Franklin Habit on Books: A New Fair Isle Classic

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  • I’m mostly a gutless wonder when it comes to Fair Isle.Thinking I should plan some for 2017.

  • Very new to Fair Isle, but have successfully completed mittens and an ear muff. I could have used Ms. Bajus! Looking forward to more adventures with this technique. Happy Solstice!

  • I find the colorwork very addictive but the construction in the round a challenge when managing more than two colors.

  • I’ve done a few faux Isle projects. I’d like to make the skills jump to real Fair Isle.

  • Have done fairisle in the past not recently love it

  • I started a Fair Isle cardigan last January. It took me a month of swatching to settle on colors. I have one sleeve and button bands left to do….. Mental road block? Definitely!

  • Like many novice knitters, I tried Fair Isle (including purling the WS, oof) before I knew it was supposed to be difficult. The blanket ended up being far too small, but I kept it as a reminder of my early knitting experiences. In a certain way, I miss those days of just jumping in & seeing what happened.

  • I have signed up for a class in Fair Isle. I am looking forward to giving it a try.

  • I love fair isle knitting. Don’t do it as much as I should.

  • I

  • I love fairisle knitting, but making all of those colors work together still confounds me!!

  • I’ve been mesmerized by Fair Isle for a long time, but never considered attempting the design process. Now perhaps with this book, I will.

  • I love fair isle but I’ve never figured out how to blend the colours!

  • I love collecting knitting books even tho it’s way to hot for sweaters in Florida.

  • I love stranded knitting & really should get back to it!

  • I’m a Fair Isle addict! I was lucky enough to attend Janine’s workshop in Berkeley (on the hottest days of the summer of 2015). I’ve made numerous tams, including at least 7 Sheepheids. The Shetland wool is essential – the range of colors, the stickiness of the wool, the way the colors blend together.
    However, I must admit to my shame that I have not yet attempted a sweater.
    If I don’t win a copy of her book,, I’m going to buy one in the new year.

  • For 15 or 20 years I knitted Fair Isle hats for everyone in the family but wished I had a stranded sweater. But I couldn’t buy one short enough for someone barely 5 feet tall, and I figured there was no point knitting one because I’d never manage to finish it. Nonetheless I read books, looked through patterns, and found that the Nordic motifs seemed better suited to my pear-shaped figure than the Fair Isle horizontal stripes.

    I eventually decided to start one, even though I understood it would probably be a project for a lifetime. Spent about 2-3 years just getting colors and patterns together. Working on it has been an absorbing aesthetic process and kept me going through the pain of a knee replacement. Now it’s been about 6 years, with much backing and filling and long pauses because I can’t work on it in the movies or on my stationary bike. but to my great surprise I’m on the home stretch (sleeves!).

    • You go girl! As MDK once said (I paraphrase), no epic project is too hard if you want it badly enough!

  • Years ago I designed and made my husband a pair of Fair Isle style mittens. Now every time I look at them I ask myself “How in the world did I do that?” May be time for another venture in that direction.

  • What a lovely review of a book that looks like it will become a shelf essential! The photos of the garments make you say ” I want to knit that!”

  • I have never been brave enough to try Fair Isle. One of these days, I will jump in with both feet!!

  • I have tried a few projects but have problems with tension. Help is needed!!!

  • My first and recent experience with Fair Isle involved a 3 color hat with trees and snow. I surprised myself….it was relatively easy, but s-l-o-w going ! I watched some Youtubes, which helped.

  • Can’t wait to read her book and work through the chapters. I love Fair Isle, having made several of Alice Starmore’s designs.

  • I don’t knit so this would be for my niece and would help her try it.

  • Enjoyed this review of the book, and adore Fair Isle knitting. Surprising, how gorgeous two-color only Fair Isle can be (sweater, shown above)!

  • Thanks for a great book review! I would be a total newbie to the technique were I to try it, and this despite falling in love repeatedly with Fair Isle projects on Rav. Maybe this would be a good book for me? 🙂

  • I made the Baable hat. Does that count? I would love to do Fair Isle, but there are so many other projects I want to do as well.

  • I’m a coward…I look at designs all the time, but shy away because I don’t think I can handle it as a self taught knitter. Maybe the book would help…hopeful.

  • Looks like a beautiful book!

