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Postcards from Alaska: part one

July 21, 2017

It’s hard to know where to start. I have always wanted to travel north, so when Dotty from The Net Loft said I should come see her lovely shop and meet all the lovely knitters in her town, I said ‘yes please!’. Last week Gary and I dropped the kids off with the family and got on a plane for Cordova, Alaska. We knew it would be a fun adventure, but the trip was so amazing, it surpassed all expectations.

Sunset over Cordova on our first day

I suppose I should start with Dotty, the owner of the Net Loft. We met a couple of years ago when I designed the Bowline hat for her big Fisher Folk retreat. I was immediately intrigued by the shop and her passion for the Cordova Gansey Project, a promotion of hard wearing knits for hard working people. As I was working on the hat I knew I wasn’t finished with that rib pattern and really wanted to design a gansey style sweater, and this year we released the Bowline sweater.

Dotty is an absolute force of nature. She never stops working, thinking up new ideas for the shop, being a wife and mum, knitting, caring about all of the people around her… the list is really endless. She is a pillar of her community and so many people commented to me over the week how important she and her shop were to them. One lovely shop regular said ‘I don’t feel at home at Church or the bar, so I have the Net Loft’, and I know that Dotty is a big part of why that is so.

Dottie, checking out the view

Which brings me to her shop! The Net Loft is an amazing shop, full to the brim with not just supplies for all of your knitting needs, but for any artistic or crafty endeavor you might have! It was that moment on the trip when I thought, ‘Hunter would love this’! There were supplies for cross stitch and embroidery, felting and card making, painting and sketching, you name it. There were treasures everywhere and I haven’t even mentioned the yarn. Each craft had it’s own little section, which they called ‘coves’ and I could have spent the entire weekend finding endless inspirations and intriguing supplies.

The Net Loft has so many yarns with a story behind them. Colourways from local dyers, colourways based on local paintings and photographs, skeins the colours of seine and gill nets, mini skein sets of Cordovan berry inspiration. It seemed like each skein had a story. The lovely Anna of Skeins in the Stacks (who is also a librarian in Cordova) dyes yarns based on books she loves! The Net Loft also had hard working yarns for the popular Gansey sweaters (it seemed like everyone was knitting one). There was so much to choose from!

This pretty skein (and a couple more) from Skeins in the Stacks came home with me courtesy of Anna.

Beautiful berry shades of ‘Cordova Jam’ from Three Irish Girls

For the workshop I taught on designing your own fair isle yoked sweater there were boxes and boxes of beautiful yarn, dyed just for the occasion by Three Irish Girls. There were gradients dyed in the colours of local berries that were just so delicious!

It was such a treat to meet Dotty in person, and to visit the amazing shop, that means so much to so many knitters! More on my Alaskan adventures to come next week!


Knits fit for an Alaskan Adventure:

Buy One Get One … it’s our sweet summer treat!

July 7, 2017

once in a blue moon (or a hot summer) we have a sweet sale, and it’s happening now darlings!

Sweet Summer Sale

From now till next Sunday, all of our patterns and ebooks are on sale; buy one and get one free.

Yup, our ebooks are included too… So you could buy two ebooks (up to 30 patterns) for only $18 USD + tax.

SWEET SALE DETAILS:

  • This sweet sale is running from July 7th to July 16, so pick your faves today!
  • To get one pattern or ebook free, simply add 2 patterns or ebooks to your cart at once before checking out. The sale is not limited, so you can purchase more than one pair!
  • All designs and ebooks published by Tin Can Knits are included. The following items are NOT included: print books, Heart on my Sleeve Knits, Ironheart, Tenderheart, Light and Shadow, Crossed Cardigan, Pont Neuf, Sword Fern Hat, Elwha, Twisp, Hitchcock, Rave, and Tulips. Because these are published by other companies or for charity we don’t have the right to offer discounts.

But I’m preaching to the choir: you folks know that TCK patterns are already a great deal!

So go on… Treat yourself!

