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Aran Weight Bumble Beanie – a pattern hack

May 26, 2016

I recently went suffered an obsession with the Bumble Beanie, a pattern from our second baby book, Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe.  The original design was worked in DK weight yarn, but I was experimenting with colour and yarn combinations from my stash, and wanted to knit the pattern even more quickly, in worsted & aran weight yarns. I mean, Neve was on her way, I had to knit fast right?!

Neve is wearing a teeny tiny Bumble hat knit up in

Neve is wearing a teeny tiny Bumble hat (this one is knit to pattern) in Noro Kibou and The Border Mill Alpaca Tweed, atop her Vivid blanket knit up in Rainbow Heirloom, and in her Flax hack. Looking good Neve!

ARAN weight Bumble Beanie – pattern adjustment details

Cast on 56 (64, 72, 80, 88, 96) sts for newborn (baby, toddler, child, adult SM, adult L) sizes.  I worked on 4.0mm needles for the brim, and 6.5mm at the slip-stitch pattern, for a finished gauge of 17.5 sts & 24 rounds / 4”.  With this chunkier gauge and fabric, I’d suggest knitting 1/2” to 1” longer than called for in the pattern before decreasing.  With the adjusted cast-on numbers, you’ll setup to decrease by working [[k1, p1] 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) times, PM] around in order to divide the work into 4 sections.

Bumble beanies from above

Bumble beanies from above

While knitting many and various aran-weight bumble hats, I also tried a few other modifications, in each case these work for single-round stripes (and would work in a single colour too but it may be less striking).  To create a slipped-stitch cross detail at the crown (as shown on the left above) is quite simple – just slip the CC decrease stitches from the previous round.


To insert a panel of garter stitch, which is quite beautiful in single-round stripes, adjust the pattern as follows:

Round 1, in CC: k1, p11 (13, 15, 17, 19, 21), k1, sl1, PM, then work in pattern (per bumble beanie Round 1) to end
Round 2, in MC: sl1, k11 (13, 15, 17, 19, 21), sl1, p1, SM, then work in pattern (per bumble beanie Round 1) to end

And then, when you decrease, in this first quarter section of the hat, you’ll work:

on CC rounds: ssk, purl to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, sl1, SM, then work in pattern (per bumble beanie decrease Rounds 1 or 3) to end
on MC rounds: sl1, knit to 2 sts before marker, sl1, p1, SM, then work in pattern (per bumble beanie decrease Rounds 2 or 4) to end

experimenting with yarn combinations

Bumble a great pattern for self-striping yarns, like Noro Kureyon and Silk Garden.  When you use the self-striping yarn as the MC, the colour changes are broken up and made more subtle by the single-colour CC dots.  When you use the self-striping yarn as the CC, the rainbow of dots stands out against a solid-colour background.


I also love the effect of using tweeds and heathers together, for a softer and more rustic effect.  I bet it would also work nicely to use a variegated hand-paint for the MC and a solid for the CC ‘dots’, to break up any colour pooling and make the hand-paint more subtle.

To make things even more interesting, in some of my hats I held a strand of a lace-weight silk/mohair alongside either the MC or the CC.  This created a fabulous halo and sparkle in the finished fabric, and could be used to unify the colour across a high-contrast self-striping colourway.

do you find it hard to match your stash yarn with patterns?

We also have a tutorial on how to adjust patterns to work at a different gauge than called for – this can help when you have yarn that you love, and a pattern you love, but they don’t match up perfectly in terms of gauge.  Here at Tin Can Knits we’re making 2016 The Year to Learn Something New, and bringing you excellent new tutorials that we hope will inspire you to learn new skills!  Get our excellent email updates, and share in the chat 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 button-ravelry-40

Other simple patterns just begging to be ‘hacked’

Playdate Cardigan by Tin Can KnitsI Heart Rainbows Pullover by Tin Can KnitsHarvest Cardigan by Tin Can Knits


Mini Me Made Coastal Pullover

May 13, 2016

It is shorts and sweater weather here in Vancouver!


It is pretty rare that I find the time to knit up a pattern by another designer, but I have wanted to knit up this beautiful Little Coastal Pullover by Hannah Fettig the INSTANT I saw it on instagram a few months ago. I absolutely love the texture and the simple shape. It has all the trappings of a wardrobe staple! With so much talk about Mini Me Made May I thought it would be an ideal time to cast on a sweater for little Ms Hunter (who has out-grown almost all of her current sweaters). I put the two desires together and away I went.

