Alexa and I are continually learning – as people, as designers, as storytellers, and as parents – and this year sure has brought its share of changes to learn from. The adjustments in our day-to-day lives and the psychological impacts of frightening circumstances have led us to question many things we took for granted, and to wonder what our next steps should be in these uncertain times.
When it comes to moving forward, all you ever do – all you ever CAN do – is take the next step and knit the next stitch. I believe this is something knitting can teach you, as you patiently invest hour after hour, gradually forming fabric from loop after loop of string. With that in mind, the theme that emerged for us is Next Stitches. This is especially fitting because we have some exciting updates on the horizon. We are currently working feverishly to launch a new and improved Tin Can Knits website by the end of 2020, and we are preparing to re-release The Simple Collection this autumn. We have some surprises in store for the new year, too!
At the same time, Alexa and I are carrying the ‘next stitches’ theme into all areas of life. Here’s what that means for each of us personally.
Emily’s next stitches
For me, ‘next stitches’ has two meanings: cultivating day-to-day happiness and continuing to learn and grow.
In the middle of a pandemic, sometimes simply knitting that next stitch is all I can do – just answering the next email, giving my kid an extra-long hug, calling a loved one, or casting on a simple project that will let me knit, knit, knit around without too much thought. In this sense, ‘next stitches’ simply means continuing to find daily pleasure and beauty in the very small and repeated actions that make up my life.
Secondly, ‘next stitches’ is about learning – learning that ‘next stitch’ or establishing a new habit that can keep me healthy and whole, improve my family’s life, respect the earth just a little bit more, and integrate me further into the community I find here in Edinburgh. The ‘next stitches’ I’m making in my personal life focus on continuing to learn and practice anti-racism, studying colonial history, mejorando mi Español, enseñándoselo a mis niños, and working on being more present and kind in my relationships, both with myself and with others. In my creative work, I’m learning more about yarn, fibre, and construction as I practice hand spinning, and I’m always experimenting with and deepening my knowledge of colour, too!
Alexa’s next stitches
For me, ‘next stitches’ represents adventure. I love the feeling of sitting down with yarn and needles, ready to try something new. This excitement is what draws me to both knitting and design work, as well as learning of all kinds. And the ‘new thing’ doesn’t have to be complicated. When it comes to knitting, it can be something simple, like a new, small technique or a new colour palette, but I always enjoy the adventure.
Like Emily, I’m also always interested in learning. For the ‘next stitches’ in my own personal growth, I am looking forward to continuing anti-racism work with Ravideep Kaur and taking this Indigenous Canada course from the University of Alberta. I’m also doing some weight lifting at the gym and getting outside with the kiddos more.
‘Next stitches,’ for me, is also a bit about tracking the craft of knitting backwards. I think this is a common knitter’s journey; you begin with one thing, and you work your way back. Starting with knitting, I plan to work backwards to learn about materials, the properties of a yarn, where it comes from, and how it’s made. While I’m not looking to take up spinning like Emily (at least I don’t think so…), I am interested in the provenance and creation of yarns. It’s definitely one of my next learning steps.
Your next stitches
What ‘next stitches’ do you have in mind for the coming year? Do prefer bite-sized pieces, or are you inspired by setting bold and audacious plans in knitting and in life? We all have different situations, so the scope of what we’re drawn to take on will most certainly be different.
Some next stitches inspiration
If you’re looking to take up some ‘next stitches’ in your knitting, we have a project and tutorial for your next step. Whether it’s sweaters, colourwork, cables, lace, or the basics, we’ve got you covered.
Starting with the basics?
Whatever your ‘next stitch’ might be, our Simple Collection is an excellent resource. And stay tuned…useful updates to this set of free patterns and tutorials are coming soon!
~Emily and Alexa