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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!



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:


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










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 –

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





HACK: a multi-hack Flax

January 12, 2017


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.


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?


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.


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:







HACK: Cabled Flax

January 10, 2017


When Emily did her hack of the Flax sweater I thought: ooh, me too! The Flax seemed like the perfect neutral base to really show off a lovely cable. I decided to skip the garter on the sleeves to keep it super simple and make that cable the star. I knit a little swatch to see how wide my cable would be and away I went. If you haven’t joined our Hackathon yet, you can get all the details here.

project details:

Pattern: Flax (hack in details below)

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran in ‘Chris Grey’

Needles: US #6 / 4mm and US #8 / 5mm


how I did it:

The key to hacking the Flax sweater is your replacement rate. The cable pattern I wanted to add was 24 sts and measured 4 inches across. The gauge for my cable is tighter, more dense, than my stockinette gauge. So I need to add stitches to make it all fit. The gauge for Flax is 18 sts per 4″ so I need to add 6 sts (24-18) to the front and back, where my cable will go.


It just so happens that the Flax sweater already has an increase round right after the ribbing

Next round: knit, increasing 4 (4, 4, 4, 8, 18, 16, 12, 18, 22, 26, 24, 36, 46, 48, 54, 56) sts evenly spaced

I just added my 12 stitch increase here, I knit the 4-6 size so instead of increasing 8 sts evenly spaced, I increased 20.

In the marker set up, you need to add these stitches as well: the sleeves remain the same, but the front and back will each be 6 sts more. For the 4-6 size the front and back have 28 + 6 = 34 sts. I wanted to work my cable in the centre so I worked 5 stockinette sts on either side of the cable. With the raglan increases, these 5 sts will grow, but the cable panel will be the same, always 24 sts down the center of the front and back.

I worked the rest of the pattern the same, skipping the purl stitches on the sleeves and knitting them instead. You will need to account for your extra 12 sts at each stitch count (eg. the body will be 12 sts more). My sweater ended up a bit longer than the length called for because I wanted to end on a chart round 12, so that the start and end of the cable looked similar.


Hunter is wearing the classic Flax and Maddie is wearing the hacked version


The free Flax and Flax Light patterns are perfect to hack or use as a base for your own inspiration.  It’s so easy to add in a panel or a pattern, and we’ll share another adorable version with you next week!

There is one more week left to join in our #TCKhackathon – a knit-along with a fantastic prize, and even better chat and support on the Facebook group, or if you prefer, the Ravelry group! Remember to tag your projects #TCKhackathon when you share on 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 Tin Can Knits on Ravelry

Other ‘hackable’ patterns from TCK:









HACK : Lacy Flax

January 5, 2017


Alexa and I are a little bit obsessed with the Flax sweater.  Why do we keep ‘selling’ you this FREE pattern?!  Well, probably because it’s one of our best basics, and we can’t help knit it over and over (and over) again.  This time I’ll show you how I’ve hacked the Flax pattern and made it all pink and girly for my adorable little niece, for her birthday! If you haven’t joined our Hackathon yet, you can get all the details here. We’ve got PINK (it’s intense), and we’ve got LACE… There’s no way this could fail to be fabulous!

Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in 'princess rockstar'

Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘princess rockstar’. It’s a heavy DK so I’ll knit it at about 20 sts / 4″ in stockinette. Check out the Rainbow Heirloom shop – pro tip: you can always custom order sweater quantities in ANY of their gorgeous shades.

flax sweater : a free pattern that’s dead easy to hack

The Flax pattern is a perfect blank canvas, it’s very easy to add a panel of lace, cable, or texture on body or sleeves. Flax is a  from the Simple Collection, our learn-to-knit series. If you’ve never knit a sweater before, it’s the perfect pattern to start with, and we’ve got a complete tutorial on how to work each step. If you are dying to use up some fingering weight yarn from your stash we also have the Flax Light.

