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My Tenderheart

March 7, 2017

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This will come as no surprise to those who have been following Tin Can Knits for a while, but Emily and I love geometric fair isle. The tiny repeats in the Tenderheart pattern were really fun to swatch and choose and I doubt we are done with the idea yet!

While one of us usually takes the lead on a design, our patterns with Fair Isle are among our most collaborative. We go back and forth on chart variations, make a few swatch hats, and the final product is usually a mix of us both.

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Tenderheart has a simple construction, like all of the patterns in Heart on my Sleeve, it is worked from the bottom up (sleeves and body first, then all joined together for the yoke). The Fair Isle is a small repeat, with short floats, perfect for those with limited colourwork experience.

Tenderheart Details

Pattern: Tenderheart from Heart on my Sleeve (proceeds from this book are all going to the Against Malaria Foundation, so get your copy now!)

Yarn: DK weight yarn
MC: 350 (400, 500, 650, 800, 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2200) yds
CC: 140 (140, 150, 170, 230, 240, 250, 270, 270, 300, 330, 400, 430, 520, 580) yds

We used Madelinetosh DK for the grown up version in a few of my favourite colourways: Antler (the perfect neutral cool white), with Tart and Scarlet for the contrast.

For Jonesie’s sweater I used John Arbon Textiles Knit by Numbers DK. Emily knit up a Prism hat from Mad Colour in this yarn and I couldn’t wait to cast on a sweater in it! The yarn is soft and heathered and the colourwork really popped in the black and white!

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I love the contrast cast-on detail (I might have been adding it to everything lately!), and of course, the heart on my sleeve. This heart motif was created by Mary Jane Mucklestone, a genius at Fair Isle, who has literally written the book on it!

If you haven’t joined the Heart on my Sleeve KAL yet, check it out! There are fabulous prizes and lots of knitters clicking away already.

More fabulous Fair Isle from TCK:


 

 

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The Sleeve Swatch

March 2, 2017
Ysolda's Hearthstone from Heart on my Sleeve

Ysolda’s Hearthstone from Heart on my Sleeve

So, it is often said amongst knitters that they do not enjoy swatching (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out our tutorial on gauge in knitting here). Even those who swatch anyways don’t love it, so here is our tip to sort of avoid swatching in a bottom up sweater, like all of the sweaters in Heart on My Sleeve.

A good swatch:

Confession time: I really only swatch for new designs and sweaters. I’ve been knitting a long time and I’m pretty confident my gauge will be right on (and that I need to go down a needle or 2 when it comes to ribbing). Armed with this information and a willingness to rip out a 1/2 finished hat/scarf/shawl because I’m not happy with the gauge, I go forth and cast on.

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A lovely garter gauge swatch

Garments are a whole other thing. Garments need a good swatch. A good swatch should always be indicative of the finished garment. It should be pretty big (at lease a 6″ square), it should be done the way the gauge in the pattern states (if it is over a cable pattern, measure it over a cable pattern, if it is on the smaller needles knit it on the smaller needles), it should be washed and blocked (some yarns change rather drastically after blocking), and if the gauge is given in rounds, the swatch should be in the round.

Tenderheart from Heart on my Sleeve

Tenderheart from Heart on my Sleeve

Sleeves as a gauge swatch:

Why must it be so complicated?! Some of us have a slightly tighter or looser gauge when we purl, so if you work an entire sweater in the round, it may be significantly different than if you had worked it back and forth. While you could do a swatch in the round (cast on, join for working in the round, knit for about 6″, bind off, cut your swatch and measure the gauge), in the case of a bottom-up sweater it seems more prudent to just cast on a sleeve.

Grab your smaller needles, bust out some ribbing, and start in on the sleeve. Once you get 4″ up the sleeve put the live sts on waste yarn and block your sleeve. If you find you are happy with the gauge, you can just carry on. If not, you can rip back to the ribbing and start from there with a smaller or larger needle as needed.

