13 January 2015

Fair Isle fancies

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered the DVD of the wonderful Shetland series, based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. I have read all her books, so was familiar with the stories but was totally blown away by the physical landscape shown on the screen.

What amazing remoteness! We city-dwellers often need to be reminded that our urban areas are artificial, built by us and not by nature. That's why I love stories with a strong sense of place - they transport us to environments we may never otherwise experience.

One of the episodes is set on Fair Isle, described on the island's webpage as "Britain's most remote - though far from isolated - inhabited island." After I finished watching it, I couldn't stop thinking about the climate there and the need for indoor activities. Fair Isle knitting, of course!

I love Fair Isle patterns. I regard myself as a basic knitter but even I have been game to try one of these wonderful designs - a jumper for my baby nephew. Knitting the pattern from a graph and weaving the yarn across the knitting as I went, I remember almost going demented with the detail (and that was 24 years ago!). Here he is, wearing the jumper I knitted. Such a cutie!

Now I have the urge to knit a cardigan with Fair Isle patterning for myself, perhaps with just the top of the front sections patterned and the rest of the cardigan plain. I'm on the search for such a pattern so please leave a comment if you know of one. Or, perhaps, I should continue to live off past glories and just brag about this single jumper? 


  1. I saw this series on TV last year and loved it for the same reasons you did. Now that we've moved up to Scotland, I have gone all Fairisle myself! xCathy

  2. Scotland is one place I would love to visit, Cathy. Made it as far as England a few years ago but wasn't able to head north. What a wonderful landscape!

  3. I was able to visit Shetland in 2013 and fell in love with it! Kate Davies has a new book out that has Fair Isle yoke patterns. The book is called Yokes. Are you on Ravelry? If so, you can search for her there and have a look at some of her designs. Many of them incorporate Fair Isle. Good luck finding a pattern you like!

  4. Thanks for the tips Kristie! I have browsed Ravrlry and have borrowed a few books from the library. I think my quest for a pattern I like will be side-tracked many times by all the alternatives!


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