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March 27, 2007



I think fair isle is beautiful and I'm in awe of people who can whiz through an intricate colorful patterns. But me? I'm with you... my fingers just don't do that.


"...even the most benign and unchallenging of all the more-than-one-color treatments usually points to horizontal stripes"- YES! I'm having this discussion with three very lovely colors of Silky Wool that want to be knitted together, but not in stripes. Or fair isle. That leaves a few things, but I'm sucky at intarsia. Something tells me I'll need to practice soon.

The best color pattern I've seen recently is Eunny Jang's Anemoi Mittens. If I could work a third color in, my silky wool would be happy.


I hated fair aisle until I took a class with Karen Allen, the red-headed heroine from Raiders of the Lost Arc. I loved the weirdness so much, affection for the technique soon followed. She's a professional knitter now!


The Mozart on Banjo analogy..now that's my kind of analogy.
Fairisle? I can take it or leave it.
Preferably leave it.
And oil change?
What's that?! ;)


. . . Lucky for me, my car needs one every 10,000 miles or so (yes, it's total luxury!) but I know people--and you know who you are--who log their mileage every time they pump gas.

(but I don't know if she does the Fair Isle...)


Ewww--I have a friend who logs her gas mileage every time she fills up. Of course, she usually lets me drive (and we take my truck too). I can do Fair Isle and intarsia if I HAVE to, but what I really hate doing (and even more hate wearing) is socks. Socks suck! (Am I going to be drummed out of the knitbloggers' club now?)


Never mind your Fair Isle knitting . . . I LOVE your writing. Big hugs for being so good at it!


Girlfriend is growing so very fast- oh my.

What joy in that run.

Skip the intarsia- run about with child-like abandon instead.


I'm in the camp of those who do it and I think it's great that you know exactly where you stand. I'm just a little sad to know that you'd like to but don't feel able...

Please! Block your work before you decide it sucks. Everyone knows that the blocking is as essential a step for Fair Isle as it is for lace.

Mary Lynn

There is some knitting that when I have first tried it, I hated it (i.e., read it over, tried swatching (because I have learned through very expensive lessons to not buy the whole shebang without knowing whether I'm going to like it) and then have revisited it later and decided it is not too bad or not.

I have adopted my Mom's theory on doing things whether it is reading a book or knitting or sewing or whatever. I have a limited amount of time which I refuse to waste on something I don't like (well, except work but that is a fiscal thing rather than physical).

To do or not to do is a personal issue. However, knowing you can do and choose not to is empowering.


Hmm, I don't keep track of oil changes, I do talk about hospital corners, and I'm not sure how I feel about fair isle. I do know I enjoy reading your writing.

I actually took a class with Karen Allen as well and got over my fear of color.

What I love about knitting is that there are so many different things to do and so many different ways to do it.

Vicki in So. Cal.

I hated Fair Isle the first few times I tried it too. Those awful instructions! Always pick up the new colour from beneath the previous colour, carry the unused yarn loosly across the back of the work so it won't pucker, etc. I just ended up with two thoroughly tangeled balls of yarn and a finished piece that either purkered or was ridiculously loose because my yarn across the back was uneven. Then I discovered Elizabeth Zimmermann. How simple she made it! Learn to knit both Continintal and English, have a yarn in each hand and knit with whichever is the proper colour as you come to it, to get the right amount of looseness just stretch out the stitches on the right needle when you go to change colours. Amazing! Now I had two untangled balls to work from, a finished piece that laid flat, even stitches, and I could work several times faster. Her other suggestions about never using more than two colours in a row and not carring a yarn for more than five stitches were a great help too. Now I love Fair Isle. However, no one holds a gun to our heads when we're knitting. If you don't like a type of knitting or a way to accomplish a look, don't do it. Either try it another way or knit something else. We all have things we like and things we don't. The beauty of knitting is that we are in charge of own knitting, we can do what we want, when we want and how we want. That's rare in this world.

