Another year is ending, and a new one is about to begin. New Year’s is my very favourite time of year because I LOVE making lists and goals — and dreaming about all that might be in the coming year. It’s fitting, then, that our theme for Tin Can Knits right now is Next Stitches, as we continue to learn and to grow, both in knitting and in life.
If your New Year’s goals include some next stitches, too — perhaps learning a new knitting stitch or technique — well, we’ve got a hat for that! Hats are the perfect little projects for practicing new skills. Here are some of our favourites…
Learn to knit cables
Our free Antler toque and our free Northward hat are perfect for learning cables! We also have an in-depth Antler toque tutorial and an in-depth Northward hat tutorial to support you along the way, stitch by stitch. Once you’ve caught the cable bug, you’ll want to check out all our cable designs!
Learn to marl
Marl is definitely a verb, right?! Combining yarns to create marled fabric effects is very easy and very joyful. The Snap hat is perfect for playing with this technique, and we also have a couple of useful tutorials that cover how to knit marled projects by holding yarns together and how to knit with more than one yarn strand.
Learn to knit lace
The simple and satisfying lace pattern for our Whitecaps hat is both charted and written out, so you can compare notes! Or if you prefer, the sweet Penny hat has a delicate lace pattern with a beautiful crown detail. If it’s your first time working with lace, you’ll definitely want to check out our posts on How to Knit Lace and How to Read a Knitting Chart.
Learn to knit slip-stitch colourwork
Slip-stitch colourwork is an easy, effective method for forming colourwork patterns in which you’re only working with a single colour in any given round. You can learn this technique by knitting our popular Bumble beanie. It’s a crowd pleaser, and can be worked and worn several different ways.
The gallery below shows just how many different effects can be created using the same slipped-stitch pattern by working the project in a single colour, in one-round stripes, or in two-round stripes. You may even prefer the ‘wrong side’ of the hat, which has a very cool texture, too!
Learn to knit stranded colourwork
Is this the year you’ll learn, re-learn, or perfect your stranded colourwork skills? We suggest starting with something easy peasy, with fairly short floats. We love our new Embers hat pattern for this, but there are a number of others that fit the bill too; the Cartography hat and the Prism hat are excellent alternative choices!
Obviously I just can’t hold back my love of our colourwork hat patterns! Here are a couple more I’d suggest if you’re learning (or want more practice) stranded colourwork: the Mountain Mist hat, Twisp hat, Fleet hat, and Ridgeline hat and mittens.
Learn to design and select colours for stranded colourwork patterns
I had to throw this suggestion in for those ‘extra credit’ kids looking for their next-level skill. (You know who you are!)
The free Anthology hat and cowl pattern is a recipe that allows you to use the yarn weight you prefer (sock, DK, or worsted/aran) and select patterns of your choice to design a unique hat, cowl, or tubular cowl. Read our tips on applying colour to stranded colourwork motifs, and then get right to the joyful experimentation!
Learn to knit short rows
The Beloved bonnet uses short rows to create its perfect face-framing fit. Knitting this joyful little number would be a gentle introduction to short rows, and we have an in-depth Beloved Bonnet tutorial to guide you through, step by step.
Learn to knit twist stitch patterns
Twist stitch patterns are essentially teeny-tiny cables, in which the stitches are worked out-of-order and move across the fabric to form beautiful patterns. Knit the Sitka Spruce hat and mittens pattern to learn this beautiful technique.
Learn to knit smocking stitch
What’s smocking stitch?! I know, this one is a bit obscure! Smocking stitch looks a little like cables, but it is worked in a different way. It looks intricate, but it’s actually not too tough. Check out our smocking stitch tutorial and then hop over to get the Gather hat and cowl pattern. It’s a really fun little knit!
Learn to knit stripes
Am I stretching now? Stripes are pretty easy to figure out for oneself, but Alexa and I DO love to stripe things up. The Prism hat is an excellent pattern for this; it includes a striped hat, a slip-stitch dotted hat, AND a stranded colourwork triangles hat. You can practice all three techniques with this one, single pattern!
As I mentioned, the theme for Alexa and me this year is Next Stitches (we wrote about our personal and knitting goals back in September). Now, as the year turns over, my personal focus areas remain the same: centering antiracism, improving my Español, and being more present with my kids… with a side of trying to buy more local and organic food. On the fibre side, I’m considering a spinning project to explore the different properties of different British sheep breeds, continuing to play with colour, and very much looking forward to my new Electric Eel Wheel arriving this spring! Alexa and I are also designing up a storm, so stay tuned!
We’d love to hear about your 2021 goals, too, so be sure to leave us a comment!