Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stranded: Fair Isle Knitting

One of the new techniques I have on my 2015 list to learn and master is stranded fair isle knitting.

I don't mean just changing colors, I mean mastering it with consistent tension, great color combos and no holes!   I've spent a lot of years avoiding this and just knitting solid colors and simple stripes, simply because, frankly, color changes scared me. But in 2015, I plan to tackle my fears and work hard to master fair isle.

My first project is a sweet little sweater for my youngest grandson.  (He is the tester because, well, he is the smallest!).   So I picked this lovely pattern that is available on Ravelry, titled Anders  by Sorren Kerr. I fell in love with the pattern and it is extremely well written.  Easy to follow, top down, in the round, no seaming, and easy charts for the color work.

The project came out lovely and the sweater is tucked away for Christmas.  Not to mention little Nolan's birthday is Christmas Eve, so this sweater is just perfect for him!

As you can see, the tension is pretty good for the snow fall near the top, but I have some work to do to get the tension better near the bottom of the trees.  For my first one, I'm ok with that for now, but will definitely work on improvements with future projects.
 I found that when changing colors, each change requires me to 'flip' my incoming yarn so that with each change the new yarn goes under the old yarn.  Unless I flipped the yarn, I would end up with a tangled mess.  This slows the knitting process down, quite a bit, but I just love the end result.

I've already cast on an adult sweater for my daughter Sara that has some fair isle work. So far it is coming out well, so stay tuned for that update in another month or so.. (it is a big sweater that requires SEAMING.. another technique on my 2015 list!.


Tall Cottage Thoughts said...

I love the colors you chose for this sweater. Nice work. There's a term for the "snow" above the trees; it escapes me at the moment. I want to say "flecking".

I knit a red sweater for my granddaughter a year or so ago with "snow" all over, sleeves and all, with white sheep with black faces. It turned out well but my tension could have been a little better as well. I wrapped and carried the floats under.

Sara will like her sweater, too, when she gets it. Do put up a photo when you finish.

Her old ski coach enjoyed his mittens I made.

Tall Cottage Thoughts said...

The term for adding "snow" in colorwork is called "seeding". I found it today in a Fair Isle book I'd purchased.

Flicking is another way of knitting English style. Maybe you've heard of it. Flicking is knitting without letting go of the needle every time one knits a stitch.

By the way, I finally found the old German way of knitting I searching for is what you introduced me to as "Continental". I found an article about it and read the usage of "German style" fell out of favor after WWII, which makes sense. Thus, the word "continental" was applied as a replacement word.

Do you knit both English and Continental?

I also got brave enough to knit a steek and then cut my knitting. Course, it was only a small piece but I still may work up enough courage to do it after knitting a sweater in the round. I've been trying to expand my knowledge of knitting this past year.