  • I have done some colorwork, would like to do more with sock or mitten knitting.

  • I have only done a little Fair Isle and I like it. I love the change of colors. I am still learning but then again that is life – always learning.

  • What a great way to up your fairisle skills!

  • I purchased an amazing Kate Davies kit, nearly a year ago. Maybe THIS book would help me conquer the fear of stranded knitting……….I keep telling myself that I can do this. Quilting was my first passion, until knitting was discovered in 2015. With patchwork, one cannot always redo. With knitting there’s always tink, tink, tink………:)

  • i love fair isle…..but my one problem as a graphic arts teacher getting my vision on paper that looks great to work on fibers, wool…just like not getting the right hair color on my hair, since everything has under colors….
    but i will march on

  • I love fair isle but tend to play it safe. I think this book may be just what I need to be more adventurous. I will put it on the post-Christmas wish list!

  • I am obsessed with Fair Isle knitting. I have only knit one project, but I love everything about it. I am in the process of my first sweater with Fair Isle at the neck and will continue that after Christmas. I have bought the Craftsy class from Mary Jane Mucklestone and enjoyed it – she taught me how to hold the yarn. This book looks fabulous and will find it’s way to my bookshelf. Thank you for suggesting it!

  • Haven’t done enough to finish anything but have two projects OTN and a new one in the bag. It is fun so why don’t I get on it???

  • I’ve taken at least three color work classes but not yet finished a project. It’s not that difficult so I need to focus more on it and get my Cowl done.

  • havent really tried.

  • I’ve done stranded colourwork but never true Fair Isle. It seems so . . . daunting. Perhaps I can sneak a copy of this book onto my after-Christmas list and change that.

  • Fair isle is my favorite form of knitting but never had courage to choose my own colors. I just find ones I like to use someone else has put together. Would love to know how.

  • This looks like a great book about the process of Fair Isle knitting. Thanks for the warning about self-published books, Franklin!

  • I’ve only done small projects but enjoyed the process. I don’t mind slow knits (I knit a lot of lace) but do have a certain nervousness about color.

  • I used to be a big fan of cables, but once I dipped a toe into the fair isle pool, I was hooked. It is, hands down, my favorite kind of knitting. Seeks are my friend. My one remaining fair isle challenge – knit a garment with sleeves.

  • Oh how I love fair isle, but I am no color master!

  • Becoming more proficient with Fair Isle is a 2017 knitting goal so this review is very timely!

  • I LOVE fair Isle knitting. I took a class with Alice Starmore many years ago and have been hooked ever since. I need a copy of The Joy of Color!

  • I love Fair Isle. I love choosing the colors!

  • I suck, but I am up for a challenge and I would love to give it a go with a little help from Janine’s book.

  • I’ve not done Fair Isle before but have done a stranded colorwork project (Baable Hat anyone?). But I fell in love with Wendy Johnson’s Stained Glass Cowl. I showed it to my husband and he too fell in love with it and asked if I would make it for him as a scarf. Soooo, it’s on the needles with stitches added for a steek. Nothing like jumping in with both feet!

  • Conquering Fair Isle is on my 2017 list. Adventures to date are colored by dreadful (i.e., No) technique followed by 30 seconds of untwisting colored strands, followed by another 30 seconds of chasing balls of yarn across the floor. I will not give up, however, until I learn the right way, and Ms. Bajus is no doubt the right teacher!

  • I love working with colour. However, my fair isle technique is not good.

  • I’ve done small projects, scarf, hat, socks, but would love to find the right colors for a sweater and push myself.

  • I saved up my money and my nerve to buy a Ron Schweitzer kit at MSW one year. I couldn’t resist those designs, but was terrified. The kit sat in my stash for years before I even opened it to look at the pattern. I finally dug in, with little experience doing any stranded colorwork at all, and made the vest–steeks and all. It still amazes me that *I* made it because the design is so perfect, the pattern so well done, that it came out looking nearly professional. That was years and years ago–I haven’t done anything nearly that complex since. Now I skim over patterns with stranding and steeking as if they’re too difficult, even though I have done the near-impossible. Funny how our brains play games with our self-confidence.

