Birth of a Fair Isle
Special Report! -- Pattern Selection Process
A fellow knitblogger (Hi Kristi!) asked me how I go about picking a pattern and the colors. Good question!
Here's my confession. When it comes to fair isle, I am, for the most part, a Blind Follower. The reason for this: I am addicted to patterns designed by Alice and Jade Starmore. They are both true artists with incredible color sense. There's pretty much nothing I can do to improve on what they've designed.
Aside: I have designed a couple of fair isles myself, based on traditional patterns. In this picture (opens in a new window) I designed the two at the top and bottom left of the photo. And I designed this fair isle coat (opens in a new window). And I did change the color scheme of one Jade Starmore design: the Elizabethan Jacket from A Collector's Item. Go to my knitting page and click on the link under "Jade Starmore designs." The original was in yellow and tan, I think -- NOT good colors for me!
Anyhow, the project I'm embarking on, Luskentyre, is exactly as designed. Except that I'm using Jamieson & Smith shetland wool (in the corresponding colors) instead of the Alice Starmore Campion that the pattern calls for. Campion has been discontinued and is no longer available.
Why was I drawn to this pattern? I think the color combinations are so beautiful and different from any other fair isle I've knitted. I'm not really a pastel kinda gal (having had pastels forced on me by a well-meaning mother when I was a small child) so I tend to shy away from these shades. So this is a radical departure for me. I'm breaking out!
Fair Isle resources: the only book I own that has a lot of good information on the "how-tos" of fair isle knitting is Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting. I highly recommend it.
Birth of a Fair Isle
Part Two: Preparing to Knit!
Okay, I have gotten past the wool-fondling stage. All the wool is wound into balls and neatly packaged in ziplock bags:
For those of you who are interested, following are the Jamieson & Smith colors I'm using (color numbers in parentheses):
pale peach (53)
pale pink (101)
bright pink (95)
The next thing I do is to make a working photocopy of the pattern (making a copy of a copyrighted pattern for your own use while knitting is allowable). I slip it in a plastic page protector and put a metal craft board behine the page, and use magnetic strips on the charts thusly:
That's how I keep track of chart rows. My pattern is propped up on a music stand -- very useful for hands-free use of the pattern!
I finished the first Lorna's Laces waffle sock on the train this morning. It came out looking very nice -- I'll post a photo on my knitting page at some point.
Presenting . . . Birth of a Fair Isle
Part One: Fondling the Wool
I'm still knitting the last sleeve of Pentland, but succumbed to the lure of my shetland wool long enough to wind some of it into balls last night:
I want to make sure I have everything ready when I finish the current project so I'll be all set to cast on for Luskentyre.
Holy Ovine Communication Devices, Batman! It's a sheep phone!
I Hate Pollen, But I Love Shetland Wool
My sinuses are starting to calm down after last week's pollen atrocities but it's Not Pretty. But I did get something exciting in the mail yesterday:
This is Jamieson and Smith shetland wool, destined to become Alice Starmore's Luskentyre, a fair isle pullover from the long out-of-print and much sought-after "The Scottish Collection." Copies are going for over $400 on eBay. Yikes!
Anyhow, my very good friend Geane sent me this wool as a giftie! Pretty cool, huh? Now I'm just gagging to finish Pentland so I can start on Luskie. And I know y'all are really looking forward to hearing ALL about it . . .