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HACK : stripe it up!

December 6, 2016

The World's Simplest Mitten

Stripes are one of our favourite ways to hack a pattern.

When Alexa designed The World’s Simplest Mitten, my first thought was to stripe it up!  I found these beautiful multi-coloured yarns at the JOMA booth at Knit City, and almost immediately I cast on and these little toddler size mittens flew right off the needles.

The World's Simplest Mitten

At first, I tried single-round stripes, because I love the way they blend colours.  However, as I was combining these two variegated colourways, the result was too muddy, not as distinct as I was hoping for.  So I ripped back and knit using 2-round stripes instead, and I was pretty pleased with the result!

The World's Simplest Mitten

Little man demanded to have his mittens on as soon as I was finished!

Project details:

Pattern: The World’s Simplest Mittens (a free pattern) is available in sizes to fit toddler to adult L, in 4 gauges.

For this pair, I knit the toddler size using the DK weight pattern.

Yarn: I used JOMA Marshmallow Rino in ‘ray gun’ and ‘cake for breakfast’. If you are striping two semi-solid or variegated colourways, it’s best to choose a pair that contrast quite strongly, or the stripes can get lost.

Needles: I used US #3 / 3.25 and US #5 / 3.75mm

The World's Simplest Mitten

The World's Simplest Mitten   The World's Simplest Mitten

JOMA yarn : lovely semi solids and hand paints

I was so taken by the lovely speckles when I spotted them at the JOMA booth. We are big fans of a hand dye here at TCK and our current obsession is definitely speckles. They are just so fun to knit! The colours change with almost every stitch, keeping the knitting interesting and fun. It was a fun booth to visit and I spent quite a bit of time oohing and aahing over the possibilities!

The World's Simplest Mitten

Almost immediately after buying this yarn it was wound and on the needles! I just couldn’t wait to see how it would knit up!

using variegated & speckle yarns

The tricky thing about speckles is how to pair them, with patterns or other yarns, to both let the speckle shine and avoid a wardrobe of infinite wildness. Sometimes the most delicious yarns, so fascinating in the skein, can be very difficult to use. We suggest using a simple pattern and/or striping it with a semi solid or solid to tone it down about one notch.

The World's Simplest Mitten


A round of applause to all who are participating in our #TCKhackathon this holiday season! We’re loving watching your projects come up on Instagram, Facebook, and Ravelry.  There is still lots of time to participate, whip out a last minute gift, and enter to win our superfantastic prize!

Other Simple TCK patterns to hack:

Flax Light by Tin Can KnitsPaddle by Tin Can KnitsHarvest Cardigan by Tin Can Knits




A Hackathon and Some Simple Mittens

December 1, 2016

It is that time you have all been waiting for, holidays with TCK! It has become our tradition to do something special this time of year and 2016 is no exception. Since this has been our year of trying something new we are hosting a knit-along from now until January 17th, a Christmas Hackathon! To kick off this awesome KAL we have a new free pattern, The World’s Simplest Mittens.

Hackathon details:

What is a hackathon you might ask? Well, you take a TCK pattern and you change it in some way to make it your own. Stripe it, change the fair isle, knit it at a wildly different gauge, add a lace panel, adjust a neckline, the possibilities are endless! To enter into our Hackathon, head over to our Ravelry Group. There you can post photos of your finished objects (to enter to win the prize) and chat about hacks. To join in on Intagram tag your pics with #tckhackathon2016. For our Hackathon we have an awesome prize!


My favourite Shepherdess Bag from Anna of Long Way Homestead (@longwayhomestead), yummy candles from Wax and Wool (@waxandwool), a pretty zippered notions bag from Blue Button Sewing (@bluebuttonsewing), Mad Colour from TCK, and 5 skeins of Plucky Sweater in ‘ kissin’ Valentino’ (@pluckyknitter)


On to the Mittens!

I suppose it goes without saying that I am pretty dedicated knitter. A lot of my life revolves around knitting and I knit every day. I love knitting cables and texture and lace, you name it! Sometimes though, you really just need something simple and quick, and so we bring you the latest addition to our collection of free patterns: The Worlds Simplest Mittens.


