Fair Isle Knitting


FYI: This site receives a small amount in commissions from affiliate links and third-party advertising. 

Click Through to my Store...

Please note:  At this time I am only able to ship hard goods to Australia & New Zealand. However, electronic or downloadable goods are available world wide.

Quick Links

Fair Isle knitting is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. Traditional Fair Isle patterns generally use a limited number of colors (five or less) ans use only two colors in each row.

As the second or unused color is left at the back of the work (stranded) most traditional fair isle patterns rarely have blocks of color larger than three stitches across the row. 

© Katherine | Flickr - Knitting a Fair Isle Pattern

Some people use the term "Fair Isle" to refer to any knitting where two or more colors are used, whereas others use the term "stranded colourwork" for the generic technique, and reserve the term "Fair Isle" for the characteristic patterns of the Shetland Islands.

Fair Isle Knitting Tips

Generally the only stitches you need to have mastered to knit a Fair Isle garment are knit and purl stitches.

However, there are a few tricks to knitting fair isle successfully!

First of all, knitting fair isles involves working with several balls of wool simultaneously and if you are not careful you may end up with an awful tangle on your hands. One way around this problem is to use a small amount of yarn in your contrast colors, wound onto a shuttle rather than using a full ball of wool.

If you are doing a traditional fair isle stitch pattern, you will only be trying to manage two colors at a time, but if you are ambitious you will be able to find patterns that use anything up to five colors in a single row!

If you are using the stranded method of knitting fair isle, you will just be leaving your unused yarn at the back of the work and switching color as necessary. It is rather easy to leave too much or not enough yarn resting at the back and as a result, your knitted fabric can be tight in patches and loose in others.

Worst case, you could have holes or gaps in your knitted fabric where you have been too generous with the yarn being carried at the back. It is important that you keep your tension even, both for the knitted stitches and the carried yarn.

Fair Isle Pattern Books

If you are keen to try some Fair Isle, unless you are prepared to create your own Fair Isle pattern, you are probably going to need to get your hands on a pattern book or two.

Check out these books from Amazon.com, if none of them look quite right for your needs, click on any of the images to go to the main Amazon site and search on 'Fair Isle Knitting' to find the right book for you.

Couldn't Find What You Were Looking for?

Try searching the site using the search box below:

Custom Search





Recent Articles

  1. Braided Openwork Lace Knitting Stitch Pattern II

    Oct 16, 18 08:19 PM

    By just changing an M1 to a yfwd you can completely change the look Braided Openwork Lace Knitting Stitch Pattern. The lace becomes less subtle and more open.

    Read More

  2. Braided Openwork Lace Knitting Stitch Pattern

    Oct 16, 18 08:01 PM

    The Braided Openwork Lace Knitting Stitch Pattern could almost pass for a textured knitting stitch pattern as the eyelets created during each repeat are quite subtle. This is a very effective all over…

    Read More

  3. Zig Zag Lace Stitch Pattern

    Oct 16, 18 07:17 PM

    This Zig Zag Lace Stitch Pattern is knitted over a multiple of 10 stitches plus 1 in 8 row repeats. Every second row is purl so there are really only 4 pattern rows.

    Read More




Subscribe Here: