Shonky Fair Isle

I’ve wanted to try my hand at Fair Isle for a while. I’m always thoroughly awed and intimidated by other people’s colourwork but when my mother passed on a load of Rowan wool-cotton that she’d frogged from a Fair Isle sweater she’d made, it seemed a perfect opportunity to try it myself. No-risk yarn and a person in the house who’s still small enough to make experimental items for (I’ve no doubt that getting him to wear handknits when he’s a teenager will be a rather different kettle of fish). Also in some senses it’s not really colourwork because it’s black, white and grey, which is possibly cheating.

I used a Debbie Bliss pattern as a basis – a tank top, as I didn’t want to bother with sleeves – and some patterns from Alice Starmore’s Fair Isle book. Basically I cast on about 80 stitches and then made it up. I cast on the back and front at the same time and then just knitted until I got to the armholes, decreased a bit, knitted a bit more and made up a neck.

Several things I’d do differently next time, I think. You’re supposed to work in the round for proper Fair Isle and cut steeks for the sleeves. Because I knitted back and front separately my side seams are a nightmare of woven ends and the patterns don’t match, of course (I have no intention of posting a picture of the seams). Also whether it’s Debbie’s pattern, my abuse of it or my son’s abnormally large arms I don’t know but it’s not going to fit him for long.

Might use a pattern next time! Still, it was a useful way to experiment with the technique, and a low-risk project all round.

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