Skip to content

I did it!

February 28, 2018

I did it! I broke my streak of not finishing KALs. This sweater was just a delight to knit. I got through the body and sleeves, knitting during movies, on car rides, and at parties. I added a heart motif at the sleeve, because I love it! Then it was time for the yoke, you know, the fun part!

PSA – today is the very last day to get the Heart on my Sleeve ebook, go get it right now! This collection will no longer be available after February 28, 2018.

The yoke took a bit of thinking. I perused the Ravelry projects, looking for the perfect combo. I had a beautiful Sunshine and Storm kit from Rainbow Heirloom on hand, which gave me a LOT of colours to choose from. The nice thing about taking them from a kit was that I already knew they would work together. No guess work on this one. I decided on some tonal pairings, lighter and darker. It gave the sweater the look of larger triangles, rather than smaller ones. Reminiscent of flying geese quilts. Jones loved it and wore it to school right away. He is still an excellent recipient of hand knits!

Project Details

Pattern:Crazyheart by Tanis Lavallee from Heart on my Sleeve

Yarn:Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in Wicked Pacific with Blue Raspberry, Snow Melt, Jewel Sea, Blue Planet, Glow Stick Girl, Almost Spring, Cold Logic, and Grey Goose, (contrast colours were from the Sunshine and Storm Bounce blanket kit)

Size knit: 8-10, which leaves some room to grow.

I’m sorry to see the end of the Heart on my Sleeve project. It was an amazing thing to be part of. It was so much fun to work with designers we admire, and it was great to be able to do a bit of good in the world. It wouldn’t be possible without the awesomeness that is the knitting community and for this we THANK YOU!

More lovely knits from HOMS

Heart On My Sleeve: 70,000 people protected

February 22, 2018

Only 7 days left!

This is the LAST WEEK to contribute to this fund-raiser and get the limited-edition Heart On My Sleeve ebook! February 28 2018 is the last day the Heart On My Sleeve ebook will be on sale, after which this fund-raiser will be complete. With 8 designs by some of your favourite designers, this is an excellent deal for a very special collection, with all proceeds to a great cause. So get your copy right now! Or send a copy as a gift to a knitter you love!

70,000 people protected!

A couple years ago, I was pregnant with my second child, Neve (who’s now nearly 2), and had an idea. The thought was to bring our knit design friends together to create a collaborative fund-raising project. Heart On My Sleeve was born, 8 beautiful yoke sweaters for your knitting pleasure! As Alexa and I sought a charity that would do a lot of good for every dollar, I learned some of the heartbreaking statistics about malaria. While being cheaply preventable, malaria still kills 1-3 million people each year, and 70% of these people are kids under 5. It’s also the world’s biggest killer of pregnant women. Hauling one toddler and my pregnant self around Edinburgh, I was shaken as I reflected on the safety and healthcare I often took for granted, and the devastating thought of my little ones being in danger.

Since Feb 14 2017, the project has donated $79,327 USD – this buys 38,961 nets to protect 70,130 people (this is the entire population of 140 villages!). Check the fund-raising progress here.

Emily’s Tenderheart

For the KAL we’ve been running, Alexa made a Crazyheart sweater for Jones, and I’ve just finished a Tenderheart sweater for me!


This Crazyheart is made from Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘wicked pacific’ with various teals, a grey and a vivid acid yellow! I love the colour combination Alexa used.

My version of Tenderheart used a warm, soft palette. For the main colour I chose a soft taupe, a delicious merino/cashmere blend called Sutak from Polo & Co. For the contrast colours I chose a pink and a pinky red, and a couple other tones of brown, using yarns from my stash. Alexa’s Tenderheart design samples were somewhat simpler; the child size in stark black and white, and the adult size in a single main colour with two tones of red for contrast.

I wanted to explore further variation in the yoke patterning through the use of more colours. Initially, I’d thought to use more than one foreground and background colour pair in each motif, using Fair Isle shading techniques. But as I knit, I found my attempts to change colours within the patterns detracted from the simple elegance of the design. So I reeled back my ambitions, and simply used two different combinations of MC and CC, alternating the red and the pink upon the darkest and medium brown. In the end, my completed yoke was not so far off Alexa’s initial colour concept.

I’m very happy with how it turned out! I was worried it might be too tight, but then I blocked it and I am 100% satisfied with the fit and think this makes another glorious addition to my sweater wardrobe! Wondering how we block our sweaters?  We’ve got a tutorial here. In the case of this sweater, I used blocking wires, and stretched it a little bit to fit.

Are you Knitting Along?

