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Crazyheart for Jones

February 15, 2018

My KAL Record

Confession: I have a pretty terrible track record for KALs. I go in with a lot of enthusiasm, but then something shiny (or soft, or speckled, or otherwise exciting) crosses my path and BAM, my project is off the rails and at the bottom of the knit pile. This has happened *ahem* a few times and I almost skipped the HOMS KAL, (all the details here) admitting I might not finish even before it started, but I figured I’d give myself another shot at knitting with a bit of stick-to-it-iveness.

Now, I am an adult (mostly), and if I want to put some knitting by the wayside to work on something else, that is totally allowed (in my humble opinion). My Mum likes to call me a ‘creative type’, and sometimes that means jumping on an idea as soon as you have it, but there is also something to be said for finishing what you start, and this project is definitely gonna be the latter!

The Sweater

When we were putting together the HOMS book Emily and I got to knit a few of the wee sizes. I knit the beautiful Wholehearted for Hunter, the Brightheart for Bodhi, my own Tenderheart for Jones. I knit up an Ironheart for this tutorial, and for our HOMS kick off KAL I knit up a Hearthstone for Bodhi. There are only 2 sweaters in the book I haven’t knit yet! I’ve been so excited for the Crazyheart ever since I first saw it and I had the perfect yarn in mind.

Sleeves and body are accomplished and now for the yoke! It helps that the weather has been wet and terrible, and that I can knit a sweater body in the dark at the movie theater. I have been hanging on to these lovely skeins of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘wicked pacific’ for a while. They were always intended to be a sweater for Jones, and his sweater wardrobe is the slimmest so it was meant to be! I have a good range of blues and greys in Sweater, and I think this Crazyheart needs a hot hit of acid green…or maybe highlighter yellow?

How about you, how is your KAL track record? Do you also get distracted mid-project?

More TCK in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater:

Off Gauge Guidance : How to knit a Strange Brew sweater at a different gauge

February 1, 2018

So you’ve chosen a pattern (it’s our Strange Brew colourwork yoke recipe, right?), and you’ve got a lovely bag of perfect yarn…

You made a swatch hat and discovered that you love the yarn, the colourwork patterns you chose are exquisite, and the fabric is LOVELY… but your gauge doesn’t match the pattern gauge (22 sts / 4″ or 5.5 sts / inch). Now what do you do?

One option is to swatch again, using a larger or smaller needle until you achieve the precise gauge called for by the pattern. But you may find that at the pattern gauge, the fabric is too loose or too tight. A second option, which we encourage you to consider, is knitting the pattern at a different gauge. Because Strange Brew is a round yoke sweater, it is very flexible, and simple to adjust for gauge.

These are a series of swatch hats made using the hat & cowl swatch recipe included with Strange Brew! Each would be a useful swatch for a yoke design. You can also knit basic version to check your stockinette gauge in the round.

If you’d like to tackle adjusting for a different gauge, here’s a helpful tool! We just updated the Strange Brew pattern to include an additional PDF, which will help you adjust for a slightly different gauge. You can download the supplemental PDF here, or if you already have a copy of the Strange Brew pattern, you can find this supplement in your Ravelry library.


How To Use The Off-Gauge Guidance Table

  1. Swatch to determine your gauge. For a seamless sweater knit in the round, like Strange Brew, we recommend swatching in the round by making a swatch hat or tube (in fact, the Strange Brew pattern includes a swatch hat & cowl pattern). Wash and block the swatch in the same way that you would your finished sweater, then measure how many stitches there are per inch. Assuming that you have slightly less or slightly more stitches than the pattern gauge of 5.5, you can use the off-gauge guidance table. More on gauge and swatching here.
  2. Check the column that applies to your gauge. Look down this column to find the finished chest measurement that you desire, then look left to see which pattern size this corresponds to. For example, if you want to knit a 37″ sweater, but your gauge is 5 sts per inch, follow pattern instructions for women’s XS (which will make a 36″ sweater) or women’s S (which will make a 38 1/2″ sweater). This is your ‘adjusted’ size.
  3. Once you determine your ‘adjusted’ size, you will simply follow the pattern instructions for that size, however you will knit to finished lengths (at body and sleeves) that you desire. The yoke instructions you can follow exactly as written for your ‘adjusted’ size, without any length adjustments.

This is an excerpt from the Strange Brew off-gauge guidance table – download the full PDF here.

Cast on now!

So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of the Strange Brew pattern, and get started designing your own yoke now! If you’re a bit uncertain about colour, you may find our Week of Colour blog posts helpful, they are our attempt to demystify colour choices, and get you started on your colourwork journey.

What about adjusting other knitting patterns for working at a different gauge?

