A Fair fear?

I thought I would update you all on my Fair Isle progress, because, quite simply, it’s funny.

I cast on my wool sometime last week and started knitting.  But already I had encountered two issues.  The first was that the pattern was for circular needles.  How did I miss that???  As you may remember, circular needles are my only other knitting phobia so this panicked me somewhat.  However, it seemed that I could still use the same pattern on straight needles.  Panic over.  Now the second issue is closely linked to the first.  One of the great things about circular needles is that they come in all different lengths so you can have LOTS of stitches, and so you can make really long scarves or a whole jumper with no seams.  This pattern required 195 stitches.  My needles aren’t long enough for that.  By a long stretch.  So I quartered the amount of stitches thinking the pattern would still work (I’ll come back to this faux pas later).

The pattern includes a section of rib (for non-knitters, sleeves are knitted in rib, its that kind of, ribbed look…) so I started off well.  Or so I thought.  My first stumble from cutting the amount of stitches reared its ugly head.  I must apologise non knitters, I’m going to get a wee bit technical.  My pattern said to do knit pearl rib every row, but because I had altered the amount of stitches, I should have alternated knit pearl, pearl knit every row.  Needless to say, I didn’t, so my edge is actually moss stitch.  I don’t mind, I think moss stitch is prettier, but it was a bit unsettling that I’d messed up the part I thought would be easy.

The first few rows of Fair Isle were relatively simple.  But one of the things that puzzled me was that the pattern tells you to take the wool with you along the back of your knitting.  Now I think I know what that means, but it does leave a lot of stringy bits at the back – to anyone who has done Fair Isle before; is that normal???  Also, by the time I had three colours in the knitting, but was only using two, I kept forgetting the other one and leavng it dangling.  Poor lonely yarn.  So far it hasn’t mattered but I have a feeling it might do further along.  And besides I just feel bad for the limp and solitary strand of wool…I may have finally snapped and gone nuts.

Now this next thing probably isn’t an actual issue or anything, but it’s annoying me somewhat.  My balls keep getting tangled (oo-er)!!  Every stitch loops the yarns over each other and it does my head in.  I might be doing something stupid here, but I cannot fathom how to stop it happening.  I just have to fix it at the end of each row – I know, not a major issue, but irritating nonetheless!

So I have done about 10cms of Fair Isle.  It looks quite pretty, and my tension is actually really good.  But remember my cutting stitches idea?  Oh Lizzie.  Yeah, the pattern doesn’t really work any more.  I don’t know if it will still look decent when it’s done, but I bloody well hope so!  The pattern has three colours; a base colour, and two different highlights.  One of the highlights is fine, but the other seems very random, like I’ve sprinkled some purple in at odd times without actually knowing what I was doing (hmm sounds close to the truth).  Who knows, maybe it will look stunning when I’m done….yeah, that’ll be the day!  But if I don’t believe it will, I won’t finish the damn thing!

So is my fear of Fair Isle fair?  Well I think it’s justified at least, I haven’t had to concentrate so much on knitting for a long time at any rate.  But I will keep you updated, and when it’s done, I’ll show you a pretty picture :-).  Well hopefully it’ll be pretty….

2 thoughts on “A Fair fear?

  1. Hi
    I’ve come in late here, so have only just read your fairisle experience. It sounds like you are doing it correctly and you do have to concentrate. To make it neat at the back you can weave the different colours along the rows (even if you are not knitting them) and if you do it ever 3rd or 4th stitch it looks nice.
    As for the tangles, I have some little plastic things that I bought that you wind small amounts of wool on and you hang them at the back of the knitting and unwrap small amounts of wool as you go.
    Hope this helps!

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