I made the cuffs a little longer than usual, for the fold up.

I made the cuffs a little longer than usual, for the fold up.

The Yarn

I just happened to have 4 beautiful skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage in my favorite color, ‘Cousteau’, on hand, the perfect weight and yardage for my Little Coastal Pullover. I had picked up the yarn a little while ago on an ‘I must knit Hunter a sweater in this amazing color’ whim, it was just meant to be!


Project Details:

Pattern: Little Coastal Pullover by Hannah Fettig

Yarn: Madelinetosh Vintage in ‘cousteau’, eked out of 3 skeins (like 2 yards left, seriously)

Size: 8. The pattern sizing is perfect but Hunter is a pretty giant 5 year old. She wears at least a size 7 in commercial clothing, I maybe could have even made the size 10 to give it even more room to grow!

I so enjoyed this knit and it looks just perfect on Hunter. Nothing too tricky, but interesting enough to keep me going. It is a lovely treat to just follow a pattern and knit sometimes, without considering every element of the design as I go. The lovely Coastal Pullover also come in grown up sizes so I am dreaming of a matching sweater for me!

Tip of the Day:

File 2016-05-10, 2 22 35 PM

Confession: I can be bit of a forgetful knitter. I never mark my place in patterns and often forget to leave myself important notes on sleeve increases or decreases, waist shaping information, and pretty much any other note of that nature. And so, to keep myself on track, I mark my knitting.

For this pattern it wasn’t immediately obvious to me if I had cabled 2 rounds earlier or 3 rounds earlier and a mis-timed cabled is precisely the type of error that is only noticeable an inch or 2 later, or worse, once the sweater is finished. Disaster! So, I placed this helpful safety-pin-type marker in the cable row and then it was easy counting from there! You can see in the picture above that I cabled, then worked 3 rounds, so I knew it was time to cable again.

This works well for a multitude of situations. I often mark my sleeve increases or decreases so I can make the second sleeve the same and I mark cable rounds or particular lace rounds that occur every so often to keep myself on track.



I can now send Hunter off to Kindergarten in September in hand knit sweater, wrapped in love from her Mama. Okay, it will be more like mid-October before she needs to wear a sweater to school but it will still be nice!

How is your #minimemademay coming along?

Fun Cables from TCK

Introducing Neve!

May 6, 2016

After 9 long months (plus a couple of days) there is a new Tin Can Knits baby in town: Introducing Neve Muriel!

This gorgeous little one is happy at home with Mama, Papa, and big brother Max, sleeping and eating (as newborns do). Max is rather interested in the new little person in the house.

So peaceful, wrapped up in the Dogwood blanket, her mama's first baby design, long before even Max was a twinkle in her eye.

So peaceful, wrapped up in the Dogwood blanket, her mama’s first baby design, long before even Max was a twinkle in her eye.

All the details of this Flax Hack can be found on the Ravelry project page here.

All the details of this Flax Hack can be found on the Ravelry project page here

the wardrobe

Neve is already decked out in the fabulous knit wardrobe her mama has been working on, including this amazing Flax hack! Emily took our basic Flax pattern and threw in a few design details and a little fair isle. You can find all the details of how she did it here.

Twinsies! When put side by side there is no mistaking these two for siblings! This Neve on the left and Max on the right at about the same age in exactly the same sweater (Flax Light). Adorable!

Emily is enjoying #minimemademay to the fullest, keeping her new wee bairn wrapped in woolies, handmade blankets, and adorable harem pants. You can follow us on Instagram for our daily mini wardrobe shots!

More mini items from TCK

Mini Me Made May

April 28, 2016

Every year, as the month of May approaches, I have a grand ambition to participate in #memademay, a challenge that inspires you to make, wear, and share your handmade wardrobe.  And every year I’ve found some excuse to put it off…

But this year, I’m going for it… at least in a small way!

a mini handmade wardrobe


I’ve been obsessively knitting and sewing little baby things… to add to the excessive number that I seem to already have!  I was overwhelmed by cuteness once I pulled them all out!

This year I have a new ‘memade’… and I’ve had 9 months to prepare her tiny baby wardrobe, taking so much pleasure from the creation and collection of adorable little items!


My first baby design was the Dogwood blanket, and I still think it’s so pretty! And my favourite baby sewing pattern is the free Tiny Harem pants pattern by The Alison Show, as you can see I’ve become a wee bit obsessed…I’ve made a few more than those pictured above…!

