I'm simultaneously working on two knitting projects (well actually more, but two I'll admit to in this post). One is a cute baby sweater with teases of fair isle (that's about all I can handle of fair isle). I decided to knit the 18 month size, but it's looking way bigger than that. I guess I deserve this because I didn't exactly knit a swatch; I can get lazy about doing that. This one is being knit with Plymouth Encore DK which is a lovely, economical yarn (about $3.50 per skein). I chose some great heathery colors, so mine will turn out different from the photo I posted a couple of days ago. No worries about it possibly being a smidge large, it will fit the grand daughter at some point in her future life.
In case you are wondering , Fair Isle is also known as "stranded" knitting, where you use more than one color. In traditional Fair Isle, only two colors are used on any one row (thankfully!). When you knit across the row, you knit whichever color is needed for the pattern, and carry the other color loosely across the back of the knitting. Fair Isle is worked in stockinette stitch and the back of the work has a distinctive look due to the strands being carried. The instructions are usually given in a chart with each square in the chart representing one stitch. It can be challenging to read and follow the charts, which are much like counted cross stitch. I'm thinking if I do much of this type of knitting that I need to order one of these for myself. Fair Isle knitting can be done on two or four needles, or a circular needle. I believe it would be far easier to do on a circular needle because you wouldn't have to deal with purling while stranding.
Traditional Fair Isle knitting patterns come from Fair Isle, a small island in northern Scotland. I was impressed to read that families there memorized unique knitting patterns and handed them down through the generations.
I can't imagine doing this, but I did find these great resources about knitting Fair Isle which may be helpful to others:
Fair Isle Knitting by Knitting Daily
How to Knit with two colors at a time
Two Handed Color Knitting
Weaving in Floats with a video
The Basics of The Two Handed Fair Isle Technique
The other project, a sweater for my dear daughter in law also wasn't exactly swatched. (I knitted a few rows and casually checked my gauge with what I had knitted) and I'm worried now it may turn out to be enormous. I may have to find someone larger to gift this one to. I do love the color of this cotton/wool yarn. This one is from the Cleckheaton Merino Spun book 953 (now discontinued), it's called simply "Jumper with raglan set-in sleeves, shawl collar, and side splits" . Most of it is knit in a simple stockinette stitch. I'm knitting it in Cascade Sierra, which is 80% pima coton, 20% merino wool .
I'll be posting photos of both of these creations when I get a little further along.