I found a lovely lace pattern that I was itching to try, so I used flax as a base to hack. The lace pattern has a 12-stitch repeat, with one edge stitch. So I decided to put a 13-stitch panel on each sleeve, and a 25 stitch panel, with 2 purl stitches either side, on the front of the pullover.

The chart for the lace panel which I used in this hack. Don't know how to read a knitting chart? Check out our tutorial, and learn how!

The chart for the lace panel which I used in this hack. Don’t know how to read a knitting chart? Check out our tutorial, and learn how!

I looked at the Flax pattern to find the sleeve and body stitch counts for my chosen size (2-4 yrs). Following the pattern, after marker placement, there are 13 sts at sleeves, and 26 sts at front and back, for a total of 78 sts. (13 + 26 + 13 + 26 = 78)

To place a 13-stitch panel at the sleeves, I would need a couple extra stitches each side, in which to work the increases. So I’d start with 15 sts at the sleeves. At the front and back, I’d place the 25 stitch panel, 4 purl sts (2 each side), and then 1 extra stitch each side in which to work the increases, for a total of 31 sts at front. (15 + 31 + 15 + 31 = 92 sts). So after the neckline ribbing was worked per the 2-4 year size (74 sts) I increased 18 sts, evenly spaced, and then set up markers to divide the body and sleeve sections.

Not sure how to calculate ‘evenly spaced’ increases? You can do the math (74 /18 = 4.111, so just [k4, m1] 18 times, knit to end), or you can use a handy-dandy calculator, like this one by the Knitting Fiend.

I placed the lace panel in the centre of the front and back sections, and the smaller lace panel on the sleeves.  I worked the remainder of the sleeves in reverse stockinette, and the body in stockinette.


I followed the raglan shaping pattern (increasing 2 sts at each raglan marker every 2nd round) simply working the number of increases stated in the pattern (8). Then I worked a few more rounds even, continuing the panels, to create a bit more yoke length.  After separating body and sleeves, I worked body to hem, and when I worked the sleeves, I created a stockinette stitch panel at the underarms, which I felt was a nice tidy detail.  To shape the sleeves, I worked p2tog either side of this stockinette panel.


I loved the combination of yarn and details on this simple hack. It was such a pleasure to work with such an intense and beautiful colour!



The free Flax and Flax Light patterns are perfect to hack or use as a base for your own inspiration.  It’s so easy to add in a panel or a pattern, and we’ll share another adorable version with you next week!

There is one more week left to join in our #TCKhackathon – a knit-along with a fantastic prize, and even better chat and support on the Facebook group, or if you prefer, the Ravelry group! Remember to tag your projects #TCKhackathon when you share on 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 Tin Can Knits on Ravelry

other flax hacks:

Flax by Tin Can Knits

Alexa made a whole family of flax sweaters with rainbow stripes!

Flax Hack

I made a teeny tiny flax with stripes and a very simple fair isle pattern!

We’ve got another special flax hack to share with you next week!

Other Simple Sweaters from TCK:

9M-gramps-tmbRT-oldgrowth-tmb-cHarvest Cardigan by Tin Can Knits








Grain: a new free shawl pattern!

December 22, 2016


When we first put together The Simple Collection we had always envisioned it with a shawl. We debated what kind of shawl it would be, unable to decide on the details. I had a few skeins of a very specials yarn and one day, instead of overthinking it, I just started knitting! While it’s more of a basic recipe than a pattern design, Grain is the ultimate simple shawl, it starts at the centre back and works its way out, garter stitch all the way. The texture is fabulous and the shawl is an instant wardrobe classic! Without further ado we bring you Grain.


Grain is written for multiple gauges (fingering, DK, and worsted or aran weight yarn) so it is the perfect shawl for a stash dive. If you have more or less yarn than the pattern suggests, just work until you run out of yarn – saving a bit for the bind off of course!

