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Old Dogs, New Tricks… 2016 is the Year to Learn Something New

January 19, 2016

Last year at Tin Can Knits, we were a little obsessed with knitting sweaters, so The Year of the Sweater happened (and, not to brag, but we knit a total of 36 sweaters between us).  This year we are no less ambitious, but our focus is to learn some new tricks!

We have always been big promoters of learning – we even spent the better part of a year creating The Simple Collection, with 8 excellent free patterns and in-depth tutorials to guide new knitters in learning all the basics, from knit and purl to turning heels and finishing a first sweater. This year we are exploring beyond simple, with some more advanced techniques, useful tips, and the goal to stretch a little bit outside our own comfort zone. We hope you will come along for the journey!

Perhaps you’d like to try colourwork, cables or lace? We’ve got a free pattern (with a tutorial) for that!

Antler HatClayoquot HatGothic Lace by Tin Can Knits

old dogs… new tricks

As a grown-up learning something new can feel hard. I often tell this story on the first day of beginner knitting: teaching kids is easy, they live in a world where they don’t know lots of things. Every day they learn something new and they aren’t particularly hung up on whether or not something comes to them immediately. As adults it is harder.

We have done so many things, worked hard to know the things that we do, and have a certain level of confidence in our daily activities. So when something new comes along we can be a little… well…. resistant (shocking, I know!).

“I’ve been doing it this way for years!”… “Why fix what isn’t broken?”

Or we may become easily frustrated when we can’t accomplish something on the first try.

“I’ve been knitting for 15 whole minutes and my stitches aren’t even and perfect?!”, …  “I tried that other way once, it just didn’t work for me”.

If you haven’t seen our tutorials yet, do check them out! Our patterns aim for clarity and simplicity and our tutorials do the same. We will be bringing this clarity to bear on even more new techniques this year, so make a list of your knit-year’s resolutions, and learn along with us in 2016!

what will you learn?

Each knitters goals for the year will be different. New knitters may aspire to cable for the first time, while confident pros may be trying a complex center out lace piece. To each their own! One of my learning goals this year is to tackle 2-colour brioche, and experiment outside my comfort zone with new colour combinations!  I’m still not 100% sure which pattern to choose, but I think it’s between the Syncopation Adoration hat and the Askews Me Shawl, both fabulous designs by Stephen West.

Think designers are the experts?  Well we are… but we still have a lot to learn!  That’s one of the reasons we love hearing back from knitters when they contact us after signing up for our email list.  We learn a little more each day about knitters from all over the world.  We love your stories of this skill that is passed on year after year between friends and family.  We are touched by how this stitch-by-stitch creative work has brought you through pain, loss, loneliness and the toughest moments of your lives.  The stories you share often tell how this simple pursuit has dramatically changed your life.

knit along with the #TCKnewtricksKAL

There is nothing like a little support when you are learning something new, right?  The #TCKnewtricksKAL is running in our Ravelry group (all the details are here) starting now, and ending Feb 29 2016.  We’re keeping it short and sweet, so nobody gets bored, and you get great prizes SOONER!

what new tricks will you master?

Will you be learning fair-isle, casting on your first cable project, or learning to read a chart?  It doesn’t matter what your own ambition is, we (and the lovely community that gathers on Ravelry) are here to knit along with you as you learn new tricks! Looking for inspiration?  We’ve gathered some ideas for patterns, yarn, and colour combinations to try on the #TCKnewtricksKAL pinterest board.


What will you learn? For some inspiration, check out our #TCKnewtricksKAL pinterest board

new knit tips and tutorials for 2016

In order to help you with your “something new” we will launch a new tutorial every month, adding to our list of helpful resources you can find here.  We’ve already got a load of project-based tutorials to help you tackle the next stitch!

Dogwood Blanket by Tin Can Knits Flax Pullover by Tin Can Knits Antler Cardigan by Tin Can Knits Vivid Blanket by Tin Can Knits POP blanket by Tin Can Knits Gothic Lace by Tin Can Knits

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Angie permalink
    January 20, 2017 8:34 am

    Do I wish I had the opportunity to learn from TCN when my children were young. This site is just lovely. My granddaughter is going to be beautifully kitted out…and hopefully I will have more to knit for. And for the big kids, myself and hubby, there are lots of cool ideas. I especially love the way your treatments encourage creativity.

  2. January 19, 2017 2:50 pm

    I’ve been seeing (and knitting!) your patterns for a while now, but just got on your mailing list and decided to join your Ravelry group and KAL. Thanks so much for all the support and mindfulness you offer knitters, It’s a great, productive thing to do in these challenging times,

  3. lucy permalink
    May 29, 2016 11:11 pm

    Just knitting antler beanie for my son.downloaded pattern from your wonderful informative web page thankyou so much enjoy learning and knitting more of your patterns.tar again

  4. Kim Winter permalink
    March 7, 2016 2:12 pm

    I am ready to perfect my stranding and this is the year to do it!