There’s still a week to knit your way through a baby size sweater if you’d like to participate! Be sure to list your FO in the Ravelry thread here in order to qualify for our LOVELY prizes from Biches & Buches, Rainbow Heirloom, Sunshine Yarns, Magpie Fibers, and Tin Can Knits too! More prize and KAL details in this post.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


More TCK yokes for your knitting pleasure:

North ShoreSpotlight by Tin Can Knits

Crazyheart for Jones

February 15, 2018

My KAL Record

Confession: I have a pretty terrible track record for KALs. I go in with a lot of enthusiasm, but then something shiny (or soft, or speckled, or otherwise exciting) crosses my path and BAM, my project is off the rails and at the bottom of the knit pile. This has happened *ahem* a few times and I almost skipped the HOMS KAL, (all the details here) admitting I might not finish even before it started, but I figured I’d give myself another shot at knitting with a bit of stick-to-it-iveness.

Now, I am an adult (mostly), and if I want to put some knitting by the wayside to work on something else, that is totally allowed (in my humble opinion). My Mum likes to call me a ‘creative type’, and sometimes that means jumping on an idea as soon as you have it, but there is also something to be said for finishing what you start, and this project is definitely gonna be the latter!

The Sweater

When we were putting together the HOMS book Emily and I got to knit a few of the wee sizes. I knit the beautiful Wholehearted for Hunter, the Brightheart for Bodhi, my own Tenderheart for Jones. I knit up an Ironheart for this tutorial, and for our HOMS kick off KAL I knit up a Hearthstone for Bodhi. There are only 2 sweaters in the book I haven’t knit yet! I’ve been so excited for the Crazyheart ever since I first saw it and I had the perfect yarn in mind.

Sleeves and body are accomplished and now for the yoke! It helps that the weather has been wet and terrible, and that I can knit a sweater body in the dark at the movie theater. I have been hanging on to these lovely skeins of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘wicked pacific’ for a while. They were always intended to be a sweater for Jones, and his sweater wardrobe is the slimmest so it was meant to be! I have a good range of blues and greys in Sweater, and I think this Crazyheart needs a hot hit of acid green…or maybe highlighter yellow?

How about you, how is your KAL track record? Do you also get distracted mid-project?

More TCK in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater:

Off Gauge Guidance : How to knit a Strange Brew sweater at a different gauge

February 1, 2018

So you’ve chosen a pattern (it’s our Strange Brew colourwork yoke recipe, right?), and you’ve got a lovely bag of perfect yarn…

You made a swatch hat and discovered that you love the yarn, the colourwork patterns you chose are exquisite, and the fabric is LOVELY… but your gauge doesn’t match the pattern gauge (22 sts / 4″ or 5.5 sts / inch). Now what do you do?

One option is to swatch again, using a larger or smaller needle until you achieve the precise gauge called for by the pattern. But you may find that at the pattern gauge, the fabric is too loose or too tight. A second option, which we encourage you to consider, is knitting the pattern at a different gauge. Because Strange Brew is a round yoke sweater, it is very flexible, and simple to adjust for gauge.

These are a series of swatch hats made using the hat & cowl swatch recipe included with Strange Brew! Each would be a useful swatch for a yoke design. You can also knit basic version to check your stockinette gauge in the round.

If you’d like to tackle adjusting for a different gauge, here’s a helpful tool! We just updated the Strange Brew pattern to include an additional PDF, which will help you adjust for a slightly different gauge. You can download the supplemental PDF here, or if you already have a copy of the Strange Brew pattern, you can find this supplement in your Ravelry library.


How To Use The Off-Gauge Guidance Table

  1. Swatch to determine your gauge. For a seamless sweater knit in the round, like Strange Brew, we recommend swatching in the round by making a swatch hat or tube (in fact, the Strange Brew pattern includes a swatch hat & cowl pattern). Wash and block the swatch in the same way that you would your finished sweater, then measure how many stitches there are per inch. Assuming that you have slightly less or slightly more stitches than the pattern gauge of 5.5, you can use the off-gauge guidance table. More on gauge and swatching here.
  2. Check the column that applies to your gauge. Look down this column to find the finished chest measurement that you desire, then look left to see which pattern size this corresponds to. For example, if you want to knit a 37″ sweater, but your gauge is 5 sts per inch, follow pattern instructions for women’s XS (which will make a 36″ sweater) or women’s S (which will make a 38 1/2″ sweater). This is your ‘adjusted’ size.
  3. Once you determine your ‘adjusted’ size, you will simply follow the pattern instructions for that size, however you will knit to finished lengths (at body and sleeves) that you desire. The yoke instructions you can follow exactly as written for your ‘adjusted’ size, without any length adjustments.

