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Introducing Heart on my Sleeve

February 14, 2017

Heart on my Sleeve

It feels as if we have been working on this project forever and we are so excited to share it with you! Introducing Heart on my Sleeve: Knit with Care. This is a collaborative project with so many of our very favourite designers: Shannon Cook, Romi Hill, Bristol Ivy, Tanis Lavallee, Joji Locatelli, Jane Richmond, and Ysolda Teague.

And the best part? All of the proceeds (after Ravelry and PayPal fees) are going to the Against Malaria Fund!

Hearthstone by Ysolda Teague

Hearthstone by Ysolda Teague

Emily had the idea for Heart on my Sleeve some time ago. We discussed how lucky we both are in life, how inspiring the knitting community is, and how we could give back. We also loved the idea of working with some of our favourite designers, so we put the two ideas together and so we started down the road to Heart on my Sleeve.

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Crazyheart by Tanis Lavallee

The book

Heart on my Sleeve is a book of sweaters. We started with a basic bottom up sweater, and each designer put their own personal twist on the yoke. Remember those ‘choose your own adventures’ books from when you were a kid? It’s like that, but with knitting! You can make your sweater exactly like ours, or you can mix and match. All the sweaters are in DK weight at the same gauge.

Heart on my Sleeve

You can order the Heart on my Sleeve ebook, with 8 sweater patterns sized baby to big now for $18. After Ravelry and PayPal fees every cent goes to the Against Malaria Fund. The ebook will only be available for 1 year so get it while it’s hot!

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Brightheart by Romi Hill

Wholehearted by Bristol Ivy

Wholehearted by Bristol Ivy

The Cause

We chose to donate to the Against Malaria Foundation because the need spoke to Emily and I personally as mothers. Malaria is a preventable disease – no one need die of it. Yet thousands of small children and pregnant women die of it every day. Malaria is relatively cheap to prevent, which means that every ebook sold and every dollar you donate really counts toward saving lives and improving economies.

For more information on the Against Malaria Foundation you can visit their website at www.againstmalaria.com

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Heartstring by Joji Locatelli

Ironheart by Emily Wessel

The KAL

Who wants to get started?! For a project like this, so inspired by the knitting community we love so much, it seemed fitting to have a knit along, where knitters can knit together in a virtual stitch circle.

The KAL will be run in our Ravelry group here, but you can also chat along in our Facebook group here, or tag your projects with #heartonmysleeveknits. Em and I will be knitting along too…we just aren’t sure which sweater or combination of sweaters yet!

The KAL starts today, February 14, 2017 and goes until April 18, 2017. There are a lot of fabulous prizes from Baa Ram Ewe, Fringe Supply Co, Pom Pom Quarterly, SweetGeorgia Yarns, Tanis Fiber Arts, The Loveliest Yarn Company, and YOTH yarns.

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Tenderheart by Alexa Ludeman

The ebook will only be available for 1 year so get it now and help a great cause while you are at it!

Which HOMS sweater will you cast on?


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Hearthstone                   Heartstring                     Crazyheart

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Let’s Knit an Antler Toque

February 9, 2017
Bodhi is wearing her Antler Toque in Malabrigo Rios and a fun faux fur pom pom from Stash in Calgary

Bodhi is wearing her Antler Toque in Malabrigo Rios and a fun faux fur pom pom I picked up at Stash in Calgary

Ready to knit a cabled hat?! In this tutorial we will go step by step through the Antler Toque, a great way to learn about cables, charts, and hat knitting in general. If you are looking for something a little simpler, try our free Barley hat pattern and tutorial from The Simple Collection.

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Ready your supplies:

Step one, download the Antler Toque pattern, and gather your supplies. You will need:

  • worsted weight yarn (in this tutorial we are using Malabrigo Rios in ‘water green’)
  • a US #6/ 4mm 16″ circular needle
  • a US #8/ 5mm 16″ circular needle and double pointed needles
  • a cable needle
  • a stitch marker
  • a darning needle.
  • If you happen to have a surly bearded man around, it helps for modeling once your hat is done, but that part is optional.pk-antlerhat-01

Choosing a size:

sizing: Baby (Child, Adult S, L)
To fit 16 (18, 21, 23)” head

While some patterns include ‘finished measurements’ you will note that the Antler Toque has ‘to fit’ measurements. That is because this hat has a little bit of negative ease built in for a proper fit (negative ease means the hat is a little smaller than your noggin, so the knitting stretches a little to fit snuggly). I’ll be knitting the child size.

Ready to cast on:

Using smaller needles, cast on 76 (84, 96, 106) sts, PM and join for working in the round. Work in 1×1 rib (k1, p1) for 1.5 (2, 2, 2.5)”.