When my kiddos need a pair of mittens they need them NOW! I never seem to get mittens ready in advance of winter and when Emily told me the same story about Max and his mitten needs I figured we might be on to something! Who doesn’t need a quick simple mitten sometimes? If you need something quick a dive into the stash seems like a good first step, so The World’s Simplest Mittens are written for 4 weights of yarn.


Pattern Details ::: The Worlds Simplest Mittens

toddler (child, adult S, M, L)

fingering weight: 140 (160, 210, 260, 300) yards
DK weight 100 (120, 160, 190, 220) yards
worsted weight: 80 (90, 130, 160, 200) yards
chunky weight: 70 (80, 120, 150, 190) yards

(samples shown in Madelinetosh Tosh DK Twist in ‘tomato’, Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘princess rockstar’, SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in ‘juicebox’ and Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted in ‘spanish coin’)


fingering: US #0 / 2mm and US #2 / 2.75mm
DK: US #3 / 3.25mm and US #5 / 3.75mm
worsted: US #5 / 3.75mm and US #7 / 4.5mm
chunky: US #6 / 4mm and US #8 / 5mm
DPNs in both sizes or long circulars for magic loop (or as required to meet gauge)

These mittens are ready for hacking! If you haven’t already joined our hackathon, now is the time! Take this simple pattern and make those mittens your own.


More delicious mittens from TCK:










Let’s Knit some super simple mittens

December 1, 2016


There is nothing like a nice pair of warm winter mittens . This quick and cozy knit is just the thing to stretch your skills and keep your hands toasty.

First, you will need a pattern so download The World’s Simplest Mittens and then away we go! You can knit your mittens using double pointed needles [casting on tutorial here], or using a single long circular and the magic loop technique [tutorial here]. For this tutorial I am using the lovely Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘princess rockstar’.

Following the directions for your size and weight of yarn:

With smaller needles cast on:
Fingering: 32 (36, 42, 46, 52) sts.
DK: 28 (34, 38, 44, 48) sts.
Worsted: 24 (28, 32, 36, 40) sts.
Chunky: 22 (26, 28, 32, 36) sts.

Place BOR (beginning of round) marker and join for working in the round.


Tip: when I use double points I don’t like to use a BOR marker. Instead, I distribute my stitches with 1/2 on the first needle, 1/4 on the second needle, and 1/4 on the third needle. This way I know the BOR is at the start of the ‘full’ needle

Work in 1×1 rib (k1, p1) until piece measures 2.5 (2.5, 3, 4, 4)” from cast on. Switch to larger needles.
Fingering and DK: knit 3 (3, 4, 4, 4) rounds.
Worsted and chunky: knit 2 (2, 3, 3, 3) rounds.

So far so good? Work in 1×1 rib means you are going to work: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1 etc.
This pattern has generous cuffs so if you prefer a shorter cuff you can work fewer rounds here.


Ready for a thumb gusset!

::: thumb gusset :::

thumbgussethandTake a quick look at your hand. Your thumb sort of sticks out a bit right? Even the part of your thumb that is still a part of your hand. Well, we have to make an extra little triangle of fabric to accommodate that part of your thumb.

To create this triangle of fabric we are going to work some increases. Some patterns specify which type of increase to use and some don’t, it is knitters choice. You can use any increase you like, for this pattern I am going to work some M1 (make 1) increases and to be a little extra fancy we are going to do paired increases, first an M1L and then a M1R (make 1 left and make 1 right). [check out the full tutorial on M1s here]

Set up round: m1, k1, m1, PM, knit to end [2 sts inc]
Rounds 1 and 2: knit
Round 3: m1, knit to marker, m1, SM, knit to end of round [2 sts inc]
Fingering: work rounds 1-3 a total of 6 (6, 7, 7, 8) times, 15 (15, 17, 17, 19) sts between BOR and marker.
DK: work rounds 1-3 a total of 5 (5, 6, 6, 7) times, 13 (13, 15, 15, 17) sts between BOR and marker.
Worsted: work rounds 1-3 a total of 4 (4, 5, 5, 6) times, 11 (11, 13, 13, 15) sts between BOR and marker.
Chunky: work rounds 1-3 a total of 3 (3, 4, 4, 5) times, 9 (9, 11, 11, 13) sts between BOR and marker.

See a pattern forming? We are increasing 2 stitches every third row and you should start to see a triangle forming. Notice how the increases make the thumb gusset distinct by ‘leaning away’ from the mitten? That is because of the paired increase we are using.


