Chris' Worsted Weight Crazyheart

PatternCrazyheart by Tanis Lavallee

Yarn: TFA PureWash Worsted in MC Graphite, CC's OOAK speckled, chris grey, sand, stone, chestnut, caramel, gold, chartreuse, mint, hunter, mallard, and olive.

Ravelry project pages here.

I do not have a tradition of knitting sweaters for the boys for Christmas, that would be way too much pressure, but if the stars align and I feel like tackling a man sized sweater project in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you bet it's going to get wrapped and placed under the tree. I much prefer sitting home and knitting to fighting the crowds at the mall in search of the perfect gift for Chris, and I think that he prefers getting a hand knit sweater to pretty much any other gift I would come up with so... it's a win-win! Maybe it should become a tradition after all. 

This year Chris requested a Crazyheart of his own. I had fully expected to pick a neutral palette of grey's and to knit him a 2-toned, maybe 3-toned version. But nope, he wanted one inspired by Rowan's super colourful version. He was game for a fun palette and I was up for the challenge of coming up with a 14 colour palette that he would actually wear - no small feat! I know Chris well enough to know that an all bright palette of turquoise/pink/orange wouldn't be right for him. I decided to focus on greens and yellows and then to ground it all with some earth tones. The palette is so different for me, but I am so in love with it! FYI - I ended up using only 13 colours since I used the star speckle twice in the yoke. 

When coming up with this palette I was thinking of it as predominantly green. I used 5 green shades! But since I decided to place the neutral shades at the bottom of the yoke, where the triangles are larger, and the green shades at the top, I find that the green really gets downplayed. Not in a bad way, it's just so interesting to see how colours play together in a design like this. It would be neat to see how different the yoke would look were the colours reversed.

So, this is what everyone wants to know, how did I modify this pattern to be worked in worsted weight and for a man? Easy peasy. First off, the pattern is unisex and there is no shaping, so making it a dude version required no mods really. Also, I should note that if you do plan on making this for the man in your life you absolutely do not need to do it in worsted weight. The reason I chose to was simply because I was obsessed with using those 3 skeins of yarn up there and they happen to be in worsted weight so the project just kinda grew from there.

In terms of actual planning, I wanted to make sure that the yoke would be the right depth for Chris and I also wanted to add 3 sets of short rows to the yoke after joining the sleeves and body together but before beginning the chart. In my experience with knitting sweaters for Chris I've learnt that the short rows make a better fit for his manly shoulders and they also lower the front neckline (or raise the back neckline depending on how you look at it) which is his preference. Here is a link to a youtube video that explains how to add in the short rows pretty extensively. If anyone has a better reference please let me know so I can update this post with it.

To knit this in worsted weight I did VERY little math. I looked at the numbers for a worsted weight sweater that I knew would fit Chris, in my case I chose Jared Flood's Brownstone pattern since I've knit it for Chris a few times and I know that he likes the fit, and also because I happen to have it in my Ravelry library. If I didn't have it, I would have looked at Tin Can Knits Flax sweater pattern. It's worsted weight, it's free and it comes in every size imaginable! Pick out all the key numbers: total number of body stitches, number of stitches at the cuff and at the widest part of the sleeve and the rate of increase for the sleeves and then go from there. In my case Crazyheart and Brownstone are both knit bottom up so I simply followed the instructions for Brownstone right up until after joining the sleeves and the body - incidentally Brownstone has short rows at this point, so even that bit was done for me. 

Now I had to make a decision about the yoke. I double checked my gauge and measured a few of Chris' favourite sweaters to determined how deep I wanted his yoke to be and then here came the hardest part (and it wasn't very hard) I had to determine how many inches to knit before I began the colourwork chart, and I had to make sure that I had the right multiple of stitches on my needles to start the chart.

Yoke depth: I was aiming for a yoke depth of about 10.5" for Chris. The adult Crazyheart chart is 41 rounds, my row gauge was 7 stitches per inch, that means that just under 6" of my yoke would be made up of the colourwork portion. I wanted to do 1.75" of ribbing around the collar, so that brings us to about 7.5" of depth accounted for. That means that I had 3" of plain stockinette stitch to work before beginning the chart. 

