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Oaken

September 12, 2019
Oaken Shawl
Meet Heidi, our newest TCK model!

oaken shawl and blanket

Lately I’ve been inspired by heavy weight lace. It may seem like those two things shouldn’t go together, light delicate lace with an ample woolly yarn, but I promise you, they do! This new design combines the delicious texture of garter stitch with rhythmic, geometric lace, for a project that’s a joy to knit, and cozy to wear.

Oaken brings together heavy lace and simple stitches to keep you warm as the leaves fall and the days shorten. Knit yourself a toasty shawl to put on with your winter coat, or as a blanket to keep your lap warm as you relax with a good book.

oaken details:

Sizing: Shawl: 68” wide by 28” long
Blanket: 35.5” wide by 43” long

Yarn: Worsted / aran weight yarn
Shawl: 620 yards in a single colour as shown Or 350 yards in each of MC and CC to work in two colours (Sample shown in Sweet Fiber Canadian in ‘golden’)
Blanket: 500 yards MC and 390 yds CC as shown Or 850 yards if worked in a single colour (Sample shown in Hinterland Range in snow’ and ‘maple’)

Suggested Needles: US #9 / 5.5mm (or as required to achieve gauge)

different drapes

For the heavier weight Posy shawl (the pale yellow shawl pictured above) I knit a single ply sock weight yarn together with a strange of lace weight mohair, both from La Bien Aimee. That combination (the same one I used for the Love Note sweater) created a fabric with a soft, flowing drape. The lace shone and I loved the mohair halo.

Oaken, however, is designed in a more rustic yarn worked at a firmer gauge. The Oaken shawl is made in Sweet Fiber Canadian, a decidedly woolly yarn (and can we talk about that colour?!). Canadian is light but warm, giving the lace a crisp quality and the shawl, overall, has more structure than the soft drape of Posy.

For the blanket I used Hinterland Range. We used this lovely yarn to make the Antler pullover, and fell in love. Range is a 50/50 Canadian Alpaca/Wool blend, really soft and warm with a slight alpaca halo. The Oaken blanket is worked from the centre (with Judy’s Magic Cast-On) outward to the edge, and can be made in a single colour or using two as I have done. I picture it folded neatly on my couch waiting for company that is feeling a bit of a chill!

Dotty Strange Brew

September 6, 2019

Recently I was sorting through my MASSIVE pile of works-in-progress (commonly known as WIPs), and I came across this a nearly finished kid sweater. While some projects didn’t make the cut, this one seemed ready to be finished and worn! This little motif was a concept knit I started while we were developing designs for the Strange Brew collection.

It needed sleeves, but to polish it off quickly, I decided to just add few rounds in ribbing, bind off and call it good! And as it turns out, it fits Neve, and is super cute! Who knew that no-sleeves would work? I guess now I do!

Inspiration and ideas

Inspiration came from undone57’s scrappy Playdate cardigan

This colourwork concept was inspired by a scrappy Playdate cardigan made by undone57 (she’s BRILLIANT at adapting patterns, and putting together exquisite finished knits… we featured some of her beautiful projects here).

The idea of using the simplest possible colourwork patterns – just stripes and dots, was intriguing to me. So I cast on, and found myself a colour palette that I liked. Instead of simply 3-row stripes with a single row of dots, I alternated 3-row stripes with 5-row stripes, in which the ‘dots’ changed colour each round, to maximize the ‘sparkly’ effect of tiny contrast dots.

3-row stripes (with a single row of CC dots) alternate with 5-row stripes (which have 3-rows of CC dots) for something simple but with depth.

The icy pale blue is a common theme in this sweater, it is both the main colour used for the body and the CC ‘dot’ colour throughout the yoke. It’s a light and bright ‘pop’.

She’s getting so big! I finished this, but can see it will only fit VERY BRIEFLY! I suppose this serves me right for leaving it in a pile in my cupboard for a year before finishing it; and there are usually more wee ones around me to gift it along to.

combining yarns of different weights in colourwork:

Colourwork can be daunting for newbies, as it requires a pretty extensive stash! I suggest heading to any stash of wee leftover balls from other projects and try combining yarns of different weights.

