– 2018/30 – ‘fair isle knitting’

The one and only advantage of one’s putting one’s back out completely and utterly a week before a ski holiday whilst getting into one’s car (true or false… true,  don’t go there.  It hurts and I’m furious) is that one has rather a lot of time to sit around and learn things that have had to have been put off due to life getting in the way of learning new things.

I walk like an old lady, bent forward and very slowly, lifting anything heavier than a sock hurts and I’m bored our of my mind, what else can I do if not knitting?

I’ve been wanting to try my hands at fair isle knitting for ages.  It’s getting more and more popular and I have quite a few favourites projects in Ravelry that are just waiting for the right moment.  According to Wikipedia: Fair Isle (/fɛəraɪ̯l/) is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetland islands. Fair Isle knitting gained a considerable popularity when the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII) wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in 1921. Traditional Fair Isle patterns have a limited palette of five or so colours, use only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.[1]

Strictly speaking the term “Fair Isle knitting” should only be reserved to characteristic patterns of the Shetland Island whilst any other knitted colour work design would be better described as ‘stranded colour work’.  ‘Fair Isle’ sounds so much more impressive though… sigh… and ‘stranded’ seems more accurate because for a while I had no idea what I was doing at all!!!

I picket up what looked like a fairly easy pattern in the latest issue of Making, ‘Lines’, issue 4.  (Oh my such a gorgeous magazine….)

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There you go: Lines Mittens by Alexa Ludeman.

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I used two left over balls of gorgeous yarn… the mustard one is from the Uncommon Thread and the green one is Madelinetosh.  Both worsted weight…

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… and with the help of copious youtube videos I am actually making progress.

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… all those stitches in different colours…

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My tension is somewhat tighter – apparently a common ailment of rookie fair ‘islets’ (totally made up word) – but I’m hoping it’ll improve as I practice.

I’m trying to hold the two colours one in each hand and that means that I’ve also learned to knit ‘continental’ style.  Check me out!

I haven’t even finished half a mitten and my mind is already planning much bigger projects…  a serious case of running before walking…

4 Comments

  1. Oooh I’m so impressed! I’ve been meaning to try Fair Isle for ages, and like you I have several saved projects that require the technique. I’ve just injured my hamstrings in yoga–sooo annoying–so I know how you feel being laid up (though I haven’t been as productive as you with my knitting). I hope your back is better in time for skiing. I’ve been very curious about Making since I first read about it a few weeks ago–you always have all the best magazines! I compose comments in my head every time I read your posts but somehow I never seem to write them out–I just wish you were here so we could chat about everything! We really do need to have a proper catch up–it’s been sooo long! K xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch, hope your back gets better soon although the upside is knitting! I got continental knitting sussed last summer and it is getting easier and easier. CN x

    Liked by 1 person

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