
Dolls

Danny, Morag, Donna, Charlie, and Carmen… a Quintet of Dollies!

One of the most pleasing things that I’ve ever made for the kids are these dolls. This last Christmas I made five for Max and Neve and their cousins. This was a BIG project, but they turned out so adorably that for me it was worth every late night, regardless of anything that the kids think!

Morag is a bit of a fiery drama queen!

I created this pattern outline to make my dolls (it’s an 11×17 sheet, so you’ll have to print it in parts and tape it together). I sewed bits of cloth together for trousers and body, then cut a front and back from these pre-sewed pieces. To make the hair, I applied some wool to the front and back of the head, tacking it down with a zig zag stitch within the selvedge. Then with right sides together I sewed all around, leaving about an inch and a half open at one side of the body. Once I turned the dolls right-side out, I stuffed them with some stuffing and hand-sewed the sides up.

Dolls

Morag, Carmen and Donna have improvised sweaters; sewn together from swatches and fingerless mittens. Half knit socks would probably work as a starting point too!

After the doll bodies were complete, it was time for sweaters! I had made a prototype doll the previous year, so the red sweater for Danny Dolly was already complete. But I needed sweaters for the other 4 dolls. Morag got a sleeveless number made from swatches from this design. Carmen of the fabulous side-ponytail got a sweater made from a fingerless mitten which I cut up to become a sweater body. I knit the sleeves then joined them with the mitten cuff to work a bottom-up sweater. My daughter Neve’s ‘Donna Dolly’ was the last one to be completed (and let me tell you, it was REALLY LATE at night on Christmas Eve when all this was occurring), so I just stuck an odd fingerless mitten on her, and called it a night!

Dolls

Danny Dolly is about 14″ tall, and his chest measures about 6.25″ around.

A Tiny Sweater Recipe: The little red sweater uses the same construction method as our free Flax pullover. If you are unfamiliar with knitting garments top-down, check out our tutorial here. The basic doll sweater recipe is as follows: Use 4.5mm needles and DK or Worsted weight yarn, or whatever you need to achieve a gauge of about 5 to 5.5 sts / inch. Cast on 30 sts, work 3-4 ribbing rounds. Mark the 10th, 14th, 26th and 30th (last) stitch. Increase 1 stitch each side of the four marked stitches (8 stitches increased) every second round. Continue in this manner until there are a total of 70 sts on the needles. Place sleeve stitches (and marked stitches, a total of 16 each side) on hold on waste yarn. Work body stitches (38 sts) in the round for about 3” or as long as desired. Work sleeves in the round for about 2”, or as long as desired. I included a little colourwork pattern on the body of Danny Dolly’s sweater for fun!

Dolls

Max named his little fellow ‘Danny Dolly’. He sometimes needs to have Danny Dolly in order to go to sleep, and one night he woke, crying and demanding that we find Danny Dolly for him before he would go back to sleep. Neve is a bit more ambivalent! She’s not all that interested in toys, unless they happen to be the toy that Max is playing with, in which case she really wants it, will try to grab it and tears are the inevitable result!

Dolly

Neve is wearing a Prairie Fire sweater and Donna Dolly is looking stylish in a fingerless mitten!

Donna Dolly has some pretty serious hair; I imagine as Max and Neve get older there will be some hours spent braiding and styling and re-braiding…

Do you make handmade gifts?

Alexa is totally into gift knitting but I give gift knits relatively seldom. I usually feel like the time commitment required in knits is a bit too much for gifts. This project, while it was very time consuming, was a big win for me! It was a challenge, but both the process and products were a pleasure. I loved every bit.., except maybe embroidering the faces on at 2am Christmas morning…! But c’est la vie, perhaps I’ll have Christmas presents ready a few days earlier next year.

Dolls

I’m a complete newbie to embroidery, so the dolls faces are somewhat… shall we say basic?