The real question is: what are you hankering to cast on for yourself?! It’s time to follow your desire, to relax and begin that perfect piece for your fall wardrobe. We invite you to pull out your sweetest skeins, and savour them with the clarity and simplicity of one of our classic patterns.

Will it be lusciously cozy everyday hat and mittens? That ‘wear with everything’ sweater for the start of school? A statement shawl that matches your eyes and meshes seamlessly with your personal style?

Jones, Lodestar, Wenlock, Lush, Sunflower, Apple Pie, Old Growth, 1999, Stovetop, Sitka Spruce, Chrysanthemum, Gather, North Shore, Undertone, Bumble, Grayling, Precipitation, Raindrops

Or maybe this is the moment to add to your library of pattern ebooks? Shop ebooks here.

We’ve also got a brand spanking new pattern launched yesterday that you can get in the sale! The Bowline sweater is sized baby-to-big and includes instructions for men’s sizing too! We’ll share more about this new design soon.

Whatever you choose, make it with pleasure! Remember, we’ve got tutorials to help you through, and we’re always here to answer your questions too; you can email us directly!

Share the Sweetness! be sure to click the sharing buttons below so family, friends and your fabulous knit groups can take advantage of our sweet summer sale!

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Knit Stars 2.0!

June 30, 2017

We are so happy to announce that we are part of Knit Stars 2.0! Last year’s summit was so exciting (Hannah Fettig, Westknits, Julie Asselin and more!), and this year we’re excited to join in!

What is Knit Stars?

Knit Stars is an online summit, with instruction taught through video lessons. Each instructor (Michelle Wang, Nancy Marchant, Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibers, and Andrea Mowry of ‘Find your Fade’ fame just to name a few!) has put together videos to guide you through different knitting techniques, tips, and tricks! You’ll learn from designers, dyers, and instructors all about their specialities and get a peek inside their work spaces too.

I had the chance to get in front of the camera for a change, recording some of my knitting secrets to help you tackle your next project and keep your needles flying!

Enrolling in Knit Stars

Early Bird Enrollment for Knit Stars 2.0 is open (but only for 8 days)! It’s all online, with instruction from 10 amazing pros from all around the world – and you don’t need to leave your home. The Knit Stars 2.0 online summit is happening in October, and this is your chance to get in at a special earlybird rate and get access to the exclusive Knit Stars yarns. Click here for all the information and to enroll!

If you decide to join us, we’ll guide you in designing your own Fair Isle yoke sweater – we’re including two exciting new TCK patterns with your Knit Stars enrollment. Alexa shares tips on getting started, two-handed knitting, choosing a colour palette, and skipping the swatch by making a hat or cowl instead!

Plus, you can join in on the chat, support and inspiration of the Knitstars private Facebook group, ask us all your questions during the live Q&A sessions, and learn a TON of new skills from the 9 other Knit Stars. I personally can’t wait to learn more about brioche from Nancy Marchant, get an eye into Michelle Wang’s design genius, learn about flattering fit from Amy Herzog, and expand my lace skills with Laura Nelkin. There is so much to learn in this one exciting event!


A little hint from of what’s to come from TCK:

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MAD monochrome

June 22, 2017

back to black. and white. and grey. and all the shades in between!

Don’t let the name put you off! If bright bold and crazy colours aren’t your jam, you will probably still love some of the projects in Mad Colour!

For many of the designs, we’ve worked a more sedate or monochrome version which shows just how versatile these designs are. Even if you’re not into colour, the texture patterns and graphic designs, worked in a monochrome palette, might be just the right next pattern for you!

Calming and crisp, the waves of the Bounce Blanket are beautiful in greys.

 

The Chromatic sweater is perfectly classic in black and white stripes!

Undertone is crisply minimal in grey and black.

And the Bumble sweater can be subtle rather than crazy when worked in neutrals.

Try an ombre! We used a white MC throughout the Awash scarf, with an ombre of CCs from black to lightest grey. This created a subtly beautiful fabric.

Do you struggle with colour? Perhaps it just doesn’t fit into your wardrobe? Try working in neutrals and see if your knits get a little more play.