This handy dandy method fulfills the needs of a gauge swatch and the need to cast on RIGHT NOW at the same time. It’s the perfect solution.


More sleeve-first knits from TCK:

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LauraPNW : beautiful knits in the Pacific Northwest

February 28, 2017

laurapnw-imageThere are some knitters I just can’t stop stalking online, and LauraPNW is one of these! What is she knitting now? What combinations of beautiful yarns and patterns is she putting together? Her beautiful knits and stunning photography make me drool every time, I want to run for my needles and dive through the stash!

I have been watching Laura’s work for years, and she has also done a lot of test-knitting for us, so I was very pleased when she agreed to let us share some of her beautiful work with you.

I’m sure it will inspire you as much as it does me. Laura has kindly answered a few of my questions about her knitting and photography too.

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Laura test-knit a beautiful Ironheart sweater recently – this is one of the designs from our charity ebook, Heart On My Sleeve.

A knitter in the Pacific Northwest

Where do you live (you do such beautiful photography! such great backdrops!)?  I live in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains on the Olympic Peninsula, in a small town called Sequim, WA. On clear days I can look to the north and see Victoria, Canada. I grew up in the Seattle area, and married into Sequim, and I love it. It truly is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I don’t think I will ever leave (plus I have a cool job as a biology teacher at the high school here).

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Laura rocking a lovely Stovetop hat

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A 1999 for her little girl

Have you been knitting long?  I learned to knit about twenty years ago (I was in college). I knit a lot more now than I used to because I appreciate the process a lot more. When I first started it was more about making funky things for all my friends.
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An Antler cardigan with a little room to grow

You knit many beautiful things for your children – can you tell me about how you pick patterns for them, and how you feel about knitting for them?  I love knitting for my 10 year old son more than anyone because he loves his sweaters so much. He literally wears hand knit sweaters everyday to school, and it makes me so happy that I just keep on knitting for him. When he makes requests, it is hard for me to refuse, plus he loves bright fun colors. Soon he will be out of kids sizes and I am excited to have a lot more designs to chose for him. My 4 yo daughter doesn’t appreciate her hand knits as much, but she is smaller and there are so many cute girl things that I find I just knit for her because it is fun, and not because she will necessarily appreciate them.

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I love this Campfire pullover in such brilliant colours! This really makes me feel like I must knit one for Max!

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A Prism hat with a lovely neon rainbow!

You said your husband taught you everything you know about photography – could you elaborate?  My husband minored in photography in college so when I got my first DSLR he had to show me how to use it and what cool things I could do with it. He has given me different lenses and props for gifts (though I find a pretty much just stick to a 50mm lens at all times). I still have a lot to learn when it comes to photography, but I am happy to keep learning. All of the photos of me are taken by my husband, and I take most of the photos of the kids.

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What’s on your to-knit list? Any techniques or big projects you’re planning to tackle?  I don’t think I plan my knits too much. I like to decide spur of the moment what to knit and go for it, but sometimes I dream about projects (Celestarium was one of those that I drooled over for a long time before actually attempting it, and it turned out to be quite easy).

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I really, really want to knit North Shore (and I am not just saying that because it is a tck pattern!) I love the ocean, trees and mountains because it looks like home, but I don’t like doing colorwork. All those balls of yarn sort of stress me out. I made a little one a few years ago and it turned out all right, and I keep practicing my colorwork, so I think I am about ready to knit myself one.

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Despite disliking colourwork, this version of Crazyheart (from our new charity collection Heart On My Sleeve) is one of the latest knits off her needles.

What yarns are you coveting these days? I seem to have a lot of Colour Adventures, Madelinetosh, Malabrigo, and a growing collection of Sweet Georgia. I think I choose my yarns based on color more than anything else, so although I am drawn to certain dyers, I think I could love any wool.
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A stunning version of Raindrops!

What a knitter!

Please don’t get the wrong impression – Laura is not on the Tin Can Knits staff! She doesn’t knit exclusively our patterns, you must check out her projects page to browse all the other fabulous projects she has knit – it’s truly inspiring!

