Meet Nina, the new boss lady!

bright, bold and beautiful

Nina’s been working on Rainbow Heirloom behind the scenes for years… now she’s stepping into the sun!


Nina, new boss lady at Rainbow Heirloom

Rainbow Heirloom was conceived by Emily Wessel (designer at Tin Can Knits), but as her family has grown, the responsibilities for crafting your vivid yarn have been increasingly handled by fellow dyer and creative Nina Davies.

Since the beginning, Nina has been a crucial part of the team, and we’re so pleased to announce she has officially taken over ownership of  the business.

What will change?  We’ll still offer a sparkling array of delicious colours, and inspiring knit kits.  And there are more exquisite designs by Tin Can Knits in Rainbow Heirloom yarns coming soon!  Nina is also planning an exciting new club for 2016… details will be announced soon.

Why does Nina look so familiar? As well as dying, knitting and shipping, Nina has been modelling for Tin Can Knits since 2013, so you’ve probably been seeing her face online for years!


You may have seen Nina modelling the Lodestar stole, the Wenlock pullover, and the Lowlands hat!

Say “hello!”  Originally from a coastal town in the North East of England, Nina moved to Scotland in 2008 and eventually settled in Edinburgh. Somewhere between working on her PhD and an obsessive amount of knitting, she found the time to dip her hands in the dye pot here at Rainbow Heirloom. She’s obsessed with brilliant, saturated, and vivid colours (and also with Harry Potter, but that’s a different story…). Working together these last few years has been an absolute joy, and Nina is committed to creating those same blistering brights, deep jewel tones, delicately soft tonals, and the extensive range of greys that you know and love. She’s also excited to share new and exciting upcoming projects (including a brand new yarn club launching in the Spring)! So say “hello!” and look forward to many more beautiful rainbows in the future!

but what’s in tonight’s update?

We’ve got some Ombre kits, a few remaining Buccaneer kits, a couple Bounce Blanket kits too, and some palette kits too.



hope: a bright rainbow against grey

This mini kit marks the final instalment of the Nostalgia club.  A single skein of RH Sweater, with mini skeins of approximately 10-12g (25 yds) each, this lovely combination would be perfect for a small colourwork project.  The MC is ‘grey whale’ and the CCs are ‘fav aunty’, ‘killer flamingo’, ‘almost spring’, ‘scorched fern’, and ‘blue collar’.  We aren’t making very many extras this month, so if you’d like one, order now.

The colour combination was inspired by a creative project that I started a couple years ago. These paper cranes were folded in hope, during a sad and scary time, as I watched my mother-in-law slip further and further into illness. We sat with her, we waited for the doctors to tell us what was wrong, we hoped for the best result, and every time the news came back bad, we hoped the next test would be better.  As we waited and the family tried to prop each other up against the sadness and fear, I folded paper cranes.


Inside the cranes, I wrote notes of gratitude, and this helped me see the beautiful in life alongside our unfolding loss.  I wrote about the beauty of my home, the hope I had for the baby I was pregnant with, the love I had for my family and friends, and the luck and mountain of opportunities I have had in my life.  I wrote thanks for the past and hopes for the future.  Working with my hands, and making something beautiful helped with the pain; something that I’m sure most knitters will understand.

Loss and change are part of life, and John and I have mourned Muriel over the past year and a half.  Our son Max was born a few months after her death, and our family is now expanding once more!



so many babies …

Rainbow Heirloom was Emily’s second baby (after Tin Can Knits), then Max came along and soon she’ll have another newbie, so she’s stepping back to spend a bit more family time. But I am sure you’ll be seeing plenty of little Rainbow Heirloom knits modelled by her little ones.


Syne Shawlette by Amanda B. Collins

Auld Lang SyneAmanda B. Collins, a Glasgow-based designer also known as owlprintpanda, has a talent for creating frothy lace shawls.  I sent her some Rainbow Heirloom Lush Light in January’s Nostalgia Club colour, Auld Lang Syne, and she created Syne, a delicate little shawlette inspired by the vivid sparkling lights of a winter sky lit by fireworks!

This top-down semi-circular shawl features a starburst of expanding ribbing, with a shimmering textured lace edging finished with a picot edge!  I love the details.

If you’d like to get this limited edition colourway, be sure to order now!  It will only be available until the end of January 2016!  You can learn more about RH Lush Light here.


lace lace lace!

Amanda’s design talents stretch beyond shawls!  This Autumn she released a beautiful little ebook, ‘As Autumn Falls’, which features the exquisite Baile cardigan.  The beautiful top, Talvera, that she designed for PomPom Quarterly Issue 13 also illustrates how she’s great at taking delicate lace and adapting it for use in garments.


Amanda B. Collins in the lovely Baile Cardigan.

What will we see next from Amanda?  I expect more lovely lacy knits!  When I met Amanda I was quite surprised to learn that she designs in her spare time… she has a very demanding day job as a doctor!  Clearly there is no stopping her, and I expect many lovely lace designs in future.

Love Amanda’s work?  You can browse her designs on Ravelry, follow her on Instagram or Twitter, and read here blog here.