  • I’ll be virtually honest. I’m afraid of fair isle knitting. I love it. I wish I would dare try it. I admire the people who can skillfully execute the skills required to make it a beautiful masterpiece. I stand in awe of these fearless champions of color and skill.

  • I keep thinking I need to dust off my limited and somewhat clumsy fair isle knitting skills. 2017 may just be the year to do it.

  • I’ve knit a few tams, with varying degrees of success. The first one I made was gorgeous, and I still wear it all the time (I’m wearing it in the little picture you see here, although you can’t really see the colorwork). The second one was hideous, and I really didn’t miss it when I saw lost it that first winter (although I did find it in the spring, after it had spent the entire winter buried in a snow pile in the parking lot at work). I haven’t had the courage to tackle a sweater yet, but I’m getting there…

  • I love the way the colors sing in Fair Isle. I need to do more of it…

  • I’ve done a little Latvian mitten knitting but haven’t ventured into the Fair Isle realm yet. I’d love to try it with the help of Janine’s book.

  • Experimenting with Fair Isle colors now and it’s going to take me a long time to make sense of this.

  • I an okay with fair. Isle knitting. Several totes that fave been felted to hide errors, but never anything so difficult as a garment. 2017 may be the year. Take my mind off all the other difficult things I’ll have to deal.

  • I love Fair Isle knitting, but really need more confidence in picking colors.

  • My very first fair isle project was a scarf in the round – a six foot tube. I just picked up the needles and started to use up my stash using Mary Jane Mucklestone’s book of motifs. There is a wonderful mistake that I made in August 2014, and I remember what I was doing when I lost focus at that point – I love the scarf and wear it all the time. A friend loved it so much she actually asked me to make her a similar one – and she’s a knitter! She wears her’s all the time too.
    I just bought yarn for a pair of fair isle socks! Wish me luck. I will try a sweater one day very soon.

  • Nope.
    Colorwork, even small bits of intarsia, stresses me out. I feel like I should take the leap and try more, but knitting is supposed to be fun, and whenever I do a colorwork project, I end up so tense and stressed out that I just don’t enjoy it. That being said, I do it for the people I love if there is something specific that I know they’d like, with the caveat that I’m not good at it at all, though. I much prefer stitch patterns, cables, and lace to color.

  • Fair Isle makes me confident.

  • Fair Isle, or stranded colourwork, is the reason I learned to knit! I am from the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland where we have celebrated knitting and Scandinavian-style colourwork for generations. I’d love all books on this subject, and would certainly enjoy this one as well!

  • Fair isle is my most favorite kind of knitting. And mind-blowingly difficult!

  • Hey – a review of a book I already own! My grandma passed away before she realized her goal of designing her own fair isle. I’m determined not to let that happen this generation. I love the book and the idea of the book and the lack of patterns. (although that sashiko homage in the photo up there…!) And I fully agree with the comments about quick and easy. A Fair Isle sweater is neither, and that’s what makes it worth doing.

  • I’m not a bad knitter, but my ambition frequently outstrips my skill, not to mention my ability to pay attention to what I’m doing. My efforts at Fair Isle throw this into sharp relief. My vow for 2017 is to pay attention to everything I knit and I hope that will pay dividends and move me up the skill ladder.

  • I’ve made hats. And more hats. (Because I like knitting hats—they’re as close to instant gratification as I’m likely to get in this life—and I adore Fair Isle.) I’ve always used someone else’s pattern, because I am not a brave knitter, but maybe it’s time to work on designing my own . . . hat.

  • I read somewhere that marriage is the triumph of optimism over experience. I feel the same way about Fair Isle. I keep trying, and someday it might just work.

  • I made a Fair Isle vest once. It was a slog! I’m ready to give it another try, 35 years later.;-)

  • does it count if you knit in dk or worsted weight to do fair isle? I love playing with colors and do really big swatches.

  • I’ve always been intimidated by true Fair Isle. I love colorwork, so it’s time I took it to the next level. What a wonderful book to get me going.

  • I really love knitting stranded colorwork. I’m about to start my first true Fair Isle pattern, but it’s only a hot-water-bottle cover, so it won’t be a disaster if the colors don’t work. 🙂

  • Have done loads of stranded knitting, Norwegian, Alice Starmore, steeked or not. But not lately. Must get back to it. Changing those colors really keeps the interest going.

