Sample workshop: Fair Isle

Whilst currently feeling a bit despondent about the cable jumper (as you may remember, I have knitted 3 sleeves and now am at my third attempt to master the saddle with decreases matching the pattern), and I am itching to start on something for myself, I have taken a brief holiday/ detour from the current project.

Instead of starting a new project in a flurry and going full steam ahead, I have decided to be very rational and plan the new project carefully and swatch it, so when the cable jumper is finished, I can go on straight to the next well thought out project.

Whilst swatching, I thought I ought to try as many new techniques as possible. So I started with a cable cast on, and was pleasantly surprised with it’s elasticity. Next, I tried the vikkel braid, or herringbone braid. Very nice, but totally wrong for the border of a Fair Isle project. But I can see potential for a plain, tailored design, to finish it off with a decorative border, and even for a button band.
Then I tried a pocket, it works well and is not too hard, either. But again, the top of the pocket ought to be in a dark color, framing it.
And lastly, the color-work. I did not chose the colors, my boss bought these lovely Scottish yarns in Aberdeen for me. I cannot see them work, so I do have permission to order a few more colors. There is not enough contrast (I need a yellow, a light grey, a blue and a dark something) – otherwise it looks like a Christmas design. I will order those in!
Finally, the Fair Isle patterns: it is important to stick to a consistent level of complexity in design – the top pattern is not complex enough and thus stands out.

I found Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting a real treasure trove for the patterns. As well as ideas to copy straight, she gives endless plain sheets of designs, neatly ordered according to row amounts, which just bedazzled me. I found her book in my local library!

What a good holiday that was! I feel rejuvenated to get back to the cable jumper whilst I wait for my yarn additions…

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