All photographs taken by Alexa Ludman and Emily Wessel
A few days ago, I was unbelievably flattered and delighted to receive a copy of Tin Can Knits‘ latest pattern collection, the e-book Handmade in the UK. Handmade in the UK is a very personal pattern collection by Emily Wessel, one of the Tin Can Knits duo. Looking through the book is like being taken on a tour of Scotland with Emily being one’s tour guide. Handdrawn illustrations throughout the book add charm, and interspersed with the patterns are autobiographical sketches by Emily, about her landing in Edinburgh and the life she has created for herself there. I love this quote from the introduction:
In this romantic city I have crafted a new life for myself. The beauty of my surroundings inspires me every day, and for some indefinable reason living in this city makes me feel like my life is full of immense possibility.
The patterns within the book are grouped into four sections: Romantic City, English Garden, Scottish Wild, and Happy Endings. It’s an unbelievably well rounded collection of garments and accessories. All yarns used were produced or dyed in the UK, and there’s even a hand drawn map at the end showing where each dyer/company is located.
Bonny is my favourite pattern in the Romantic City collection, and its delicacy certainly makes this shell a lovely addition to a city wardrobe. I love that the lace isn’t fussy; it is sophisticated, and I could totally see wearing this for a night out.
Although The English Garden has a beautiful cardigan, and a gorgeous shawl, Rosewater is my favourite of this section. (Actually, I really, really like all the hats in the book.) Rosewater’s lace stitch pattern was inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who I’ve alway liked. Again, the lace is just perfect….I’m really impressed by the way lace is used in all the patterns in this book. You could wear this hat like a beret, or as a sort of beret/beanie as it’s shown here.
However, The Scottish Wild section is my total favourite. It’s not just that I love all the patterns in it, but I remember visiting Scotland almost twenty years ago and falling in love with the landscape instantly– I still remember feeling and seeing that wilderness, in the landscape, and the air.
I’m also in love with the colour of the yarn they’re shown in.
You may have seen this one before; it was in the Knitty First Fall ’12 issue, and is also available on Ravelry as a free download. Again….superb use of lace. I am always attracted to lace shawls and scarves, but I’m just not really a lace wearing person. This scarf? I would totally knit and wear. And plan on doing!
The last section of the book, Happy Endings, neatly– and touchingly– finishes the book with a photo of the happy couple on their wedding day, and a pattern for a patchwork blanket, Vivid, that, frankly, is one of the most innovative things I’ve seen. Not the patchwork part of it, but — what else– the lace squares. The lace square pattern is like a granny square all grown up with a good job and a closet full of great clothes. Even though I’ve got a granny square blanket in progress (it’s been in progress for the past three years) I am seriously considering casting on for this blanket.
I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most important aspects of the patterns in this book– all of them are shown in sizes 0-6 months through adult 4XL. In a way, it’s like getting two books in one.
As an extra bonus, Emily has graciously offered a copy of the e-book to a lucky blog reader! Leave a message on this post, including your Ravelry username, by midnight PST Saturday, June 1st, and I will use a random number generator to pick out the lucky winner!
Thank you, Tin Can Knits!