Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Getting to know Fair-Isle

Happy May everyone!

It is snowing and the temperature is hovering around zero but I know for sure that this month will bring the summer. (There is a little voice in the back of my mind saying that we have had snow in June, but I won’t listen…) The ice is still covering the lake and to tell the truth I think it still needs many many warm days before the water is free.
Tina has shed all her winter fur and now that her new coat is lighter and airier she wakes me up every morning around five to be let inside. I have thought that she has been cold. Either that or it is the amount of light that keeps her awake. She must be thinking that since the sun has been up for so long, it is time for me to get up too…

Thank you for the nice comments about the blue dress. I think it will be practical for our summer.

Since last I have bought two books, the Tudor Roses and the Celtic Collection by AS. I really love them. I have gone through my every single book and magazine looking for fair-isle projects. They are the only ones that speak to me now. Some time ago, I just sort of skipped fail-isle sweaters and cardigans in all my publications thinking that they were not for me. Now they seem to be the only ones I’m looking at and all of a sudden my pile of books and magazines seems so new. The possibility of fair-isle is like a whole new world, I wonder how many new discoveries I will be making in the coming months...

I have ordered a kit. I don’t remember if I mentioned this last time but now I’m watching my mail. But not only waiting I have been swatching, I have been trying to bring up my fair-isle skills trying different methods of holding yarn and I must say that with every swatch I feel better about it. And in the same time, I sort of feel like I’m taking a giant step in my knitting. So here.

This is an older swatch. Done with Satakieli yarn, pattern by Nancy Bush in her book Folk Socks. Here I was wrapping the yarn with every stitch. It was a bit too time consuming maybe.

This was supposed to be King Harald Street hat from Ann Feitelson's Fair-Isle Knitting book. It turned out huge. Yarn Jamieson's Shetland.

Here I was trying to get the corrugated ribbing right and at the same time trying to play with colours. Jamieson's Shetland yarn.

Swatch with dpn's, learnt to rotate the place of the neeldes to avoid ridges between needles. Satakieli yarn.

And the conclusion is, when doing corrugated ribbing, I hold one yarn in right hand and one yarn in left hand, but when doing stockinette, I hold both yarns in my right hand. This seems to work for me, and the reason for this I think must be the practice I have had with twined knitting. So Miss Mailman, where is my kit? I'm all set.

Dear Peg,
Miss B is still in her nest, she peeked her head out the other day but went back to sleep since it is so cold yet. I told her not to rush so that she would not get a spring cold. But when she comes out dusting her nest, then will be the time for me to start serious cleaning as well.

I really don’t know how to keep the dogs from the ice, I have them under my control all the time and don’t let them roam freely at all.

The isbn for the Japanese Nordic Knitting book is ISBN4-579-11118-4.

By the way, my kit is from Tudor Roses.


  1. These works are so intricate! The Fair Isle patterns seem to look so nice on everyone, but I do not like the way they look on me. For some reason I am more drawn to solid color clothing. Those are not as exciting to knit, but they are still keeping me happy.

  2. I have been around knitting and sheep most of my life but didn't take it up again seriously until about a year ago. Already, I too, am looking at fair isle knitting with great interest. I currently have a fair isle hat and Lopi pullover on needles (yes, and other projects, but we won't talk about all half-done items I try to give equal time in knitting). Finland looks very cold to me. I live in what is sometimes referred to as "the banana belt" of California. Very moderate climate (Mediterranean).

  3. Thank you for letting me know about Miss B. I hope she can send me some mojo for getting at spring cleaning! I love to work outside, but cleaning inside is put on hold for now - I will await the rains!
    Isn't the snow in late spring just the hardest to deal with, even though you know it will be different in a day or two.
    I can see why your knitting is so beautiful - you practise! What lovely samples.
    I agree with buying kits to do fair isle, especially if it has more than four colours. It would cost more to buy the individual balls, as some need very little. When I did large needlework projects, I always bought a kit! I think it is more economical in the end.
    Will the ice be gone in a week? Sure hope so!

  4. Michele16:51

    So excited to see your new projects. Enjoy the coming Spring!

  5. Your swatches look great. See! You can do it!

    Hmm, need more clues ;-) If it's in Hebridean, then it has to be Henry VIII. If it's in Jamieson's, there are too many choices.

  6. How exciting that you are experimenting with Fair Isle knitting! I think you will be a natural. Since you can knit those Rovaniemi (sp?) mittens, a fair isle pullover or cardigan should be a walk in the park!

    I wonder what kit you chose? :-)

  7. Mmmmmm... Fair-Isle. I enjoy it as well. It took me awhile to get the stitches even and not puckering. I usually have to give myself a pep-talk about being "loosy goosy" with the carried yarn.

  8. I love corrugated ribbing. I've hardly had time to knit anything lately though, so my fairisle books are languishing on the shelf...

  9. Tsk... No fair, I'm supposed to be steady with my lace right now, and here you are tempting me with such lovely Fair Isle swatches. They are all lovely -- I hope your kit arrives quickly.

    And Happy May Day to you and Tina -- my two have shed their winter coats as well, though I suspect the mornings here complement their thinner coats much more happily than the mornings there...

  10. Good Morning and Happy May Day!
    Tina is looking so sleek. The FI swatches are all beautiful!

  11. Happy May Day. It is 90 degrees F. here, so enjoy the coolness while you can.

  12. Great pictures of Tina and your knitting! I think over the summer I will attempt some fair-isle mittens so that this year I'll be prepared for the cold.

    Our temperatures are hovering around zero, but there were a couple of warmer days here and there, so the ice on the river has melted. No more snow. The bugs are already here. Meh.

  13. Where on earth did you find a copy of "Tudor Roses"? I have been coveting one of the patterns from that book for a while now, but can't seem to find the book for a reasonable price anywhere. Amazon.com has used copies for $135. Crazy.

  14. Clair. St Michel06:29

    If you are interested in color work, you may be interested in to know that techknitting.blogspot.com is doing a series on that subject.

  15. Beautiful swatches Lene!

  16. Your Fair Isle swatches are beautiful...I recently completed a Fair Isle bag (to be felted) and chose it as a project primarily to see if I like knitting Fair Isle and if I could do it. I think I'm ready now...but I'm a Large (that's LARGE) Lady and I hate to think of all the stitches required to make a traditional Fair Isle that would fit me...Maybe I'll do one in worsted weight, but still have to find/make a pattern that fits. Your knitting is lovely - all of it!

  17. Tina looks like a little fox pup in that picture!

    "Fail Isle" - Freudian slip, or are you being clever? :) Your swatches are beautiful, and I'm sure you'll do Starmore proud.

  18. Oh wow, those are the most inspirational swatches I've ever seen! Must be the color work thing. Can't wait to see what you knit up!

  19. Tina is looking so tender and soft, I thought she was a new puppy.

    Snow in June? Bah!

  20. We are havign parallel Fair Isle conversions! See my blog theopinionatedsheep.blogspot.com and the meeting of tThe Church of Fair Isle. If you are ever in Ithaca, NY, USA, join us!!
    I am into tams (just learned the two-handed FI last Dec) and am now doing a vest.

  21. I love the way we all move into different phases in our craftwork; we might look at one kind and think it's not for us, and then a few years later, there it is and we throw ourselves headlong into the affair. Have you seen the latest pattern on Sock Madness?http://www.flickr.com/groups/sockmadness2007/

    I imagine you would gallop through that pattern, and do it knee-length too!