Pattern Details ::: Grain

Finished shawl measures 63“ across and 23“ deep (or more, or less, depending on your yardage)

600 yards worsted / aran weight yarn
700 yards DK weight yarn
800 yards sock / fingering weight yarn
(sample was knit using Sweet Fiber Cashmere Aran, 1 skein of ‘moonstone’, 1 skein of ‘chartreuse’, 2 skeins each of ‘smoke’ and ‘olive’)

Worsted: US #9 / 5.5mm 32” circular needle
DK: US #7 / 4.5mm 32” circular needle
Fingering: US #4 / 3.5mm 32” circular needle
(or as required to meet gauge)


A very special yarn

For my shawl I used a very special yarn, Sweet Fiber Cashmere Aran. It needed to become something amazing, but the yarn needed to be the star. Since this cashmere is buttery soft I wanted it around my neck of course! I used all of the colours I had, just striping them as I finished the ball (they have the illusion of even stripes, but they vary slightly).

The Garter Tab Cast-on

There is only one slightly tricky thing about this shawl, and that is the cast on. There are a few different ways to work the garter tab cast on, a most fussy way, a medium fussy way, and skipping it altogether and simply casting on as you would normally. Check out our Garter Tab Cast on tutorial for all the details. Each method has it’s pros and cons, you can see the differences in the image below and go your own way! We also have a full Grain shawl tutorial here.


Ready for a hack

The grain shawl is naturally ready for hacking! Make it stockinette instead of garter, add a lace motif, work a texture pattern, you name it! Just take the basic shape and instructions and go wild! If you haven’t joined our TCK hackathon yet you can check out all the details (including a great prize) here.

other great shawls from TCK:










Let’s knit a simple shawl

December 22, 2016


I love a big shawl,  something I can really wrap up in to keep out the cold. In this tutorial we will be knitting Grain, a simple garter shawl.

First, you will need a pattern so download the free Grain shawl pattern and then away we go! The pattern is written for 3 weights of yarn, fingering, DK, and worsted, but because it starts in the centre and works outwards, all versions follow the same basic instructions. Tutorial shown in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in ‘wreath’.

The first step is the garter tab cast on. We have a detailed tutorial on how to work the garter tab cast on here, covering a couple of different methods.


9 sts cast on using the Garter Tab Cast on

Set up row (WS): k3, PM, k1, PM, k1, PM, k1, PM, k3

As you work the set up row you place your 4 markers, separating your work into 5 sections: 3 edge sts, first main section (1 stitch), center stitch, second main section (1 stitch), and 3 edge sts. PM is the abbreviation for ‘place marker’. If you are confused about any of our pattern abbreviations, refer to our full abbreviations list here.


When you place your markers your two main sections will only have 1 stitch in them, but those are the 2 sections that will grow as you work your shawl. The edge stitches are always 3 sts and the center stitch is always a single stitch.

Row 1 (RS): k3, SM, yo, knit to marker, yo, SM, k1, SM,
yo, knit to marker, yo, SM, k3 [4 sts increased]
Row 2 (WS): knit

Once you have worked rows 1 and 2 a few times the pattern starts to become clearer.


You can see that the edge stitches and centre stitch remain the same, while the two main sections start to grow.


Grain Shawl Process

The Grain shawl begins with a tiny cast-on, grows and grows, always keeping its triangular shape. It’s done when you run out of yarn, get bored, or decide it’s big enough!

That’s really all there is to it! Just keep going until you reach the desired size, or until you are almost out of yarn, leaving just enough to bind off all of your stitches. It really is the simplest of shawls! You can work a series of chunky stripes, as we have done, or just pick your favourite for a single-colour shawl.


This is just a mini shawl, but creating a larger one just means more knitting. Grab a few of your favourite skeins and cast on!

Grain Shawl Construction


What else is fabulous and free from Tin Can Knits?

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.

We’ve got a bunch of other in-depth tutorials too…

button-tut-wheat-b button-tut-vivid button-tut-rye-b button-tut-pop-a button-tut-maize-b button-tut-gramps button-tut-gothiclace-b button-tut-dogwood-a button-tut-flax-c button-tut-barley-a button-tut-twsm button-tut-antler

More simple TCK patterns to try:






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