So, start with your US #6 / 4mm needles and cast on. Remember to cast on a little bit loosely, this hat has to go over a head! I will be casting on 84 sts, the first size in brackets. If you have never cast on using circular needles before, check out our tutorial here. Once you have completed your ribbing your toque will look like this:

Ribbing complete!

Ribbing complete!

Next round, Adult S and L only: work in 1×1 rib to last 2 sts, k2tog [- (-, 95, 105) sts]

Why this little adjustment? Because the ribbing must be an even number, but the cable and purl repeat must be an odd number for these sizes, the Adult S and L need a little decrease. You’ll just have to trust us on this one!

All sizes, change to larger needles and work set up round:
[k16, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around

To change to larger needles you simply use the larger needle to start the next round, knitting off the smaller needle in your left hand, onto the larger needle in your right hand. Since I am working the child size, I will work [k16, p5] around.This is a 21 stitch repeat and I will have 4 cables. The square brackets tell you what your repeat is, and the round brackets indicate the number of purl sts for your size. If you are knitting the baby size you will work [k16, p3] around, the child size is [k15, p5] around etc.

Work antler cable pattern following chart A or written instructions.
All Rounds: [work 16-st antler cable, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Work rounds 1-6 of antler cable a total of 5 (6, 8, 9) times

antlertoquechart

You will be working the 16 stitch chart with 3 or 5 purl stitches in between, depending on your size. The chart is read from right to left, bottom to top. Why do charts work that way? Because that is the way your knitting goes!

For the child size round 1 will look like this: [k4, c4b, c4f, k4, p5] around

It is a bit more clear once a few repeats have been worked. You can see that I have 16 stitch Antler cables separated by 5 purl sts (your size might have 3 sts in between)

It is a bit more clear once a few repeats have been worked. You can see that I have 16 stitch Antler cables separated by 5 purl sts (your size might have 3 sts in between)

Never cabled before? No problem! Check out our full cable tutorial here. For the child size, I am working rounds 1-6 of the chart a total of 6 times.

6 repeats accomplished

6 repeats accomplished

Ready for decreases

The decreases for this hat are fairly straight forward written out line by line. If ssk and k2tog are new to you, click the links for a detailed explanation. For the Antler Toque decreases, just watch out for the cabled decreases. They are the c4bdec and c4fdec. You are decreasing and cabling at the same time.

When your stitches start to feel too stretched you can change to DPNs (double pointed needles). Why the DPNs you ask? You can knit things larger than the circumference of a circular needle, but not smaller, in order to work on the few stitches left in the decreases you will need DPNs. Alternatively you could use a long circular needle and the magic loop method.

changing-to-dpns

Switching to DPNs is easy peasy, just the same as switching from the smaller needles to the larger. You will pick up your first DPN in your right hand, and your circular needle will be in your left. You will work the stitches off of the circular onto the DPN.

When I distribute my sts on DPNs I like to put about 1/2 the sts on the first needle and about 1/4 of the sts on each of the other 2 needles. This way I don’t need the BOR marker, I know the beginning of the round is at the start of the ‘full’ needle.

Stitches distributed per my favourite method

Stitches distributed per my favourite method

Finishing

Break yarn leaving an 8” tail. Thread tail through remaining sts, pull tight and secure end. Weave in your ends and give your hat a block.

Using your blunt darning needle, thread the tail through the remaining live sts

Using your blunt darning needle, thread the tail through the remaining live sts and take them off the needle.

Done and ready for a block!

Done and ready for a block!

The biggest question is to pom pom or not to pom pom. Bodhi went wild with a hot pink faux fur number, but it’s really up to you. If you are looking for a tutorial on how to make a pom pom, we have that too!

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That’s it! You are ready to wear your Antler toque out and about. Now that you are confident with your cables you can go forth and conquer a matching set of mittens, or even an Antler sweater!


More cabled knits from TCK

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Year of Making

February 2, 2017

I have undertaken a new project this year, called Year of Making. I actually started in December, so you may have seen some posts in my Instagram Stories feed tagged #yearofmaking. I was inspired to do this by the #yearofmaking projects done by Miriam Felton and Kim Werker; learn a bit more about their take on it on Kim’s podcast here.