We have a tutorial here which describes the process, in a bit more depth, working directly from the math, and covering a few more considerations. This adorable little vest is an aran weight version of the Peanut Vest, which was originally designed in DK weight. It required a few simple calculations, but came out just as I hoped!

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

Fair Isle Knits from TCK:

Strange Brew
















































New York Baby!

January 25, 2018

Emily and I are usually in the same place at the same time about once a year. This year though, we managed to meet in the middle for Vogue Knitting Live in New York! We taught all weekend to a fabulous crowd, wandered around the market place, and even had a couple of extra days to see the sights!

One of my favourite things about shows is spending a little time with other designers. This time we managed to grab some dinner with Bristol and Veera, and we headed to MOMA with Veera and Melanie Berg. It is always nice to share a meal and chat, and Bristol and Veera are excellent company. It was also amazing heading MOMA, seeing all of the art through the eyes of designers, hearing what inspires them about each piece. Emily and I are currently on a colour kick so we were all about the palettes!

We didn’t have a lot of marketplace time at Vogue, but Emily made the most of it, picking up a SQ (sweater quantity) of Mewesik from Green Mountain Spinnery. We also headed out to see a couple of New York Yarn shops, Brooklyn General Store and Purl Soho. Way back in my knitting journey, when I decided to move away from my acrylic blanket obsession (how many hideous strip blankets can one girl knit?!), I discovered The Purlbee, the blog of Purl Soho. I was immediately smitten with their simple style, fabulous yarns and fabrics, and wonderful tutorials. I have been following along for years, and though I had been once before, at their old location, it was so fun heading there with Emily! We picked up a few precious skeins and Em decided to jump on the Fringe Supply Co Field Bag wagon. After Purl Soho we hopped the train to Brooklyn to see the Brooklyn General Store. It such a cute shop, full of yarn, fabric, and all sorts of treasures!

We also had a little time to see the city! In addition to our MOMA trip we saw the Statue of Liberty and took a stroll through Central Park. It is such a great city to walk around, and we stopped at many cafes along the way! Knitting and cafes might be our favourite things….

I finished up my Prairie Fire sweater just before I left (it may have been a tiny bit damp when I packed it in my suitcase). It is project that has been languishing without a second sleeve for WAY too long, and it was so great to get it finished and wear it. The yarn, beautiful Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘black cherry’, was a Christmas present from Em back in 2015. Vogue was the perfect place to wear it out, there is nothing better than compliments from knitters! Emily got a couple of snaps of me in Central Park in my new sweater.

Hanging in Times Square

Empire State Building!

It is always so nice to be together, and it was so fun being together in another city, exploring, chatting, and planning!

Knits we wore in NYC

A Heartfelt KAL

January 18, 2018

It has been nearly a year since our collaborative charity ebook, Heart On My Sleeve was launched! Last year on Valentines day, we brought you this lovely ebook with designs by Shannon Cook, Romi Hill, Bristol Ivy, Tanis Lavallee, Joji Locatelli, Jane Richmond, and Ysolda Teague and Tin Can Knits too! Since then, we’ve donated every penny of ebook income to the Against Malaria Foundation, raising a whopping grand total of $63,127 USD as of January 10 2018! This buys 27,000 nets, which will protect 48,600 people people from malaria. To put this in perspective, this is the entire population of 90-100 villages. Learn more about the donation specifics here.

Why malaria? Malaria is cheap to prevent, yet half a million people die of it every year, and 70% are little ones; babies and kids under 5 years old. Malaria is also the world’s single largest killer of pregnant women. Learning these statistics, while I was pregnant with my second child, nearly broke my heart. But learning how a significant difference could be made in people’s lives with so little money inspired us both. It has been so rewarding to coordinate this project, which gave us a chance to work with designers we respect and admire, and we are so thankful to the yarn companies who contributed to this project. The support of knitters everywhere has been overwhelming and so positive!

The Heart On My Sleeve fundraiser ends February 28 2018! After then the Heart On My Sleeve ebook, which is a great value at $18 for 8 beautiful sweater patterns, will no longer be available!

So if you love this cause and the designs, get a copy for you or a friend right now!

The Story of a Collaboration

Heart On My Sleeve was designed in a special way. Alexa and I, here at Tin Can Knits, developed the ‘base pattern’ – instructions for basic a bottom-up sweater, with sleeves and body defined up to the yoke. Each designer took this basic sweater and created a unique design for the yoke! Some of them also ‘hacked’ our sleeves, adding lovely details at hem and cuffs. Tanis also added a subtle striping pattern throughout the body. So while these 8 designs share the same basic DNA, they’re all unique!

KAL details:

To celebrate these beautiful designs, and the project that we have personally found so inspiring, we’re hosting a KAL! The KAL will be run primarily in the Ravelry group, but there’ll also be chat on the Facebook group if you prefer!