Yarns: De Rerum Natura Ulysse in ‘ciel’, Brooklyn Tweed Loft in ‘sap’ and ‘tartan’, Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight in ‘123’.

In this case, I used 3 yarns of slightly different weights. Ulysse is 202 yards yds / 50g, or 4 yds per gram; the thickest of the yarns I used. Loft is 275 yds / 50g, or 5.5 yds per gram, the thinnest or lightest yarn of the three. J&S 2-ply Jumper Weight is 125 yds / 25 g, or 5 yds per gram, placing it in between the others. Due to different natures of the yarns, a yards / gram comparison doesn’t tell the WHOLE story. But my beautiful finished knit DOES prove that despite the apparent difference in weights, these yarns work perfectly well together!

I highlight this to help you extend your view on your stash. If you allow yourself to mix yarns of adjacent yarn weights, how would this open up the door to making more exciting colourwork combinations?

a chart for this Strange Brew knit

This little T-shirt was worked following the Strange Brew colourwork yoke sweater recipe. I worked the top-down version, following the sock weight instructions for the 1-2 year size. Increase 1 was worked before I started the pattern. Then, as you can see from the chart below, I worked increase rounds 2 and 3 on pattern rounds 5 and 16 (both single-colour rounds).

I separated for body and sleeves on pattern round 32 (also a single-colour round). I continued the patterning down onto the body (working rounds 33-48 on the body stitches).

The little ‘cap sleeve’ ribbing is just 6 rounds! I thought it looked REALLY silly, when I was knitting it, but when Neve put it on, it was adorable! Now I’m curious how a cap sleeve like this would work for my size; I may have to try it.

The obligatory tongue-out toddler pose… Really, this is most of what I get when I try to take a decent photo of the kids lately!

For more info on how to use Strange Brew to create your own colourwork yoke design, check out our blog series here!

Marshland Round Up

August 22, 2019

In order to create Strange Brew Emily and I spend a LOT of time swatching colour combinations and motifs. Some sweaters just took a swatch or 2, others took 3-4 full adult size yoke attempts to get it just right (I’m looking at you Marshland!). I knit the adult yoke SEVERAL times, until I was so sick of looking at those colours I cast on for Jones’ warm yellow one instead. That’s when I hit upon the motifs I liked best.

You can buy the Marshland single pattern PDF here, or the Strange Brew ebook, which is a great value, it includes 14 colourwork patterns and our top tips; all photographed against Iceland’s majestic scenery.

It has been so much fun to see the amazing combinations knitters have come up with! I recently took a stroll through Ravelry and Intagram (#marshlandsweater) and here are some of my favourite Marshland projects!

Such awesome knits from (clockwise from top left) amandaecc, danniellesteen30, estelle78, greenearth124, dublin16, bonniedegros of Union Fiber, and andrewonehalf.

The Brights

While I tend towards earthier colour combos, I LOVE seeing the bright and fun combos knitters have come up with! From bright coral to rainbows and everything in between!

Bright and fun from snowberrylime, lvanleeuwen, mollshumway, and krityum!

Who wore it best?!

I love that lilp00hbear knit up this gorgeous Marshland for her hubby….but has borrowed it on occasion!

The Hacks

It’s fun to see a few hacks in there too! I love the way this steeked cardigan by bryanneashley turned out. The collar hack from brienne_moody is great for a more open neckline. Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts mashed up the Marshland charts with her R&R hoodie pattern for her son!

A few more faves

There were just so many! Here are a few more great Marshland sweaters.

Beautiful knits from (clockwise from top left) theleaninglarch, ms.knitsalot, karo913, hikesandbikes, maromago, and MttCavin

So, with all this fantastic inspiration around, what will you choose for your Marshland sweater?

My Knitting Machine

August 15, 2019

How do I love my knitting machine? Let me count the ways!

At the end of 2017, I got a knitting machine, and embarked on a journey of learning and gaining skills. Prior to this I had precisely zero understanding of what a knitting machine was, and how it worked. I’ve learned a lot since then!

My generous friend Mica, one of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival organizers, and a keen machine knitting enthusiast, taught me all I needed to get me started! She set up a loaner machine, and spent an evening instructing me on the basics; how to cast on, hang weights on the edge of the work, how the machine knits with the wrong (purl side) showing, and how the carriage moves back and forth across the edge of the work, laying the yarn over the needles which then form the stitches one by one in rapid succession.

Knitting Machine needle bed
These teeny tiny sharp needles are what form the knitted fabric! With the push of the carriage across them, a row of 100 or more stitches can be knit in an instant! How exciting for a hand-knitter!

That night, I could hardly sleep for all the ideas that were flowing through my mind about projects that I might try with the aid of this powerful tool!

Lush Cardigan by Tin Can Knits
The Lush Cardigan sample that I made was beautiful, but I hardly had a chance to wear it!

I have often felt frustrated that despite being a knit designer, my own wardrobe of knitted sweaters has long been woefully meagre. I have often knit design samples to fit our models in sizes a little smaller (or shorter) than I would wear. And even when the samples fit me, they were destined to go ‘on tour’ to promote the latest book; travelling back and forth from Canada to the UK and even further abroad to be shown at shops and knit shows.

The result was that I seldom had a knitted sweater of my own to wear, despite this being my livelihood! Wild eh?!

hybrids : combining hand and machine knitting

Reading Kate Davies’s book Yokes, I learned that in Shetland, yoke sweaters often were and still are knit as hybrids; with body and sleeves made on a knitting machine, and yokes finished by hand. In fact, her Cockatoo Brae design includes instructions for making a yoke this way, as she made her sample, knitting the yoke on to the body and sleeves made by Ella Gordon.

I imagined working hybrids, partially machine knit and partially hand knit, would be the answer to a few of my questions. I could zoom through the stockinette sections of a prototype, and then apply my precious time and design efforts to the ‘meaty’ portion of the knit project.

The truth is that I LOVE design. I love knitting too… but it’s really the ‘high excitement’ parts of the knitting that appeal to me as a designer. I’m driven primarily by the desire to make something new, something that’s a little bit intriguing or beautiful; of course I’m always aiming for a little of both!

This is one of the yoke prototypes I worked as a hybrid; working body and sleeves on the machine, and the yoke by hand.

machine knitting is long term learning process… like hand knitting

Domestic knitting machines of the sort I have been learning to use are ‘push a button and go’ like sewing machines. They are manually operated; you use elbow grease to slide a carriage back and forth across a ‘bed’ of many needles, and in this way create the rows of knitting.

knitting machine carriage
This is the carriage; the yarn goes through the slot and you move this back and forth across the bed of needles in order to create knitted fabric.

If I thought that the process to finished garments was going to be a quick one, I soon learned that I was mistaken! I’ve been ‘making friends’ with my knitting machine for around 18 months, and I am still by no means skillful. I say this to make clear that machine knitting is not really a ‘quick and easy’ way to do knitting; it also requires a lot of technique and skill (the same as hand-knitting does).

After some time on a basic machine, that only did stockinette, I upgraded to a machine with a punch card, so I could play with colour, and added a ribber bed, so that I could work ribbing too.

This sweater I made for my best friend Chantal was another hybrid; I made the body and sleeves on the machine, then worked the yoke by hand. All the details on how I worked the yoke are here!

the results

I’ve been able to add sweaters to my wardrobe this year at a more rapid rate. This means that I can now wear a hand-knit sweater every day of week (even in summer, ’cause this is Scotland!).

colourwork yoke sweaters
These three colourwork yokes are hybrids; I worked the body and sleeves on the knitting machine, and then finished the yokes by hand. You can find more details on these projects on our Ravelry notebook.

I have felt free to cast on a yoke idea, work through the yoke in a few days, and then zoom through the stockinette and have a sweater to wear WHILE I debated whether Alexa and I would develop the knit into a pattern, or let it remain a personal wardrobe piece. In the past I simply didn’t have the time-luxury of continuing with knits that weren’t likely to be published.

