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BellaOnline's Knitting Editor

Fair Isle Style Book Review

An archipelago of islands that is in the northernmost regions of the British isles, just barely south of Scandinavia is the birthplace of a famous, timeless style of colorwork knitting know as Fair Isle. This famed style of knitting features bands of colorwork in which each row uses only two colors. As the knitted item progresses, the different colors in each row often change leading to an illusion of even more color changes happening. The knitters of the Fair Isles had created a technique that allowed for a great color impact and was simple enough to follow that knitters could continue to use the system and expand into new patterns and garment regularly.
In Fair Isle Style knitting editor Mary Jane Muckelsotne has compiled a roundup of twenty patterns from well known knitting designers with a classic yet fresh take on the Fair Isle technique. The patterns include mittens, socks, hats, baby booties, afghans, leg warmers, shrugs, bags and cardigans. The attractive photographs show the stitch patterns and shaping of the items well.
The patterns all list the yarn weight required, and then tell what yarns were used to complete the examples given. Most of the xample yarns are high end boutique yarns. Knitters on a budget will want to be very careful in selecting yarns to susbtitute. When changing the colors and even the shades of yarn used in a Fair Isle project, the overall color effect will change dramatically. I do not bring this up to dissuade knitters from making substitutions, but to urge that care is taken in selecting different colors from other yarn manufacturers.
The Fair Isle color patterns are given in a chart format, which is common for this style of knitting. The back of the book includes a technique appendix that explains how to hold two colors of yarn at once, how to carry the "floats" are the yarn that is int he back becuase it is not being used, suggesitons for selecting colors, and a guide to steeking. Cutting steeks is the main way of creating armholes and cardigan openings in many Norwegian and Fair Isle sweaters. The technique is a simple, reliable and effective way for creating drop shoulders and front openings. It terrifeis many knitters the firs titme as it requires the knitter to cut their knitting open vertically. Properly executed, it does give a neat and clean opening or place for seaming pieces together.
This book is really approproate for intermediate level knitters who already know how to do Fair Isle knitting or have someone available who can help them if they run into a new knitting skill they need help with. The short appendix in the book has good explanations for reference, but doesn't really take the time to teach soemone who is brand new to this type of knitting. If you love Fair Isle knitting and you want some inspiration that is currently trendy, you may want to add Fair Isle Style to your knitting library.

FCC requirements: I was provided a free review copy of this book by the publisher. All of my reviews are my honest opinion. I received no compensation from the publisher or book author for this review.

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