Start date: TODAY!
End date: February 28, 2018
To enter to win a prize: knit a sweater (any size) from Heart On My Sleeve, and post your finished project in the FO thread on Ravelry, by midnight PST on Feb 28, 2018

Prizes YAY!

We’ll draw winners randomly from among the folk who list their finished knits in the FO thread here, and announce winners on March 1st! We’ve got a bundle of LUSCIOUS yarn prizes from very generous yarnies:


5 skeins of Magpie Fibers Swank DK in your a single colourway of your choice of her lovely array of colourways… And you can follow the Magpie’s colour collecting here.

Biches & Bûches

6 skeins of Biches & Buches Le Gros Lambswool – winner’s choice of one of these lovely undyed shades! This French company is curating a vision of moody natural beauty, I’m diggin’ it!


6 skeins of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in the vivid ’princess rockstar’. Such hot hot heat!
NAR-NOPE! Images in the For Web Only folder are optimized for social media. Please use images in that folder when posting to the web. This image is optimized for PRINT.

A sweater’s amount of Sunshine Yarns Luxury Sport in the ombre blues and grey colourway of this beautiful Crazyheart Sweater! For a little more sunshine in your life…

The Tin Can Knits ebook library (yup, that’s all of our ebooks!)
And some more honourable mention TCK pattern prizes too…!

Even if you don’t think you can finish a sweater in the next 6 weeks, join us for the chat! We’ll be visiting the Ravelry group every day or two, to help with questions, yarn choices, modifications etc. We’d love to knit along with you!

Em’s KAL plans:

I’m going to make a sweater for me. But I’m not 100% sure yet which design I’ll use! Last year I made a Crazyheart sweater for Max… maybe I should have one to match?


Or perhaps a lacy Ironheart?

I was thinking it would be pretty lovely to throw a few more colours into the lovely lacy Brightheart by Romi Hill, so that’s a possibility!

Then again, I’m very intrigued by Bristol Ivy’s unique yoke construction featured in Wholehearted, Alexa raved about how the genius construction of the yoke while knitting one for Hunter, so I’m quite tempted to make one of those for me… I guess you’ll have to join in to see what I choose!

Bristol’s Wholehearted sweater uses a sideways bind off and short rows to shape the yoke.

So will you join in with this KAL and make something beautiful for you or a loved one? What will you knit?

A simple classic like Joji’s Heartstring pullover? A casual hoodie for every day like Jane & Shannon’s Lionheart?

Browse all of the designs!



Sweater possibilities from Heart on my Sleeve

Professor Jones

January 16, 2018

This year Jones has discovered Super Heroes. He loves them. He loves Superman the very best. He only found out about super heroes a couple of months ago, but he knows so many names and facts already, it amazes me! When he hit the dinosaur phase (which isn’t gone, just in the background right now), I had to bone-up (pun intended) on all my dinosaur facts. Now I find myself looking up the name of Superman’s mum, and any information on Krypton I can find. One of Jonesies favourite things to know is a super hero’s secret identity: Diana Prince, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Arthur Curry, the list goes on! Super Jones secret identity is Professor Jones (I know, it’s not that secret when they are both named Jones, but he’s 5 and he likes it). And so I give you, Professor Jones.

Project Details:

Pattern: Gramps

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in ‘cast iron’

Size: 6-8 years

Mods: I skipped the elbow patches (for now)

Professor Jones is a Paleontologist. When he isn’t fighting crime as Super Jones, he is digging up dinosaur bones and trying to extract dino-DNA to make a real live T-Rex. You can find him in the field, presumably covered in dust, or in his office, pouring over dino books in the cozy sweater his mum knit for him. Every professor needs a tweedy cardigan with a shawl collar and pockets, and a bow tie to add a little eccentric flair. They just do.

Future knits for Professor Jones wardrobe:

A Christmas Sweater for Bodhi

January 4, 2018

So I was knitting along in November, getting all my Christmas knitting done (there wasn’t too much this year), finishing up some WIPs, and working on some new designs when… bam! I just had to cast on a Christmas sweater for Bodhi! This idea hit me like a ton of bricks (as some wild ideas do), and I knew I wanted classic Christmas colours and Fair Isle all the way.

I was inspired by the lovely Vintage Winter sweater from Jess of Ginger Twist. It fit perfectly with my current obsession with Strange Brew yokes and Fair Isle in general. I something timeless, a sweater that would be at home in the pages of a children’s book or a classic holiday movie. I got out my graph paper and set to work!

For my colour palette I went with Tanis Fiber Arts Purewash DK, in Spruce, Poppy, and Natural – a classic combo if ever there was. I wanted the sweater to come out a wee bit big in the hopes that MAYBE it will fit next year too (good luck Alexa), so I cast on the 4-6 with a little extra length.