Are you ready for Edinburgh Yarn Festival?

We’re launching a new design at EYF this year! And we’re having a giveaway: if you’re one of the first 25 to stop by the booth on Friday or Saturday, you’ll get your copy free!

Tin Can Knits is booth M9 (in the concourse, next to the coffee bar, across from Brooklyn Tweed!). Come by and see the new Mad Colour and Heart On My Sleeve designs. I’m always happy to sign books and chat about your projects, and the booth is shared again this year with Rainbow Heirloom, so there’ll be some scrumptious yarn to pet too!

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

Knits on display at EYF:


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Time for a Heart-y KAL

February 23, 2017

In case you missed it we are hosting a KAL over in our Ravelry group for Heart on my Sleeve! There are lots of supportive knitters there already and did I mention the fabulous prizes? You can join in on social media with the hashtag #heartonmysleeveknits

SweetGeorgia yarns has donated the yarn to make this sweater! 2 skeins of Superwash DK and a Party of 5 Gradient, the winner can choose their colours! Heartring by Joji Locatelli: The lovely SweetGeorgia

SweetGeorgia Yarns has donated a prize of 2 skeins of Superwash DK and a Party of 5 Gradient, so you can make your own wee Heartring by Joji Locatelli

What are we knitting?

Emily still hasn’t quite decided which sweater she will be knitting along, although she will have to decide soon, she only has 1 more sleeve to go! My Hearthstone for Bodhi is coming along nicely. When I went to the stash to choose some yarn for this KAL I made an awesome discovery: 2/3 of a sweater body! I can’t remember what my plan was, but it’s now becoming a Hearthstone sweater.

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That’s right, I found this 2/3 sweater body just waiting for me, along with 2 more skeins. A stash find if ever there was one!

I’m working in Sweet Fiber Merino Twist Worsted, which is thicker than the DK called for so I’m knitting a 1-2 year size (which is the about the number of sts in the discovered sweater body) and it will come out a little big for Bodhi (perfect for some room to grow!).

Emily’s sleeve is looking lovely in Malabrigo Rios in ‘marte’, while mine hit a bit of a snag when I joined at the yoke to discover one sleeve was a full 12 rounds shorter than the other….rip rip rip!

For the nervous sweater knitter:

If you haven’t knit a sweater before don’t worry, this is the perfect moment! All the sweaters in Heart on my Sleeve are done from the bottom up, they are all pretty much the same until you hit the yoke. If you are new to it all, try the Heartstring yoke. If you have experience with charts or colourwork try Ironheart, Crazyheart, or Tenderheart!

Baa Ram Ewe has donated a sweater quantity of their beautiful Dovestone DK, perfect for a Lionheart sweater!

The awesome prizes:

We were so fortunate to have so much support from the yarn-y community for this project! There are so many great prizes for the Heart on my Sleeve knit along, thanks again to Baa Ram Ewe, Fringe Supply Co, Pom Pom Quarterly, SweetGeorgia Yarns, Tanis Fiber Arts, The Loveliest Yarn Company, and YOTH yarns.

YOTH big sister dk in 'raw honey' and 'blue raspberry', perfect for Romi's Brightheart sweater!

YOTH big sister dk in ‘raw honey’ and ‘blue raspberry’, perfect for Romi’s Brightheart sweater!

Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts (and the designer of Crazyheart) has donated one of their beautiful palettes!

Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts (and the designer of Crazyheart) has donated one of their beautiful palettes!

This lovely Take Heart gift set from Pom Pom Quarterly

This lovely Take Heart gift set from Pom Pom Quarterly

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A lovely Wollelujah tote from Fringe Supply Company


So, which Heart on my Sleeve sweater are you working on?

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Introducing Heart on my Sleeve

February 14, 2017

Heart on my Sleeve

It feels as if we have been working on this project forever and we are so excited to share it with you! Introducing Heart on my Sleeve: Knit with Care. This is a collaborative project with so many of our very favourite designers: Shannon Cook, Romi Hill, Bristol Ivy, Tanis Lavallee, Joji Locatelli, Jane Richmond, and Ysolda Teague.

