How to Knit Fair
Fair Isle knitting, also known as Norwegian
knitting, is a knit design worked in stocking stitch using different
colours of yarn. Instructions are given for knitting with a sample pattern
The instructions can be written but are
usually given in a chart. Each square in the chart represents one stitch.
The design can be charted by colour or by different symbols.
Fair isle knitting can be done on two or
four needles, or a circular needle.
Fair Isle on Two Needles:
Knit rows are the right side of the work and
are odd numbered. Purl rows are the wrong side of the work and are even
numbered. When beginning your knitting, after you cast on the number of
required stitches, you read the purl row on the chart from left to right.
The knit rows on the chart are read from right to left.
||right side of work
||read chart from
right to left
||wrong side of work
||read chart from
left to right
Fair Isle on Four Needles or Circular
Every row on your chart is a knit row and
each row is read from right to left.
Two Methods of Carrying Yarn Behind Work:
The design is worked horizontally. The
colour(s) not in use are woven or stranded across the back of the work.
Usually, a combination of these two methods is used.
When you finish knitting one colour, you
drop that yarn at the back of the work and pick up a new colour yarn to
continue knitting. In this method, the yarn is carried loosely over the
back. This method should not be used when the yarn is carried for more
than 2 or 3 stitches as it will result in long strands at the back which
can catch and pull.
As you knit, the colour your are knitting is placed over and then under
the colour not in use on the wrong side of the work. Knit one stitch
with colour A, put colour B over the right hand needle at the back of the
work, then knit next stitch with colour A.
Below is an example
of a simple Fair Isle pattern worked in two colours of yarn.
Practice with this or another simple pattern before attempting
a more difficult pattern.
* It is important
to keep the yarn behind your work loose, if it is too tight, you work
* You must also
keep your stitches even as uneven stitches will be easily seen in the
stocking stitch pattern.
Example of Fair Isle pattern in 2 colours:
At the right is an example of a simple Fair Isle pattern. Two charts are
shown, one in colour and the other using symbols.
With A, cast on 29 stitches.
Row 1: (right side)
Working from chart from right to left,
* k 1 A, k 3 B;
repeat from * to last st, k 1 A.
Row 2: (wrong side)
Working from chart from left to right,
p 2 A, * p 1 B, p 3 A;
repeat from * to last 3 sts, p 1 B, p 2 A
Repeat above for required number of rows.
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