::: putting thumb stitches on hold :::


Next we are going to put the thumb stitches on hold. For this you will need a darning needle (preferable a dull one) and a small piece of waste yarn. While it is sometimes preferable to put sts on a stitch holder (like a giant safety pin), for a mitten waste yarn has the necessary flexibility.

Thread your needle with the waste yarn and thread it through the thumb gusset sts (the ones between the BOR and the marker). You can now remove your marker.



Waste yarn has been threaded through the live sts, the marker has been removed, and they are now on hold.

Next we are going to cast on 1 stitch in the middle of the row. Why, you ask? Because the thumb stitches ‘grew’ out of 1 knit stitch, but then we put all the thumb stitches on hold. So we are going to need 1 new stitch to take it’s place.  The cast on method we use is the backward loop cast-on.


::: hand and decreases:::

The hand is pretty simple, just keep knitting every round.

Continue knitting every round until piece measures 1.75 (3, 3.75, 4, 4.5)” from end of thumb gusset.


On to the decreases!

Fingering set up: k16 (18, 21, 23, 26), PM, knit to end
DK set up: k14 (17, 19, 22, 24), PM, knit to end
Worsted set up: k12 (14, 16, 18, 20), PM, knit to end
Chunky set up: k11 (13, 14, 16, 18), PM, knit to end

Round 1: (k1, ssk, knit to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1) twice [4 sts dec]

Fingering: work round 1 a total of 6 (7, 8, 9, 11) times, 8 (8, 10, 10, 8) sts remain.
DK: work round 1 a total of 5 (6, 7, 9, 10) times, 8 (10, 10, 8, 8) sts remain.
Worsted: work round 1 a total of 4 (5, 6, 7, 8) times, 8 (8, 8, 8, 8) sts remain.
Chunky: work round 1 a total of 3 (4, 5, 6, 7) times, 10 (10, 8, 8, 8) sts remain.

If you haven’t worked an ssk or a k2tog check out those tutorials as well. Got your last few sts? Great, almost done!


Break yarn, leaving a 6” tail and weave through remaining live sts. Pull tight to close top of mitten.


::: thumb :::

Place held sts back on larger needles. Knit across these sts, pick up 1 stitch from body of mitten, PM and join for working in the round.

Fingering: 16 (16, 18, 18, 20) sts.
DK: 14 (14, 16, 16, 18) sts.
Worsted: 12 (12, 14, 14, 16) sts.
Chunky: 10 (10, 12, 12, 14) sts.

Once the stitches are back on the needles, you are ready to take out the waste yarn

Once the stitches are back on the needles, you are ready to take out the waste yarn


You now have all your thumb stitches on your needles.

Knit every round until thumb measures 1 (1.25, 1.75, 2, 2.25)” from pick up.

Next round: k2tog around

Break yarn, leaving a 6” tail and weave through remaining live sts. Pull tight to close top of thumb.

You are closing the top of the thumb exactly the same way as the top of the mitten. You may have a small hole where you picked up. Just use your yarn tail and stitch up the hole before weaving in your ends on the inside of the work.

Weave in your ends and block your mittens. You are ready to wear them out!


Check out our many other the fabulous free patterns sized from baby to big, and get started making modern seamless knits for the entire family!  Like our work?  Get our email updates and we will let you know about new patterns, tutorials, and events.

Adorable mitten patterns to try:

antler mittenLoch Mittenssitka spruce mittens














Our most popular Gramps

November 17, 2016


I was having a little look through the Tin Can Knits stats the other day and it came as a bit of a surprise that our oldest sweater pattern is also our most popular of all time! Gramps was a big part of the concept for 9 Months of Knitting and graces the cover.


Sizing Baby to Big

When Gramps first came out it was only for the kiddies, but by it was so popular we sized it up! There were so many of you who wanted to knit a Gramps for an actual Grampa! Gramps is now available sized from baby to big, our signature size range [more about that here].


A Tutorial Re-vamp

Gramps, along with being our first sweater pattern, was also one of our very first tutorials. Emily created a 6-part series, taking you step by step through this wee sweater. While it is not the most challenging sweater for those who have knit sweaters before, but there are a few little details that may be new to you, and each one is chronicled in the Gramps sweater tutorial series.


Our Gramps tutorials cover every step from cast on to buttonholes!

I recently decided to knit up a little sweater for wee Trevor (with some lovely Madelinetosh Vintage in ‘rainwater’ and ‘twig’) and it seemed just the time to give the tutorial a face lift! It is the same great tutorial as before, with a few extra details and a few parts have been expanded.



There are so many great versions of Gramps to see on Ravelry, here are a few of the highlights!

Sock Monkey Gramps by PearadiseIsland (@pearadise_island on Instagram), Rainbow Gramps by freshstitches (@stackeytrock on Instagram), Blue and White Gramps by Tanis (@tanisfiberarts on Instagram),   In No Hurry Gramps by Sah-Knitty, Tuxedo Gramps by nevernnotknitting, Yellow and Blue Gramps by craftandburn, Blue and Blue Gramps by yardkat, Red and Grey Gramps by kimbelina, Yellow Grown Up Gramps by kmcgoogs, Wee baby in gramps by stringygirl, Kellydawn’s striped Gramps,

So, have you knit up an adorable Gramps for someone you love?

More cozy sweaters from TCK:






Heart on my Sleeve : sadness, my inspiring mom, and a project to do good

November 10, 2016

Today is an interesting day. It is my Mom’s 65th birthday. My daughter is 6 months old, my son is 2. I am 35, and wondering if I count as ‘middle aged’ yet. Watching the US presidential election was a tough one. After Brexit I wasn’t surprised, but I am disappointed. My faith in the goodness of people is at a low. The things that have been said about minorities, immigrants, and women are abhorrent, and yet he still won. It’s going to take a while to take that in, and I’m not sure I’ll ever understand it.

In order to escape a bit from the news, I was listening to the ever-inspiring Kim Werker on the SweetGeorgia podcast (episode 30). One of Kim’s points in her talk, and in her book ‘Mighty Ugly’ is that she tries to do the things that scare her, and teach her son to do the same. This made me think of how much my Mom has inspired me over the years. She has always been an adventurer, and often put herself in situations which, to me, seemed intimidating, awkward, with a high potential for failure or discomfort. From sailing from Canada to Mexico, to cycling solo through the Rockies, volunteering in construction, and learning bike maintenance, Colleen has always adventured and practiced new skills. When I was younger, I didn’t get it. Now I recognize that one of the most valuable lessons she has taught me is to do things anyway, despite fears and anxieties, to pursue what you imagine could be great. So happy birthday Mom, thanks for inspiring me to adventure and teaching me to take risks.

My mom Colleen and my son Max

My mom Colleen and my son Max

wearing my heart on my sleeve

So what to do when you look at the world and feel sadness, and have that anxious fear in the pit of your stomach? I think the answer is to act, to do your best to create joy and beauty and try be helpful to others in a positive way. As knitters, I suspect many of you have the same reaction, to reach for your needles and yarn! It definitely calms me to work stitch after stitch, moving yarn through my hands and creating something.

Heart on my Sleeve Ebook

On that note, I’d like to share a little sneak preview of a collection that Alexa and I are creating, with help from our friends, to inspire giving and helping. Heart on my Sleeve is a charity ebook, featuring sweaters by some of our favourite designers: Joji Locatelli, Ysolda Teague, Bristol Ivy, Tanis Lavallee, Romi Hill, Jane Richmond, Shannon Cook, and Tin Can Knits too!

Each designer has generously donated a pattern, and 100% of proceeds will go to the Against Malaria Foundation, to purchase bed nets which prevent malaria. Malaria is a major killer of little kids (70% who die are under 5) and pregnant women (it’s the worlds single largest killer of pregnant women), and malaria is PREVENTABLE. A long-lasting insecticidal net costs $2.50 USD, so each ebook sold will protect multiple families. Your purchase will make a real difference to the life of another family – you could save a child, or a mother, all from the comfort of your favourite knitting chair. Learn more about Malaria and how a few dollars can really help, here.

Heart on my Sleeve Teaser

The Heart on my Sleeve collection will have a little bit of everything… lace, cables, and plenty of colourwork too!

Here are a few little teasers to give you an idea of what’s to come, and get your creative juices flowing!  The Heart on my Sleeve ebook will launch in early 2017, if you’d like to know when it’s available you can sign up for our email updates, or watch our blog, Instagram, or Facebook.