  • Have been nervous to try – adding to my “to learn” list

  • I’ve done small projects like hats and mittens and a vest. And Icelandic style swesters. But not fair isle full sweaters!

  • I would love to do more Fair Isle than I have done; 2017 may be the year that I work toward a Fair Isle wonder for myself!

  • It’s my next technique to explore

  • Love Fair Isle and I have made a few hats. Still trying to master how to keep it from being so tight. 🙂

  • I’ve never tried Fair Isle – it terrifies me! But I’m very good with color and have a suspicion that I would be hooked if I ever took the plunge. I would definitely need a good guide like Bajus’ book to take my hand and encourage me to begin the journey.

  • Never tried it–too chicken!

  • I ordered a copy of Janine’s book when it was first released. It’s fantastic. I think it’ll be one of those books that I keep going back to over and over again for reference.

  • Fair Isle is my favourite thing! It’s like sitting down to a fine wine. Nothing beats the excitement of planning the colours!

  • I know of no way to explain my mad Fair Isle skillz without leaving myself open to misinterpretation, so here goes: I suck less than I used to.

    *Gathers up current knitting and tries to exit gracefully.*

  • I am confounded by fair isle, even though I took a class. It seems you have to learn to knit continental style to do it well. I am an English knitter through and through. [Sigh.]

  • I adore Fair Isle knitting, especially with Shetland wool. I don’t do nearly enough of it, but find it very relaxing.

  • I have always wanted to master Fair Isle. My only foray in it was in Home Ec yonks ago when I made a Fair Isle vest in cream, navy and brown. I actually finished it (because I had to for the grade!) and I truly had no idea what I was doing….nor did the teacher really. It ended up fitting a 6 year old, not a 16 year old!

  • I love fair isle and have experimented with using patterns in different weight yarns. One of my favorites is a Lopi cardigan knit in worsted.

  • I’m pretty good with fair isle but have only done mittens and one hat.

  • Really enjoy color work knitting and would love to have a copy of this book!

  • I have done some stranded knitting but never Fair Isle.

  • I suck with Fair Isle, but I like a lot.

  • I am just learning fair isle techniques. I’ve avoided it in the past but decided it was time to just do it.

  • I’m working on a fair isle pair of mittens.

  • I got much better at Fair Isle knitting after teaching myself continental knittting so I could hold a ball of yarn in each hand. I’d LOVE to win this book. Please pick me!

  • some hats, some gloves, but an entire sweater? oh my.

  • Never tried, because it terrifies me!

  • I’ve only done small additions to a sweater or felted bags but I want to do an entire sweater. I find it very relaxing, when it seems it shouldn’t be. The only down side is reading charts instead of knitting along mindlessly.

  • I’ve completed some Fair Isle hats, fingerless mitts and a cowl and I think I’m pretty darn good at it for someone who has only been knitting a little over two years! Would love to win this book to expand my horizons! Happy Holidays!

  • I have done limited fair isle knitting but nothing with a steek. I like the rhythm of changing colors and the effects are surprising when I do it and stunning when I see what others have done. I have a challenging project awaiting me in my stash but I really need to practice by doing some more simpler projects first. I love the description Franklin has given on this book. It sounds honest and packed with good advice.

  • I tried Fair Isle when I was a pretty new knitter and it went surprisingly well. Apparently ignorance was bliss, because subsequent tries when I was more experienced were very frustrating. A tight, twisted mess! Maybe this will encourage me to try again.

  • I’ve done a couple of hats, and have a pair of mitten half done. I’ve got a Jade Starmore sweater kit waiting for me to screw up the courage to start.

  • Currently working on small projects with increasing complexity. working up to a big commitment.

  • Just starting to work with Fair Isle knitting. Love doing hats as they are quicker than a full sweater and I think next will be mittens. Really love working patterns with more than one color, It can be addictive.

  • I like Fair Isle and am pretty good at it. I am, however, not very good at choosing colors to get that magical Fair Isle look.

  • For some unknown reason, Fair Isle knitting is the only knitting that doesn’t aggravate the arthritis I have in one of my hands. This recent discovery has led to multiple tams, with vests and pullovers waiting in the wings. Good thing I love Fair Isle!!

  • I get a little bit better each time I try it! And it helps to try smaller projects-like cowls. It’s worth the effort because I love how it looks!

