Once upon a time, there were two knitters, both working at their local yarn shop. The pair became fast friends and quickly discovered that they both wanted to design knitting patterns together. The rest, my dear knitters, is history.
A fateful trip
The year was 2010. I had just finished my teaching degree with no job in sight. (Fun fact: I was almost a high school social studies teacher!) When I met Emily, she was living in Vancouver but soon moved back home to Courtenay, where she was working in architecture. We were two close friends separated by a ferry ride, so we decided to take a weekend away. I hopped on the ferry, and we headed to one of our favourite places: Tofino.
Tofino is an absolutely wonderful spot on the western shore of Vancouver Island. It’s located on the current and traditional territory of the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, and we recognize the responsibility that came with our presence on their sacred land. We have so much respect for this beautiful area, with its lush rain forests and iconic beaches. Standing on the sand and looking out onto the Pacific Ocean feels like standing at the edge of the entire world! Tofino holds a special place in our hearts, and it was inspiring to experience a land we both deeply love together.
This trip was so inspiring, in fact, that it led us to start a partnership that would change our lives forever. As we wandered the damp forests, visited the local art gallery, sipped coffee at the hipster bakery, and relaxed on the beach, we began to chat about our big ideas. Sitting in the sand, under the stars, Emily suggested we might design a pattern together, but I said no – we should write a book. And that was the beginning of our Tin Can Knits journey. It was that little kernel that grew into our very first book, 9 Months of Knitting.
Life is a journey
You never really know where life will take you. That brief weekend adventure led to a partnership that’s still going strong 10 years later. Emily and I have published over 170 patterns and nine books. We’ve taught classes, attended knitting shows, and participated in countless community events. We’ve written hundreds of blog posts and taken hundreds of thousands of pictures. And best of all, we’ve done it all together.
All of our books! 9 Months of Knitting, Pacific Knits, Handmade in the UK, Road Trip, Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe, Great White North, Mad Colour, The Simple Collection, and Strange Brew.
Since our professional partnership started, our personal lives have changed drastically as well. One transatlantic move and five TCK kids have come along, and our work life has ebbed and flowed around these life changes. I’ll always remember that one year we each had a baby six weeks apart. It was interesting to say the least!
Through it all, we’ve remained dedicated partners, and I don’t think I would have done half of the things we’ve done together on my own. Each of us brings different strengths (and weaknesses) to the partnership, and we are truly better as one whole than as two halves. I’m sometimes asked why we wouldn’t rather go it alone, and I laugh a little. Some might find it hard to imagine sharing a business, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Emily and I wouldn’t be where we are today without the wonderful people who support us. We work with two amazing tech editors, Karen Butler and Laura Chau, to keep our pattern math on track. And this year, we added our excellent new editor, Sarah Beams of Word Lodge, who helps us keep our exclamation-point enthusiasm in check. Over the years, we also have relied on friends and family to model for us, bringing our knits to life. We’re so happy to have these magnificent folks on our team.
So what does the future hold for Tin Can Knits? What will life look like in another 10 years? We can’t really say, but we do know that there will be a lot more knitting… that we can promise you!