This is an excerpt from the Strange Brew off-gauge guidance table – download the full PDF here.

Cast on now!

So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of the Strange Brew pattern, and get started designing your own yoke now! If you’re a bit uncertain about colour, you may find our Week of Colour blog posts helpful, they are our attempt to demystify colour choices, and get you started on your colourwork journey.

What about adjusting other knitting patterns for working at a different gauge?

We have a tutorial here which describes the process, in a bit more depth, working directly from the math, and covering a few more considerations. This adorable little vest is an aran weight version of the Peanut Vest, which was originally designed in DK weight. It required a few simple calculations, but came out just as I hoped!

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

Fair Isle Knits from TCK:

Strange Brew
















































New York Baby!

January 25, 2018

Emily and I are usually in the same place at the same time about once a year. This year though, we managed to meet in the middle for Vogue Knitting Live in New York! We taught all weekend to a fabulous crowd, wandered around the market place, and even had a couple of extra days to see the sights!

One of my favourite things about shows is spending a little time with other designers. This time we managed to grab some dinner with Bristol and Veera, and we headed to MOMA with Veera and Melanie Berg. It is always nice to share a meal and chat, and Bristol and Veera are excellent company. It was also amazing heading MOMA, seeing all of the art through the eyes of designers, hearing what inspires them about each piece. Emily and I are currently on a colour kick so we were all about the palettes!

We didn’t have a lot of marketplace time at Vogue, but Emily made the most of it, picking up a SQ (sweater quantity) of Mewesik from Green Mountain Spinnery. We also headed out to see a couple of New York Yarn shops, Brooklyn General Store and Purl Soho. Way back in my knitting journey, when I decided to move away from my acrylic blanket obsession (how many hideous strip blankets can one girl knit?!), I discovered The Purlbee, the blog of Purl Soho. I was immediately smitten with their simple style, fabulous yarns and fabrics, and wonderful tutorials. I have been following along for years, and though I had been once before, at their old location, it was so fun heading there with Emily! We picked up a few precious skeins and Em decided to jump on the Fringe Supply Co Field Bag wagon. After Purl Soho we hopped the train to Brooklyn to see the Brooklyn General Store. It such a cute shop, full of yarn, fabric, and all sorts of treasures!

We also had a little time to see the city! In addition to our MOMA trip we saw the Statue of Liberty and took a stroll through Central Park. It is such a great city to walk around, and we stopped at many cafes along the way! Knitting and cafes might be our favourite things….

I finished up my Prairie Fire sweater just before I left (it may have been a tiny bit damp when I packed it in my suitcase). It is project that has been languishing without a second sleeve for WAY too long, and it was so great to get it finished and wear it. The yarn, beautiful Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘black cherry’, was a Christmas present from Em back in 2015. Vogue was the perfect place to wear it out, there is nothing better than compliments from knitters! Emily got a couple of snaps of me in Central Park in my new sweater.

Hanging in Times Square

Empire State Building!

It is always so nice to be together, and it was so fun being together in another city, exploring, chatting, and planning!

Knits we wore in NYC

A Heartfelt KAL

January 18, 2018

It has been nearly a year since our collaborative charity ebook, Heart On My Sleeve was launched! Last year on Valentines day, we brought you this lovely ebook with designs by Shannon Cook, Romi Hill, Bristol Ivy, Tanis Lavallee, Joji Locatelli, Jane Richmond, and Ysolda Teague and Tin Can Knits too! Since then, we’ve donated every penny of ebook income to the Against Malaria Foundation, raising a whopping grand total of $63,127 USD as of January 10 2018! This buys 27,000 nets, which will protect 48,600 people people from malaria. To put this in perspective, this is the entire population of 90-100 villages. Learn more about the donation specifics here.

Why malaria? Malaria is cheap to prevent, yet half a million people die of it every year, and 70% are little ones; babies and kids under 5 years old. Malaria is also the world’s single largest killer of pregnant women. Learning these statistics, while I was pregnant with my second child, nearly broke my heart. But learning how a significant difference could be made in people’s lives with so little money inspired us both. It has been so rewarding to coordinate this project, which gave us a chance to work with designers we respect and admire, and we are so thankful to the yarn companies who contributed to this project. The support of knitters everywhere has been overwhelming and so positive!

The Heart On My Sleeve fundraiser ends February 28 2018! After then the Heart On My Sleeve ebook, which is a great value at $18 for 8 beautiful sweater patterns, will no longer be available!

