Fair Isle Bits

Now that I’ve finished Sophie’s scarf, and Lance’s socks are stuck in the boring middle section, I find my mind wandering elsewhere, thinking about starting something new and not sure where to turn. Last night I wound some bobbins of Shetland yarn to illustrate yardage for my yarn co-op.

shetland_bobbins_plan.jpg

In case there are any Fair Isle knitters interested in joining a cooperative of knitters buying Jamieson yarns for a sample library, leave your name in the comments. You can read more about this idea on Feral Knitters.

I also started a swatch for the Raven hat with some samples I brought home from Janine Bajus’ Fair Isle class, but ran out of yarn just as I came to the end of the first color repeat. The swatch really wasn’t enough to see the pattern develop, or to tell whether I liked the colors I chose. Grrr.

>raven_swatch_autumn.jpg

I learned a couple of things in the process:

  • making flat swatches is a finicky process, especially in the first few rows when the stockinette curl obscures the knitting, and at the beginning of each row when fiddling with loose stitches
  • Shetland yarns *are* sticky, just like everyone said they were; the yarn felt like velcro as it ran across my fingers, but once I snugged up the floppy first and last stitches, they stayed in place
  • there is no way to understand the implications of your background and pattern color choices until you have made several horrible swatches, and probably a few dreadful items

raven_colors.jpg

This left me with nothing to do tonight but start knitting the hat. I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough yarn, as my understanding of the yardage I needed for the background and pattern colors was pretty vague when we were standing in front of Janine’s stash. Now that I’ve seen how far 2 yards can go, this hat is either going to have some wacky improvising with substitute colors in the last few inches, or I’m going to have to bust out and buy some actual balls of yarn.

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2 Responses to “Fair Isle Bits”


  1. 1 Kristi G. Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Leah,

    I really like your color choice! I know it’s difficult to judge just based on a tiny swatch like that. I’ve not had time to start yet, but I think I’ll try Janine’s trick of scanning it and piecing it together into a larger repeat using PhotoShop when I do get time to tackle it.

    Thanks for heading up the color sample group – I’m looking forward to getting that going.

    Kristi

  2. 2 Janine Friday, February 9, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Hey, I really like your swatch! But you are right–there is just nothing for it but to swatch a lot. Sometimes we run into a really wonderful combination serendipitously when we run out of one color and substitute another. The issue of curling etc in swatches is why I make continuous swatches most of the time, adding a few rows of plain color and then starting something new–the swatch is so much easier to knit after the first two inches or so.
    Clearly I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning!


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