Auld Lang Syne

On New years eve, or Hogmanay as it is known here in Scotland, we mark the turning point between one year and the next.  There is always reflection on the past year, and a sense of excitement for the potentials of a new year, and the opportunity for one great big party.

Auld Lang Syne

The photo that inspired this month’s nostalgia club colourway, ‘auld lang syne’, was taken on my first New Year’s Eve here in Edinburgh. The cold night sky, lit by colourful explosions, was burned into this deep vivid teal which faded to black.


This is probably my very favourite limited edition colourway of the entire Nostalgia club! And other designers seem to agree.  Amanda B. Collins (Owl Print Panda) has created a very special shawlette… which we’ll share with you next week.  Dieuwke van Mulligen has designed a unique little cropped cardigan, New Start, perfect for over a party dress!  And Alexa of Tin Can Knits knit a beautiful smocked cowl too.

The January limited-edition colourway is a vivid blackened teal, and it’s dyed on Rainbow Heirloom Lush Light, a luxuriously soft blend of baby alpaca, silk, and cashmere.  Lush Light is perfect for lace, shawls, lightweight garments, and colourwork projects!

Rainbow Heirloom Lush Light

weight: fingering / 4 ply
content: 70% baby alpaca / 20% silk / 10% cashmere
yardage: 437 yards (400m) per 100g skein
needles: 2.75 – 4mm (US 2 – 6)
gauge: 24 – 28 sts = 10cm (4″)

If you love this yarn (it’s one of our favourites here at Rainbow Heirloom), then you’ll want to try the other Lush yarns: Lush DK (246 yds / 100g) and Lush Lace (655 yds / 100g), featuring that same fabulous blend of alpaca, silk, and cashmere. There are a few skeins available in the shop now!


New Start is a delicate cropped cardigan, perfect to wear with your favourite party dress!

Auld Lang Syne is also available for a limited time on our most popular base: Rainbow Heirloom Sweater. The talented designer Dieuwke van Mulligen (whose excellent designs have been featured on our blog, here) has designed a beautiful cropped cardigan, called “New Start,” in a combination Rainbow Heirloom Sweater and Lush Light, both in this month’s colourway. Perfect for wearing over pretty dresses! New Start is available now, and you can learn more about this pattern here.

New Start Cardigan

I love the way Dieuwke has combined 2 yarn bases in the same colourway; it really highlights the way different fibres take the dye differently.

Amanda B. Collins (OwlPrintPanda) has designed a beautifully lightweight shawlette in this month’s Nostalgia Club yarn! “Syne” features and a lace border. This pattern will be launched early next week but here’s a quick peek…

Syne Shawlette by Amanda B Collins

With rays of expanding ribbing and textural lace that really sparkles, we can’t wait to reveal this lovely shawlette by Amanda B Collins!

If cozy cowls are your thing, check out this version of the “Gather” cowl by Tin Can Knits, worked in RH Sweater. The subtle hues of our January colourway really shine in this bold stitch pattern!

Gather by Tin Can Knits

Gather cowl by Tin Can Knits in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘auld lang syne’.

Today’s shop update – Friday January 8th at 8pm BST [check your time here] will have this exclusive Nostalgia Club Colourway, plus a number of other yummy yarns!

Auld Lang Syne on Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

January’s club colourway ‘auld lang syne’ on Rainbow Heirloom Sweater.

Golden North and the Furl Hat

When I moved to the UK, I saw the entire country as a very small place, with the journey from London to Edinburgh a mere 4.5 hours on the train, nearly within day-trip distance by my Canadian standards!  Over time, the distances have lengthened in my mind, and I now view the 90 minute drive to visit the family in Dundee as a weekend trip distance!

Visits to England have not been as frequent as I imagined, and my original feeling that the UK was a singular and unified place (that the inhabitants seem to love to carve up into little separate entities in their mind), has also gradually waned.  I now feel a sense of excitement when we drive down the England, and a corresponding sense of nostalgia and pleasure upon our return north, bound for Scotland and home.


Furl, a new design by Clare Devine, knit in this month’s limited edition Nostalgia Club yarn!

The photo that inspired this month’s Nostalgia Club colourway was taken on a lovely autumn evening on the drive northward from Yorkshire to Scotland.  It was just a quick snap out the car window, taken on a lovely golden evening.  I remember the pensive mood I was in at the time, having a great chat with John, and watching the landscape roll by as day gave way to dusk.


I love the autumn, the falling leaves, the changing weather, and the sense of change that comes along with shifting seasons.  This golden colour is an ode to the possibilities of this season.  This month’s yarn, Lush Chunky, is also an admission of the cold rolling in – it’s our warmest and coziest yarn base, perfect for quick-knitting accessories.


November’s Nostalgia Club yarn is ‘golden north’ on Rainbow Heirloom Lush Chunky.

Rainbow Heirloom LUSH CHUNKY
weight: chunky weight yarn
content: 100% baby alpaca
yardage: 110 yds (100 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 4.5 to 6.5 mm (US 7-10.5)
gauge: 14 – 20 sts = 10 cm (4”)
care: hand wash and lay flat to dry


Furl, a lovely leaf-lace hat is a pleasure to knit, and cozy to wear.