TCK patterns perfect for gift knitting:

 

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A thoughtful wardrobe

May 26, 2017

Em and I, out on the town in our knits

There is a lot of talk in the knitting world about being a process knitter vs. a product knitter. Do you knit because you love to knit or do you knit because you love the knitted item you have created? I see no reason to choose between the two, I love the finished knit because I loved knitting it! I especially love seeing my knits, that I so enjoyed making, adorning my loved ones. Friends and family who have a warmer head, toasty hands, or a cozy sweater to wear.

My most worn piece, a simple Grain shawl in luxurious Sweet Fiber Cashmere Aran. Photo cred to the wonderful Softsweater!

In my zeal of knitting though, I don’t always consider whether or not I will wear something. I knit bright pink cowl because that colour looked great in the skein and I was itching to cast on a cowl! Will it go with the orange vest I wear all the time? Nope. Didn’t stop to consider that at all…..

While I have no regrets (I loved knitting that cowl, and it will look great on whoever I gift it to), I thought I might take a stab at creating a knit wardrobe that coordinates with my actual wardrobe. That isn’t to say I won’t design an outfit around a knit, I mean, that makes a lot of sense to me, but I want to focus on knitting things for myself that I will get a lot of wear out of. This is particularly true of sweaters.

My most successful sweater I’ve knit for myself, a Flax in a lovely mustard yellow, Plucky Knitter Plucky Sweater in ‘princess phone’

I am a limited wardrobe kind of girl. I wear a lot of black, almost exclusively wear leggings or jeans, love plaid, and my grey hoodie collection is solid. So, I’m on a mission to create some knitwear for myself that goes with some of those things.

Natalie’s beautiful Antler was the inspiration for my own. She knit it in Cestari and the combination of cables and tweed are fabulous!

This idea started last year as I knit up my lovely warm brown Antler cardigan. I was inspired by my friend Natalie (@eastvanjam) and her beautiful Antler cardigan to create a tweedy one of my very own. I picked up some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter on a trip to the Beehive in ‘pumpernickel’ with a specific outfit in mind. I wanted to wear it with jeans and either a t-shirt or maybe a plaid shirt. I wanted to knit something that fit in my wardrobe!

I finished the Antler and immediately saw the error of my ways. The Antler has a more open neckline…..but I don’t want to wear it that way. I wear my sweaters a little snugger around the collar. So the button bands came off, the ribbing and the cabled decreases came out. I added 2 repeats of the cable before the decreases and decreased an extra 8 sts just before the ribbing.

Voila! A sweater that is just what I want it to be! It may be just a boring brown sweater, but to me it is perfect. Each yard of yarn flowed through my hands, each stitch was created by me. It is a sweater that will last and that will always look good with a pair of jeans. A realistic wardrobe staple!


More cabled knits from TCK:

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Neve’s Quilt and #trianglesaresohotrightnow

May 18, 2017

It looks like I’ve been sharing a lot of sewing projects this May, because I’ve been so inspired by #memademay and #minimemademay. But hey, as a designer I’ve gotta play!

Neve Triangle Quilt

This quilt was a long time coming. When I was pregnant with Neve, I was obsessing over triangle quilts (to avoid a similar fate, don’t surf this hashtag). I read the tutorial for the Purl Bee Modular Blocks quilt and thought… holy shit, triangles are so EASY… what am I waiting for?! So what felt like a few minutes later I found myself in a fabric shop and bought my first ‘charm pack’ in an amazing rainbow of textured solids. Let me say, for a beginner quilter like me these pre-cut 5” squares are THE BOMB. I got to skip what I find one of the more boring steps (cutting out) and get straight to the goods!

I chose a coordinating yellow for the MC, rather than white or grey which are my go-to main colours, especially when working with a rainbow. I had heard colour genius Kaffe Fassett speak, and he explained how he liked to pair colours, rather than setting them against white or black, because of the way the colours interact and intensify each other. So I went for yellow to see what would happen. I cut as many squares of the MC as I had of CC (42), then paired them up, always one CC with one yellow MC). Then I made them all into triangle blocks, chain piecing them which made it go really quickly. Then I was on to the most fun part; choosing a layout! During a kid (and cat) free moment I laid out a few options.

