Fair Isle Fever: The Ivy League Vest

Sailing the Fair Isles

In my knitting, I tend to get inspired by something and just jump right in, whether or not I know how to do certain techniques. I figure that hands-on is the best way to learn, so I go for it. Fair Isle intimidated me more than usual, though, so I found a beginning class and signed up.

The pink and purple hat (left) is the result of that class. (It's a class pattern, so it's unpublished.) The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and it's really cozy and warm, though I wish it were a tad longer to totally cover my ears.

I fell in love with the skull cap pattern (right) and knit it up for a Christmas present two years ago for my brother. (The pattern is We Call Them Pirates.) He loved it so much that he wore it out and I had to knit him a new one last Christmas.

This year I have a new hat in the works for my brother, one of the "faux isle" patterns where you use one solid color and one variegated color to achieve a multi-colored Fair Isle look.

I've mentioned before that I've only done a couple of Fair Isle projects (see the hat photos below), but now I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more Fair Isle!

Fair Isle Made Easy

I've just had the opportunity to watch the new Knitting Daily Workshop DVD, Introduction to Fair Isle: The Ivy League Vest with Eunny Jang.

For almost an hour I was mesmerized by Eunny's Fair Isle design, the Ivy League Vest (click on the link for a free pattern download!). Eunny talks of the various principles of Fair Isle knitting, such as picking the right yarns, various ways to hold that yarn, keeping your tension even (tricky in Fair Isle!), and how to change colors easily.

Plus, Eunny has some great finishing tips that I will certainly be putting into use. I really do feel like I could be successful and have a great time with a Fair Isle sweater project!

This pattern is designed so well, even the ribbing makes use of the colorwork throughout the piece.

Eunny provides a demo in steeking, which is the process of cutting the armholes and neckline after you knit your sweater completely in the round. She cuts with confidence, making it look easy. The edges really don't unravel!

Here's a clip from the steeking section of the DVD, where Eunny cuts an actual steek and shows us how to pick up stitches on the resulting edge.

See how easy that cutting part is?

I've got a yoked Fair Isle cardigan on the needles, which I put it down to do the Central Park Hoodie, but I think I'm going to pick it up after the hoodie is complete. I'm knitting it out of Cascade 220; the body is brown and the yoke is pink, blue, and cream. It has steeks, so I'll definitely be reviewing Introduction to Fair Isle before I tackle that step!

Maybe the next project in Kathleen's Knit-a-Long should be a Fair Isle project! What do you think?





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