Interview with Tin Can Knits

I love the positive upbeat vibe of this creative duo. The colors they choose pop, their patterns are beautiful and useful.

Question 1 Tell us a little about yourself?

We are Alexa and Emily! We met about 10 years ago while we were both working at our LYS. We were both doing a little designing at the time and thought it might be fun to join forces and create a book. That book was 9 Months of Knitting and we have been a team ever since! Here at Tin Can Knits we create fun, modern, clearly written knitting patterns in a wide size range (baby to 4XL). We aim to share our love of knitting and inspire.

Question 2 How long have you been designing?

We have both been designing for about 10 years. When we first started working together our designs were more individual, but over the years we have become a lot more collaborative. A sketch or a swatch by one of us will often be taken up by the other to complete.

Question 3 Do you still enjoy designing? When did you consider your self successful at designing?

Designing is definitely the best part of the day! Creating something new, solving the mathematical puzzle of grading, and knitting up something great. I’m not sure when we would consider ourselves successful at designing… We have been designing exclusively since 2012.

Question 4 Do you still knit for fun outside of the business of designing?

Yep! There isn’t a lot of time outside of sample and design knitting, but we do manage to re-knit our own designs in an exciting new yarn or colorway, and occasionally something by another designer. Emily is working on Threipmuir by Ysolda and I just finished Hoarfrost by The Petite Knitter.

Question 5 What is the biggest mistake you made as a new designer?

It’s hard to look at things as mistakes per se, let’s just say we learned a lot! Navigating the world of contract design, learning how to self publish, creating pattern writing standards for ourselves, and deciding what work to do or not do are all definitely a challenge at first. Also knowing when a design just didn’t work, and needs another round of knitting, sizing, construction, etc. when to keep pushing to make it even better. That’s something we’ve had to learn.

Question 6 What is your favorite weight of yarn to work? Or favorite colorway? 

I’m always a bit conflicted on this one. I love sock weight sweaters, but I usually knit in worsted weight or DK because it goes faster! It’s so hard to choose a favorite colorway, since we’ve been knitting so much colorwork lately, involving a whole palette rather than a single color. I do gravitate towards a teal blue or a golden yellow though!

Question 7 What is your favorite design that has been released thus far and why?

Alexa: My current love is the Cartography sweater, it looks complicated but the construction is simple and there are only 2 colors at a time.SB-cartography-14a

I just want to knit those little stranded patterns over and over again!


Emily: I don’t know if it counts, but Strange Brew!SB-strangebrew-09a

It’s a recipe pattern to design your own colorwork yoke sweater, so the possibilities are endless. It’s like a designers playground.SB-multisweater-32a

Question 8 What is your biggest project for 2019?

Well, hush hush, but we are working on a little something coming out in May!

Question 9 What is one thing your fans don’t know about you?

Hmmm, good question. Emily studied Architecture in school and worked in the field for a time and I have a teaching degree and was on my way to becoming a High School Social Studies teacher before we started Tin Can Knits.

Question 10 What is one thing you would say to new indie designers?

Just do it! Don’t worry too much about other people think. Be confident and go for it.   

Question 11 What is one of your personal goals for 2019?

We are looking into exploring cables next. A good deep dive like we did for colorwork (although really we still only scratched the surface). You might not see any designs come of it this year, but we are giving time to really explore. On a personal level, I think we both have the goal of reading more this year. Our kids are a little bigger now and finding time to read is getting (somewhat) easier!

Question 12 What should a new designer avoid doing?

I would say don’t put out a pattern that you don’t think is ‘all the way there’ ripping and re-knitting and re-writing are all part of the process (not the most fun part, but a part none the less)

Question 13 Top Bucket List item? Knitting and in life?

Knitting wise, Emily and I are both working on our own sweater wardrobes. Thus far it’s a lot of yoked sweaters, our current passion. We are often distracted by the quick kid knits though!

Question 14 If you could nominate one indie designer to be part of this series who would it be?
I would nominate Denise (bayronhandmade on Instagram) her Cardizen and Hatdana patterns are fabulous.

Author: Life Adventures Stories Written In Yarn.

I am a knitting designer, a freelance writer, and a fiber lover.

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