Furl is a new design by Clare Devine, of Yarn and Pointy Sticks.  I was lucky to meet and become friends with Clare while she lived in Edinburgh, and she’s been kind enough to design with my yarn.  Furl is the first of 2 hat designs she’s done in Lush Chunky… then next is coming soon!  Get the pattern here, and read more about the design inspiration on Clare’s blog too.

With gorgeous leaf lace, Furl is a pleasure to knit, and makes a lovely gift, or a new winter hat for you!  Find the pattern on Ravelry, and shop the update tonight to get skeins of RH Lush Chunky in ‘golden north’, this month’s limited edition Nostalgia Club colourway, or a number of other available colours.RH-LushChunky-mcIn addition to Lush Chunky, tonight’s update will have a few skeins of Lush Light and Lush Lace!  Let these bright and bold shades be an antidote to the cold dark and dreary days ahead!  I’d suggest a lovely lacey shawl or cuddly cowl project.


Sunflower Shawl, knit in Rainbow Heirloom Lush Light in ‘aussie sunshine’.


Winding Road – and a new design!

It seems fitting that as I write this post, I’m travelling.  I am visiting my home on Vancouver Island, and just met the newest addition to our family, my sister’s little baby boy Sawyer, who is only 5 weeks old.

The Road I Took Shawl

The Road I Took Shawl by Dieuwke van Mulligen, knit in RH Brit Aran in ‘Winding Road’, the Nostalgia Club yarn for September.

Winding Road, this month’s Nostalgia Club yarn, is inspired by a trip I took to the Isle of Skye, a moody and windswept island off the coast of Scotland.  In 2011, when I came to the UK, I really wasn’t sure where I’d end up.  I had a visa to work for 2 years and no idea about what part of the country might appeal to me.  So I booked a train journey that took me from London to Norwich, then up to Liverpool, Manchester, and York, before ending in Edinburgh.  A friend had convinced me that I might like the north of England, and I’d tacked on a visit to Edinburgh because it was the city where on of my most beloved BBC historic bodice-rippers was set (North and South).  Funny that silly and insignificant things like this can shape the course of your life.

Of course, arriving in Edinburgh, I absolutely loved the city, and immediately decided that it was where I’d stay.  I moved into a hostel, where my 20-bed dorm had a view out to the castle!  And I met a friend who joined me on this trip to Skye.


This photo really reminds me of the journey, not just that trip to Skye, but the long road I took across Canada from Vancouver to Montreal, then to London, and northward to Scotland.  During big journeys in your life you can be lonely, moody, and introspective, but these downsides come along with an expansiveness of possibility and freedom.  Moving to the UK was a big journey for me, although not the only one I have taken, and hopefully not the last.


Want to #winRHyarn?  You could win 3 skeins of September’s club yarn – to sign up for your chance, simply get Rainbow Mail – our great email updates!  I’ll let you know about shop updates, new yarns and colourways, and share what I’ve been knitting, and new designs in Rainbow Heirloom Yarns.  And every month until February 2016, there will be a draw and one lucky subscriber will win one (or two, or three) lovely skeins!

The September limited-edition colourway ‘Winding Road’ on RH Brit Aran is grey with hints of teal and blue, like a moody Scottish sky.  This bouncy 2-ply BFL takes dye very quickly, which means that my colourways tend to come out a little more variegated on this base.  It’s an excellent yarn for a sweater, a cozy shawl, quick-knitting hat, or a blanket.


This is ‘Winding Road’ on RH Brit Aran (the Nostalgia Club base yarn for September 2015), and on RH Sweater, as the colourway is also available on that base until the end of September.

The talented designer Dieuwke van Mulligen has designed a cozy shawl called ‘The Road I Took’ in this month’s yarn!  The pattern is available now, and the Nostalgia Club yarn will be available in the next shop update, on September 4th at 8pm BST (check your time here).  The shawl requires 3 skeins of RH Brit Aran.  When you sign up for a club membership, you get up to 15% off!

This shallow triangle is knit from the bottom up, with an asymmetrical winding road motif in a field of delicious texture.  The pattern is very flexible, so you can knit until you run out of yarn, and then bind off.  You can learn more about the shawl and Dieuwke’s design process here.

As soon as this gorgeous shawl arrived in the mail, I wrapped it around my neck and didn’t take it off all day (summer days in Edinburgh can be COOL).  It is one of the snuggliest accessories I have ever worn!  Next week I’ll post about how you can wear this beautiful shawl… as a big chunky scarf, as a blanket, as a shrug… there are quite a few ways!

The Road I Took Shawl

Starting this Friday, September 4th at 8pm BST, you can custom-order a shawl amount of Rainbow Heirloom Brit Aran in a colour of your choice!  This month’s Nostalgia Club colour, ‘Winding Road’, is only available until the end of September, but you can also choose from my full range of colours!  The pattern is sold separately, click here to order.