  • I am very drawn to colorwork lately and I’ve developed the skills to do it: patience and perseverance. Frequently in the handarts I do–I think it’s true here–they pick me more than I pick them. A good teacher is a blessing not to be missed.

  • It’s not really my thing for a sweater, being guaranteed to be too hot for me. I do love it for accessories, and have done a tiny bit.

  • I love fair isle, has done a bit, but never a sweater and I want to do it

  • Fair Isle is on my list of new techniques I want to learn. This book sounds motivating.

  • Finally, a book that gives it straight. I am so looking forward to turning the pages, and moving deeper into Fair Isle knitting. I do enjoy it very much, and am presently attempting to create my own ear warmer design, so this book will be a perfect, and timely addition.

    Thank you for sharing this gem.

  • I love fair Isle and I think my technical skills are improving, however I have trouble with choosing colors.

  • Learning Fair Isle is on my goal list for 2017. I’m going to cast something on just as soon as the Christmas making is done.

  • I…am sadly deficient in Fair Isle. On my radar for 2017.

  • I’m learning. Just finished a Christmas stocking for DD and carried a different color in each hand for the first time – so much easier. Used Susan Rainey’s invisible stranding method for one section – so neat. I think that’s one of the things I love about knitting (other than the finished product, of course) — I’m always learning something new. Intarsia in the round – who knew? That’s my next project.

  • I love fair isle knitting. I attempted my first steel this summer and while it was very very scary, it worked! I now have a beautiful knitted fair isle pillow. (My hands did shake for a few minutes after I will admit. )

  • Love the challenge of Fair Isle, last one I knitted about a year ago.

  • The daughter brought me some Lopi yarn from her last trip to Iceland. It calls out for Fair Isle knitting! That will be the new skill I add in 2017.

  • Franklin this is one of the best book reviews I have read in a long time! Well done – going to order the book. Thanks to you and Janine Bajus.

  • I would have said I have done Fair Isle knitting but after reading this it seems I have not. I knit a allover stranded hat a long time ago and add stranded work to projects regularly. I have often thought I would do the Prince of Wales sweater for my husband to wear when he is golfing. Maybe now is the time.

  • Love Fair Isle. But alas am not brave enough to start a sweater. Have knit a few hats though.

  • I learned 2-handed fair isle after a freak accident kept me bedbound for 7 weeks. I never would have had the time to learn it otherwise, at that point in my life. Fair isle kept me sane, engaged, kept my mind off the pain, and I ended up with a lovely sweater for my son!

  • I love stranded knitting and have done some but am stymied by choosing my own colors. I think Janine’s book might give me more courage.

  • Have done Fair Isle knitting — did a vest in the distant past using bits and pieces in wools and some mohair. I always got lots of compliments on it. I’ve always had a very good eye for color and motifs so I just designed as I went. Unfortunately, moths got into it and I gained weight so it is gone. I have a project in mind that will incorporate some Fair Isle! Yarn gathering, here I come!!!

  • I’ve only dabbled in Fair Isle knitting, but I’ve had an idea I’ve not been entirely sure how to execute, and I think this book will be a big help!

  • this book is so yummmmmmmy

  • I am forever grateful for the Fair Isle class I took at my LYS to do the Autumn Walking Scarf http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/autumn-walking-scarf a couple of years ago…the instructor taught us to knit with both hands, one strand in each, and my color work has become enjoyable without the tension issues I used to have.

  • My first experience with Fair Isle was in your (Franklin’s) class at Stitches Midwest in 2015. I had never carried my yarn in my left hand before and had a death-grip on the needle. After that, I knit 6 Fair Isle hats as Christmas gifts and am now in the middle of a Starmore sweater. Thank you!

  • It took me nearly 10 years to finish my first fair isle project, a cardigan in Kid Classic out of a Rowan Book. It was knit separately in pieces and then sewn together. And was sort of a typical (for the time) short boxy shape that doesn’t flatter my shape. Sigh. I wish young me had known about knitting fair isle in the round and steeking… and how to modify garments to suit. Lol. Oh well! It was a learning process and I’m keen to try another project. 🙂 This book looks awesome.

  • Great article Franklin!

