Fair Isle Knitting
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Fair Isle Knitting

Fair Isle knitting was originally started on the island called Fair Isle which is part of the British Isles. It was used by the islanders and all the stitches used meant something and all the colours were made from materials found on the island. Fair Isle knitting is still used to this day and often used in knit wear.

Fair Isle knitting originated from a small island Fair Isle where for years it was used to knit sweaters solely for the people who lived there. Fair Isle forms part of the British Isles and is the remotest inhabited island with only around 70 inhabitants. Nowadays the distinctive patterns have become internationally popular and are much copied. Nothing beats a hand knitted garment for warmth and comfort so they were much needed on this island.

Fair Isle sweaters were originally knitted in many colours with different bands of pattern. As with Aran knitting, each pattern had a meaning, and the knitter used her own taste and imagination to create a garment that was unique. It might start with a “seed” stitch and be followed by “water” stitch, intended to water the seed of life. This in the natural course of events would be followed by the flower. The help and guidance one needs to go through life was portrayed by an anchor or star motif, and hearts or crosses were often included as a reminder of one’s faith. Finally, if the life was well lived, the reward would be the crown of glory and this would decorate the shoulder of the sweater.

Traditionally, Fair Isle knitting was worked in beautiful, soft and muted colours, the dyes for which were made from the natural materials found on the island. Shell fish provided the pinks, and seaweed, mosses and lichens made the browns, greens and yellows, so the whole was truly a product of the island.

In some Fair Isle knitting patterns, the pattern design is given in chart form, in which each square represents one stitch in the row. When following a chart, working on two needles in stocking stitch, and starting with a knit row, the first and every odd-numbered row will be read from right to left across the chart. Purl rows and all even-numbered rows will be read from left to right. If you are working on four needles or a circular needle, then the rounds are all knit rounds and are all read from right to left on each round. Colours may be stranded and for this, you carry the wool not in use across the back of the work, until it is required.

When working with two colours only, hold one colour in the right hand and the other in the left. It is best to hold the colour to be used most often in the row in the right hand. It becomes simple to take up a stitch or two of the second colour from the left hand, with the point of the right hand needle. If too many stitches have to be worked in one colour, stranding becomes unsatisfactory. The work can be pulled and the final result be spoilt. In this case, weaving the yarns not in use is the best way. Do this by weaving the colour not in use under that in use for one stitch and over the colour in use on the next stitch.

Image Source: http://www.lionbrand.com/origpics/60419a.jpg

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Interesting. Voted. Request friendship and support.