Want to learn more about Dieuwke van Mulligen?  I’ve written a more about her work and her excellent designs here.  You can also read her blog, find her designs on, and check out her latest collection, Impulsive Knits, which is a collaboration with Justyna Lorkowska of Lete’s Knits.

Dieuwke van Mulligen

I met Dieuwke in person for the first time at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and she charmed me with her friendly manner and beautiful sweater.  She was wearing her newest design, and it made me think that perhaps I should revise my opinion on the drop-shoulder style!

This lovely number is Feather and Fan-tastic, and it would be perfect in Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

This lovely number is Feather and Fan-tastic, and it would be perfect in Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light.

After our meeting, I stalked her online, and found she has published a range of really special designs!  Here are a few… and some perfectly matching yarns from Rainbow Heirloom in case you want to cast on right away!

hallow moon

Hallow Moon is one of Dieuwke’s most popular designs, and it’s easy to see why. It’s striking, simple, and useful for those mini-skeins you’ve been hoarding!

I’ve been developing Trios in Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light, there are a couple still available in the shop… but these hot little numbers sell out QUICKLY.  If you’re interested to learn when new stock is released, get Rainbow Mail (and you’ll have a chance to #winRHyarn every month too!)

Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light

This Trio is called ‘Get Granny’ : ‘granny pants’, ‘princess rockstar’, and ‘fav aunty’

Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light

Well… enough yarn porn!  Back to my favourite designs from Dieuwke!

brighton beach by Dieuwke Van Mulligan

Brighton Beach is another lovely shawl design, with an exquisite edge detail. It looks perfect to feature a hand-dyed skein!

Mom's Socks by Dieuwke Van Mulligan

Mom’s Socks are an elegant heavy-weight sock pattern. They’d be perfect in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater!

The latest designs from Dieuwke van Mulligen are in Impulsive Knits – a collaboration with Justyna Lorkowska / Lete’s Knits.  Modelled by the beautiful designers themselves, this fun and lighthearted collection of designs probably includes a new wardrobe staple for you!

impulsive knits

I love Likeness, Meringue, and Nogat… these ladies know how to combine pattern and texture in stylish and effective ways.

“Impulsive Knits” was conceived when Justyna and Dieuwke met at Unwind Brighton, hit it off, and impulsively decided, “Hey, why not put together a collection?” Since then they’ve gotten together whenever possible, meeting up at several European yarn festivals and in Justyna’s hometown of Torun, Poland. Their time together has been gleefully spent planning, designing, chatting, laughing, eating, sightseeing, and of course knitting.

From meeting Dieuwke and Justyna, I can understand how their infectious enthusiasm and design talent lead to this great ‘impulsive’ collaboration!

Of course I sent her home to Denmark with a pile of Rainbow Heirloom yarn… and she proceeded to knit a very unique and beautiful sweater!

Dieuwke clearly loves to explore interesting knitting techniques, and bring them into her design work in inspired ways! This is intarsia in the round!

Dieuwke clearly loves to explore interesting knitting techniques, and bring them into her design work in inspired ways! This is intarsia in the round!

Which is your favourite design?  Dieuwke has a new design coming soon in Rainbow Heirloom yarn, in one of the Nostalgia Club yarns, and I’m sure you will love it!

Fireside and Lodestar

Imagine yourself sitting around a beach bonfire, your best friends and family laughing with you over a great joke. Fireside, the Nostalgia Club Colour for August 2015, was inspired by moments like this.

Fireside by Rainbow Heirloom

‘Fireside’ the August Nostalgia Club colour was inspired by perfectly golden moments like this one.

On Rainbow Heirloom Lush DK, this flickering fire-bright colour is alive with yellow, orange, and vivid red hues.  There are still a couple more hours to enter to win 2 skeins of Fireside on RH Lush DK!  Sign up now for your monthly chance to #winRHyarn!

August features one of my favourite yarns to work with, Rainbow Heirloom Lush DK.

Rainbow Heirloom LUSH DK
weight: DK weight yarn
content: 70% baby alpaca / 20% silk / 10% cashmere
yardage: 246 yds (225 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 3.5 to 5.0 mm (US 4-8)
gauge: 20 – 24 sts = 10 cm (4”)

If you love this yarn (and I really do!), you’ll want to try the other Lush yarns: Lush Light (437 yds / 100 g), and Lush Lace (655 yds / 100 g).  They have the same luscious blend of baby alpaca, silk and cashmere, which is like butter to knit with, and blocks beautifully with amazing weight and drape.  There are a few skeins in the shop now, and there will be more in our update later on today, Friday August 7th at 8pm BST (check your time here).

Lodestar: a modern lace stole

Lodestar is the first of a number of upcoming designs to feature Nostalgia Club yarns!  Tin Can Knits (the design side of my life) has just launched this lovely lace stole pattern, you can find it here.  Wrap this soft and comforting stole around you on cool summer evenings, or crisp autumn mornings!

Lodestar Stole in Rainbow Heirloom Lush DK

Lodestar Stole in Rainbow Heirloom Lush DK has a striking geometric lace.  It is a simple but satisfying knit which grows quickly in this DK weight yarn.