And the best part? All of the proceeds (after Ravelry and PayPal fees) are going to the Against Malaria Fund!

Hearthstone by Ysolda Teague

Hearthstone by Ysolda Teague

Emily had the idea for Heart on my Sleeve some time ago. We discussed how lucky we both are in life, how inspiring the knitting community is, and how we could give back. We also loved the idea of working with some of our favourite designers, so we put the two ideas together and so we started down the road to Heart on my Sleeve.

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Crazyheart by Tanis Lavallee

The book

Heart on my Sleeve is a book of sweaters. We started with a basic bottom up sweater, and each designer put their own personal twist on the yoke. Remember those ‘choose your own adventures’ books from when you were a kid? It’s like that, but with knitting! You can make your sweater exactly like ours, or you can mix and match. All the sweaters are in DK weight at the same gauge.

Heart on my Sleeve

You can order the Heart on my Sleeve ebook, with 8 sweater patterns sized baby to big now for $18. After Ravelry and PayPal fees every cent goes to the Against Malaria Fund. The ebook will only be available for 1 year so get it while it’s hot!

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Brightheart by Romi Hill

Wholehearted by Bristol Ivy

Wholehearted by Bristol Ivy

The Cause

We chose to donate to the Against Malaria Foundation because the need spoke to Emily and I personally as mothers. Malaria is a preventable disease – no one need die of it. Yet thousands of small children and pregnant women die of it every day. Malaria is relatively cheap to prevent, which means that every ebook sold and every dollar you donate really counts toward saving lives and improving economies.

For more information on the Against Malaria Foundation you can visit their website at www.againstmalaria.com

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Heartstring by Joji Locatelli

Ironheart by Emily Wessel

The KAL

Who wants to get started?! For a project like this, so inspired by the knitting community we love so much, it seemed fitting to have a knit along, where knitters can knit together in a virtual stitch circle.

The KAL will be run in our Ravelry group here, but you can also chat along in our Facebook group here, or tag your projects with #heartonmysleeveknits. Em and I will be knitting along too…we just aren’t sure which sweater or combination of sweaters yet!

The KAL starts today, February 14, 2017 and goes until April 18, 2017. There are a lot of fabulous prizes from Baa Ram Ewe, Fringe Supply Co, Pom Pom Quarterly, SweetGeorgia Yarns, Tanis Fiber Arts, The Loveliest Yarn Company, and YOTH yarns.

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Tenderheart by Alexa Ludeman

The ebook will only be available for 1 year so get it now and help a great cause while you are at it!

Which HOMS sweater will you cast on?


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Hearthstone                   Heartstring                     Crazyheart

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Let’s Knit an Antler Toque

February 9, 2017
Bodhi is wearing her Antler Toque in Malabrigo Rios and a fun faux fur pom pom from Stash in Calgary

Bodhi is wearing her Antler Toque in Malabrigo Rios and a fun faux fur pom pom I picked up at Stash in Calgary

Ready to knit a cabled hat?! In this tutorial we will go step by step through the Antler Toque, a great way to learn about cables, charts, and hat knitting in general. If you are looking for something a little simpler, try our free Barley hat pattern and tutorial from The Simple Collection.

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Ready your supplies:

Step one, download the Antler Toque pattern, and gather your supplies. You will need:

  • worsted weight yarn (in this tutorial we are using Malabrigo Rios in ‘water green’)
  • a US #6/ 4mm 16″ circular needle
  • a US #8/ 5mm 16″ circular needle and double pointed needles
  • a cable needle
  • a stitch marker
  • a darning needle.
  • If you happen to have a surly bearded man around, it helps for modeling once your hat is done, but that part is optional.pk-antlerhat-01

Choosing a size:

sizing: Baby (Child, Adult S, L)
To fit 16 (18, 21, 23)” head

While some patterns include ‘finished measurements’ you will note that the Antler Toque has ‘to fit’ measurements. That is because this hat has a little bit of negative ease built in for a proper fit (negative ease means the hat is a little smaller than your noggin, so the knitting stretches a little to fit snuggly). I’ll be knitting the child size.