So if you love this cause and the designs, get a copy for you or a friend right now!

The Story of a Collaboration

Heart On My Sleeve was designed in a special way. Alexa and I, here at Tin Can Knits, developed the ‘base pattern’ – instructions for basic a bottom-up sweater, with sleeves and body defined up to the yoke. Each designer took this basic sweater and created a unique design for the yoke! Some of them also ‘hacked’ our sleeves, adding lovely details at hem and cuffs. Tanis also added a subtle striping pattern throughout the body. So while these 8 designs share the same basic DNA, they’re all unique!

KAL details:

To celebrate these beautiful designs, and the project that we have personally found so inspiring, we’re hosting a KAL! The KAL will be run primarily in the Ravelry group, but there’ll also be chat on the Facebook group if you prefer!

Start date: TODAY!
End date: February 28, 2018
To enter to win a prize: knit a sweater (any size) from Heart On My Sleeve, and post your finished project in the FO thread on Ravelry, by midnight PST on Feb 28, 2018

Prizes YAY!

We’ll draw winners randomly from among the folk who list their finished knits in the FO thread here, and announce winners on March 1st! We’ve got a bundle of LUSCIOUS yarn prizes from very generous yarnies:


5 skeins of Magpie Fibers Swank DK in your a single colourway of your choice of her lovely array of colourways… And you can follow the Magpie’s colour collecting here.

Biches & Bûches

6 skeins of Biches & Buches Le Gros Lambswool – winner’s choice of one of these lovely undyed shades! This French company is curating a vision of moody natural beauty, I’m diggin’ it!


6 skeins of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in the vivid ’princess rockstar’. Such hot hot heat!
NAR-NOPE! Images in the For Web Only folder are optimized for social media. Please use images in that folder when posting to the web. This image is optimized for PRINT.

A sweater’s amount of Sunshine Yarns Luxury Sport in the ombre blues and grey colourway of this beautiful Crazyheart Sweater! For a little more sunshine in your life…

The Tin Can Knits ebook library (yup, that’s all of our ebooks!)
And some more honourable mention TCK pattern prizes too…!

Even if you don’t think you can finish a sweater in the next 6 weeks, join us for the chat! We’ll be visiting the Ravelry group every day or two, to help with questions, yarn choices, modifications etc. We’d love to knit along with you!

Em’s KAL plans:

I’m going to make a sweater for me. But I’m not 100% sure yet which design I’ll use! Last year I made a Crazyheart sweater for Max… maybe I should have one to match?


Or perhaps a lacy Ironheart?

I was thinking it would be pretty lovely to throw a few more colours into the lovely lacy Brightheart by Romi Hill, so that’s a possibility!

Then again, I’m very intrigued by Bristol Ivy’s unique yoke construction featured in Wholehearted, Alexa raved about how the genius construction of the yoke while knitting one for Hunter, so I’m quite tempted to make one of those for me… I guess you’ll have to join in to see what I choose!

Bristol’s Wholehearted sweater uses a sideways bind off and short rows to shape the yoke.

So will you join in with this KAL and make something beautiful for you or a loved one? What will you knit?

A simple classic like Joji’s Heartstring pullover? A casual hoodie for every day like Jane & Shannon’s Lionheart?

Browse all of the designs!



Sweater possibilities from Heart on my Sleeve

Professor Jones

January 16, 2018

This year Jones has discovered Super Heroes. He loves them. He loves Superman the very best. He only found out about super heroes a couple of months ago, but he knows so many names and facts already, it amazes me! When he hit the dinosaur phase (which isn’t gone, just in the background right now), I had to bone-up (pun intended) on all my dinosaur facts. Now I find myself looking up the name of Superman’s mum, and any information on Krypton I can find. One of Jonesies favourite things to know is a super hero’s secret identity: Diana Prince, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Arthur Curry, the list goes on! Super Jones secret identity is Professor Jones (I know, it’s not that secret when they are both named Jones, but he’s 5 and he likes it). And so I give you, Professor Jones.

Project Details:

Pattern: Gramps

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in ‘cast iron’

Size: 6-8 years

Mods: I skipped the elbow patches (for now)

Professor Jones is a Paleontologist. When he isn’t fighting crime as Super Jones, he is digging up dinosaur bones and trying to extract dino-DNA to make a real live T-Rex. You can find him in the field, presumably covered in dust, or in his office, pouring over dino books in the cozy sweater his mum knit for him. Every professor needs a tweedy cardigan with a shawl collar and pockets, and a bow tie to add a little eccentric flair. They just do.

Future knits for Professor Jones wardrobe:

%d bloggers like this: