I’ve spent the first part of this year knitting scarves and beanies (dog forbid I should ever again find myself doing these again), all the while thinking about doing some multi-colour knitting. After reading, reading, & reading about it, I finally got up the courage to give it a go. I first experimented on a smaller version (see pics of the 16” doll and jumpers), figuring that if it all went pear-shaped there was a minimal loss of time and materials. Bloody hell, things seemed to go pretty well and I took the plunge and made a jumper pattern I’d been admiring for some time. It is called “Fonn” (that’s with an umlaut!), whatever that name means; maybe Lars can translate?, from the “Reynolds Lopi” Volume 25. Although seamless/circular sans steeks, I was keen to try this recipe because the yoke is done with the decreases spread around rather than done as a raglan decreases (is there a name for this method?) Let me say here that stranded knitting was like learning to knit all over again! I fumbled with the needles, fabric and 2 strands of yarn. And what about tension/gauge? I did the stranding with both hands and discovered that I have difficulty keeping the left hand strand looser than the right. Actually, this wasn’t much of a discovery since I knit faster with the left and I knew that when I knit rapidly, I knit more tightly. So, there was a significant amount of tinking and even so, I do have some puckers that didn’t come out in the washing and drying (blocking) process. I was actually grateful that I didn’t have smocked yoke at the end! Now, to confess just in case some of you have this pattern book and notice my big screw-up: I did the pattern opposite so that it is a photographic negative image – in other words, the stars should have been white and there shouldn’t have been white bands. I’d like to say that it was done purposefully and with artistic license but it was really just a screw-up – aren’t the white boxes on the graph supposed to be white wool? Guess not.
"Sweaters From Camp - 38 Color-Patterend Designs from Meg Swanson's Knitting Campers", 2002.
As you know, Meg Swanson is the daughter of famous knitting guru Elizabeth Zimmermann who founded the Wisconsin Knitting Camp in 1974. This book showcases the winners of a contest offered to all former and current campers to design on all-over patterned garment in Shetland wool.
Here are my opinions of this book:
1. I liked the techniques chapter. Some of the items were new to me so I learned from reading it. It was the first time I was able to get my head around the mathmatical formula for increasing stitches evenly in a row. I found some interesting new cast-on techniques and the purl-when-you-can technique is very intriguing. The book was worth the money just for this reference chapter.
2. I definitely want to try knitting in Shetland wool very, very soon! The colours are beautiful and I like the idea of the steeks felting themselves without sewn reinforcements.
3. Thankfully, there were no chapters on the history of Shetland knitting or the basic how-to of knitting!
4. I was most gratified to see in print some of the seamless/circular techniques (such as armhole reductions with a steek) that I'd laid awake at night trying to suss out. I'm happy to know that I'm connected to the greater pool of knitting wisdom!
"Knitting With A Smile - The Compact Book with Over 39 Original Swedish Knitting Patterns" by Inger Fredholm, 2005. This is a fun knitting book by the lady who owns Gunga Din, a knitting shop in Stockholm, Sweden; maybe some of our Scandanavian members know of this lady? There are patterns for some rather plain but practical garments in addition to lace patterns (such as the "Tango Dress") and colourful multi-coloured garments. I bought this book for the mutli-coloured patterns and I was not disappointed. The garments have a very Scandanavian look, both in style, pattern and colours. She includes some Fair Isle patterns, too. My favourite is the "Stella Polaris" pattern which I am keen to try. All patterns are done in the round and cut. The sleeves are done separately and then knitting to the body by the 3-needle bind-off!
A fun aside to this book is that a gentleman knitter proof-read, corrected the English and also knitted many of the patterns.
I like this book as a part of my knitting reference library and I think others would enjoy owning a copy, too. It is not a book for someone just beginning to do stranded knitting as the instructions are sparse. But, it's wo
I'm just finishing up my first stranded jumper and I've been thinking about trying the Shetland style knitting belt and long DPN's. I'm wondering if any members here have tried it in the past or use it and what the comments about it might be.