One of the larger projects I worked on since I started the #yearofmaking project was these dolls, made for my kids and nieces and nephews this Christmas

One of the larger projects I worked on since I started my #yearofmaking project was these dolls, made for my kids and nieces and nephews this Christmas

The idea, or the one that I’m running with, is to make something every day, and to document that daily. I’m taking a quick photo (trying not to worry about pretty pretty), and keeping daily notes. I’m not sure whether this will change my habits as a maker, or whether it will simply be a documentation of the making that I was already doing. When my work days include a lot of computer time, writing, layout, editing, website building and the like I sometimes feel like my job is all work and no play (there’s never enough knitting!). By documenting my day-to-day making that I am in fact doing, I hope to recognize that this is not the case, and perhaps be inspired to insert a little bit more making into each week. I’m really not sure what I will get out of the exercise, but it’s something that I want to try.

Ambitions, hopes, and ideas for this project? I usually have too many!

  • try new vegetarian recipes (cut a bit of the meat out of my family’s diet)
  • more recipes which involve PASTRY (nom nom)
  • complete some sewing WIPS (so I can start new projects)
  • sew BAGS, coats, trousers, shirts, …
  • do more block printing (I took a fabulous class last year and got started)
  • focus on the kids handmade wardrobes again this spring in Mini Me Made May
  • do more art and cooking with Max (he’s 2.5 now, and interested in making things)
  • complete some lingering knitting WIPS
  • perhaps try knitting only 1 project at a time, to see if I can be more of a completionist!
  • illustrate a book for Max and Neve
  • drawings for cards
  • finish a couple of quilts; hand quilting

… and I’ve got way more, really, but let’s just start there!

Rules? No rules, really

I am considering anything that I make, physically, an act of making for the purposes of this project. Dinner, baking, a few stitches on a knitting project, a drawing, play-dough creatures made with Max, etc. I am hoping this project might expand my view of myself as a maker to include the things I create which are outside of my ‘knit box’. I don’t know what, if anything, will come from this project, but it has already inspired me to try out a few new recipes, techniques, and projects beyond what I would normally have taken on. And it has made me happy and given me more pleasure to consider some of the mundane day-to-day responsibilities (ie. cooking) as creative making, and an opportunity to play with Max too.

A few of my ‘making’ projects so far:

You’ll probably see quite a bit of cooking included in the items I can share publicly, because a large amount of my knitting is for new designs, which we usually can’t share until they are published. I’ll be sharing some of my photos and projects on Instagram and more regularly on our Instagram Stories feed, so check there if you’d like to follow along with what I’ve been making! Or start your own #yearofmaking!

Do you have a project for this year?

The beginning of a new year can be an opportunity for new ideas, plans, visions and excitement. This year at Tin Can Knits we’re exploring the reasons why we knit, and considering 2017 a Year of Thoughtful Knitting. We hope to share knitters’ stories, and explore the ways in which our shared craft brings people together, expresses love, gives comfort, and brings us happiness and joy. I hope the coming year will be full of knits and full of joy for you and your loved ones.

Some TCK knits I’m planning to make this year:


Polygon by Tin Can KnitsWindswept by Tin Can KnitsPrism by Tin Can Knits

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A Year of Thoughtful Knitting

January 27, 2017

When knitters subscribe to our email updates (do it now if you haven’t already, eh?!) we ask them to send us a note and tell us what they’re knitting, what they are struggling with, and WHY this thing called knitting inspires them. These are some of our very favourite emails, full of stories both happy and sad, little windows into the lives of knitters. We thank you so much for sharing your stories with us! These stories are the inspiration for 2017: The Year of Thoughtful Knitting.

Thinking a bit more about the yarns we use is part of our Year of Thoughtful Knitting

Thinking a bit more about the yarns we use is part of our Year of Thoughtful Knitting

Over the years, as Alexa and I read your notes, we have found that there are common themes and stories that unite us. I think these stories we have in common are part of the glue that holds the knitting community together, and makes it such a vibrant place for creative exploration.

Grain is our latest addition to The Simple Collection

Grain is our latest addition to The Simple Collection

If you have been with us for a while you might remember the Simple Collection in 2013 (a year of learning to knit!), The Year of the Sweater in 2015 (Alexa and I knit a whopping 36 sweaters between us!), and The Year of Something New in 2016 (I took on a bit of Brioche!). This year we want to knit thoughtfully. We will be exploring why we knit, the yarns we use, sharing knitters’ stories and thinking about our own.

In February, we’ll be bringing you a very special collaborative project that we hope will inspire knitting, and get you thinking about how we knit with care!

Coming very soon!

Heart On My Sleeve is coming very soon!

If you’re curious and want to know when Heart On My Sleeve is launched you can find the info on any of your favourite social spots (#yearofthoughtfulknitting), or you can sign up for our email updates.

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!

On my knit list for this year:


Polygon BlanketWindsweptRocky Joggers by Tin Can Knits

 

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#TCKhackathon2016 Roundup

January 19, 2017

We LOVE LOVE LOVED your knits and entries for the #TCKhackathon2016 !

There were so many inspiring knits, beautiful projects. Thanks to everyone who participated! We really enjoyed chatting and watching your projects come together on the Facebook Group too! We’re going to keep that group alive and well so that we can run future knitalongs there; hopefully this is OK with the current group members, and if not, it’s easy to remove yourself from the group if you’re not enjoying it.

There were so many projects we loved, it was nearly impossible to choose JUST one.

But we had to pick somebody to get the SUPERPRIZE…

That said, we couldn’t send ALL the love to just one knitter, so we decided to add in some honourable mentions! These knitters will receive one TCK published single pattern of their choice:

honourable mentions:

  • weirdest, wildest, wooliest: hot water bottle cozy with Prism colourwork pattern by mgpetitelady,
  • go big or go home: gramps + fair isle hack by corynablasko and striped harvest with handspun by hippocamel, 3 striped raindrops pullovers for nieces
  • oh so cutesy: snowman mittens by corvid, polar bear flax by bumblebeebaby, hedgehog mittens by karlie, cat ear mittens by missfatbird
  • love your design talent: new yoke design (based on North Shore) by spirittrail, cable mittens by crochetpunhere, hand oven doubled mittens by carocvin, double lace mittens by ilovermyclover, Snowflake heel Rye Socks by heatheroconnell
  • our fav little project: barley with a horseshoe cable by thisfeministknits
  • yay for beginners: cable pattern on Rye socks by pleccii (her first sock, her first hack, her first Rav forum post Hurrah!
  • can’t really give her a prize (she’s an in-person friend), but love her epic hack: Rokay’s gramps + baaable mashup

There were really just too many fabulous hacks for us to share! Check them all out over on the Ravelry FO thread, surf the Facebook Group, and look at all the projects tagged #TCKhackathon2016 on Instagram. You may find, as we did, that some definite themes emerged.

People did LOVE hacking our free top-down sweater patterns; Flax and Flax Light:

And The World’s Simplest Mittens, our new free multi-gauge pattern, also got a LOT of play:

drum roll please!

The winner of the SUPERPRIZE, this was a favourite chosen by Alexa and I, was this lovely lacey Flax Light hack by hobbular!

hobbular

hobbular

This sweater pleased us because it took something simple and made it unique! The addition of a lovely lace pattern (credit to Adrienne Fong for the lace pattern) and beads made her Flax something all her own.

She will soon be receiving:

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We love your subversive spirit!

We invited you to hack it, and you responded with an overwhelming YEAH WE WILL!

We had over 1000 knitters join our Facebook Group, and it was so much fun to see what you were all working on! We had nearly 300 official entries on the FO thread in our Ravelry group! Check them out to see the weird and woolly ideas people explored in this knitalong!

We’ve named 2017 the Year of Thoughtful Knitting, and will be exploring this theme through our projects, our knits, and knitters’ stories that inspire us. Looking back, the hackathon KAL definitely brought out those knitters who love to hack and design as they go, knitters after our own hearts!

Want to learn more about upcoming designs and special events like this KAL? Sign up for our email updates for knit inspiration!

Knitters favourite TCK patterns to hack:


The World's Simplest MittensFlax LightBarley Hat

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A new obsession… something fluffy!

January 17, 2017

I’m always swamped by creative ideas in the winter! In the lead up to Christmas, I’m inspired by the opportunity to make handmade gifts of all sorts. And I’m filled with the desire to get new things started as I think forward to the coming new year.

My latest obsession is a desire to get back to spinning. When I first embarked upon my fibre obsession, back in 2008, I learned how to spin using a drop spindle, and then on my mom’s old Ashford, and made a few pretty yarns. Since then I’ve felt that spinning was too impractical, time consuming, and took to much time away from the knitting and designing side of things, so I’d laid it aside.

handspun yarn

Some of the handspun I made back in 2008 when I first learned to spin.

But for some unknown reason, this strange need to spin has bubbled back up, and the desire simply wouldn’t be quieted, despite my logical self still having the same reservations! I think my closet dream the truth is that I really want to spin myself enough yarn to knit myself a sweater.

So what did I do?  I ordered ALL the fibres from John Arbon. Then every day that passed, I woke up and wondered… when will my lovely box of fibre arrive? I started researching second-hand spinning wheels on Ebay. I started thinking about ideal designs for handspun. I essentially danced around the house in a state of anxious excited energy!

Then, not very much longer, the fuzzy stuff arrived!

