Designer Crush, Project Ideas

Designer Crush: Tin Can Knits

New arrivals at Wool & Grace (namely, new colors of Spud & Chloe Sweater) led me searching for project ideas for this yarn, and through the course of my search I found myself distracted by the abundance of incredibly appealing patterns from Tin Can Knits.  My distraction continued and I was brought back to a longstanding appreciation for the patterns this Canadian duo puts out into the world.  I don’t know too much about these ladies.  I do know that they create patterns that are incredibly accessible, supported with amazing video tutorials or illustrations and diagrams.  They are also family friendly with designs for all ages and for all sizes.  I love that skill-building is a part of their patterns, and I deeply appreciate the commitment of these women to help knitters grow. 

Before I jump into my new favorites, I have to mention some of these great skill-building projects.  If you’re a newbie knitter, I highly recommend you check out their Simple Collection with basics like Flax, Rye and Grain.  These patterns are chock full of tutorials and incredible diagrams explaining the garments’ construction.  My first pair of socks was Rye, and knitting them up was fun and made me feel like I could do anything.  Grain is a new pattern for a triangular shawl, and has wonderful illustrations to explain how, why and where you create the shaping for the piece.  Flax is a simple top-down, seamless sweater and a great first sweater project – so great because all of those illustrations, diagrams, and descriptions of how-and-why it’s constructed as it is. 

new Spud & Chloe Sweater colors

Grain was the piece that distracted me first.  I love the blocks of color in this simple triangular shawl.  I imagined it looking so gorgeous in those new shades of Spud & Chloe Sweater (pictured above) mentioned in this week’s email.  I also think it would fun to play with color using Rios, Vintage, Shelter or Woolstok

Rave by tincanknits

Rave is another triangular shawl, this one is asymmetrical and of generous proportions.  I love garter stitch shawls that are lined with cables.  This cable pattern is thick and bold.  It’s pictured in an electric purple that gives it a total edge – and while I happen to appreciate that quality it would more classic and traditional in any number of colors.  Rave is written for a DK-weight yarn, but I’ve been dreaming of this in a slightly speckled shade of Madelinetosh Vintage for quite some time.  And since bigger is better when it comes to me and scarves, I’d throw caution to the wind when it comes to gauge on this one.  That said, to follow gauge, consider making this beauty in Kokon Merino DK, Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, HiKoo Kenzie or Sueño.  Or make a budget version using Juniper Moon Dromedary, which happens to be on sale at Wool & Grace! 

Ridgeline hat and mitts from tincanknits

Ridgeline is a hat & mitt duo that features a simple colorwork motif.  You may remember from last week that I’m big into colorwork, and this project lets you dabble in it.  Notice that this project calls for a dk-weight at a gauge of 24 stitches/4” – so when it comes to this DK, think about Blue Sky Baby Alpaca, Sueño, Criative DK or Simplicity as good options.  All of those listed above (for Rave) would also work, but they tend to be a heavier DK-weight.  You may have to go down a needle size (or two, in my case), but you’d also get a nice tight fabric that will be delightfully warm. 

Tin Can Knits put together a beautiful collection of colorwork sweaters and accessories called Strange Brew.  There are so many wonderful patterns as a part of this collection, it’s tough to narrow down favorites.  If you’ve fallen down a colorwork rabbit hole like me, click here to keep exploring this delightful collection.

Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe is a collection of patterns for wee ones, and it includes the Fly Away blanket that I am completely obsessed with.  Fly Away happens to be an awesome travel knitting project.  It’s made up of garter stitch squares with stripes or blocks of color that are sewn together. There are a million different ways to play with color on this project – and to configure the squares.  This gives you a ton of room for creativity, color play.  There are no rules and no wrong answers, so dive in and have fun with something like this.  Fly Away also has great tips and tutorials associated with it.  One that I appreciate is their recommendation to ‘pick up’ stitches for the border (as opposed to ‘pick up and knit’) and their great tutorial on seaming together garter stitch blocks (which for some reason has always vexed me).  I felt smarter after reading through this pattern and watching those tutorials!  That said, maybe my sister will get pregnant soon and give me a reason to knit a baby blanket.  I’d love to knit this one and I’d use Simpliworsted, Sueño Worsted, Spud & Chloe Sweater or Rios as possible yarns for this beautiful blanket.

The Antler Hat and Mittens are great projects for anyone who loves cables or just wants to give it a try.  Both have a simple stag horn cable motif adorning it.  Both patterns are accompanied with tutorials like “Let’s Knit Mittens” and a “Hat Knitting Tutorial”.  If you haven’t done these things before, these awesome tutorials break everything down to nuts and bolts to explain what you do, when and why.  Both of these patterns are worked at a gauge of 18 stitches over 4”, an I think I’d knit them up in beautiful, hard-wearing yarns like SimpliWorsted, Shepherd’s Wool or Shelter

Penny Hat
Penny Hat from tincanknits

Tin Can Knits has recently come out with a number of beautiful lace projects, and they sometimes carry motifs from a sweater to a hat and so on.  It’s definitely worth taking a peek at patterns like Love Note, Penny and Posy, but I am loving the Penny Hat most.  I can’t deny I’m on a bit of a hat kick, because it lets me dabble in techniques and yarns without a big commitment.  The sweet and delicate lace motif of the Penny Hat is calling to me, and I’m thinking I’d knit up this sweet hat in one of my favorites: Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

As always, all underlined text in this blog are links to patterns and websites.  Whether you’re routed to Ravelry or the Tin Can Knits website, I highly recommend you give these patterns more than a passing glance.  Scroll down and check out all of the different tips and tutorials associated with these patterns.  They are thorough but succinct, put together in a way to be understandable to the newest knitters.

The Tin Can Knits duo really have published an insane number of patterns over the years, but they keep it grounded and accessible with their huge library of tutorials and tips.  I highly recommend you check out their website or their wide range of patterns on Ravelry.  It’s no stretch to say there is something for everyone!

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