  5. Christina permalink
    February 10, 2016 8:52 am

    I’m going to be a month behind on starting my learning, as I have both knitting and crochet WIPs I have to finish in Feb. However, I just purchased Stephen West’s Exploration Station, and I’m looking forward to learning short rows and brioche as I make up that shawl. I agree, choosing colours can be difficult but fun!

    I just found your site, so I’m having fun exploring. Thank you for such a great resource.

  6. Sandy Steen permalink
    January 22, 2016 12:48 pm

    Just discovered your site thanks to a post on Knitting Paradise. So much good stuff. I was wondering if the pattern for the blue and turquoise cowl pictured is available. It looks like a Brichoe Stitch but I’m not sure.

  7. Robyn B. permalink
    January 21, 2016 2:06 pm

    I started the Harvest hat last night!! I love it and cables aren’t as daunting as I thought. Especially with the Tin Can Knits tutorials ::))

  8. January 21, 2016 1:50 pm

    I’m thinking the Askews Me shawl (two color brioche) would be nice. I made a turban headband to learn the brioche stitch and loved it. Color would be good!

  9. Robin permalink
    January 21, 2016 12:50 pm

    I can’t wait to post my Gothic Lace. My first lace and buttonhole project. Thank you Alexa and Emily for such great patterns and tutorials!!

  10. January 21, 2016 12:17 pm

    I ended last year by learning to knit socks using the rye pattern!

  11. Penny Jenkins permalink
    January 21, 2016 10:50 am

    I have yarn for the vivid blanket – started a square and then moved on to another project. This year I’d like to finish Vivid – I certainly find the squares challenging!

  12. Pam Ralston permalink
    January 21, 2016 10:36 am

    Thanks to your Bonbon hat pattern, I already learned cables this year! My next project is socks, so I will go to your tutorials and cat on! I am so inspired by your patterns!

  13. Lynne Phelps permalink
    January 19, 2016 8:32 pm

    I love your patterns and pin boards. The link to the New Tricks board is not working, it says it can’t display that board and brings me to your main Pinterest page instead. Is it a secret board?

    Would love to see what you’ve saved there! Brioche is on my list too!

  14. Gale permalink
    January 19, 2016 6:14 pm

    2-color brioche is high on my list this year. I also hope to learn more difficult things, such as seaming (which is difficult for me). Thank you for all your wonderful tutorials.

  15. January 19, 2016 6:08 pm

    Brioche is on my list already. I think I’ll have to start with one color and then break into 2. I am looking forward to hearing about your experiences. I know your explanation for german short rows was the best I’ve read to date and made my last two projects go smoothly, thanks!

  16. January 19, 2016 3:23 pm

    I knitted my first sweater in 2015 and am knitting another, practicing before I make Flax with such lovely yarn. I hope to learn cables this year and maybe a little lace too. I have heard that learning something new–like kids do naturally–is better for your brain than those adult “brain games.” (And thank you so much for the 12 day gifts too!)

  17. Beth permalink
    January 19, 2016 1:22 pm

    This might be the year I actually finish an afghan. Of course it is the POP Blanket! I might be mildly obsessed – 72 squares and counting. I also departed from the pattern colors because I had SIX partial skeins of Eco and Eco+ lying around. Just look for the project page with the knitting dinosaurs :)

  18. hookedknitter permalink
    January 19, 2016 10:25 am

    Your tutorials are great. They gave really helped to get me going with my knitting last year. It’s also great to refer to them when I get stuck. Thanks for continuing to share and develop these help guides.

  19. January 19, 2016 10:05 am

    I’m constantly pushing myself to learn new things…cables are definitely on my list, and brioche seems to be popular as well. I can’t wait until next year, when I can look back at all the things I’ve learned this year!

  20. January 19, 2016 9:49 am

    I’m excited to see what you’ll be helping me with this year!
    I’m currently making Flax, and (if possible)- I think the pattern itself is more detailed than the tutorial!

  21. January 19, 2016 9:32 am

    This sounds like fun! I seem to knit the same thing over and over again. I’m always happy when I try something new.

  22. January 19, 2016 8:17 am

    I love this! I only got 9 sweaters last year, so I’m in! Going to try two color brioche as well!

  23. genkazdin permalink
    January 19, 2016 6:49 am

    I need to tell you how attractive, appealing, and inspiring your site is. You seem to lean toward the classic styling I appreciate the most. You modernize with color and flair and make me want to pull out the needles and get going. Thank you for what you do, your vision, and your ability to teach and encourage.

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