Friday, April 8, 2016

Fair Isle Flat

Yes, its that time of year again.  Boxes are arriving daily and I am hoping to keep up.  For anyone who is new to this blog, we have a Yarn Tasting at our annual TKGA conference.  Last year we had over 30 different yarns to taste.  Because I am nuts, we wind the yarn into small, center-pull balls with individual labels for each participants (100).  It is a pain but I can't really think of another way to manage the yarn.

I've been getting quite a few lessons lately and I have been keeping up.  Again, if you could send me an email with a tracking number when you send the package, I'd appreciate it.

I've decided to discuss working Fair Isle (or stranded) designs flat.  The traditional method is that it is done in the round and then steeked for the armholes or fronts if it is a cardigan.  The key advantage is that you are always looking at the RS and you never have to purl.  The disadvantage is that side seams often provide support for a garment and you will have jogs in the pattern where the round begins and ends.  I've always preferred working stranded designs flat for very personal reasons.  The main one is that my tension is much better.  When I am knitting a tube I seem to strand tighter (and yes, I know that you can turn the work so that the strands are on the outside).  I also like the support of the seams at the sides.  Plus I can line up the pattern exactly.

I've taken a lot of flak in for my construction.  My favorite was the 9 paragraph email that began "Oh why Oh why would you work this flat?"  If you like one of my designs and you want to work it in the round, just subtract the selvedge stitches and work the front and back together.

The problem with working it flat is the selvedges.  Initially I would only have one stitch at each side and have to do sort of an intarsia wrap thing which left a lot to be desired.  I then figured out if I had two selvedge stitches and alternated them every row I could solve this problem.

Yes, the selvedge stitches are ugly but they will be in a seam.  I also recommend using two hands to work.  I always keep my background color in my right hand (and I keep this strand on the top) and my design colors in my left (which I keep below).  I'm not going into color dominance theory as it is too big a topic for this discussion but trust me, you work will look better if you do this.

Notice in the photograph below how the strands in the top rows and bottom rows alternate.  Notice in the middle, they don't.  In the alternating rows, I kept the blue on top and the white below.  In the middle I reversed it.  It does effect the appearance of the RS.  Here is the video:  Fair Isle Flat

I will be out of town this weekend so the next salon will be April 17th.

I am STILL working on the sweater for Elff.  I am hoping to finish it up this week in time to start on the stuff I will be doing for Cast On.  I'm on the second sleeve!!!  Fair Isle Flat in action.

1 comment:

  1. I am very interested in this. I would actually like to knit Fair Isle flat, but my purl sides are hopeless.
    I just saw you on Suzanne's video today. You were wearing that blue sweater!