Right multiple of stitches: This one is almost too easy to mention. I needed a multiple of 9 stitches for the chart, so in the first round after joining the sleeves and the body I would decrease or increase a few stitches evenly spaced in the round in order to end up with a multiple of 9 to start the chart. Once the chart was established it's smooth sailing through to the end.   

So there you have it! This is possibly my favourite FO of 2016, which is saying something because 2016 was a good sweater year for me! (Hello R&R Hoodie! Camaro!) Chris wears it a ton and I love seeing him in it. Sometimes modifying a pattern for a different gauge can be daunting, but with a design like this, which is all stockinette stitch, it's a very simple mod to attempt. I dare you to try it! ;)

Heart On My Sleeve - A Brand New Collaborative Collection

You guys!!! I keep mentioning that February is going to be a big month for me in terms of pattern releases and THIS IS WHY!!! Introducing Crazyheart. Crazyheart is my contribution to the fantastic new Heart On My Sleeve ebook put together by Tin Can Knits. I started working on Micah's little grey and blue version while on vacation last summer. It took me quite a while to figure out exactly what direction I was going to go in for my yoke design, but once I landed on this graphic diminishing triangle pattern I just couldn't stop knitting it! As is made evident by the fact that every single member of my family has their own version of Crazyheart, which is, I know, totally crazy! 

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Heart On My Sleeve ebook available on Ravelry here

I love this design and have plenty to share about it, but for today I'd like to focus on the collection and what makes it so awesome. When Alexa and Emily reached out last year and asked if I would be willing to donate a design to this project my answer was a resounding YES! I am thrilled that they thought of me and am honoured to be part of a project featuring such an amazingly talented group of knitwear designers. To see my name in writing next to : Shannon CookRomi HillBristol IvyJoji LocatelliJane RichmondYsolda Teague and Emily and Alexa of Tin Can Knits is definitely right up there on my list of career highlights. 

This is s charity project, all of the patterns were donated and all of the proceeds (after Ravelry and PayPal fees) are going to the Against Malaria Fund. How cool is that!? Here are a few words from Tin Can Knits about how and why they chose this particular cause:

We chose to donate to the Against Malaria Foundation because the need spoke to Emily and I personally as mothers. Malaria is a preventable disease – no one need die of it. Yet thousands of small children and pregnant women die of it every day. Malaria is relatively cheap to prevent, which means that every ebook sold and every dollar you donate really counts toward saving lives and improving economies.

WONDERFUL! Another really fun thing about this collection is that each design is built off of the same base template. Tin Can Knits provided us with a pattern for the body and sleeves and then left the yoke up to us. I LOVE that and though I think that the patterns certainly stand on their own, the fact that the collection is kind of a "choose your own adventure" is a really fun detail that makes the collection extra special and unique. 

We took so many photos of us in these sweaters! Picking which few to highlight in today's blog post was a near impossible task. I decided to put the focus on family and picked my favourite pseudo-candid shots that capture the things I love most about my boys. Micah's pout, Rowan's photobomb, Chris' man bun! These are truly my faves. 

Because I have made 4 versions of this sweater I have had plenty of opportunity to dream up colour schemes and let me tell you... it's been FUN! I knit Micah's first, next was Rowan's bolder approach, then I took it down to cool town with my more subdued version, and lastly Chris got the Christmas sweater of his dreams. Each palette is unique and I think equally beautiful in it's own right. There is so much potential for colour play in a pattern like this. I can't wait to see what you do with it! 

Join us for a CrazyCamaroKAL over in the Ravelry group!

Lots more to say about this project, but for today I'll leave it at that. Tin Can Knits is hosting a HOMS KAL over in their Ravelry group and we're hosting a complementary KAL over in our Ravelry group, so join us and knit yourself a beautiful colourful sweater and beat those winter blues!

Mood Board Monday - I Love Hearts

With Valentine's Day on my mind I decided to take a look at my Ravelry project page and see if I had any heart themed projects to put together for you today. Well, apparently I just can't get enough hearts on my knits because I easily came up with these 8 (the top left and bottom right photo are of the same project.) I knit for the people I love, so a strong heart presence in my knitting only makes sense. Rowan has recently found that ombre heart hat (bottom centre image) and has taken to wearing it. It's official, heart's are in people!