While I was strongly drawn to the random one, I decided that this quilt wanted to be a bit more simple, clear, and geometric, so I went with the one that looks a bit like flying geese. I guess it’s a little like the Fly Away blanket which I designed shortly after Max was born.

Neve Triangle Quilt

Add it to the pile! I made the quilt on the left when Max was born, and the Tunisian crochet blanket last year. The kids’ room is getting pretty cozy!

Neve Triangle Quilt

Happy Birthday Darling! I also made Neve’s onesie from of a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt that I found at a thrift shop. I used this free pattern by Shwin & Shwin.

I had intending to make this quilt before Neve was born, but you know how these things go! A couple weeks before her first birthday I was wondering what gift John and I could give her (she’s 1, she doesn’t care). I decided that a deadline was what I needed, and pulled out the supplies for this quilt. I finished it up and even hand-stitched her name on it, all in time for her to open it on the day! This is a pretty impressive feat, as I’m infamous for wrapping up half-finished things (and then, ahem, sometimes NEVER finishing them…). I can’t be the only one, right?!

Neve Triangle Quilt

I chose a lovely batik which I had been saving for years as the backing fabric. I took the top and backing down to the fabric store to select the perfect edge colour. Then I used this tutorial to make the double fold binding, which was time-consuming but made an exquisite finish.

Neve Triangle Quilt

This quilt currently lives on the floor in the dining room, where she has her milk in the mornings and afternoons these days

#trianglesaresohotrightnow

Obviously Alexa and I have been on a bit of a triangle binge these days. And you know it’s not just us; triangles are taking the design world by storm! Check out some of my favourite triangle designs and projects on Ravelry.

 

More TCK triangles:


 

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Speckles and Lace: A Lush for Hunter

May 16, 2017

We have expounded upon our love of speckles recently (all about that here), but I think my speckled love has gone from ‘ooh, pretty’ to ‘I NEED TO KNIT EVERYTHING IN SPECKLES RIGHT NOW’. It’s gotten a bit ‘full on’ as they say. Reminds me of my hand paint fever of the mid-2000s…

I knit Hunter a modified Flax sweater all in speckles over the winter break and loved it. The yarn was House of a la Mode in ‘Tinsel’ and it was just so much fun to knit. The pattern is simple (even with my mods) but as the yarn runs through your fingers the colours change, sometimes stitch by stitch! An adventure for sure.

A few weeks ago I combined my speckle obsession with my current need to constantly knit sweaters for my kids. They have pretty good sweater wardrobes already (except Jones, but I’m working on it), and little sweaters are quick (well, okay, they are quicker than knitting myself a sweater). Knitting for the kids also satisfies my desire to cast on certain patterns immediately (I’m looking at you So Faded Pint Sized), and the three of them wear their sweaters all the time! Is there anything more satisfying to a crafter than seeing their work out in the world, being used and loved? Nope.

Check those buttons, are they pink? Are they purple? Whatever shade of awesome, Hunter adores them!

And so, on a trip to Knit Night at Black Sheep Yarns I couldn’t resist the Hedgehog Fibers Merino DK in ‘fly’ and by the time I went to bed I had a lace band blocking for a new Lush sweater. I normally choose a size with a bit of positive ease for the kids knits (+2-3″) to maximize wear, but with this design, the lace looks really good when stretched a bit, so I went with only about 1/2″ of positive ease for this one.

lush project details:

Pattern: Lush
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibers Merino DK in ‘fly’
Size: 7-8 years (27″ chest)

Hunter is loving it! She wore it before the ends were even woven in and she especially loved the pinky purple buttons I found at Button Button. The yarn was a delight to knit with, an adventure in every stitch, and the whole project was rather successful if I do say so myself. So successful, I MIGHT have cast on another speckled project immediately….in spite of all the other WIPs on the needles!

So, what do you like to knit for the littles? Do you stick to accessories? Are you as sweater crazy as we are?

More sweaters ready for speckles by TCK:


Flax Light by Tin Can KnitsChromatic by Tin Can KnitsPlaydate by Tin Can Knits

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