This was a quick improvised Strange Brew yoke; knit from the top down! On impulse, I cast on this, knit it on a camping trip, then came home and finished the body and sleeves on the body, seaming them at the sides. The yoke charts are here if you’d like to use them!

The capabilities that my current machine has are: colourwork knitting, tuck stitch, and lace using a punch card. The only one of these I’ve explored so far is the colourwork knitting side. I find it useful for swatching lace patterns.

strengths

As described, knitting stockinette portions of seamed garments is very easy. With a ribber bed attached, ribbing is pretty quick too. I love being able to work in finer yarns than I would spend the time hand-knitting. I love being able to prototype quickly, and foresee using this as a way to test different kinds of silhouettes with a little less time-investment.

I was able to test colour combinations and motifs for the Compass sweaters.

With a punch card, I’m able to swatch colourwork patterns more quickly than I can by hand, accelerating this aspect of design, and allowing me to test more options than I might otherwise.

A tool like a knitting machine, of course, is no substitute for experience. The experience you need to hone your intuition for combining colours takes time and practice to build up. But whatever technique you use will build on these skills; so I have welcomed my knitting machine into my toolbox.

Another weekend yoke knit! This black and white Almanac sweater was an impulse-cast-on … right after a book deadline! After working the yoke, I finished body and sleeves on a mid-gauge machine. I seamed them, then worked the colourwork at the cuffs by hand.

trade-offs

There are many methods for shaping which are simple when hand-knitting, but much more difficult and impractical within machine knitting.

While it is technically possible to knit tubes in the round, it’s much simpler to work flat pieces and then seam them; which adds manual time back into the process.

Decreasing within the centre of a piece (ie. to create vertical darts, or gathers across an entire row) is impractical. Thus decreases are kept to the edges of pieces.

And knit/purl textures, including garter stitch, while possible, tend to be so impractical as to be not worth the bother (unless you’re a dedicated machine knitter, but I’m speaking as a hand-knitter).

More importantly, in terms of the way it FEELS, machine knitting is not the same sport. One of the joys of hand-knitting is taking your work to a coffee shop, meeting up with friends, or sitting out on the beach on a sunny day with sunglasses and your needles. Machine knitting, by contrast, is largely solitary. While the results of both hand and machine knitting are the same knitted fabric, the process is different.

Machine knit swatches
Machine-knit swatches.

machine knitting take-aways

I love my knitting machine as an aid in prototyping. Design work, which is my passion requires a LOT of prototyping. The myth of the beautiful object springing fully-formed from the creators head is just that, a myth! (Though often supported by the Instagram accounts knit designers!).

I love making things, and I’m pleased to add this as another tool to my toolkit, alongside a large array of other fun tools like my laptop, my fancy camera, sewing machine, spinning wheel, … I love making things, and I also love nice tools!

Let’s make a Beloved Bonnet

August 8, 2019

This is a step-by-step tutorial on the Beloved Bonnet pattern. You can find the pattern on our website or Ravelry. The pattern lists the supplies you need; yarn, needles, stitch markers, and what gauge to achieve, but to be honest, matching gauge precisely isn’t SUPER important in this case, because babies grow very quickly!

Knitting along? For this tutorial, I made the Beloved bonnet in Swift Yarns Cozy DK in ‘golden panda’.

beloved bonnet in progress
It all begins with an i-cord! I made this Beloved bonnet in Swift Yarns Cozy DK in ‘golden panda’.

beloved bonnet construction

The beloved bonnet is knit from side to side; beginning with one i-cord tie, and ending with another. When Neve was a baby, I found the ties were just perfect for keeping a cozy hat on a wriggly little bean who would attempt to tear off every hat and throw it under the buggy, just when I wasn’t looking.

we LOVE this knit!

We’ve knit this bonnet MANY times… in Hedgehog Fibres one, two, three, four times, in La Bien Aimee, in Cedar House Yarns, and in handspun too!

yarn substitutions

We designed this pattern in DK weight yarn, but the pattern is very flexible! Alexa made several of the samples using two strands of sock yarn held together, which make a fabric a tiny bit heavier than DK, but it still works. We explain how to knit with 2 strands held together here. You can make Beloved in worsted / aran weight on 5mm needles if you prefer, it will just come out a little larger.

how to work an i-cord

The bonnet begins with the i-cord on one side; see our tutorial on how to work an i-cord.

knitted i-cord

Once the i-cord is done, you start working back and forth in rows, working one side of the bonnet by increasing two stitches on every right-side row, along the centreline of the piece. This pattern uses both the lifted-bar m1 – make one increase, and the kfb – knit front & back increase.

the beloved bonnet in progress.
The beloved bonnet in progress. You can see there is a marker placed just before the centreline stitch; you increase either side of this marker, and the bonnet ‘grows’.

how to work an i-cord edge

Throughout the bonnet, you always slip the first two stitches of each row. For this pattern you are always going to slip your stitches as if to purl with yarn at the WS of the work. This means if you are working a WS row the yarn will at the front of your work, and if you are working a RS row the yarn will be at the back of your work.

Slipping these stitches creates an i-cord edge. It’s not a genuine i-cord, but it has a similar look. The slipped stitches mean that only half as many rows worked along the edges as are worked in the rest of the piece, which causes the edges to ‘pull in’ in a tidy way that frames the face.

Bodhi is looking rather pleased in her Beloved bonnet, knit up in Cedar House Yarns Yearling DK in ‘sunstone’

how to work short rows

Once the i-cord and initial increase section is complete, you begin a second method of shaping, which utilizes German short rows.

Does the mention of short rows make you want to throw your knitting aside in disgust?

If so, stop, breathe, and let me walk you through this simple technique! I guarantee if you follow our clear instructions you’ll be fine! Your bonnet is going to be adorable!

The steps:

Short row 1 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM,
kfb, knit to last 10 sts, turn work [2 sts inc]

Short row 2 (WS): with yarn in front (on the WS of the
work), slip the first st from the LH needle to the RH
needle (the last st worked). Next, pass working yarn over
the RH needle to the back of the work, then between the
needle tips, back to the front of the work, ready to purl.
This creates an extra loop over the needle. Purl to last 10
sts, k7, p3

Row 3 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM, kfb,
knit to the ‘doubled’ stitch, work k2tog to combine the
stitch with the extra loop over the needle, then k10 to
end [2 sts inc]

Row 4 (WS): sl2, p1, k7, purl to last 10 sts, k7, p3

The steps in detail:

Short row 1 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM, kfb, knit to last 10 sts, turn work [2 sts inc]

To work the Short row 1, follow the instruction, working across the row to the last 10 stitches. Instead of knitting to the end of the row, as you would normally, STOP. Then turn the work, so that the WS of the bonnet is facing you, and you’re ready to work Short row 2.

Beloved Bonnet work in progress, showing Short Row 1 instruction
You knit across to 10 stitches before the end of the row, then STOP, and turn the work.
Beloved Bonnet work in progress, showing Short Row 2 instruction
You can see the WS (purl side) of the work is now facing you. The working yarn is on the front of the work (that’s the WS).
Beloved Bonnet work in progress, showing Short Row 2 instruction
You can see how it looks once you have slipped the first stitch (which is the last stitch you worked on the previous row) from the LH to the RH needle, without working it.
Beloved Bonnet work in progress, showing Short Row 2 instruction
This is how it looks once you have wrapped the working yarn OVER the RH needle, then back to the front between the needle tips, creating an extra loop over the RH needle. You are now ready to purl, and work to the end of this WS row.

Short row 2 (WS): with yarn in front (on the WS of the work), slip the first st from the LH needle to the RH needle (the last st worked). Next, pass working yarn over the RH needle to the back of the work, then between the needle tips, back to the front of the work, ready to purl. This creates an extra loop over the needle. Purl to last 10 sts, k7, p3

So you slip the first stitch without working it. Then you wrap the working yarn over the needle to the back (RS), then back to the front (WS). Then you work the wrong-side row. Now you’re ready for the next RS row!

Short Row 3 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM, kfb, knit to the ‘doubled’ stitch, work k2tog to combine the stitch with the extra loop over the needle, then k10 to end [2 sts inc]

So you continue working in pattern, but when you get to the point where you turned, you’ll see you have a ‘doubled’ stitch. You simply k2tog to combine the stitch with the extra loop, then knit to end!

Short Row 4 (WS): sl2, p1, k7, purl to last 10 sts, k7, p3

Row 4 is just a regular WS row, worked all the way across.

As you continue, the roughly diamond-shaped piece gets larger and larger. Work these rows as many times as stated for your size. 

You can see along the left side, due to the short-rows, there are fewer rows worked at the edging. This creates the snug back-of-neck fit.

You have reached the centreline of the head, and will switch to decreasing along the central spine. You’re at the half way point, congratulations! Each row will get faster and faster from here to the end!

decrease section with short rows

The short-row shaping which creates a section of fabric along the back of neck which is has half as many rows than the remainder, so it pulls in to cup the back of the head. The pattern of short-rows continues, but at the centreline, either side of the marker, you will decrease instead of increasing.

In order to match the same slightly bumpy pattern created along the increase line, I worked a slip stitch on the decrease side.

… knit to 2 sts before marker, ssk, SM, sl1, k2tog, knit to …

First you work a ssk decrease, then slip the marker (SM), then slip the next stitch (sl1), then you work a k2tog decrease.

So those are all of the complicated pieces of this hat! As you continue to decrease, you eventually come to the point where the stockinette panel of the bonnet is entirely decreased to nothing. A central double decrease, sl2-k1-p2sso, is used at that point to maintain the vertical detail between garter stitch panels.

Once you get to the point where the stockinette portion of the bonnet is decreased to nothing, you’ll be working central-double-decrease, sl2-k1-p2sso, at the centreline. In order to do this, you need to remove the marker from the needles (the one that was sitting between stitches), and instead place a locking stitch marker (or bit of string, or safety pin) right in that centreline stitch, so you know where to decrease.

end with another i-cord

When there are only 4 stitches left, you finish in the same way that you began, with an i-cord! Make it the same length as you did for the other side, weave in the two ends, and voila, you’ve got the cutest little bonnet!

Now you’re ready to knit a #belovedbonnet … then another, and another? Share your cuties on Instagram using #belovedbonnet and #tincanknits so we can see what you make!

Your mileage may vary, but I found there was a period in babyhood in which my children would rip off each and every type of hat that I tried to put on them. Frustrating! For both Max and Neve, this behaviour stretched over a winter, and I desperately wanted to keep their little ears and heads warm against the bitter cold and rain on chilly Edinburgh days.

I found the i-cord ties very useful. If you’d prefer not to work ties, you could start with a stubby 3-4 rows of i-cord and then attach a cute pom pom on each side! Or add a pom pom on top, can there be too many pom poms?

Samantha’s bonnet is knit up in Hedgehog Fibers Sock in ‘beach bunny’ held doubled

Hunter’s Knitting!

July 25, 2019

When Hunter was 4 she started asking to learn to knit. I got her some needles and yarn and (with very low expectations) we started to knit together. You can read all about her knitting start here.

Well, it’s 4 years later and there hasn’t been a whole lot of knitting going on for Hunter. She finished that first project, a cowl for Jones, and hasn’t really done much since. It’s all just fine by me, Hunter is a creative kid and she loves all kinds of crafty endeavors. She started a scarf, but quickly got bored and abandoned it. Recently though, she started asking if she could make a hat.

Hunter was determined to finish that hat while we were away!

In preparation for our trip to Winnipeg to visit the Long Way Homestead I caked up some pretty yarn I’d picked up in Ontario last year and cast on for Hunter (I’m sorry, I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the yarn and the ball band is missing!). The pattern is one I made up as she went, it’s bulky yarn so I cast on 56 sts, then had Hunter rib for 1.5″, knit in the round for a bit, and then decreases based on the Barley hat.

I made up this bulky hat pattern as I went. It’s loosely based on the Barley hat, but at a different gauge and skipping the garter stitch panel.

While she has known how to knit for four years, she had to learn how to purl. I figured it would take some explaining and practice but after 2 demo stitches she grabbed the knitting and off she went. A few stitches later she stopped to look at the ribbed fabric, looking at the right side and the wrong side. She turned to me and said ‘oh I see, it’s just the opposite of a knit’. I was pretty blown away.

She was a person on a mission! That hat was finished in 3 days and she was so excited to model her hat with her favourites on the farm, the sheep. Hunter immediately chose a skein of Anna’s yarn to knit another hat, a Barley, and she has big plans after that: her first sweater! She’s just like me, always planning 3 projects ahead!

Knitting for yourself

July 18, 2019

I haven’t always knit sweaters for myself. For a long time it seemed like an infinite amount of knitting. I’d knit sweaters for our patterns in our usual sample size (M-ML) and tons of kiddie sweaters, but a sweater for me (I’m somewhere around an XL-XXL) just seemed like too much.

This made no sense of course, if you add up those sweaters for the kids and pattern samples (not to mention the BLANKETS) of course it adds up to more than a few sweaters for me! So one day I decided I needed a sweater too. A sweater, while a large project, is indeed a FINITE amount of knitting and wearing a hand knit sweater you lovingly made for yourself is a beautiful thing.

My Prairie Fire was one of the first sweaters I knit for myself that I really really LOVE

In the past couple of years I’ve embarked on a sweater wardrobe for me. I’ve learned a lot of things about how I like my sweaters. I like a little positive ease, I like them longer than most, with loooong sleeves too (I like the to hit just before my thumb). I make sure to take the time to try on my sweater as I go, even though it’s annoying to put all the stitches on waste yarn and try ‘er on. With sweater success has come confidence, and I currently have more than a few WIPs with my own name on them.

Making Adjustments

Not every sweater has come out perfectly the first time. Trying it on as you go helps to make sure the sizing is right (the yoke depth is as you like it, the ease at the chest is what you want), but sometimes after blocking and wearing my sweater a few times I’ve needed length adjustments. A longer cuff, a little short row shaping at the hem to make it longer in the back, that kind of thing. I learned the importance of making those adjustments, rather than letting a perfectly good sweater languish in the closet, unworn.

I cast on my very own Mountain Mist sweater as soon as Strange Brew went to print and I got to wear it in our family photo!
I like my mustard yellow Flax sweater, but I’ve decided I need to lengthen the cuffs and hems to make it the length I like to wear with jeans.
My Strange Brew sweater knit up in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor

What’s next for the wardrobe?

I started with worsted weight sweaters, they seem to go so much faster! I have a DK weight Strange Brew sweater in my wardrobe now too. I usually run a bit warm, so this year, even though it once again feels like an infinite amount of knitting, I want to add a sock weight sweater (or 2!) to my wardrobe because I think they will get a lot of wear. But first I’m going to have to finish the 4 sweaters I have on the go!

On the needles I have just a few sweaters….okay, this year has been a bit of a cast on frenzy! I’m working on a bulky weight Almanac sweater in Brooklyn Tweed Quarry, a sock weight Trek sweater in Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock, a Love Note (for the Love Note KAL) in La Bien Aimee singles and silk mohair, a Cartography in Spincycle Dream State and Stone Wool Cormo, and a Compass sweater in Quince and Co Owl. They are all in various states of finish, but I think I’ll have them all done by September when the fall comes to call here in Vancouver!

I also stepped out from behind the camera a bit for our Paris collection! I got to wear both of our new sweater designs, Penny and Love Note about town while Emily snapped my picture. Both sweaters are cropped, and I loved wearing them over a dress (with big pockets of course, they are from Haven for those who want to know).

My cropped Penny fit just the way I wanted, I was so pleased!
Me and my Love Note in the super soft and lovely La Bien Aimee singles and mohair silk.

What are your sweater fears?

Here at Tin Can Knits we would like to help all knitters feel confident and adventurous. We take a can-do approach to knitting and hope it inspires confidence in you and your knitting if you need it too! We often hear from knitters that they are particularly nervous about garment knitting. We want to know, if you are afraid to venture into garment knitting, is there something holding you back? Tell us, what are your sweater fears?

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