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So Faded

September 13, 2017

Last chance for Knits Stars! Enrollment CLOSES Thursday, September 14th at midnight PST. Enroll today and learn to design your own Fair Isle yoked sweater. We give you all of our tips and tricks and you have access to 9 other amazing instructors. Included on that list is Andrea Mowry, designer of the So Faded sweater (like the one I knit below) and Beata of Hedgehog Fibers (the yarn I used for Hunter’s So Faded)!

Okay, so occasionally I am prone to jump on a knitting bandwagon, and it seems like everyone is faded crazy lately! For good reason, it’s super fun and an excellent way to take on a whole bunch of speckled onesies in the stash. I could only sit on the sidelines for so long, I took the plunge with a new So Faded Pint Sized sweater for Hunter!

I knit a lot (in cast you couldn’t tell), but I mostly like to design new things, and knit up different versions of other things we have designed. There are only so many hours in the day, so although my list of ‘things I would love to knit, designed by other people’ is pretty long, I only occasionally get to check one off the list. I have enjoyed following Andrea Mowry for a while now, and when I took a look at some Hedgehog pretties that were hanging around in my stash, it was time to cast on!

sleeve detail! I think Fly is my very favourite Hedgehog colourway


Project Details:

Pattern: So Faded Pint Sized by Andrea Mowry

Yarn: Hedgehog Sock in ‘harijuku’, ‘oracle’, ‘pesto’, ‘boom box’, and ‘fly’

The ‘pesto-boombox-fly’ part of this fade

While I’m more of a black/grey/jeans wardrobe kinda girl, Hunter enjoys bright and fun. I knew I would have a blast knitting with these speckles too, so I cast on a So Faded Pint Sized! I mean, she NEEDED a new sweater for Grade 1 right? This might be the fastest I have ever knit ANYTHING in fingering weight yarn. I shy away from the time it takes, but I always so love the result. It’s light and warm, and super fun. It screams unicorns and rainbows and my little pony, and I love it. Best of all? It was simple and fun to knit and Hunter loves it too!


TCK patterns that could use a fade:

Tofino: A wild place that has our hearts

September 8, 2017

The TCK family

As we may have mentioned (about a million times?!), Tofino is a very special place for Emily and I. I have been visiting Tofino my whole life, first with my parents, then with my 20-something friends, and now I visit every year with my own brood. Tin Can Knits began on the beach there, Emily and I gazing up at the stars and dreaming up our very first project. Tofino is an amazing wild place, with beaches as far as the eye can see, rainforest all around, and a laid back vibe I love.

Since our first trip to Tofino together, Emily and I have designed knits inspired by this special place, and worked photoshoots into our family vacations there too! When TCK first started, there wasn’t really a separation between work and life (even now the line is pretty blurry), and so I would bring knits with me on any vacation in the hopes my family would be good enough to do some modelling while we were together.

Rye, Simple Yet Effective, and Tofino Surfer were a few of our early Tofino photoshoots. I begged some tired and dirty campers to gussy up for a minute, put on some woolly socks, and pose casually on a dock… where one would naturally wear a pair of hand knit socks right?

A few years later we wrote Road Trip, half of which is dedicated to Tofino! Clayoquot sound inspired our Fair Isle Cardigan, memories of beach bonfires inspriring a cozy blanket, and walks on the endless sandy beach inspired some HBC coloured mitts.

Bonfire, Old Growth, Clayoquot, Paddle, Grayling, all from Road Trip

Em and I, along with our hubbies and gaggles of children, headed to Tofino this year together. While we mostly hit the beach, sat by the fire, ate, drank, and were merry, we also gathered the whole TCK family together for a few sweatered photos.

It was a glorious trip, with smashing weather, good friends, relaxing, and even a bit of knitting! Who could ask for more? Until next year Tofino…..

Are there places that inspire your creativity? Get the wheels turning for your next project?

More TCK knits inspired by Tofino:

Road to Bowline

August 17, 2017

A request from up north

I suppose it was a couple of years ago now when Dotty from The Net Loft first contacted me about her Fisher Folk retreat and her lovely shop. She asked if I would design something inspired by the Cordova Gansey project. I was immediately smitten with the idea of hardworking knits, out in the real world! The fact that knitting is usable art is one of the things that drew me to it to begin with. I came up with the Bowline hat, but always in the back of my mind I wanted to design a gansey sweater. This year, in preparation for my trip to Alaska (read more about that here and here), I designed the matching sweater, Bowline, a hardworking knit for everyday wear.

Choosing a stitch

This is an image of a traditional style gansey I found here.

A gansey sweater is of a type. It has a certain look to it and you can see examples of it in many historical pictures (like the one above). It is mainly stockinette on the bottom and then somewhere before the split for front and back the patterning starts (sometimes higher, sometimes lower). While ganseys often have intricate patterning, sometimes with stories behind the stitch patterns, I wanted to do something a little different. I had designed the Bowline hat the year before and still couldn’t get that lovely garter ribbing out of my head. For me adding that ribbing to the top was the perfect combination of simplicity and tradition.

The ribbing from the Bowline hat was just the inspiration I needed for the Bowline sweater!

Swatch swatch swatch – trying different yarns

it took a few swatches to find the yarn I wanted for my sweaters! These are Hinterland Range, Stone Wool Cormo, and YOTH Father

Choosing the perfect yarn for the Bowline sweater was a tougher task. I knew I wanted to use a slightly more rustic yarn. My Bodhi prototype was in a hand dye I had on hand, but the Cordova gansey project is all about harder working yarn, so I wanted to stay true to that idea.

Bodhi in her wee prototype sweater, knit up in The Plucky Scholar in ‘grumpy old sailor’

I swatched in a few yarns I had on hand that I thought would fit the bill. In the end, my swatches didn’t help very much because I wanted to knit the sweater in all of them! There is something delightful about the halo on the Hinterland Range yarn, a mix of 50% Alpaca, raised on Vancouver Island, and 50% Canadian Rambouillet, I cast on an Antler sweater for Hunter in that yarn instead. The YOTH Father (another Rambouillet) had such a lovely stitch definition, but I had used it for the Elwha sweater in Stranded magazine.

You can see here I have separated the 2 plies of yarn

The winner, in the end, was the Stone Wool Cormo. The yarn has 2 plies that are twisted together and they gave that squishy rib the perfect amount of added texture. The yarn is soft but sturdy, and has a lovely bounce to it. The finished sweater is light but warm, the perfect piece for the great outdoors!

Not a perfect gansey

When compared to a traditional gansey sweater, Bowline breaks a few rules….but we think that’s okay!  I wanted to create a gansey that was approachable and simple, something someone new to garments could tackle without too much strife, and with a bit of a modern fit. Instead of creating a box we added in some shaping at the armholes. Instead of a traditional gusset at the underarm, we added in some short rows to shape the sleeve cap. It has the lovely overall effect of a more traditional gansey, but with a few modern twists.

The Bowline sweater has EVEN MORE sizes than our usual, we have our usual range of kids and adult sizes, but for this sweater is was important to make the armhole depth and upper arm measurements different for the men’s sizes, so we have those too!

Bowline pattern details:

Pattern: Bowline by Tin Can Knits

Sizing: 0-6mo (6-12mo, 1-2yr, 2-4yr, 4-6yr, 6-8yr, 8-10yr, Ladies XXS, XS, S, SM, M, ML, L, LXL, XL, XXL, 3XL, 4XL, Mens S, SM, M, ML, L, XL, XXL, 3XL, 4XL)

Yarn: Worsted / Aran weight yarn
300 (350, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000, 1300, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1750, 1900, 2000, 2100, 2200) yds (samples shown in Stone Wool Cormo in ‘shale 2’ and ‘tobacco 2’)

The Bowline sweater is perfect for anyone you want to send out in the world wrapped in woolly love!

More simple sweaters from TCK:


It’s Camp Tolt season!