Fashion Friday - Camaro, the Original


That light! Guys, this is officially my new favourite photo of myself. I miss fall. 

So this week I was pretty excited to do the grand reveal of my new Camaro pattern, and today I am equally excited to finally share these rock star photos we took of my original Camaro prototype. Doing knitwear photography can sometimes be a little bit funny in that you've got to highlight the garment and make sure to capture all the details (obviously) and though you want to look good (also obviously) shoots are often more about making sure that you can see all the details of the back increases rather than focussing on the intricacies of the cute outfit you've put together. However, I also love the idea of showing a knit item in real life. I tried hard a few years ago to do that sort of thing more often with my Fashion Friday series and maybe it's time it make a comeback! This is how I most often wore this longer, looser Camaro. With slim pants, cute boots and my little rock n' roll bomber. This is one of my favourite fall outfits.

I keep referring to this version as the prototype because I changed a few things for the final version of the pattern. I actually re-knit the bottom of this sweater this fall to reflect those changes, but in the photo above you can see that the shaping down the front falls on either side of 2 centre stitches, in the final version I made it a bit crisper by putting the shaping on either side of a single centre stitch. Not a big edit by any means, but I do think it makes a difference in the final pattern. 

This was one of those sweaters that just kinda came together without too much planning, which I happen to think is the only way to do it if you're aiming for a "random" look. When I was working the stripes I grabbed a bunch of leftover skeins of grey and that pop of Lemongrass and just went for it. No plan whatsoever. I can't recall what it was that I saw that made me want to use this scheme in this particular way, but whatever it was I'm thankful for it! Actually, and this really plays into the randomness of the whole project, I'm pretty sure that this image is what I was thinking about when I started this design... The final version is pretty far removed from the original inspiration, isn't it fun to see how a design progresses from idea to finished piece?

And this photo below just cracks me up. I was trying to get the jacket and the stripe in the pants and the boots all in the shot and ended up in this squat position and I just don't know... It looks like I'm taking my posing very seriously. I kinda love it. Double points for sporting 2 doses of leopard print in one outfit! 


TFA Stash KAL projects

For the past 3 weeks we've been running a short and sweet TFAStashKAL over in the Ravelry group. It officially wraps up tomorrow, but I thought that I'd give you an update today on what I've been making. I have found this KAL super inspiring. It's just what I needed this time of year. Since I don't exactly have your average yarn stash I decided to approach this KAL as a way of using up leftover odds and ends of yarn rather than using up full skeins of yarn from my "stash". As you all know, I LOVE working with colour so this style of knitting really suits me. This is what I've been up to:



I knit this hat for Rowan and he, Stella and I all LOVE it! For this project I did break my own rule and used a brand new skein of PureWash Worsted in Lightning - I'll be blogging about it next week because it's awesome!


A few weeks ago Rowan refused to wear his mittens. And then promptly got cold hands. Being the super mother that I am I gave him mine (although I guess a super mother wouldn't let their kid leave the house without his mittens in the first place...) He loved wearing my mittens and found the whole experience kinda hilarious so I told him that I'd make him a pair just like mine. I suggested that I could use the same colour palette as I had used in his hat (his favourite colours have always been pink and purple) but he wanted them to be exactly like mine, right down to the colours. So now we wear our matching mitts and hold hands and are just insanely cute. I used the leftover blue from his R&R Hoodie and leftover Hunter, Chartreuse and Gold from Chris' Christmas sweater. These mitts have been strung together with an i-cord so they won't get lost (hopefully). 

I cannot say enough good things about the World's Simplest Mitts pattern by Tin Can Knits. It's free and it is written for 4 different weights (fingering, DK, worsted & chunky) and 5 different sizes (toddler, child & adult S, M, L) it's just so good. Make yourself a pair or two. 


