I haven’t had a chance to do any sewing this weekend, as I’ve spent most of the two days at a Fair Isle workshop run by Susan Crawford at Darn It and Stitch. I’d signed up like a shot when this was announced, as I’ve been wanting to improve my Fair Isle skills and having taken a finishing class with Susan a few years ago I knew that she was a really good teacher and I was likely to get a lot out of the workshop.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Inevitably, there was a wide range of skill levels between the nine of us who’d signed up; some people were completely unfamiliar with working in the round, and while there was another continental knitter there I was the only person already familiar with both continental and English-style knitting, which gave me an advantage when it came to working two-handed. (Talking to the others there, I have come to the conclusion that I’m just an experimental sort of a knitter; some people are happy to find a way of doing things and stick to it, whereas my reaction to hearing about a different method is to think that I’ll give that a try, in case it turns out to be better than the one I was using. Which is how I started off as a standard English-style knitter and am currently a continental combination knitter.)
We spent the first day talking about how to hold the yarn, casting on and working a flat swatch (which I found interesting, as I’m not sure I would have dared to attempt colourwork with purl rows before!) and then choosing main and peerie patterns and working out colour selections for the larger sample we were working on today. (I took the opportunity to use up some of my sock yarn leftovers!)
At 11am today I had a little bit of ribbing; by 4pm I’d knitted this much:
The course also covered steeking, although there wasn’t quite time for everyone to try it (I haven’t steeked mine yet, as I want to finish the second repeat of my peerie pattern and make it symmetrical first) so Susan demonstrated on one person’s swatch:
I suspect I won’t get round to steeking my sample until next weekend, but I think I’ll be able to remember until I get to put it into practice!
I really enjoyed having the chance to play with colours. I love colour, and someone actually told me last week that I was the most colourful person they knew, but Fair Isle is colourful even by my standards, and I was a bit worried that my combination of yellowy-orange, bright blue, bright pink and pale pink would end up looking like an explosion in a paint factory, even with a dark grey to tone it down. I needn’t have worried, I really liked the way it looks!
Now I really want to try a proper Fair Isle project, though I don’t know what and I really do have enough things on the needles for now!