Since I will be in my first month post-partem, complete with under-eye bags, new grey hairs, extreme milk jugs and an undefined midsection (so glamorous), I’m not likely to feature heavily in front of the camera, so I’m diverting the attention to the little ones and coining the term #minimemademay for a month of baby knits and sewing projects!


The tiniest sweaters!  A tiny flax light (a great free pattern), the i heart rainbows pullover and two pattern hacks / prototypes!

Want to join in the fun?  I think #memademay is an excellent opportunity to assess your own handmade wardrobe, or if you want to focus on the little ones,  join us in #minimemademay!

Baby knits in your future?

Are you planning for a new baby?  Organizing a baby shower?  Hoping for a grandbaby? We’ve got a load of tiny hat patterns that make for very quick gifts!

Clayoquot Beanie

The free Clayoquot beanie pattern, from our book Road Trip, is a quick knit for DK weight leftovers, and an opportunity to practice (or swatch) colourwork!

Stovetop Hat by Tin Can Knits

The Stovetop hat is one of my fav hat patterns for babies and big people too.  It’s so stylish, unisex, and such a pleasure to knit!  I’ve made more than a few over the past couple years!

Stovetop Hat by Tin Can Knits

Max’s first photo in knitwear, 4 days old

Loch Beanie by Tin Can Knits

I think I need to knit a tiny Loch for the new little one! I don’t have enough tiny hats for her yet… clearly!

Or with a bit more advance planning, you could organize a group of knitting friends to all work a square or two of a vivid, pop, fly away, or dogwood blanket, then have a seaming party to create a collaborative heirloom for a very special baby!

Over the years we’ve designed a LOT of popular patterns for the baby knitters out there, and talked about hoping for a baby (and knitting in hope), the joys of a coordinated set of baby knits, and our top 10 tips for baby knitting!

Max & Bodhi's Wardrobe9 Months of Knitting

We also have 2 baby-centric books of knits.  Alexa’s first baby, Hunter, inspired our very first book, 9 Months of Knitting, and when Emily’s son Max arrived a month after Alexa’s daughter Bodhi, we couldn’t resist another: Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe.  While the knits are mainly sized from baby to big, the inspiration for these collections was our desire to knit fabulous modern wardrobes for our little ones!

Colourful knits from Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe

Bumble Beanie by Tin Can KnitsLittle Squirrel Socks by Tin Can KnitsRocky Joggers by Tin Can Knits



Tops Tanks and Tees

April 18, 2016

Every year Shannon (of Very Shannon) hosts several amazing KALs and today she is starting her spring Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL! I am very excited to say that Tin Can Knits will not only be one of the KAL sponsors, but I’ll be knitting along too. The idea behind this genius KAL is that knitters will work on a summer tank and finish it….in time for summer! That Shannon, always thinking ahead.

Low Tide would make an excellent summer sweater

Low Tide would make an excellent summer sweater, the perfect item to layer over a tank top

The Details


April 18th to May 20th (with possible extension)


Next week Very Shannon will launch the Tops, Tanks & Tees Knit Along Homepage and you will be able to find all the information about the KAL and sign up etc on the VS homepage then :)


We all love to see each others yarns, project choices and swatches so please be sure to tag your projects on social media and Ravelry with #TTTKAL and #TTTKAL16 (if you’d like) so we can follow along during the knit along!

You may even find your project shared on the blog! So don’t be shy – I promise this is one of the parts that makes this KAL so fun!

Flax Light is knit up in fingering weight yarn, go with short sleeves for a summery top!

Flax Light is knit up in fingering weight yarn, go with short sleeves for a summery top!

The Lure of the KAL

I should admit here, I do not have a great track record for finishing my KAL knits. And by that I mean the only KAL I think I have ever finished on time in recent years is the 12 sweaters in 2015. Not great considering my immense enthusiasm for knitting along!

When I was a fledgling knitwear designer and getting my teaching degree I worked at Urban Yarns and was in charge of the knit nights. I started organizing KALs and I was instantly hooked. There was so much encouragement from other knitters! So many people to ask if you had questions, so many yarn choices to help with, and such fun at the wrap up party, showing of lovely finished knits or commiserating on knits still on the needles. I love a good social knit.


My Knit

So, this time, I vow to finish! I have been contemplating knitting a Bonny tank since Em first came up with the design for Handmade in the UK, so now is my moment. I think the reason I haven’t cast on as of yet is my yarn indecision. Should I use fingering for a different look, or stick with the lovely lace? Dark or light? Colorful or neutral? What to do, what to do!