I loved knitting this sweater. It practically knit itself, which is weird because I feel like sometimes kiddie sleeves take an evening and sometimes they take …. well, forever, and I never know which kind of sleeve it’s going to be. I was so excited to finish this one, and with holiday gatherings, the stockinette portions were great conversational knitting. I finished it up with room to spare, and Bodhi just loved it. She is three and a half and she still loves everything I make her. I overheard her telling her pre-school teachers that her mama made it for her, she was all proud smiles when she said it.

How I made it:

I followed the instructions for the 4-6 year size in the Strange Brew Pattern (our yoke sweater recipe; learn more about this versatile pattern).

Body: I cast on, worked a twisted rib (k1tbl, p1), knit 4 rounds, worked the hem chart, then worked the body in MC and stockinette to the underarm.

Sleeves: Cast on, worked a twisted rib (k1tbl, p1), knit 3 rounds, worked hem chart, then proceeded to increases and worked sleeve as written.

Yoke: I worked the yoke join, then the short row shaping instructions, 4 rounds in MC, then the yoke chart. That took me to 128 sts. I worked 1 round in MC, then worked one final decrease round: k2, (k1, k2tog) around. This gave me a neckline stitch count of 86 sts. I worked a twisted rib again at the neckline


Hem Chart


Yoke Chart

I was so pleased with the results, and I was glad I allowed myself this tangential indulgence. At the holidays I often have too many plans, not enough hours in the day, and it can be a poor choice to add something more at the last minute. On the other hand, those can be the things that turn out the best!

My three little sugar plums in their Christmas attire. Jones in his Gramps, Hunter in her Coastal Pullover, and Bodhi in her Strange Brew.

More Festive Knits from TCK:

Barley Light – Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2017

A Lovely Little Gift for you!

And Alexa and Emily here at Tin Can Knits always like to put together a little holiday gift for the knitters around the world who send us lovely letters about their projects, keep us in business, and support causes we believe in like Heart on my Sleeve, and Sight is Life.

As I sit here sipping my mulled wine and watching the kiddies romp around the room I’ll keep it brief, as I’m sure you’d like to get back to playing, relaxing, cooking, sharing stories, or possibly some last-minute gift finishing? Surely I’m not the only one who has a dozen projects not-quite-finished by Christmas eve?

So download Barley Light, our new free pattern now!

Barley Light is our latest addition to The Simple Collection – our free learn-to-knit series of patterns and tutorials! We created The Simple Collection back in 2013, with 8 free patterns, but have been adding free patterns since then, and we’re up to 11 now. Let’s just say that sometimes when Alexa and I are involved, things can get a little out of hand!

If the 15,000+ projects knit using the original (worsted / aran weight) Barley hat is any indication, knitters LOVE a good simple hat pattern! So we’ve created this lightweight version of Barley. Barley Light is a perfect project for that skein of beautiful hand-dyed luxury that’s just begging to be knit.

It’s also an ideal simple knit to take visiting; simple enough to put down and pick up at any point, and a blank canvas to allow a beautiful yarn to shine.

Barley Light Project Details

Pattern: Barley Light (free!)
110 (140, 180, 220, 260) yds 4ply / sock wt yarn
(samples shown in The Uncommon Thread BFL Fingering in ‘turbillion’ and The Uncommon Thread Uncommon Everyday in ‘meadow grass’)
Needles: US #2 / 2.75mm 16” circular needle,
US #4 / 3.5mm 16” circular and double pointed needles
(or as required to meet gauge)
Gauge: 26 sts & 38 rounds / 4” in stockinette stitch using larger needles
Notions: stitch markers, darning needle

The Uncommon Thread… supercool colours!

I was introduced to The Uncommon Thread back in 2013 when I was working on Handmade in the UK, and I’ve been a follower ever since! Turbillion (the grey speckle) must be one of my all-time favourite hand-dyed colourways. SWOON.

We made the Peanut Vest (from Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe) in The Uncommon Thread Merino DK, and it was LOVELY to work with! I love her edgy and modern take on colour (and she’s been making subtle speckles since WAY back).

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

The Uncommon Thread has in-stock yarns, but will be posting a shop update on Boxing Day – December 26th at 4pm GMT, so there will be a variety of yarns and colourways perfect for Barley Light here.

The Simple Collection

In case you haven’t heard of The Simple Collection yet – well you’d better check it out now! All of our free patterns are marked on our website with a little asterisk, and there’s a full listing of our free patterns here.

Malt Blanket by Tin Can Knits Flax Pullover by Tin Can KnitsFlax Light by Tin Can Knits Barley Hat

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