August 10, 2017

In case you hadn’t already guessed, Emily and I love camping (last year we even got to camp together in Tofino!). I love sitting around the campfire, I love s’mores and spiked coffee, I love pancake breakfasts. I love waking up in the forest with that fresh forest smell. I love walking on the beach, swimming in lakes, day hikes, camping quesadilla night, all of it! My knits always come back with a hint of a campfire smell to them, but I really don’t mind. British Columbia is a beautiful place and every summer I like to hit the road, family in tow, and camp out in a little piece of it.

SO, when I first saw Tolt Yarn and Wool’s Camp Tolt, I was instantly in. Last year we created the Banff hat for the collection and it quickly became a fan favourite. Simple fair isle creating a charming tree line hat, in our classic size range of course, in case you and your kiddos need to match (and we definitely think they do).

Banff Mitt:

Pattern: Banff Mitts

Sizing: Toddler (Child, Adult S, Adult M, Adult L)
To fit approximate hand circumference: 5 (6, 7, 7.75, 8.5)”

Yarn: Worsted weight yarn in 2 colours
MC: 70 (80, 100, 110, 120) yards
CC: 20 (25, 30, 35, 40) yards

samples shown in the lovely, woolly, Peace Fleece Worsted

I always love the photos Anna and Claire send me of the knits. They remind my of camping as a kid, because some things really don’t change! There is always debate around the campfire among family and friends whether the best s’more is a toasted marshmallow sandwiched between 2 graham crackers with a square of chocolate hiding in there somewhere, OR a graham cracker/marshmallow/chocolate sandwich, wrapped in tinfoil and warmed on the coals all together. I’m not sure there is a wrong answer when it comes to s’mores though…. I’m also pretty excited for the invention of graham crackers that come pre-chocolated, that’s a game changer!

So, what project do you pack for your summer adventures? Are you a sweater knitter who packs a body and some sleeves? Maybe you like to knock out a hat on the way to the campground?

More forest inspired knits from TCK:


Postcards from Alaska Part 2: The Knitters!

August 8, 2017

My current knitting (Bodhi’s September Sweater) hanging out at Eyak Lake

While Cordova is an awesome and beautiful place, and The Net Loft is an amazing shop, I think my favourite part of my visit was the knitters. There were so many warm and welcoming knitters, they immediately made me feel right at home! By then end of the weekend I was waving at cars as they passed when I walked down the street and stopping to chat in the grocery store parking lot. I felt like a local!

Michelle knit this lovely Flax for her husband to keep warm on the boat

It seemed like so many were knitting gansey sweaters (popular among the group was the Fisher Lassie), and there were so many awesome Bowline hats! During the show-and-tell portion of my Thursday evening talk, I was delighted to hear knitters share stories of their very first sweater: Flax. I wish I had pictures of all of them to show, there was an adorable wee green one in the colour ‘Pan’ from Skeins in the Stacks, and one in a Three Irish Girls colourway, ‘Salmon’ that had been worn and loved.

When Emily and I dreamed up the Simple Collection, and the Flax and Harvest sweaters in particular, we hoped that they would inspire knitters who might be a bit timid to try a garment. It seems like it’s working! Michelle was good enough to share a pic of her hubby out on the boat in the Flax she had knit him!

Amber in her beautiful gansey

Amber wore her beautiful and inspirational sweater when we went on our trip to see Child’s Glacier. It is a gansey she knit, and when she told the story of her sweater I was rapt. Each stitch pattern held a different meaning in her life (anchors and fish featured prominents), and she had even put her initials in a purl pattern at the hem. To me it was everything I love about knitting, it was a labour of love, personalized in every detail, and in a colour that knitters who know her well described as ‘so Amber’. Just lovely!

A special little tag for Jonesy’s Bowline sweater. The Cordova Gansey Project

Sometimes in my project zeal and *ahem* lack of ability to ‘reel it in’, I forget the simple pleasures of knitting something that is unique and one of a kind. Each sweater I knit ends up being original in one way or another (choosing a different yarn and colour, adding an inch to the arms for Hunter, that time I forgot to work sleeve increases for a few inches, etc.) but it isn’t usually my intention from the start.

