Don’t fear the Fair Isle

I’ve been knitting for quite some time now.  My first attempt at learning was deserted when I was about 7, and a relation frustratedly asked “Do you want to learn to knit or do you want to watch tele?” and got the wrong answer.  I finally learnt properly at the age of about 11.  I dropped stitches, my tension was frightening and I didn’t know how to cast on or off, but I was hooked (a lovely little crochet pun for you there).

Ten years later I’m playing with cables and lace knitting and all sorts of things I didn’t know existed when I was a pre-teen.  But a few knitting things still frighten me, and one of them is Fair Isle.

For the non-knitters out there, Fair Isle is the use of multiple colours to create complicated but beautiful patterns and motifs.  I have often seen patterns I am dying to knit, but I have always shied away from them because of the Fair Isle they include.  It’s quite pathetic really, there’s no point in being afraid of something that is really just a hobby, and yet, Fair Isle makes my knees knock.

It’s a complicated thing.  It’s not just about changing colour every now and then.  Apparently, when you change colours it makes it very difficult to keep your tension.  Tension is very important my non-knitting readers.  It means keeping all of your stitches even.  If you don’t have a consistent tension, you get saggy bits in your knitting.  Trust me it looks horrendous, no one wants saggy bits!

So, in Fair Isle, you are potentially highlighting your saggy bits (oo-er) by making them a different colour.

Thus!  I am afraid of Fair Isle.

But I don’t want to be.  I recently saw a pattern for some knee high socks with a fold over Fair Isle cuff and my instant reaction was “I want I want I want!”  You might be wondering why I don’t look for them in a shop.  Because that, my dear readers, is blasphemy.  Once I’ve seen that it’s possible to make it myself, buying it will simply not have the same satisfaction.

I have been on the hunt now for quite some time for beginners Fair Isle patterns.  Unfortunately I’ve been slightly stymied by one of my other knitting fears – knitting in the round, but I’ll come to that in another post.  I want something really basic that I can just have a go at.  Who knows, maybe if I do it once, I’ll be bitten by the bug and want Fair Isle in everything I knit.  Hang on, who am I kidding?  If I manage it, I’ll be obsessed, I can gaurantee you that!  I finally found a pretty, and apparently easy, Fair Isle Scarf pattern.  And free too!  I do love, but that too will be in another post!

So as soon as I get my hands on my stash of wool at home, I will embark on this knitting adventure.  Watch this space for my Fair Isle progress…

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