The Art of Fair Isle Knitting - Book

"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!


Celowin's picture

I just went ahead and ordered a copy of this, based on your review. I've been interested in Fair Isle knitting since seeing the pattern for a "Bauhaus Fair Isle" sweater in the spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. I have a feeling that I'm not really ready for the challenge yet, but I'll need to start learning sometime.

ronhuber's picture

It is wonderful book, Jessie. I have done two sweaters from that book. I think though that the other two books I mentioned on FI are as good if not superior. When your Shetland order comes in, try the different ways she suggests for knitting with colour and you will adopt one that you like best or develop one of your own. Sheila McGregor approaches FI from the traditional side of it and I like her approach to colour, even though there are no examples, much better than that of Feitelson. "Sweaters From Camp" is, IMHO, is the best and has a multitude of pages with technical information. Ann has two of her sweaters in the book and the adult one is very pretty indeed.

kiwiknitter's picture

Thanks, Ron. I'm reading "Sweaters from Camp" now; I just started it this evening. I'll let you know what I think of it. The entire Fair Isle process is new to me. I like the McGregor book; what I prefered in the Feitelson book are all the great colour photos. They are very helpful to me. Jesse

My knitting is totally tubular!

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly