TIK Knits

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The menagerie just keeps getting bigger! To the great delight of our child customers (and a lot of the adult ones too), Big Ted has recently arrived in the shop.

His two bear relations have been here for a while – they’re the teaching project for Colette’s toy-making class. So, in fact, is Big Ted. You see, this splendid trio have a message for us all: be adventurous with yarn choice!

All three bears are knitted with exactly the same pattern. The difference between them comes from using different weights of yarn, with needle size chosen to fit. The littlest Ted is made with Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace, and he comes out small enough to put in your pocket. Middle-sized Ted is more portly, made in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. And our magnificent Big Ted is made from superbulky Debbie Bliss Roma!

The easiest way of sizing a pattern up or down is to change your yarn. Have you seen a baby cardigan that you’d love to make for a toddler, but the pattern doesn’t come in larger sizes? Try a thicker yarn. Matching hats for parent and child are adorable, and two different yarns can get you there without having to change anything else.

You can swatch and do the sums to work it all out in advance if you like, but most of the time it doesn’t matter. Colette knew when she started with Big Ted that he would be Big, and that was good enough! He’s an epic bear, and along with his friends, would love you to come and visit.

Hot off Jacqui’s needles is this beautiful shawl, just in time for summer! Like much of her lacework, this is a pattern by Boo Knits. This one is called Wintersweet, and it’s a triumph of lace and beads.

When a knitter knits pattern after pattern by the same designer, it’s a very good sign. Sure enough, Jacqui really recommends all of Boo Knits’ work – beautiful, clearly written and much, much easier to knit than they look.

As for the yarn, the boat got pushed out a bit here. This Wintersweet is made from Lotus Silky Cashmere, 366 metres of luxury. The blend is 55% silk and 45% cashmere, and its softness has to be felt to be believed.

What a summer accessory this would make! Perfect for a elegant wedding (your own or someone else’s!), and easy to pack for a holiday trip, it would really make Summer 2015 shine. (And at the moment, Summer 2015 needs all the help it can get!)

Lush

What’s that in the background there, behind the tissue paper pompom? It’s the newest edition to our garment display in the shop: Jacqui’s Lush cardigan (boy, she’s a fast knitter)!

Lush is Tin Can Knit’s beautiful design, and it’s the pattern Emily Wessel will be using for her cardigan workshop at the end of June. (There’s still places left for that, and for her baby blanket workshop as well – you’ll find details at our booking page).

Jacqui used Juniper Moon Farm’s gorgeous Findley DK for hers – it’s a beautifully plied silk and merino blend, and it’s delicious to work with. Just look at the stitch definition on the Lush lace….

And the pompom? We can’t stop making them, you see, using this tutorial, and we’re having a tremendous amount of fun doing it! It’s properly spring now, so why not celebrate with some tissue paper frivolity!

We love projects that take an existing pattern and do something new with it, and it’s even better when they combine knitting and crochet. Here’s a sweet little idea: our easy and adorable Cute as One Button baby cardigan, but with something nestling in a wee pocket.

The apple is the easiest crochet, and we thought you might like the instructions, so here’s how to make one.

You only need scraps of yarn, and pretty much any weight will do, so this is a good way of using up leftovers. Use any size of hook that gives you the apple and leaf you want, though as a guideline a hook a bit smaller than recommended for the yarn weight gives a nice dense fabric.

Apple
Starting with a magic circle, work 3 chain.
Round 1: Work 16 tr into the ring and ss to top of first tr to join.
Round 2: Work into the top of the trebles as follows: 1dc, (2htr), (2tr), (2htr), 1dc, 1dc, (2htr), ss, (2htr), 1dc, 1dc, (2htr), (2tr), (2htr), ss. Fasten off.

Leaf
Work 6 chain. All the stitches of the leaf are worked into one strand only of these chain, first along one side, then along the other.

Working into one strand only of the chain, work along the chain as follows: 1dc, 1 htr, (2dc), 1 htr, 1dc, ss. Without turning, and working into the opposite single strand of the chain, work ss, 1dc, 1htr, (2dc), 1htr, 1dc. Fasten off.

Pocket
Cast on 16 stitches and work 10 rows of stocking stitch (alternate rows of knit and purl), then 4 rows of garter stitch (every row knit). Cast off purlwise.

Abbreviations:
ss slip stitch
ch chain
dc double crochet (US single crochet)
htr half-treble crochet (US half-double crochet)
tr treble crochet (US double crochet)

In both the apple and the leaf, where there’s an instruction written in brackets, like (2tr), work both of the stitches in the same place.

Sew the apple and the leaf to the jacket first, and then sew the pocket over them. And that’s it.

Of course, you can put other things in pockets too, and we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below if you’d like to share them!

Now, we’re being cautious about this, but in the last day or so, it’s feeling a bit like spring. The days are noticeably longer, and there’s flowers appearing, and it’s Daffodil Day at the end of the month.

And right on cue, this cowl appeared in the shop. As bright as any daffodil, with lots of simple beading, it’s the Jeweled Cowl, a free pattern that’s perfect for pretty laceweight. It’s such a simple pattern: literally a single page of instructions, and made entirely of knit stitches. If you’re looking for an easy project for trying out the terrific beading technique we blogged on Tuesday, there’s no better pattern.

Our Jeweled Cowl is made in gorgeous Juniper Moon Findley, and took just over half a skein. A 50/50 merino/silk blend, it’s a joy to work with and to wear.

One for yourself? One as a gift? Either would be perfect.

Our friends in The Garden helped us out with the daffodils for this post – we really do have the very best neighbours. Their spring flowers, clustered round the grand South William Street door of the Powerscourt Centre, are just lovely. Fancy a glimpse? With pleasure…

We’ve been talking a lot about pompoms recently, and one question keeps coming up: what’s the best way of attaching one securely to a hat? Well, we had an intriguing suggestion tweeted at us recently, so we resolved to try it out.

It’s very simple, and that picture shows it in practice. Instead of just sewing the pompom to the hat fabric, sew it to a button on the wrong side of the hat. The button, nestling into the top of the hat, distributes the pulling of the pompom and makes it much less likely to come loose. You’ll find our tutorial on sewing on buttons at this link.

So yes, it works!

You know those patterns that make you want to drop everything and cast on? Well, this is one of those, so we did. There’s currently five of these gorgeous jumpers either finished or in progress among our staff, and we reckon there’s going to be a lot more.

It’s called Il Grande Favorito, and it’s the softest, comfiest thing you can imagine. It’s fast and easy, knitted from the top down with a touch of short row shaping on the back. The garter stitch front contrasts so elegantly with the plain stocking stitch back and sleeves.

It’s designed for sportweight, so Lisa hit on the excellent plan of combining Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (dozens of colours, from dramatic to pastel) with a toning shade of Fyberspates Cumulus, holding a strand of each together all the way through. As you can see, the result is a fabric that’s both substantial and hazy:

No surprise, then, that this has become our favourite thing, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if it became one of ours too!

That’s part of a Snawheid. It’s a Kate Davies design, so of course the pattern is gorgeous, but this hat here? It’s just a bit…meh. It’s made with Navia Duo, which is lovely yarn and ideal for the job, and the stranded colourwork is very nicely done. Meh. Mustard and grey is a classic combination. Whatever: meh.

But this unfortunate hat is a perfect excuse for learning a little about how colour works. One of the things that distinguish colours is how far from white and black they are. It’s called colour value. And if we’re presented with two things of different colours and they have the same value, our brain notices and mutters “They’re the same!” And in this case, the knitter’s brain adds “That’s a boring hat!”

Happily, there’s a really easy way to avoid this which saves you time and money, and we were reminded of it by bioniclaura this week.

If you convert a colour picture to greyscale, you can see the values very clearly. So we did this with the picture at the top of the post, and here’s the result:

The stranded colourwork vanishes completely. That’s why this hat is uninteresting. Your brain notices that there’s no value difference.

Of course, it would have been good (and would have saved time!) to check this before starting. Well, here’s a picture of the two balls of Navia:

Converted to greyscale, that image looks like this, and you can tell it’s not going to end well:

Any digital camera will have a “monochrome” or a “black and white” setting, and so do most cameraphones – if you don’t know where to find this, a quick look in your manual will help. Click over to that setting when you’re choosing your yarn for colourwork and then snap a picture of your options. If they look like a good pairing when you subtract the colour, then you’re on the right path, regardless of the type of colourwork you’re planning.

Here’s a couple of examples. Here’s a likely-looking pair of yarns, both Malabrigo Rastita:

Changed to greyscale in the camera, this is the result, and it really does look promising, doesn’t it?

And ta da! here’s the finished product, a glorious Epistropheid hat!

Given the black and white treatment, you can see why this works so well – the colour values are deliciously distinct. Happy brain, happy knitter!

If you’re interested in reading more about colour theory in knitting, Knitty magazine has an excellent article here. Thanks again to Laura for inspiring this post!

By the way, this Epistropheid is now sporting a fake fur pompom from the new stock that we promised you last week, and Jacqui can’t be persuaded to take it off!

With storms and snow still the order of the day, it’s perfect weather for showing off warm and cosy woollen things, and here’s one of the best, shown here by our newest knitwear model. This adorable little jumper is called Anders. It’s knitted seamlessly from the top down and it’s sized from three months to two years.

It’s got a buttoned placket so it’s easy to get on and off small wriggling people, and the colourwork is easy as pie. It’s designed for sportweight, so Lisa chose Malabrigo Rastita. A slightly felted single, it’s wonderfully warm, and just look at the colours!

And as you can see, Anders is the very best thing to wear if you’re going exploring at this time of year.

If we had our way, there’d be pompoms on pretty much everything! There’s two of them, adding extra dotiness to our Candy Floss Baby Booties (ahhhh!)

We put a jaunty one on our Thistle hat, of course. Pompoms like this are great for using up the remainder of a ball of wool, too, and they even have a practical purpose: if it’s snowing, the bobbing around of the pompom stops snow settling on top of your head!

Pompoms are terrifically easy to make. You can use circles cut out of cardboard (Vogue Knitting has a great photo tutorial at this link). An even easier, and more robust, option is a pompom maker like our Clover ones – you can see how they work on Clover’s video here.

Looking for a quick way to make teenytiny pompoms like the Candy Floss ones? Well, the incredibly clever Eskimimi’s got this covered over on her blog: hint! there’s cutlery involved!

But pompoms don’t have to be made out of yarn, either. Jen’s Epistropheid – the very one we featured in Tuesday’s colourwork post – just wouldn’t be the same without its great big funfur pompom! We have these in stock in red and white at the moment, but there’s a big delivery due in the next couple of days with lots and lots more!

Finally, if you find yourself needing to make a lot of pompoms in a hurry, here’s a video we found just for you! Garlands of pompons filling the house? Why not?

We’d love to hear what you’re putting pompoms on – let us know in the comments below!

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