Lodestar Stole in Rainbow Heirloom Lush DK

The geometric lace of Lodestar is nearly reversible – perfect for an accessory to be worn draped around you on cool summer nights.

Lodestar Stole in Rainbow Heirloom Lush DK

Wear Lodestar as a big snuggly scarf, or as a beautiful dramatic stole over a summer dress.

Lodestar Stole in Rainbow Heirloom Lush DK

Nostalgia Club: Colours that tell stories

The Nostalgia Club is a series of limited-edition colourway + yarn combinations, inspired by images and stories from my life.  The colours for June, July, and August were inspired by stories of home, images forest, driftwood, and perfect bonfire nights.  If you are only now learning about this exciting yarn club, you can still become a member!  Order just the yarn you like (1-month), or get fantastic discounts by signing up for 3 or more months.  Join in now!

Nostalgia Club by Rainbow Heirloom

Do you have closely-held memories of a perfect beach bonfire?  The summers of my childhood were centered around nights like this, but these particular photos come from a very special camping trip to Vargas Island in 2012.


Vargas Island trip 2012 – the imperfect ‘sunset jumping’ shot!

Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light

Rivulet Shawl in RH Solo Light

Jess of Ginger Twist Studio in her Rivulet Shawl in RH Solo Light in ‘jewel sea’.  This simple and satisfying project takes 2 skeins of Solo Light.

Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light is one of my very favourite to dye, and is absolutely beautiful to knit with. The single-ply sock-weight merino soaks up colour like a sponge, creating vivid and luminous colourways.  For more even more photos, surf Instagram for #RHsololight.

Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light

Solo Light in ‘koala haircut’ and ‘new asphalt’.

Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light
weight: 4-ply / sock weight yarn
fibre content: 100% superwash merino wool
yardage: 400 yds (366 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 2.25 to 4.0 mm (US 1-6)
gauge: 24 – 30 sts = 10 cm (4”)


RH Solo Light in ‘grey whale’, ‘caramel OOAK’, and ‘gold dust OOAK’.

Solo Light is beautiful in stockinette, it would be perfect for a lightweight drapey cardigan.  It also makes exquisitely delicate garter stitch stripes.


RH Solo Light in ‘new asphalt’ and ‘favourite aunty’.

This single-ply yarn has a crisp clarity that is ideal for knitting lace!  You can really see the smooth perfection of each stitch.


RH Solo Light in ‘favourite aunty’ and ‘new asphalt’.


The simplicity of the Rivulet shawl really highlights a beautiful colourway!  Check out more photos of this beautiful project on the Ginger Twist Blog.

Here some of my favourite colourways on Solo Light, available for purchase now at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh!  Not in town?  There’ll be some Solo Light available in our next shop update, Friday August 7th at 8pm BST.

Want to know when new yarn is listed in the shop… and have the chance to win Rainbow Heirloom Yarn every month?!  Just sign up for our email updates.  You can learn more about the Nostalgia Club here.

Rivulet Shawl in RH Solo Light

Island – an ebook and yarn giveaway!

If you’re an avid knitter, you’ve probably come across the beautiful designs of Jane Richmond.  What you might not know is that she lives in and works on Vancouver Island – the same beautiful corner of the world where I was born and raised.

While developing the Nostalgia Club, and imagining designs which would work well with my yarns and story, and Jane’s book Island immediately came to mind.  Island really speaks to me; both for the clever and elegant designs, and for the superlative photography and styling.  For me, browsing through this collection was like taking a trip home to visit the most beautiful places on Vancouver Island.  It made me miss home!

Island by Jane Richmond

The five designs from Island

win a copy of ISLAND … and some beautiful yarn too!

Island by Jane RichmondJane has kindly agreed to sponsor a giveaway of her ebook Island, and I’ve chosen 3 beautiful skeins of Rainbow Heirloom yarn which would pair perfectly with these designs.  To enter, simply comment on this post, and let me know which design you would knit first.  For extra chances to win, enter on Instagram and Facebook too!  The lucky winner will be drawn on Sunday, July 26th at 8pm BST.

Which yarns have I picked for our lucky winner?

Arbutus cowl

A skein of RH Sweater in ‘fav aunty’ would be perfect to make an Arbutus cowl!

Strathcona Scarf

A skein of Rainbow Heirloom Twinkle light in ‘driftwood’, the exclusive July Nostalgia Club yarn would pair perfectly with the Strathcona Scarf.

Rathtrevor Mitts

A skein of RH Sweater in ‘cloudy sky’ would make a lovely pair of Rathtrevor mitts.

What have I been knitting lately?  I’m working on the Strathcona scarf from Island in Rainbow Heirloom Twinkle light in ‘driftwood’ – this is July’s Nostalgia Club yarn, and it is only available till the end of the month, so order now if you want some!


Strathcona Scarf

I’ve only just started, but I’m loving the rhythmic simplicity of this knit!

Nina, my friend and model for Tin Can Knits, has recently finished an exquisite Grace cardigan, also from Island.  It needs buttons, but even without them this is already her go-to hand knit cardigan.

Grace Cardigan

I love the lace panel that adds just enough interest to this simple, elegant cardigan.

