Wednesday 27 January 2021

Fair Isle Sweater

I started on the sweater I am making my son for his birthday as per his request (isn't it nice that a young man wants a hand-knitted jumper for his birthday?).   He chose the design which is by Ann Feitelson (though the story reveals it was taken from an original design by Hazel Tindall from a jumper found in a charity shop!).

There must be a lot less demand for Shetland Wool nowadays as many of their colours are now discontinued.  I'm a big fan of all traditional techniques and crafts and always feel sad when some are found to be disappearing (as is happening with many).  I had to substitute three colours but I think it's worked out alright.  There used to be 151 colours in their range of jumper weight wool and now they have 97 (still a good number, but 54 colours discontinued, that's a lot).

This was my first attempt at the corrugated ribbing but I wasn't happy
with the colour in the middle which was breaking the run of colours
between the browns.

I ordered another colour (this was one of the substituted colours)
frogged back, and started again with the new colour:

Yes!  That's much better.

Here's where I'm at as of today:

An interesting mix of browns, orangey-pinks, orange, purple and plum.

Still a long way to go!
But I started early, I only need to finish it by May.

Best wishes,

Wednesday 13 January 2021

Kep Hat

I love Fair Isle knitting.  I love the patterns and endless colour combinations.  I find changing colours and patterns so often keeps the knitting interesting all the way through even though it's all stockinette stitch.  I also love knitting in the round which means you never need to purl and best of all, no sewing is required at the end!

Here is my hat finished.  I was only working with whatever leftover wool I had from other projects and improvising with colours as I went along so wasn't sure I'd like the end result... but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

I like that you can wear the extra fabric on the side
or on the back for a different look.

I had fun making the big colourful tassel.

Keps were/are traditionally worn by Scottish fishermen.  I used Shetland wool which is renowned for being warm, strong, durable and has a "grippy" quality which is particularly good for stranded knitting.  And the best part with this wool is that you don't have to weave in your ends (there are so many!), you just knot, tear, and leave to felt into the fabric with use and washing.

I looked up Shetland to find out a bit more about the area... I didn't know it comprised of so many islands!  And that it is so far north.  There are 100 islands in the Shetland of which only 16 are inhabited, Fair Isle being one of them with about 65 residents nowadays (down from about 400 in the 1900s).

This particular pattern is from a book I recently got by Mati Ventrillon called "Knitting from Fair Isle".

There will be some more Fair Isle knitting going on as my son has now requested a sweater for his birthday.  I have made a start on it but this will take me several months to knit.  I'll be showing that in a future blogpost.  I might also make another hat or two (time and elbow permitting!), as family members would now like one too!  My son asked if I could make him a beanie version of this hat.  But I won't be remaking the same one, I'll look for different designs... or maybe even design my own as I have books that show many traditional Fair Isle patterns (peeries and border patterns) so that you can mix and match depending on the number of stitches you require.

Best wishes,

Friday 8 January 2021

New Year

I completed one project during the holidays and got it posted just before Christmas.  It was the blanket I made for my new niece.  The colour is really a nice duck egg blue (not obvious in the photos).

I'm sorry I didn't take better photos of it, they are evening/artificial light photos and the weather was too horrible to take any nice ones outside before I packed it up to ship it.  The square pattern is by Destany Wymore and can be found here on Ravelry.

And now I'm using up some odd and ends of leftover shetland wool to knit a Fair Isle hat.  The pattern is "Kep Hat" by Mati Ventrillon.  I've knitted several Fair Isle jumpers over the years... but it's the first time knitting a hat!

I send all of you my best wishes for a better New Year 2021, full of peace, love, joy... and lots of creative projects!

What's your first project of 2021?  Please let me know in the comments.

Best wishes,