I love going to Ravelry for pattern inspiration! Using the advanced pattern browser, you can search for projects using specific colour combination. Check out the exquisite results of my search for projects in black & white!

On the other hand, if you love ALL the colours, then use them all and get a little crazy!

Hunter, Emily and Jordan in almost ALL of the Mad Colour knits! And yes, it was the hottest summertime when we took this photo!

What are you working on now? Share your knit story with us!

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

Monochrome lovelies from Tin Can Knits:


Low Tide Cardigan by Tin Can Knits

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5 Years of Pom Pom

June 15, 2017

We have long been fans of Pom Pom Quarterly. From the very first issue I bought I was hooked. It was issue 5 and the photo theme was Boho camping, I couldn’t resist! I not only enjoy the knits, the styling, and the fabulous photos by Juju Vail, I also love the interesting articles, and the recipes! If you haven’t listened to the Pomcast yet, I highly recommend it. You can even hear Tin Can Knits in episode 5. Pom Pom just celebrated their 5 year anniversary and it just so happens that Tin Can Knits has had 5 patterns in 5 different issues!

The latest Anniversary Issue includes a new design from us, the Rave shawl. Rave has a heavy does of garter stitch with a braided cable (my current obsession) offering maximum texture. The simplicity of the single cable makes this a relaxing knit, perfect for summer vacation knitting, ready to wear when the evenings cool again. I’m personally planning a speckled version next!

Our very first Pom Pom pattern was the Ammolite cowl, another cabled favourite of mine! We later included that one in Road Trip, with the crossing cables mimicking the branches in the forest.

Next was the Winterberry blanket, another garter heavy project (what can I say, I love that squish!). While I am normally not so into bobbles, this blanket is a clear exception, I love the way they evoke hanging winterberries! We later included Winterberry in our wintry book, Great White North.

We have had 2 sweaters included in Pom Pom through the years, the first was Wenlock (look familiar? That’s right, we included that one in Mad Colour). I adore this sweater with an ombre in the yoke. This design came way back when Emily first started Rainbow Heirloom and was immersed in a world of colour! Rainbow Heirloom is now run by Nina, who also loves a good ombre, this is her Wenlock sweater in the pinks:

When Pom Pom decided they wanted to include a few men’s patterns in Issue 14: The Wool Issue we jumped at the chance! We designed Hitchcock, a casual unisex henley that works for everyone. It is a quick knit in worsted weight with line details and lots of texture.

And so, congratulations on 5 great years Pom Pom! We can’t wait to see what comes next!


More cables and garter from Tin Can Knits:

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Birthday Girl Bodhi!

June 8, 2017

Bodhi is wearing her Hearthstone sweater from Heart on my Sleeve

It was a big day in our house this past weekend, our little Bodhi turned 3! I know, I hear we millennials like to over-celebrate the little things, but folks, the littlest turning 3 is big around here. 3 means she dresses herself in the morning (often to hilarious effect). 3 means she can go to swimming lessons with just her and the instructor, no parents in the pool. 3 means if she is thirsty, she just goes and gets herself a cup of water. 3 means this year I will teach her to crack an egg by herself and she can carry her own backpack when we go for a hike. 3 means major independence!

Bodhi has been in knitwear since the day she was born, I brought her home in this colourful Vivid blanket! I thought she would get the fewest knits made just for her, but I was completely wrong. As the littlest she gets the most ‘prototype’ knits, and she has maximum hand-me-downs. Poor Jonesy-in-the-middle ends up with the fewest knits (but I’m working on it)!

When Bodhi was only a few weeks old we took her camping in the Rocky Mountains to photograph Road Trip. She travelled like a champ and I even whipped up a little Prairie Fire for her! Only a few months later she would be 1/2 the inspiration for Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe.

There is something so lovely about seeing my little ones growing up all wrapped in hand knits! Bodhi is such a wonderful little girl, smart as a whip, quick to laugh, and always with just a hint of sass in everything she does. She has always wanted to keep up with her siblings so she comes to things quickly through sheer force of will. Cheers to you on your big day my baby!