These hats practically knit themselves. Above is a WIP shot but both hats are now complete, have been blocked and I've even done the official pattern photoshoot. Look for the pattern to be released in the next few weeks, as soon as we get the shop stocked with PureWash Fingering Mini Sock Yarn Skein sets. I knit both hats with leftover bits of fingering weight yarn. I love both versions so much! I'm excited about this one and can definitely thank the KAL for the motivation to get going on this idea that I've been sitting on for a while. 


Chris was due for a new pair of mittens and after the success I had with Rowan's I decided to knit the World's Simplest Mitten pattern again, but this time in the largest size. They fit Chris perfectly and the colours (Chestnut and Stone) coordinate really nicely with his winter coat. I can't get enough of these scrappy mitts, I may make a pair for Micah next. This particular pair was extra satisfying since it used up literally every last inch of my leftover skein of Chestnut. Don't you just love that!?


I started this one just yesterday (I know, I plowed through the exciting part because I really wanted to see how the pattern would work up in these colours!) and though there is no hope that I will finish this little sweater by tomorrow's deadline I am still really pumped about getting to work on this new pattern. Back in November of 2014 I designed the Tantramar Toque for the Year In Colour Club and pretty quickly decided that I wanted to reimagine the chart into the body of a sweater. I've posted pics of the resulting sweater on Instagram here, here and here. I love almost everything about that sweater, but as always with me there are a few issues that need to be resolved before it's ready to be an official pattern. This is the year that I dust off all my pattern's in progress and take them across the finish line! I'm totally committed to it. I'm knitting up the new and improved version of the Tantramar Cardigan for Rowan in Hunter, Lemongrass and a super special OOAK speckled colourway leftover from, you guessed it, Chris' Christmas sweater. I'll be honest, I wasn't 100% sold on the colour combo until I snapped this photo and saw it in a new light, now I love it! I find it hard to use speckles in colourwork since you are running the risk of muddying up the crisp lines, but I think that in this case it works! 

So, a very productive #TFAStashKAL2017 indeed. These small, colourful, bite sized projects are my happy place. 

Camaro! a new sweater pattern

Before I get started I just need to put it out there that this photo of Sam and I is my favourite! We look so 70's fierce. All hands on the hips and ready for action! The golden light behind us, our perfectly coordinating sweater palettes. We're too much! It was a good photo day, we were having a blast and that always makes for the best shots. 

Introducing Camaro! This pattern is available for sale on Ravelry here and on my website here

Longtime readers may recall the very first prototype I knit of this sweater, oh, about 3 years ago or so (the grey version below)! Well, I can now honestly say that I love this sweater and have worn it a ton over the past 3 years so I am even more excited than usual about getting this pattern out into the world! I knit the first version with 3/4 length sleeves, a hip length split hem and about 2" of positive ease. The fit is casual, cozy and cool. As soon as I had cast off I knew that there were a few changes I wanted to make to perfect the pattern (those simple changes are what took me the 3 years to finally tackle!) and while I was at it I knew that I wanted to explore a completely different fit, one that was cropped, had long sleeves and fit snug. Basically, I wanted a perfect 70's inspired sweater that I would rock with high waisted jeans. I picked a completely different palette and an evenly distributed stipe width rather than the random approach I took with the grey version and went to town. I am happy to say that the two versions are equally loved and worn and that they serve completely different functions in my wardrobe. Don't you love a pattern that does all that!?  

The stripe/colour possibilities for this pattern are literally endless! I can't wait to see what you all do with it. I really, REALLY, want to knit another in one of our NEW PALETTES! but am not sure that I can really justify owning 3 Camaro's... I love it so much that I would consider knitting one for my sister just for the fun of it. 

And, since we're on the topic of the new palettes... 

New pattern coming next week featuring our Summer Palette.

New pattern coming next week featuring our Summer Palette.

February is a big month for me in terms of exciting pattern releases. The sneak peek shown above is another new design I've been hinting at (this is the pattern I used for Chris Christmas sweater!) and it will be released next week and is also the perfect pattern for one of our Palettes. 

I guess that if I had to choose my favourite type of knit, this would be it: colourful, scrappy, fun! I don't think I'll ever stop dreaming up projects for our Palettes. They're my fave.  

