Thursday, January 27, 2011

fair isle knitting obsession

if you've never tried knitting, you must be be forewarned that is highly addictive!! First it starts out as something to do while you watch Gossip Girl and Real Housewives...then it's something useful to do on long plane rides and in waiting rooms...then you find yourself adding more shows to your DVR
just so you can have a reason to get back to your knitting. In fact, I would like to tear myself away from the computer to go knit right now. It's crazy.

I've been knitting and crocheting off and on since my Grandma taught me how to make dishrags and pot holders when I was just a teeny little grade schooler. After knitting basic scarves, hats, and mittens for the last ten years, I decided that it was time for me to face my fears and delve into the world of knitting in multiple colors!

Fair isle was everywhere this winter with ultra thick sweater sleeve scarves and head-to-toe ski bunny looks from D&G (literally head-to-toe, including a fair isle thick knit catsuit...definitely not a good look). If you're not sure what fair isle is, just take a look at the images and I'm sure you will get the idea...see more of the D&G runway collection here.

The name comes from the Fair Isle island in northern Scotland where this style originated, so I think there is a technical definition that differentiates it from all "stranded" knitting where two colors are being knit at the same time...but the fashion world definitely uses the term fair isle to refer to those colorful stripey knits with little snowflakes, reindeer, and exes in them.

The $255 price tag for a Rag & Bone fair isle scarf and a
free video tutorial on inspired me to attempt this challenging two-color knitting style at home...

My first project is this little red bag (sweaters are just way too intimidating...gotta master the technique first) that I found in Color Style by Pam Allen and Ann Budd, which has some modern patterns that looked slightly achievable. The up side is that the technique is complicated enough to make me feel challenged, but the down side is that the technique is complicated enough that I definitely mess up a lot when I try to watch TV simultaneously.

Hopefully fair isle will be in style next winter since it will take me until then to complete anything that I would be willing to wear in public...

I'll let you know how it goes.

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