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Fair Isle (Hats)

November 13, 2016

After another stressful week (oh, it’s been a year… one thing after the other… Can December be a calm month, please?) I was looking for new activities that could help me to at least for a while forget everything around me. Believe it or not knitting seems to be helping the most.

I found a book I bough a few years ago in Germany – 200 Fair Isle-Muster (200 Fair Isle Patterns) and got tangled in colourful yarn…


In my opinion Fair Isle = winter cosiness and probably even hygge (yes, yes, that fashionable Danish word (pronounced hue-gah) which can be described as a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day things more meaningful, beautiful or special).

At the moment I’m knitting hats. I’ve done two so far and the second one seems to be better than the first, so by the time I’ve finished knitting a few more, that are going to be Christmas presents, I should be a pro! Hopefully then I will be able to move onto jumpers. I love Fair Isle jumpers, but I don’t think I’d have enough patience for one…


By the way, basic two-colour Fair Isle requires no new techniques beyond the basic knit stitch. But… “Traditionally Fair Isle jumper construction involves knitting the body of the jumper completely in the round. Steeks are worked across the armhole openings allowing the body to be completed in the round without interruption. Once the main body of the jumper is complete, the armhole steeks are cut open (sometimes these are secured before cutting). Stitches are then picked up around the armhole opening and the sleeve is knitted down toward the cuff in the round.” (Wikipedia) I’m really not sure about this bit.

Anyway, I’d better get back to knitting these hats, as practise makes perfect, and you should try to find out more about hygge, as something that can be described as “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things” (more can be found here) is definitely worth investigating, don’t you think?

— — —

Did you know that…?

  • Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetland islands.
  • Fair Isle knitting gained a considerable popularity when the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII) wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in 1921.
  • Traditional Fair Isle patterns have a limited palette of five or so colours, use only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.

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