Sweet Fiber Merino Lace in 'sketchbook'

Sweet Fiber Merino Lace in ‘sketchbook’

FINALLY I saw Sweet Fiber‘s new Merino Lace yarn at Fibers West and knew it was the perfect yarn. After a few more weeks of humming and hawing over the color choice I picked ‘sketchbook’, a beautiful dark grey. So, with my needles at the ready I will be casting on tonight!

What will you be casting on? How is your KAL track record?

Raindrops, perfect for a little KAL or a big KAL

Raindrops, perfect for a little KAL or a big KAL


More summery sweaters from TCK


April 14, 2016

Britannia by Tin Can Knits

Emily and I are both the kind of people who are inspired by places. We have even written 3 books particularly inspired by place: Pacific Knits was inspired by the good old PNW, Handmade in the UK was inspired by Emily’s move to Edinburgh, and Road Trip was inspired by the wonderful vacations we have taken to Tofino and the Rocky Mountains.

3 books inspired by place

So, when the lovely ladies at Knit Social invited us to contribute designs to Cascadia, a collection inspired by our home, we had to say yes! Emily and I set to work jointly designing a sweater, Britannia.

Britannia by Tin Can Knits

So cute on the little ones!


Britannia is a beautiful beach, located just off the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler.  It is an idyllic location on Howe Sound, from which you get that iconic BC view of ocean, forest, and mountains. It was settled long ago as a mining community and the beach is very near the old copper mine. My kids have enjoyed the tour of the (now closed) Britannia Mines. Panning for gold anyone? Checking out giant tires?

For our sweater, we wanted a garment that embraced what we each love: cables and lace. A bold central cable is flanked by panels of simple open lace. Britannia is a perfect sweater for layering, and, while it appears fancy, has straightforward bottom-up construction.

Britannia by Tin Can Knits

For the yarn we chose a subtle hand dye by SweetGeorgia yarns. It has all the lovely depth of colour of a hand dye, without detracting from the stitch patterns in this sweater. Emily is wearing ‘lettuce wrap’ and Hunter is wearing ‘goldmine’.

Britannia by Tin Can Knits

I knit up a Britannia for Hunter’s Christmas sweater this year, also in SweetGeorgia Superwash DK in ‘slate’. She has been particularly smitten with this years sweater, wearing it all the time! It is such a joy when they love the hand knit you made for them.

Britannia by Tin Can Knits

So, if you are looking to push your skills a little this year (the year of something new), try the Britannia sweater! Cables and lace, who could ask for anything more?

More TCK knits inspired by place:

North Shore by Tin Can KnitsClayoquot by Tin Can KnitsOld Growth by Tin Can Knits

How to knit a garment at a different gauge

April 7, 2016


Sometimes, you may have the perfect yarn for a sweater, and the perfect sweater pattern in mind, but the two don’t quite match up in terms of gauge.  If you’re willing to venture a little ways outside the comforting zone of following a pattern exactly, many designs are flexible enough to allow adjustment for gauge.

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

The Peanut Vest from Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe was designed in The Uncommon Thread Merino DK, and is shown here in ‘seascape’ with ‘golden praline’ and ‘squirrel nutkin’ with ‘beeswax’

I wouldn’t suggest, for example, trying to knit an aran-weight pattern in lace-weight, but going one step up or down a yarn weight is often possible, although of course it will result in a different sort of finished object than that shown in the pattern photos, and require a different amount of yardage than the pattern states (so be sure to have plenty of yarn on hand!).

how to knit a garment at a different gauge than the pattern specifies

Using the example of the Peanut Vest that I recently knit for Max, I’ll take you step-by-step through the process of determining how to knit a garment at a different gauge than the pattern calls for.

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

I made this version of the Peanut vest in Rainbow Heirloom Brit Aran, rather than the DK weight yarn the pattern was designed in.

The Peanut Vest, from Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe, is designed in DK weight yarn, at 22 sts & 28 rounds in 4″ (that’s 5.5 sts & 7 rounds per inch).  My plan was to knit it in aran weight yarn at a gauge of 18 sts & 24 rounds / 4″ (that’s 4.5 sts & 6 rounds per inch).

first determine the finished size you’re aiming for

Max was 18 months at Christmas, and I planned for this cute little vest to fit for at least a year, so I decided I would aim to achieve the finished measurements of the 2-4 yr size: 24″ around at the chest, 10″ from hem to underarm, and 5″ armhole depth.