Ready to cast on:

Using smaller needles, cast on 76 (84, 96, 106) sts, PM and join for working in the round. Work in 1×1 rib (k1, p1) for 1.5 (2, 2, 2.5)”.

So, start with your US #6 / 4mm needles and cast on. Remember to cast on a little bit loosely, this hat has to go over a head! I will be casting on 84 sts, the first size in brackets. If you have never cast on using circular needles before, check out our tutorial here. Once you have completed your ribbing your toque will look like this:

Ribbing complete!

Ribbing complete!

Next round, Adult S and L only: work in 1×1 rib to last 2 sts, k2tog [- (-, 95, 105) sts]

Why this little adjustment? Because the ribbing must be an even number, but the cable and purl repeat must be an odd number for these sizes, the Adult S and L need a little decrease. You’ll just have to trust us on this one!

All sizes, change to larger needles and work set up round:
[k16, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around

To change to larger needles you simply use the larger needle to start the next round, knitting off the smaller needle in your left hand, onto the larger needle in your right hand. Since I am working the child size, I will work [k16, p5] around.This is a 21 stitch repeat and I will have 4 cables. The square brackets tell you what your repeat is, and the round brackets indicate the number of purl sts for your size. If you are knitting the baby size you will work [k16, p3] around, the child size is [k15, p5] around etc.

Work antler cable pattern following chart A or written instructions.
All Rounds: [work 16-st antler cable, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Work rounds 1-6 of antler cable a total of 5 (6, 8, 9) times

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You will be working the 16 stitch chart with 3 or 5 purl stitches in between, depending on your size. The chart is read from right to left, bottom to top. Why do charts work that way? Because that is the way your knitting goes!

For the child size round 1 will look like this: [k4, c4b, c4f, k4, p5] around

It is a bit more clear once a few repeats have been worked. You can see that I have 16 stitch Antler cables separated by 5 purl sts (your size might have 3 sts in between)

It is a bit more clear once a few repeats have been worked. You can see that I have 16 stitch Antler cables separated by 5 purl sts (your size might have 3 sts in between)

Never cabled before? No problem! Check out our full cable tutorial here. For the child size, I am working rounds 1-6 of the chart a total of 6 times.

6 repeats accomplished

6 repeats accomplished

Ready for decreases

The decreases for this hat are fairly straight forward written out line by line. If ssk and k2tog are new to you, click the links for a detailed explanation. For the Antler Toque decreases, just watch out for the cabled decreases. They are the c4bdec and c4fdec. You are decreasing and cabling at the same time.

When your stitches start to feel too stretched you can change to DPNs (double pointed needles). Why the DPNs you ask? You can knit things larger than the circumference of a circular needle, but not smaller, in order to work on the few stitches left in the decreases you will need DPNs. Alternatively you could use a long circular needle and the magic loop method.

changing-to-dpns

Switching to DPNs is easy peasy, just the same as switching from the smaller needles to the larger. You will pick up your first DPN in your right hand, and your circular needle will be in your left. You will work the stitches off of the circular onto the DPN.

When I distribute my sts on DPNs I like to put about 1/2 the sts on the first needle and about 1/4 of the sts on each of the other 2 needles. This way I don’t need the BOR marker, I know the beginning of the round is at the start of the ‘full’ needle.

Stitches distributed per my favourite method

Stitches distributed per my favourite method

Finishing

Break yarn leaving an 8” tail. Thread tail through remaining sts, pull tight and secure end. Weave in your ends and give your hat a block.

Using your blunt darning needle, thread the tail through the remaining live sts

Using your blunt darning needle, thread the tail through the remaining live sts and take them off the needle.

