Knitting Colorwork: Fair Isle Style!
|Bressay Dress by Gudrun Johnson,
from Fair Isle Style
Lately, I'm crazy for Fair Isle knitting. I have a cowl project on the needles, and lots of Fair Isle in my queue.
One of the projects that I can't stop thinking about is the Bressay Dress by Gudrun Johnson, from our new book Fair Isle Style. I love tunics with leggings, and this dress is especially cute, don't you think?
I love the pockets! And the sleeves! And the entire thing! I've never knit a dress, and I think the Bressay would be really great to add to my wardrobe. There will be a lot of stockinette to knit, but it's worked in the round from the top down, so it will be all knitting all the time, which is a little faster than knitting stockinette garments in pieces.
|Peerie Weerie Booties by Carrie Bostick Hoge, from Fair Isle Style|
|Lumesadu Gloves by Nancy Bush, from Fair Isle Style|
|Mareel Shrug by Norah Gaughan, from Fair Isle Style|
And since there's colorwork at the bottom of the dress, too, I'll have something to look forward to after I finish the yoke.
The tradition of Fair Isle knitting goes way back, and I like being part of the line of Fair Isle knitters. Here's Mary Jane Mucklestone, the author of Fair Isle Style and a Fair Isle expert, to tell you a little about the history of this beautiful style of knitting and her new book.
Fresh Designs for a Classic Technique
Originating in Fair Isle, a tiny island in the northernmost archipelago (Shetland) of the British Isles, Fair Isle knitting has been produced continuously for two hundred years or more. As popular today as ever, Fair Isle knits are routinely present on the high-fashion runways of Paris and New York. This seemingly complex colorwork knitting is surprisingly simple to create and great fun for the knitter.
True Fair Isle knitting never uses more than tow colors in any row, yet it achieves fantastic color effects from elegantly subtle shadings to wild riots of color. If you're new to the technique, begin with a simple project that uses just a touch of color—a two-color band that encircles a cowl, for example—and work your way up to a more complex color arrangement that includes many colors in the same pattern motif. Whatever your wish, these patterns offer enticing choices for ever skill level.
Farrah Raglan by Courtney Kelley,
from Fair Isle Style
Fair Isle Style is a collection of twenty patterns from seventeen talented and inventive knitwear designers, each of whom has used traditional Fair Isle knitting as a point of departure to create something unique, be it a dress, skirt, shrug, sweater, mitten, hat, or even a delightful stuffed toy! Every design offers and individual lesson in inspiration, technique application, and of course, style. As a collection, the patterns will give you new ways to think about Fair Isle knitting and provide you with ideas and inspiration for your own inventions.
After you have taken in the twenty designs, turn to the Design Notebook, where you'll find a discussion of the basics of Fair Isle knitting, including holding and managing two yarns, dealing with floats, and combining colors successfully. The seemingly terrifying technique of steeking is also clearly explained and will put your fears to rest.
—Mary Jane Mucklestone, from Fair Isle Style