Vicki in So. Cal.

Obviously I can knit but can't spell or type. Ah well, I can live with that.


There are too many wonderful things to knit to waste time on Fair Isle, Intarsia, or even Mosaic. I am knitting Flair in hunter green now, and the color and pattern are so beautiful. Why would I want to mess that up with Fair Isle? Life is too short!


Fair Isle was really hard for me till I bought a little cheapo gadget called a Norwegian knitting thimble. I like the gadget so much I'm willing to do the Fair Isle in order to use it (though sometimes I also use it for just one colour). Sometimes just having a new little piece of equipment makes it better for me. :o)

Dorothy B

I far prefer Mosiac knitting to Fair Isle. Same basic look, way easier to do. I am too clumsy for the throwing method of knitting and the tangling of the yarns makes me crazy.


You left out 'doesn't bother to balance the check book'! I like to attribute thoes "oversites" to the fact that I am the artist type. Never one for lists or numbers... And as for knitting, when I need to relax...and that's pretty much every day, then I prefer knitting stockinette in the round. Maybe the days for counting stitches will come when there's not so many toddlers underfoot. km


I'm with Vicki on the Fair Isle - you have to use both hands - and i like it just fine. But I look at it as a product vs. process thing - are you knitting because you love the process, how it makes you feel, or are you doing it for the end product? Sometimes I'll make something because I really want the end result, and I put up with the annoying technique, but mostly I just like my hands to be busy and enjoy the yarn flowing through my fingers.
The "you-know" is probably pushing you over the comfort level on product. Give yourself a present of a long span of your favourite technique as soon as you can!


About as Fair Isle as I will get is some nice varigated yarn... haha! That girlfriend is such a cutie pie!


they have Oreo brownies? Huh? what?


I think maybe people's brains are wired differently for certain tasks. I have no problem with fair isle. I don't mean that in a snooty way, just that for whatever reason I can do it without a second thought. This can piss people off when they ask you how and you try to tell them it's easy and just like regular knitting, but you know with more strings of yarn to work with. Unless I'm doing something wrong and don't know it. *L*

But the main reason I think it's easier for me is that I get so caught up in the wonder of seeing how the colors and patterns unfold that any thought to difficulty doesn't even come into my mind.

On the same token if something isn't as intriguing it can seem more tedious and therefor more difficult. Like k1/p1 ribbing. That takes me much more time than Fair Isle and isn't as exciting to knit for me.

You can do whatever you want. You just have to make sure you don't get too stuck doing things one way or it will become more difficult to break out to other things. Plus the truth that if you aren't that interested you won't want to waste your time when there are a thousand other delights waiting to be explored. :D



I can do fair isle in a rather beginnerish puckery sort of way, but I really like it. I think that has to do with being wired to get a charge out of seeing colors juxtaposed with one another. I don't know what it is; I get that from various forms of art, and from nature, too. I just like it.

Also, I have pretty low standards for my own knitting. If I have knitted something, I will generally wear it. I am much fussier about getting the shaping right so things fit well than I am about the quality of the stitches themselves. I guess I'm kind of a sloppy knitter.

But I just have to point out: Ohmigod, Karen Allen as a professional knitter and teacher thereof just blows my mind (in a good way).

Oh, and for the record: oil changes, religiously every 3,000 miles, but only because I feel too sympathetic to my poor car if I'm late with it.


I'm still not sure what the difference between Fair Isle and stranded color work is. I did recently finish Eunny Jang's endpaper mitts though. They were fun. Also, I'm running a contest on my blog in case you're interested.


Hi. Sent you a question, a couple of days ago(via the Mentionable pattern link)regarding Mentionable and alternative yarns, but haven't heard back. Thought I'd try and reach you this way. Thanks!


Bev, it's best to email me. Since the post containing Mentionable is so old, I won't get the comment...I'll write to you.

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