This book by Luise Roberts (2004) is loaded with nothing but great charted patterns (in colour) for stranded knitting. There are no garment recipes but there is a short chapter on Intarsia and Fair Isle techniques as well as a section on choosing, and positioning motifs
The best way to give an idea of the wide range of content is to list the sections and chapters:
1. Traditional knitting motifs
- Fair Isle, Scandinavian, Lapland, Western Europe,
Eastern Europe, Around the Mediterranean Sea, Asia
2. Traditional pictorial motifs
- Native American, Homestead America, Aztec & Inca,
Celts, Africa, India & Tibet
3. Modern pictorial motifs
- Alphabet, Zodiac, The world around us, Animals,
birds & insects, Floral, Toys & Nursery
This book has something for everyone. The fact that the charts are in colour makes it easier for me to visualise the design - I want to use them all!
"The Art of Fair Isle Knitting: History, Technique, Color and Patterns" by Ann Feitelson, 1996, has quickly become an essential part of my knitting library. Included is the history of Shetland/Fair Isle knitting up until the present day. The chapter on FI techniques is great and she makes a great case for using the long needles with the knitting belt. A variety of different ways of throwing the yarn are shown along with a fantastic page demonstrating and explaining why one colour is carried consistently over the other and how the decision which yarn to carry where makes a huge difference in how the pattern looks when completed. She gives such a good lesson on changing colours, finishing ends and of all things, increases and decreases in a FI patterning (I was surprised). The chapter on colour in FI knitting is extensive and very helpful for me who is rather colour-challenged. The garment recipes are lovely and for the first time I've found FI jumpers that I'm keen to make for myself.
I highly recommend this book for someone who is interested in stranded knitting. Be warned: it's rather addictive!
This now out-of-print book by Alice Starmore is a great reference for Fair Isle knitting. Of course, there is the mandatory chapters on the history of Shetland knitting which I enjoyed reading. There are also chapters on FI patterns with charts and colour photos as well as a chapter with traditional garment recipes. All this is good but the part I am the most appreciative of is the detailed explanation of Shetland/FI technique which includes cut tubular knitting. Coupled with this is the chapter on designing your own garments using FI patterns and technique. The section on "planning a gansey" has been of great assistance to me on multiple occasions. This section gives instructions on sizing, gussets, necklines and sleeves.
My mate, Simon (MWK member in the UK) sent a copy of this book to me and I refer to it when I'm planning a new jumper. Now that I'm beginning to do stranded knitting, I'm appreciating it even more.
I know that this book is hard to find and then very dear once found (ebay prices hover around US$150.00! But, if you can get a copy, I highly recommend it.
This book is written by Ann and Eugene Bourgeois, founders and owners of Philosopher's Wool Company in Canada. It can be purchased with an accompanying DVD.
I have both the book and the DVD and in spite of the blatant marketing ploy, there is a lot of good help for the beginning stranded colour knitter (me). I don' care much for their patterns but I do like their teaching on tubular knitting. I learned the stranded colour technique from the DVD and was given encouragement for cutting my knitting from the book and DVD.
I understand they sell kits for jumpers and other garments as well as sell knitting wool and finished garments. I like their philosophy of sustainable and fair business practices. I am considering purchasing some of their knitting wools. Has anyone had any experience with their products?
If you learn from seeing better than from reading (as I do) then I recommend at least the DVD.
First published in 1981, this book by Sheila McGregor is considered a staple for stranded knitters. It is chockablock with charted Fair Isle patterns. Of course, there is the chapter on the history of FI knitting along with some B&W photos and a few colour ones. I like the sections on design, techniques and colour. Yup, she talks about steeks!
I recommend this book for the FI enthusiast - buy it while it's still available.
Knit Fix - Problem Solving for Knitters by Lisa Kartus, 2006, has a spiral binding and hard cover with 111 pages.
The book has a brief introduction to knitting and then discusses problems that can arise in your projects. It has a problem/answer format. There are lots of good photos showing problems that a knitter may find in their work and the reasons for the error and solutions.
This book might be useful for someone who is an isolated knitter and has nowhere to go for assistance and advice. But, for the majority of knitters who can go to their LYS for help, this book is rather superfluous. The only section I thought of any value for me was the section on fixing incorrectly crossed cables by using a crochet hook. Since I've never been able to repair a cable by any of the methods using small knitting needles, I was intrigued by this technique.
Don't be fooled by the title - it's nothing extraordinary.