This trip inspired me to think a little more about the meaning behind the projects and yarns I choose (rather than just thinking ‘ooh pretty, I want it!’). It has inspired me once again to create special and meaningful knits. I knit a lot for my kids, trying to keep them wrapped in Mama’s woollies as much as I can. In Cordova I was reminded that perhaps a little less quantity and a little more thoughtfulness might make my knitting and the finished woollies even more rewarding.

TCK knits that are popular with the Cordova crowd:

Little Tern

August 3, 2017

When Jen of Arnall-Culliford Knitwear invited me to submit a design for consideration for her Year Of Techniques book, I was thrilled! We love the idea of bringing new techniques to knitters so they can up their skills, that was the goal behind our whole Simple Collection!

This was also a great opportunity to work with some other amazing designers, on a really special collection. Bristol Ivy , Ella Austin , Ella Gordon , Jen Arnall-Culliford , Jim Arnall-Culliford , Martina Behm , Mary Jane Mucklestone , Rachel Coopey , Romi Hill , Sarah Hatton , and Woolly Wormhead, are all also represented in this great and inspiring collection; you should check it out!

The little tern blanket is really quite simple, but gives you the chance to learn or practice a couple cool techniques you might otherwise not use. Because this collection has been put together with such thought and care, there are tutorials to teach you each step of these techniques, if they are new or unfamiliar to you.


Some other Tin Can Knits patterns which use the provisional CO technique:

The second technique that is interesting in this blanket is the sideways bind off. I had tried this before, but never incorporated it into a design before this point. Interestingly enough, Romi Hill’s Brightheart yoke design for the Heart On My Sleeve collection used this technique at the neckline. And, in fact, so does Bristol Ivy’s Wholehearted design, which creates the entire YOKE of a sweater using a variation on this same technique (combined with short-row shaping).

Neve seems to like Little Tern!

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


What are some of the techniques you are interested in trying?

TCK patterns to try something new:

Summer of Basics

July 27, 2017

I have been seeing more and more makers in my Instagram feed posting about the Summer of Basics – #summerofbasics. Intrigued, I decided to check it out. Fringe Association (a very cool blog) is running a make-along (MAL) this summer to create 3 wardrobe basics in June, July, and August. Since I have been considering my own wardrobe lately the idea was immediately intriguing!

Flax Light – a great basic and also a free pattern!

The idea of a summer of basics started bringing forth all kinds of questions, because what is a basic? Do accessories count as basics if you wear them practically every day? Will I sew something too (it’s been a few years…okay a lot of years….since I’ve sewn a garment) or just stick to knit? I still have more questions than answers, but I’ve decided a few things:

  1. I will take these items one at a time. I’m late to the game since June and July are already gone, and while 3 items is a great goal, it’s a busy time and one basic would be pretty nice!
  2. I’m going to knit a sweater. I’ve wanted to up my knit sweater game in my wardrobe so now is the chance! I have 2 great sweaters that I would consider basics (a mustard yellow Flax and a tweedy brown Antler), and I want to add to that collection.
  3. Maybe I’ll sew something too, I love a challenge!

Pockets make for a great feature in a basic for me! These pockets are the Playdate Cardigan

Now, the question I’ve been working on for the last week is which sweater to knit? Should I cast on a new design? Something really simple but lovely like the Harvest cardigan? I’ve been itching to cast on a North Shore sweater for myself for ages… I know I want something in a DK weight or lighter because I have 2 worsted weight sweaters already. Here are a few sweaters in the running:

North Shore, Hearthstone, Tenderheart, 1999, Harvest

Decisions decisions! While I was on my Alaskan Adventure I picked up a sweater quantity of Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in ‘humpback’, a lovely grey with just the slightest hint of green, so now that I have yarn it’s time to narrow down my sweater choice!

Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in ‘humpback’

So, what are your favourite knit basics?

Basic Basics from Tin Can Knits:







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