I told my hubby John I needed to go out for milk (so could he please bathe and bedtime the babies), then I ran out of the house, and walked around the block a couple of times while googling how to make a DIY spindle. It was 7pm, and I simply could not wait till the next day, when I could buy a spindle at my LYS. I got home, cleverly having wasted enough time that I had only to kiss the little darlings and shut their door, and then I ransacked the house for suitable supplies.  20 minutes later I was spindling (albeit on a less-than-ideal tool!).

30 minutes after that I had fully remembered why I thought spindle spinning entirely impractical… and had cast on a … something.  I thought perhaps a baby hat, since there were 60 sts on the needle.  But then the tube got longer and longer, and I decided that in fact it was going to be a Christmas stocking! No pattern, I just sort of winged it.

handspun stocking

So as much as I don’t love spindling (well, I do, but I feel it’s just too slow for my needs), I remembered how much I DO love spinning.  So I’ve now ordered an Electric Eel Wheel… but I have to wait till May for it to ship! So anybody in the UK with a second-hand wheel they’d like to lend or sell me at an affordable price for the interminable interim period?! I’m serious! Email me – tincanknits@gmail.com.

There’s something really special about handspun, and about knitting with handspun… I think it adds another layer of excitement into knitting, above and beyond the adoration I have for the sport at present!

handspun stocking

It wasn’t done in time for Christmas, but it’ll be perfect for the next! Now I just have to make 3 more for the rest of the family…

Are you a spinner? Do you have any tips for great fibre dyers that I should order from in the UK?

I did a little search of the Ravelry archives for Tin Can Knits designs knit up in handspun, and some of the results are below… Very Very pretty stuff!

Project Credit: debby’s rye socks, spinnydread’s pop, peacethrufiber’s Low Tide, twincookies’s barley, loribird’s Antler Hat, and jessicam’s flax

TCK patterns to make your handspun yarn shine:


mc-spotlight-tmb-aPK-hipster-tmb-aFlax Light

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HACK: a multi-hack Flax

January 12, 2017

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Well, hacking the Flax sweater is officially one of our favourite activities. This one started with a lovely yarn and sort of meandered it’s way to the final sweater. I usually have some sort of plan when I cast on a sweater, but for this one I kind of winged it. If you haven’t already checked them out yet, take a look at the lacy and cabled flax hacks we shared recently.

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It all started with an Instagram post by @houseofalamode (House of A La Mode) . Heather posted this beautiful speckled colour, somewhat Christmas-y, called Tinsel. I had to have it! I ordered up 3 skeins of DK with vague plans of a Christmas sweater for Bodhi. When the yarn arrived Hunter declared it hers and said ‘please will you knit me a sweater with this?!’.  A 5-year-old who is enthusiastic about a knitted sweater? I couldn’t resist.

hacked flax!

I really enjoy speckled yarns. They are wild and fun and such a joy to knit with. Colour changes with practically every stitch! They can be a bit overbearing though, so I had a good long debate with myself (and anyone who would listen) over whether to stripe this beautiful yarn with a solid to keep it a little subdued. If it had been a sweater for me I might have gone that route, but for my Kindergartener, why not go a little wild?

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With a yarn this fun, it had to be a simple sweater so I took a little look at the numbers for Flax and cast on. My yarn was a plumpy DK so I knit it at a gauge of 20 sts per 4 inches on a US #7 / 4.5mm needles. I cast on for the XS to achieve more or less a size 8-10 (which is the size Hunter wears in commercial clothing, she’s big for 5).

I wanted the neckline to be a little lower in front so I worked a little short row shaping at the back neck. Then, instead of working a garter panel on the sleeves, I went with a garter front and back with stockinette sleeves. I did not, as a good knitter should, swatch in garter. Since it was a sweater for a youngster I figured it was okay if the body came out a little big. It did, and it is fine.

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I also wanted to add a hi-low hem. I like my sweaters a little longer in the back than the front, so I added short row shaping at the back hem. If this is a look you are after here approximately how is how it’s done:

Adding a lower hemline at the back, when working a top-down sweater:

First, locate your BOR at left underarm, the back sts will be the first half of the round.

Step 1: work 1/2 of your stitches, PM, work to end (this places a marker at the other underarm)
Step 2: work to 3 sts past the marker, w&t
Step 3: work to 3 sts past the BOR marker, w&t
Step 4: work to 2 sts before wrapped stitch, w&t

Repeat step 4 until your hemline is the desired amount lower than the front. For my sweater I worked a total of 12 short rows, making my hem about 1.5 inches lower than the front. The amount of short rows you work will depend on your row gauge and how much lower you want your hem to be.

There you have it! A little late, but Hunter got her wild and speckled Christmas sweater!

More speckle-friendly designs by TCK:


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