Fair Isle Lessons

blue FI swatchPhew that was fast! My Elann order was delivered to me yesterday! I nervously opened the box, hoping I was going to like the colors all together in real life. I did! The colors on the site were very true.
The suspense of what the yarn would look like all knitted up together got the best of me and I had to swatch the FI portion last night. I did the main body repeat — the one that goes across the chest. It’s a 59 row repeat and it took me about 4 hours to do! I didn’t get bored at all. I found myself looking forward to each new row, the way you’d read a book when it gets to one of the parts where something is being slowly revealed about a character or the plot. Finally around midnight the swatch was completed and steamed flat.
Here’s what I learned:

  • I can do real fair isle!
  • Colors look so different depending on which colors they’re paired with. Take the lighter blue for example. In the bottom portion it’s paired with white and looks rather light. In the top portion when it’s paired with mostly rust the color takes on a deeper tone.
  • Margene is right! A little “poison” color does alot. I love the way the kelly green pops in the section with the navy blue.
  • I like the weight and hand of the yarn. When I first felt it I thought it might be too artificial feeling. I suppose it’s the treatment the wool gets so it can be a superwash. But once knitted up it really feels like wool
  • My gauge is slightly looser on the rows that do not have any FI on them. FI experts — does this mean I’m stranding a bit too tightly? Or is this common? I’m at 6spi on the plain rows and 6.5spi on the FI rows. Here’s a pic of the back of my swatch:
  • Most importantly though, I’m not crazy about the colorway as a whole. They’re pretty together, and I do think they work. But once I knitted up the pattern I realized that the red was a big part of the appeal of the model sweater. I also think the design looks rather Native American, and the reds seem to go better with that.

So what am I going to do? Place a second order with Elann today to make the sweater in the original colors. I’m not at all sorry I gave this a try. I had to knit up a swatch anyway, and all this did was confirm that I like the design and I do really enjoy FI.
OK…off to order me some red yarn!
Oh wait, one more thing. I joined Eklectika’s Gerbera along.

gerbera along

C’mon and join us! It starts Labor Day — September 6th — so you have plenty of time to prepare!

8 thoughts on “Fair Isle Lessons

  1. *gasp* look at all those ends! I like your custom colorway, but the red version is really pretty too. It’s going to be a beautiful sweater!

  2. The swatch looks awesome! I really love all the colors together. The back of your swatch looks as good as the front! Sorry I can’t be of help re FI questions…never done it before. But I hope to try it when my skills have advanced a little.

  3. Wow! I am impressed you knitted up the swatch that fast! Don’t you love it when a project just grabs hold of you and won’t let go!
    I do agree with your thoughts on the reds. Although all the colors in your swatch go together great they just don’t seem to mesh. Reds will be better (plus I am a red freak!)

  4. I see a million ends to the thread, in fair isle do start new yarn each row? thats so much to weave in at the end.. looks insane.

  5. okay how come you have all those strands hanging off? Why not just weave the blue in and carrey it up to all the rows it’s on vs cutting it all the time? I am a newbie.. so sorry if its a dumb question..

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