Grace Cardigan

I’ve also recently finished a tiny Stovetop hat in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘driftwood’, this month’s Nostalgia club colour.  Each month has a featured base, but for a limited time you can order the club colourway on our most popular base, Sweater, too!

Stovetop in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

Stovetop in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘driftwood’

So which design from Island would you knit first if you won this giveaway?  Leave your answer in the comments, and for more chances to win you can play on Instagram and Facebook too!

Driftwood… a subtle neutral inspired by sun and sand

My favourite place on earth, Long Beach, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is a vast sandy beach with views west to the horizon.  Constantly battered by the wild Pacific, this is a beautiful place of patterns in the sand and thick tangled forest.

Driftwood on Rainbow Heirloom Twinkle Light

Driftwood on Rainbow Heirloom Twinkle Light

Driftwood is a calm and slightly warm neutral, inspired by the sand and sun-bleached driftwood where you sit while you listen to the waves roll in.  The colour is subtle, like driftwood which has been turned to a silvery shimmering taupe by light and salt.


Driftwood is the second of nine yarns in the Nostalgia Collection, a unique club by Rainbow Heirloom

The featured base this month is Twinkle DK, one of my softest and most luxurious yarns!

Rainbow Heirloom TWINKLE LIGHT
weight: 4-ply / sock weight yarn
content: 50% superwash merino, 50% silk
yardage: 400 yds (365 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 2.25 to 4.0 mm (US 1-6)
gauge: 24 – 30 sts = 10 cm (4”)

I love how this yarn sparkles and shines, and really highlights the beauty of this colourway.  It’s a great yarn for lace, because each stitch has great definition and clarity.

Driftwood on Rainbow Heirloom Twinkle Light

Win these skeins! Every month I give away of one or more skeins of the featured club yarn to a lucky winner from my email list, just sign up for a chance to win!

Twinkle Light is perfect for accessories and lightweight garments.  It’s SO soft that it can be worn next to the skin by the most sensitive of knitters.

You can get this month’s colour, or sign up for a 3, 6, or 8 month club subscription, and get up to 15% discount, and ‘front of line’ privileges for ordering more yarn… at your discount!  The Nostalgia Club is a series of monthly colours inspired by my own stories, which I hope will resonate with knitters!  Read more about the club and the story here.

Sand Patterns

This month’s colourway is also available on Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, for this month only!  I’ve just finished a lovely little Stovetop Hat in this yarn (the pompom is in ‘birthday suit’).

Stovetop in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

Stovetop Hat by Tin Can Knits in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘driftwood’

Check out some more lovely colourways on Twinkle Light in the shop now:

Verdant… into the wild wet woods

I grew up on Vancouver Island, on the far west coast of Canada.  It was only once I’d moved away that I realized what a special place it was where I had grown up.  I suppose many people have this realization, after the teenage urge to flee your hometown has passed.

Verdant on Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

June Colourway: ‘Verdant’ on Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light, is inspired by the temperate rainforests of my home.  Deadfall breeds new life as moss, mushrooms, and ferns carpet the moist forest floor.

One of the overriding memories of my childhood is being surrounded by green.  In my part of the world, trees grow like grass on the hills.  Later, living in California and Scotland, I wondered how the hills there could stay so bald and barren.  In the Pacific Northwest, it seems that any piece of land, left fallow and untended, is quickly subsumed by the rainforest, taken back by nature.

Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

Verdant on Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light is the Nostalgia Club colour for June 2015.

a childhood spent roaming the wild

My sister and I were lucky as children to be given a lot of freedom to fend for ourselves.  In my memory, summers were endless golden times and we roamed around, playing games in the woods behind our house, swimming in the ocean every day, and cooking hot-dogs for dinner over a beach fire.  The backdrop to everything was the forest.

Verdant is a complex, layered green is inspired by the forests of my childhood.  With earthy brown undertones, and shots of teal, this colour shimmers with life and vitality, like the fern-coated forest floor.

Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

This bouncy 2-ply superwash merino takes soaks in dye and is perfect in subtle semi-solids.  It is great for lightweight sweaters, shawls, scarves, and colourwork projects.

Rainbow Heirloom MERINO LIGHT
weight: 4-ply / sock weight yarn
content: 100% superwash merino
yardage: 400 yds (365 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 2.25 to 4.0 mm (US 1-6)
gauge: 24 – 30 sts = 10 cm (4”)

Today, June 5th at 8pm BST (find your timezone here) we’re having an update that will feature more beautiful shades of this yarn…

Rainbow Heirloom Yarns

Some other lovely colourways in RH Merino Light and RH Solo Light that will be available in the update today (June 5th) at 8pm BST.  Check them out in the shop preview.

I’m currently knitting a Playdate Cardigan, from Tin Can Knits latest book Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe in Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light in the club colourway ‘verdant’, and an exquisite vibrant teal called ‘jewel sea’.

Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

The Playdate Cardigan by Tin Can Knits in 1-row stripes using Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light in ‘verdant’ and ‘jewel sea’.  It’s got adorable little hidden pockets!

Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

Rainbow Heirloom Yarns

A few more hot shades available in this update…

Nostalgia : colours that tell stories

Starting now, and continuing over the next 9 months I am releasing a very special club, a series of colours that tell stories. These colours have sprung from my own stories, and memories of home, of my journeys, and of the beautiful moments of my life so far. Perhaps they will inspire you to share your own story, and create something that is full of care, love and nostalgia.

Nostalgia Club by Rainbow Heirloom

The first three months are my ‘SHADES OF HOME’, inspired by the iconic landscapes of my birthplace on the west coast of Canada, these are colours and stories that remind me of home. The next part of the story, ‘ON THE ROAD’ are three shades which are inspired by my journeys, challenges, and the excitement of discovering new places. The final three colours are inspired by those ‘SPECIAL DAYS’ in my life which are most poignant and packed with meaning and memory.


Sign up to get Rainbow Mail, and every month you will have a chance to win one (or two or three!) skeins of the featured Nostalgia club yarn!  There’s still a couple hours to enter to win these 2 skeins…

Verdant on RH Merino Light

Sign up to win 2 skeins of Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light in ‘Verdant’ – the Nostalgia Club colourway for June 2015.  Just get Rainbow Mail for a monthly chance to win!

What will you knit?

I’ve put together a pinterest board with some inspiring projects that would be great in Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light!  Check it out here.

What colour was your childhood?

Share your own stories, your colour inspirations and memories with me on social media, or comment on this post.

Rainbow Heirloom on Facebook  Rainbow Heirloom on Instagram  Tin Can Knits on Ravelry  Rainbow Heirloom on Twitter

Nostalgia: a colour club, and a chance to #winRHyarn every month!

This year at Rainbow Heirloom I am exploring the theme of Nostalgia, and creating colours inspired by some of my favourite places, moments, and memories.

Nostalgia: colours that tell stories
a Rainbow Heirloom Colour Club

Each month (on the first Friday) I will release a brand new colourway and base yarn combination, inspired by the photos below.  And the best part?  A monthly yarn giveaway!

#winRHyarn … you have a chance every month!

The best thing about the Nostalgia club?  I’m giving away a skein (or two, or three…) in the club colourway EVERY month to one of my customers.  For a chance to win simply sign up for Rainbow mail.

The update for this limited-edition club yarn will happen on the first Friday of each month for the next 9 months: June 5th, July 3rd, August 7th, September 4th, October 2nd, November 6th, December 4th, January 1st 2016, and February 5th 2016, always at 8pm BST (check your time zone here).

This club is a great opportunity to try one of my new base yarns.  The Nostalgia colourways will be semi-solids that won’t ‘compete’ with stitch patterns in an accessory or garment.  But they’ll be a bit different than my current colourways, some will be slightly more variegated, and a bit moodier.  You can get a pretty good sense of the sort of colour I will be dying from the photos, and I will be releasing photos of the yarn just before the update, so it won’t be a surprise!

Surprise and savings – sign up for a club membership

If you DO love a surprise, and want to save some cash, then you can sign up for 3, 6, or 9 months of club yarn, get great discounts, and get your yarn guaranteed, without having to show up and hope there’s still some available.  Club members also have the opportunity to buy larger quantities of a given yarn when the colour is released (if it’s a favourite), at their members discount.  When the first update goes live (June 5th 8pm BST), all of these club options will be available for purchase in the shop.

June’s club colourway is VERDANT on Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

Verdant on Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

June Colourway: ‘Verdant’ on Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

Rainbow Heirloom MERINO LIGHT
4-ply / sock weight yarn
100% superwash merino
400 yds (365 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 2.25 to 4.0 mm (US 1-6)
gauge: 24 – 30 sts = 10 cm (4”)
care: while this superwash wool can go through the washing machine safely, for best results and longevity hand wash and lay flat to dry

This bouncy 2-ply superwash merino takes soaks up the dye and is perfect in subtle semi-solids. It is great for lightweight sweaters, shawls, scarves, socks and colourwork projects.

The new club colourway will not be the ONLY yarn in the update this Friday, you can preview the yarns that will be available in the shop now!

Verdant on RH Merino Light

Sign up now for a chance to win 2 skeins of Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light in ‘Verdant’ – the Nostalgia Club colourway for June 2015.

Flax Sweater for Max (Free Pattern!)


Superwash merino wool is lovely and soft, and very absorptive (ideal for drooly babies!).

My son Max is now 6 months old and has outgrown the large crop of first-size baby sweaters that I knit in anticipation of his birth.  This is sad, but it also gives me a practical reason to knit some more little sweaters, and they hardly take any time!

Baby Sweaters

Packing away a pile of tiny baby sweaters…

Flax Sweater by Tin Can KnitsThe Flax Sweater from Tin Can Knits Simple Collection is an extremely versatile pattern, sized from newborn all the way to adult 4XL.  The design gauge is 18 sts / 4”, but when I knit it in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, I went for a gauge of 20 sts / 4” instead.  The colourway I used is ‘jewel sea’ a deep bold teal.