Mood Board Monday - Crystal

TFA PureWash Chunky in Crystal, socks, moon balloon, nails, drops, Heira. 

TFA PureWash Chunky in Crystalsocksmoon balloonnailsdropsHeira

Crystal is the January Club colourway and since these mood boards have become kind of a signature part of the TFA experience I thought it seemed appropriate to make a mood board for it! Actually, I took it one step further and I made a mood board for the entire year, mapping out the Club colourways for Chris and I to develop and that image in the bottom centre, the one of the drops, was the original inspiration for what I wanted Crystal to be. Light grey with neon pops of colour, I think we nailed it! 

Did you know that as a Club member you're able to order additional skeins of the Club colourways at any point during the year? I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is definitely a sweater in Crystal in my near future.  

February 1st

bottom to top: Ravine, Lotus, Chris Grey, Saffron, Caramel, Garnet, Orchid, Bisou & Stone.

bottom to top: Ravine, Lotus, Chris Grey, Saffron, Caramel, Garnet, Orchid, Bisou & Stone.

This morning I sat down at my computer uncertain of what exactly I was going to be working on today. I flipped my calendar to the new month (always an exciting day) and saw that it was this picture of one of my favourite sweaters. It's a pattern I'm working on called Camaro and you've seen a version of it before and I bet you had totally forgotten about it. Well, it's a sign, today I vow to wrap up this pattern and get it to my tech editor! It's already been test knit and I've even got new PureWash Palettes ready and waiting for the launch. This is just the bit of motivation I needed this morning. Yay for the TFA calendar!

New Club colourway and pattern - Heira

Pattern: Heira

Yarn: January Year In Colour Club - Crystal on PureWash Chunky.

With the return of the original TFA Year In Colour Club format came the return of a that familiar feeling of getting to look forward to the release of a new accessory pattern every other month! There's no doubt about it, it's just plain fun. The difference this year is that though the patterns are included in the Club membership (Club members get the pattern delivered to their inbox about a week or so after all Club skeins have been mailed) the patterns are not exclusive to Club members. That's the new twist! So if you're interested in knitting Heira but can't bite the bullet on a Club membership that's no problem, you totally still can! The Club colourways are exclusive to Club members though, and this one's a good one! Maybe my favourite ever? This is Crystal. Dyed on our PureWash Chunky base it's a very light grey with a splattering of multicoloured speckles. Heavy on the brightest of pinks and with a touch of neon green... it's magical and I love it. I'm planing a sweater. I will absolutely own a sweater in this colourway. Soon.  

This outdoor shot is my favourite. It really shows off the gorgeous speckles in this colourway. It also shows off those lovely decreases! Don't you just love perfect sets of decreases like that? This hat is graphic and geometric and squishy and fun and really makes the most of a single skein of chunky yarn. 

TFA Year In Colour Club memberships are available all year long. It's not to late to sign up! Join now and you'll receive your January skein along with the next batch of shipments in March. 

PureWash is here + 5 New Colours + Free Shipping!

So, big day over here guys. Very big day indeed. I think that the title of this post pretty much sums it up but let me break it down for you in point form just so that this post isn't completely blank:

1) I've added all the PureWash bases, as well as Red Label to the site! Now when you click on the drop down menu the first 6 bases are in stock and will be dyed to order in whatever colourway your heart desires!

2) Speaking of colourways, I've chosen 5 favourites from the Boxing Day Update and added them to our permanent collection of colourways. Hunter, Mint, Prism, Plum Pudding and Lightning are now permanently available. I've already knit a hat in Lightning and I'm so glad that it's here to stay. I love them all!

3) Because this is a lot of exciting news I thought it was worth celebrating so I've cooked up a little promo code for you: enter code "freeshipping" at checkout to receive, you guessed it, free shipping on your order until 11:59PM EST on Friday Jan 27th. 

It has been a busy morning, I'm off to sit and knit a bit. Hope you're having a great Wednesday! 

x Tanis x

ps: I know that so many of you are reading this right now and thinking: "what about Hummingbird!?!?" Stay tuned... we've got a dyed to order update coming down the pipeline next. ;)