Does knitting lighten your heart?

Knitting is such a simple pleasure, but it helps many of us through difficult times, brings us together, and can be a positive focus and distraction. Share your story with us in the comments, or at your favourite social spot!

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





Sweet Georgia Yarns

November 4, 2016
SweetGeorgia Yarns Studio

Inside the SweetGeorgia Studio – walls of vibrant colour

If you ever wondered what Emily and I sound like, now you can find out! While Emily and I were in the same time zone (a rare thing) we had the chance to chat with Felicia of SweetGeorgia yarns on her Podcast, The SweetGeorgia Show! We talked about our start at Tin Can Knits, how we work together an ocean apart, and the balance (or lack of balance) in parenting and business.

Unapologetic colour for sure!

Unapologetic colour for sure!

When I met Felicia I’m not sure I had even put out my first design. I visited her little studio, dodging racks of drying yarn, and picked out a few beautiful, saturated, skeins. I was hooked from the very beginning! While many things have changed since then, for all three of us, she still makes yarn that makes me happy.

The very first thing I knit when I was pregnant with Hunter was a February baby sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I knit it in Superwash Worsted in the happiest colour I could think of, Saffron. Years later I used the leftovers to knit Jones his Apple Pie hat! So many happy memories all tied up in the saturated, unapologetic colour.

Campfire, i heart rainbows, Rosebud, Branching Out, Snowflake, Lush, Apple Pie, Flax, 1999, Maize, and Rocky

Felicia has supported Tin Can Knits from the very beginning. Our i heart rainbows sweater from our first book was knit in one of my favourite SG colourways, Riptide. In fact, each of our books has a design in her yarn! We have loved watching her business grow over time, as ours did. She is an inspiration, growing both her business and her family at the same time.


The Raindrops pullover in SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine and Tough Love sock

Which SweetGeorgia colourway is your favourite? There are so many to choose from!

More TCK designs in SweetGeorgia yarns:


Munchkin to Momma

October 27, 2016

Our baby-to-big sizing was an idea that started with the accessories in our first book, 9 Months of Knitting. The cover features the Hunter hat, which we sized to fit Hunter and her dad Gary too!

The face that started it all! While Hunter is, in fact, a girl, she was 'that cute little boy on the cover' for some time

The Hunter Hat was one of the first patterns which inspired our ‘baby-to-big’ size range.

When we created our second collection, Pacific Knits, we decided that baby-to-big would be our standard, and sized the garments and most of the accessories to fit everyone, from grand-babies to granddads.

You would think that six years later this little idea might have gotten old, but no, for us it just gets cuter and cuter!  As our children grow we love to dress them (and ourselves!) in versions of the same designs. Sizing our patterns for this wide a range takes more math, but we believe it makes our designs high value and useful for all kinds of knitters.  So here are the Munchkin to Momma sweater designs from our latest book, Mad Colour!


The Bumble sweater, a perfectly simple slipped-stitch pullover, is fantastic, cozy and unisex!


1999 is a comfy slouchy lace number!


Bold and bright, Spotlight puts your mad knitting skills front and centre – where they belong!


Chromatic is adorable in crisp black and white, or makes a great blank canvas for playing with colour combinations.


The pretty star stitch yoke of Wenlock (first published in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 10) makes an ombre of saturated colours shine.

It’s not always easy to get toddlers to cooperate… Ok restate that, it’s always near impossible to get toddlers to cooperate!  But they’re so cute in theses photos that we forget the pain and suffering it took to get us there!

Sweaters are worn differently by adults and kids. Part of the joy about knitting for little ones is not worrying about sizing. As long as the sweater is bigger than the kid, you can be confident that it’ll fit one day. And as we’ve written in our ‘Baby Knits 101’ post, even if it comes out a bit small, there’s likely a littler child coming down the pipe, so your knit will be enjoyed one way or another. So you can feel confident if you are knitting one of your very first sweaters!

With adult sweaters fit is more crucial. Your time and yarn investment is 2-3 times as much, so it’s more critical to achieve gauge and think about ease and fit in advance. Read this post to learn more about choosing the correct size for your sweater.

Some of our favourite baby and big designs:










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