Done and ready for a block!

Done and ready for a block!

The biggest question is to pom pom or not to pom pom. Bodhi went wild with a hot pink faux fur number, but it’s really up to you. If you are looking for a tutorial on how to make a pom pom, we have that too!

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That’s it! You are ready to wear your Antler toque out and about. Now that you are confident with your cables you can go forth and conquer a matching set of mittens, or even an Antler sweater!


More cabled knits from TCK

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Year of Making

February 2, 2017

I have undertaken a new project this year, called Year of Making. I actually started in December, so you may have seen some posts in my Instagram Stories feed tagged #yearofmaking. I was inspired to do this by the #yearofmaking projects done by Miriam Felton and Kim Werker; learn a bit more about their take on it on Kim’s podcast here.

One of the larger projects I worked on since I started the #yearofmaking project was these dolls, made for my kids and nieces and nephews this Christmas

One of the larger projects I worked on since I started my #yearofmaking project was these dolls, made for my kids and nieces and nephews this Christmas

The idea, or the one that I’m running with, is to make something every day, and to document that daily. I’m taking a quick photo (trying not to worry about pretty pretty), and keeping daily notes. I’m not sure whether this will change my habits as a maker, or whether it will simply be a documentation of the making that I was already doing. When my work days include a lot of computer time, writing, layout, editing, website building and the like I sometimes feel like my job is all work and no play (there’s never enough knitting!). By documenting my day-to-day making that I am in fact doing, I hope to recognize that this is not the case, and perhaps be inspired to insert a little bit more making into each week. I’m really not sure what I will get out of the exercise, but it’s something that I want to try.

Ambitions, hopes, and ideas for this project? I usually have too many!

  • try new vegetarian recipes (cut a bit of the meat out of my family’s diet)
  • more recipes which involve PASTRY (nom nom)
  • complete some sewing WIPS (so I can start new projects)
  • sew BAGS, coats, trousers, shirts, …
  • do more block printing (I took a fabulous class last year and got started)
  • focus on the kids handmade wardrobes again this spring in Mini Me Made May
  • do more art and cooking with Max (he’s 2.5 now, and interested in making things)
  • complete some lingering knitting WIPS
  • perhaps try knitting only 1 project at a time, to see if I can be more of a completionist!
  • illustrate a book for Max and Neve
  • drawings for cards
  • finish a couple of quilts; hand quilting

… and I’ve got way more, really, but let’s just start there!

Rules? No rules, really

I am considering anything that I make, physically, an act of making for the purposes of this project. Dinner, baking, a few stitches on a knitting project, a drawing, play-dough creatures made with Max, etc. I am hoping this project might expand my view of myself as a maker to include the things I create which are outside of my ‘knit box’. I don’t know what, if anything, will come from this project, but it has already inspired me to try out a few new recipes, techniques, and projects beyond what I would normally have taken on. And it has made me happy and given me more pleasure to consider some of the mundane day-to-day responsibilities (ie. cooking) as creative making, and an opportunity to play with Max too.

A few of my ‘making’ projects so far:

You’ll probably see quite a bit of cooking included in the items I can share publicly, because a large amount of my knitting is for new designs, which we usually can’t share until they are published. I’ll be sharing some of my photos and projects on Instagram and more regularly on our Instagram Stories feed, so check there if you’d like to follow along with what I’ve been making! Or start your own #yearofmaking!

Do you have a project for this year?

The beginning of a new year can be an opportunity for new ideas, plans, visions and excitement. This year at Tin Can Knits we’re exploring the reasons why we knit, and considering 2017 a Year of Thoughtful Knitting. We hope to share knitters’ stories, and explore the ways in which our shared craft brings people together, expresses love, gives comfort, and brings us happiness and joy. I hope the coming year will be full of knits and full of joy for you and your loved ones.

Some TCK knits I’m planning to make this year:


Polygon by Tin Can KnitsWindswept by Tin Can KnitsPrism by Tin Can Knits

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