Jumping Up and Down for Shetland – but How Do I Prepare?

I’m off to Shetland in the very near future; it’s a bucket-list trip and I already have travel-butterflies of excitement in my stomach. What I don’t have is a lot of Shetland-style knitting in my repertoire. My stranded knitting consists of one Fair Isle hat—no sweaters, no mittens, certainly no steeking.

Whoops. Time to remedy that before I go.

stranded knitting

I want to go to there. And yes, this is a stock image of my dreams of Shetland. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Thankfully, I have some awesome resources at my fingertips: I actually filmed 3 online workshops on stranded knitting last year with the lovely Kyle Kunnecke. Introduction to Stranded Knitting is really all anyone needs to get started. Kyle tackles everything from the yarns used to color theory and yarn dominance to the actual knitting. Fair Isle’s stranded fabric can have all kinds of gauge issues, so you absolutely need to swatch. And if you are like me, your purling tends to be looser than your knitting, compounding the gauge problem (and knitting Fair Isle flat kind of sucks anyway). Kyle troubleshoots this issue with speed swatching, showing you how to knit a small swatch in the round, thus avoiding purling AND the need to cast on a bajillion stitches before you even start your hat. Go Kyle!

stranded knitting

Of course, if I really want to earn some bona fides as a Shetland-style knitter, I’ll need to learn steeking. Fearless Steeking, the next workshop in Kyle’s series, takes the fear out of cutting ginormous holes in your knitting. As I was actually in the studio, I can attest to the fact that nothing happened to the fabric when Kyle cut it. No explosions of raveling yarn. No fiber-y chaos. Just cut edges quietly waiting for you to do something with them.

stranded knitting

My most aspirational workshop is Modern Colorwork Cowls. Here, Kyle takes your stranded knitted skills and challenges you to design your own motifs and turn them into a custom design. He has an ingenious method for creating motifs, and one I need to try once I’ve mastered steeking.

I’ll be watching at least 2 of these workshops before I go, and while a Fair Isle sweater like the ones below isn’t in the cards at the moment, I am certainly prepared to finish another hat before I go.

My ideal Shetland companion enjoys long walks on the beach.

Want a deal? Subscribe to Interweave’s online workshops and tackle new techniques without leaving the house. For $9.99 a month, you can binge-watch to your heart’s content. Knit, crochet, spin, weave . . . hone a craft, or learn a new one. Watch videos from great instructors and access and download plenty of supporting material like charts, photos, and diagrams. Interact with other students via our chat boards, and post your finished assignments to a shared gallery so others can see your work.

We’re adding new workshops every month, so let us know the kind of content you’d like to see in the comments!

Never stop learning,

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