How to adjust for a different gauge

I chose the 1-2 year size, and took a look at the stitch count at the body, which is 92 stitches.  At 4.5 sts / inch, this yields a finished chest size of 20.5” (92 / 4.5).  At my gauge of 5 sts / inch, it would yield a finished garment measurement of about 18.5”.  I thought that was a little bit skinny, so I decided to just cast on a couple extra stitches at each underarm, so my final body stitch count would be 96 sts (for a finished body measurement of 19.25”).


He’s trying so hard to learn to crawl!  Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘jewel sea’

That’s how I decided to knit the 1-2 yr size, which ended up coming out about the size of the 6-12 month size, perfect for my little man!  I knit the sleeves and the body nice and long, and I bet this sweater will fit him for the next year.  The neckline was just fine, because the sweater is pretty much proportional all over, simply knit at a slightly smaller gauge.

Flax sweater by Tin Can Knits

Gotta love a little frowny-faced baby!

Here are a couple other versions of Flax that I knit for Max when he was a little bit smaller…

Flax Sweater by Tin Can Knits

A teeny-tiny newborn size Flax in Rainbow Heirloom Twinkle Light in ‘fluffy bunny’. It fit for about 4 weeks!

Flax Sweater by Tin Can Knits

Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘young temptress’ and ‘black cherry’.

At Tin Can Knits, 2015 is the Year Of The Sweater… so Alexa and I set a goal to knit a sweater a month for the whole year!  If you want to join us, we will be sharing our progress on Instagram, FacebookTwitter, and Ravelry… join in by tagging your posts with #TCK12sweaters2015

Rainbow Heirloom on Facebook  Rainbow Heirloom on Instagram  Tin Can Knits on Ravelry  Rainbow Heirloom on Twitter

Win 6 skeins (1500 yds) of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater!

Ever wondered what knit designers talk about when they get together? 

My design partner Alexa and I were recently interviewed by Lydia and Sophie at Pom Pom Quarterly, you can listen to the interview on Pomcast 5.

How can I win?! 

Alongside the interview, we are teaming up with Pom Pom to give away a SUPER EPIC prize – a signed copy of our new book Road Trip (check out all the patterns here, and pick your favourite one to enter!), plus a sweater’s worth (6 skeins) of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, custom-dyed to your favourite colourwayTo enter, leave a comment on the PomCast 5 Blog post, letting us know your fav design from Road Trip.  And share to social media to get an extra entry!

Road Trip

Road Trip is available as an ebook (14 great patterns for only $18) or if you prefer, order a print + ebook for $23 + shipping!  Check out all the patterns here.

What colourway would you pick?  I’ll share a few of my own personal favourites…


I love the bright bold purple of ‘princess rockstar’ which is tempered by shots of grey and black. I’d make a Lush Cardigan or a Caribou Cardigan in this colourway!


The bright neon pinky orange of ‘killer flamingo’ is very hard to capture in a photo! This colour really screams FUN… I’d make a cropped cabled cardi in this colourway… perhaps one of the adorable designs by Andi Satterlund?


Fluffy Bunny is a lovely soft and neutral colourway… perfect for showing off lace patterns, or creating simple satisfying garments. Nina recently knit a beautiful Windswept pullover in this colourway – more details on that coming soon!

Windswept in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

The lovely Nina (check out her blog here!) modelling her Windswept in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘fluffy bunny)

Lush Cardigan … a work in progress

Lush Cardigan in Rainbow Heirloom SweaterI have knit a Vivid blanket, and a number of smaller projects in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, but this Lush Cardigan project is the first adult sweater project that I am knitting just for me in my new yarn!

I’m making it in what is probably my favourite colourway – ‘favourite aunty’, a medium red with pink, brown, and some orangey undertones.  It’s a complex colour, but very subtle… and it makes me happy, which is the most important thing of course!

Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in 'favourite aunty'

Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘favourite aunty’

My progress so far, in photos:

Lush Cardigan in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

When making the Lush cardigan, the lace yoke band is knit first…

Lush Cardigan in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

After the lace yoke band is complete, you block it to flatten it out, and reveal the lace pattern… I truly love blocking lace!

Lush Cardigan in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

The yoke of the Lush cardigan in progress… just a few rows before the separation of body and sleeves.

Lush Cardigan in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

The Lush cardigan at the separation of body and sleeve stitches – the sleeves stitches are put on hold on waste yarn, and underarm stitches are cast on using the backward loop cast on method. Now to start knitting the body…

I am planning to try something a little different with this knit.  Instead of knitting the sleeves from the top down (as described in the pattern), I cast on at the cuff, and knit the first sleeve in the round, simply reversing the shaping.  I also decided to knit full length sleeves, rather than the 3/4 length sleeves described in the pattern.

To join the sleeves to the body, I will work a few rounds from the underarm downward, and then use kitchener stitch to graft the live stitches from shoulder to the sleeve.

Lush Cardigan in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

One sleeve is done, and the body is in progress… soon I will try to graft the two together and see how that works!

I decided to try this method because I like knitting sleeves one at a time from the cuff up… they are more portable, and seem (to me) to go more quickly when they aren’t attached to the body of the sweater.  Once the body is complete, I will make the attempt to graft one sleeve on, and decide whether it is a successful method, or not!