Bodhi is wearing: 1999, Prism, The World’s Simplest Mittens, Flax Light, Bowline, and Precipitation


More knits I have planned for Bobo

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Danny Dolly

May 31, 2017
Dolls

Danny, Morag, Donna, Charlie, and Carmen… a Quintet of Dollies!

One of the most pleasing things that I’ve ever made for the kids are these dolls. This last Christmas I made five for Max and Neve and their cousins. This was a BIG project, but they turned out so adorably that for me it was worth every late night, regardless of anything that the kids think!

Morag is a bit of a fiery drama queen!

I created this pattern outline to make my dolls (it’s an 11×17 sheet, so you’ll have to print it in parts and tape it together). I sewed bits of cloth together for trousers and body, then cut a front and back from these pre-sewed pieces. To make the hair, I applied some wool to the front and back of the head, tacking it down with a zig zag stitch within the selvedge. Then with right sides together I sewed all around, leaving about an inch and a half open at one side of the body. Once I turned the dolls right-side out, I stuffed them with some stuffing and hand-sewed the sides up.

Dolls

Morag, Carmen and Donna have improvised sweaters; sewn together from swatches and fingerless mittens. Half knit socks would probably work as a starting point too!

After the doll bodies were complete, it was time for sweaters! I had made a prototype doll the previous year, so the red sweater for Danny Dolly was already complete. But I needed sweaters for the other 4 dolls. Morag got a sleeveless number made from swatches from this design. Carmen of the fabulous side-ponytail got a sweater made from a fingerless mitten which I cut up to become a sweater body. I knit the sleeves then joined them with the mitten cuff to work a bottom-up sweater. My daughter Neve’s ‘Donna Dolly’ was the last one to be completed (and let me tell you, it was REALLY LATE at night on Christmas Eve when all this was occurring), so I just stuck an odd fingerless mitten on her, and called it a night!

Dolls

Danny Dolly is about 14″ tall, and his chest measures about 6.25″ around.

A Tiny Sweater Recipe: The little red sweater uses the same construction method as our free Flax pullover. If you are unfamiliar with knitting garments top-down, check out our tutorial here. The basic doll sweater recipe is as follows: Use 4.5mm needles and DK or Worsted weight yarn, or whatever you need to achieve a gauge of about 5 to 5.5 sts / inch. Cast on 30 sts, work 3-4 ribbing rounds. Mark the 10th, 14th, 26th and 30th (last) stitch. Increase 1 stitch each side of the four marked stitches (8 stitches increased) every second round. Continue in this manner until there are a total of 70 sts on the needles. Place sleeve stitches (and marked stitches, a total of 16 each side) on hold on waste yarn. Work body stitches (38 sts) in the round for about 3” or as long as desired. Work sleeves in the round for about 2”, or as long as desired. I included a little colourwork pattern on the body of Danny Dolly’s sweater for fun!

Dolls

Max named his little fellow ‘Danny Dolly’. He sometimes needs to have Danny Dolly in order to go to sleep, and one night he woke, crying and demanding that we find Danny Dolly for him before he would go back to sleep. Neve is a bit more ambivalent! She’s not all that interested in toys, unless they happen to be the toy that Max is playing with, in which case she really wants it, will try to grab it and tears are the inevitable result!

Dolly

Neve is wearing a Prairie Fire sweater and Donna Dolly is looking stylish in a fingerless mitten!

Donna Dolly has some pretty serious hair; I imagine as Max and Neve get older there will be some hours spent braiding and styling and re-braiding…

Do you make handmade gifts?

Alexa is totally into gift knitting but I give gift knits relatively seldom. I usually feel like the time commitment required in knits is a bit too much for gifts. This project, while it was very time consuming, was a big win for me! It was a challenge, but both the process and products were a pleasure. I loved every bit.., except maybe embroidering the faces on at 2am Christmas morning…! But c’est la vie, perhaps I’ll have Christmas presents ready a few days earlier next year.

Dolls

I’m a complete newbie to embroidery, so the dolls faces are somewhat… shall we say basic?


TCK patterns perfect for gift knitting:

 

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