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

The first question was which instructions to follow in order to achieve the 24″ chest measurement.  Gauge (review our tutorial here to learn more) is the key to determining the finished size of knits, and the formula is simple:

number of stitches per inch x number of inches desired = total number of stitches required

So since my chosen yarn knit to 4.5 stitches per inch, and I was aiming for a finished chest measurement of 24″, I multiplied the two numbers: 4.5 sts/inch  x 24″ = 108 sts.  108 sts was the EXACT number needed to achieve 24″ (how convenient!).  So the next step was to look at the pattern instructions.

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

As it happens, the second size of the Peanut vest (3-6mo) is exactly 108 sts around, so I knew that would be the one I would follow.  I went through the pattern, and highlighted all the 2nd size stitch counts.  At the design gauge (5.5 sts / inch), these instructions result in a 3-6 mo size, but with my larger gauge (4.5 sts / inch), the same stitch counts would result in the 2-4 yr size I was aiming for.

follow the stitch counts of your ‘adjusted size’, but follow length instructions of your ‘desired size’

While following the STITCH counts for the ‘adjusted (3-6 mo) size’, I would at the same time follow the LENGTH instructions for the ‘desired (2-4 yr) size’.  This means the garment would come out the correct dimension around, and also the correct length.

If I were adjusting a very simple pattern, for example the Flax Pullover or Antler Cardigan, this would likely be all the calculation required, and it would be possible to simply knit the pattern following the ‘adjusted size’ instructions per the calculation above, while knitting to desired lengths at sleeves and body.

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

However, because the Peanut vest features a lovely panel of fair-isle pattern on the chest, I needed to determine how my different ROUND gauge would affect the placement of this fixed-length element, so that I didn’t end up knitting too short or too long in the body, or have an odd placement of the pattern section.

The fair-isle pattern in this design is 25 rounds tall.  First, I calculated how tall the pattern would be at the design gauge (5.5 sts & 7 rounds per inch).

25 rounds / 7 rounds per inch = 3.57″ tall at design gauge

Then I calculated how tall the pattern would be at my new adjusted gauge (4.5 sts & 6 rounds per inch).

25 rounds / 6 rounds per inch = 4.16″ tall at adjusted gauge

So I knew that the pattern section, knit in my heavier yarn choice, would require at least an extra 0.6″ in height.  So where the pattern called for knitting to 4.5″ before starting the pattern (this is the length instruction for the 2-4 yr size), I instead knit to 3.75″ and then started working the colourwork pattern at that point.  Once the pattern section was complete, I simply followed the pattern as written, knitting to the specified length to underarm for the 2-4 yr size.

Throughout the rest of the pattern, I simply continued in the same vein, always using the ADJUSTED stitch count numbers (the second / 3-6 mo size), but where knit-to LENGTHS were mentioned, I used the instructions from the 2-4 yr size.

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

Pretty soon I had an adorable little vest for my darling!  It made for a perfect Christmas day ‘dress up’ outfit, and is also ideal as formal wear, as I discovered last month when I polished him up for a family wedding.  Of course I also had to make him a little kilt in a Fraser tartan to match his dad’s!  And what will be next up? Wee kilt socks I imagine….

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

other excellent gauge hacks

Here are some other great projects that knitters have adapted for a different yarn weight than the pattern originally called for.  My friend Rosie (she’s an epic sweater knitter… read more about that here) knit a beautiful North Shore pullover at 20 sts / 4″ rather than the 22 sts / 4″ called for in the pattern.


Nina (dyer at Rainbow Heirloom) knit an exquisite Brekon cardigan (by Amy Christoffers) in aran weight rather than the fingering weight (at 22 sts / 4″) called for in the pattern.


And I made a lovely Flax for Max in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater at 20 sts / 4″, rather than the 18 sts / 4″ called for in the pattern. Find all the details of that knit here.

Flax by Tin Can Knits

Who is this little frowny-faced creature?!

Found this tutorial useful?  If you aren’t already on our list, sign up for our excellent email updates so you don’t miss out on new tutorials, patterns, and subscriber special offers!  And follow us on your fav social spot too:

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Simple Patterns just begging to be ‘hacked’

Flax Light by Tin Can KnitsAntler CardiganI heart Rainbows by Tin Can Knits


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