  • I want to take a class on Fair Isle knitting. It is one of those things that scares me. Almost more than steeking my knitting.

  • I’m determined not to stop trying. Have finally mastered reading the charts! Now struggling with manipulating different colors. Still teaching brain and fingers to play well together!

  • I love Fair Isle and this book looks great. It will become part of my permanent knitting book library. I’m particular what books I buy, but this review tells me that I need this one. Thanks for helping the Fair Isle knitters do a better job.

  • I have knit a few Fair Isle projects but prefer simpler projects. I prefer to hold both yarns in my right hand.
    I fell in love with Wendy Johnson’s Sanquhar Cowl two years ago and had to make it for my sister. I dyed the yarn cornflower blue and began knitting a couple of days before Christmas (what was I thinking). This will be the third year that she will receive it as a Christmas gift! I’m down to the last few rows and should finish it any day now! It has her initials on one side and the dates on the other – 2014, 2015, and 2016!
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Francieos/sanquhar-cowl

  • Mmm, I tried Fair Isle knitting when I was young. The sweater piece went from 14″ to 12″ once I started the colorwork – oops! Fail!!! I’ve not tried again yet, but plan to do so.

  • I love knitting Fair Isle knitting. Despite the skinny yarn and skinny needles I think it knits up fast because it is always changing and I want to do just one more round. Steeking is a bit of magic that makes construction of a garment so much easier to knit and make. Choosing colors is a challenging exercise but very rewarding when I get the effect I want. However I am procrastinating on making a picked up button band in corrugated ribbing. I don’t like to pick up button bands much less doing all that corrugated ribbing. I may chicken out and come up with a different edging for the front. This book looks like a lot of fun and I would love to see if there are other interesting ways to treat button bands!

  • Sounds like an interesting book

  • love it.. learned on hats (at Knitting Camp) and then designed several of my own projects – pillows, bags and hats. would love to do a cardigan but need more time then i have right now with fulltime job. one day.

    would love this book for the color design ideas.

  • I already get Snippets, and love it. As for Fair Isle, I haven’t jumped in yet. But I am sorely tempted seeing these photos. I would love to own this book.

  • Count me a fan of Mr. Habit’s thorough review. I designed Joy of Color. Janine’s passionate for helping knitters accomplish a Fair Isle breakthrough drives this workshop in a book.

  • I have done stranded colorwork, but not REAL Fair Isle. Someday?

    I met Janine at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival last year, and attended her presentation. So much inspiration! Thanks for the chance to win the book; I think I need one no matter what.

  • Just learning fair isle and hoping I have the patience to finish this hat.

  • I’ve admired Fair Isle to the extent of having bought Alice Starmore’s Fair Isle Knitting as one of the first knitting books I bought in the late 1980s. I have not as yet knitted anything from that book, but I love to look re-read it and look at the illustrations. I think 2017 may be time to start a Fair Isle project.

  • I’ve never knit fair isle but would love to try. Sounds like it would require some serious dedication. I’m up for that. Kay H

  • My experience with Fair Isle vastly improved once I learned to do it with both hands, but I’m still not brave enough to design anything myself. I need to spend some quality time with Felicity Ford’s book, and this one looks like it would help too-yay for these brave knitters self-publishing their great ideas!

  • I have a shelf of eye-candy knitting books, looking at Fair Isle never fails to inspire me. My favorite Fair Isle project is a cushion I made about 12 years ago in non-traditional hemp. It’s proved to be somewhat indestructible and every time I look at it I think about making another.

  • I took MJ’s Fair Isle Class on Craftsy because I wanted to learn, but needed some hand-holding. I loved it! Now for 2017, I want to finish up the Ivy League vest I started 3 years ago. 🙂

  • Wonderful review. I always enjoy your writing and thoughtful perspectives.

    I would like to become a braver knitter. I’m colorblind (but not color stupid), and I’m oddly picky about roughly two-thirds of the spectrum, so I would like a avail myself of the opportunity to learn more about how color works.

    • (ahem) * to avail

  • I admire the stunning color combinations of Fair Isle, but have only dabbled with the technique. The sentence “This is about the joy of creation, the fun of self expression” sold me. Thanks for another great review!

  • I have added small accents of Fair Isle to projects such as mittens or hats but never a whole sweater. It is slow because I use the pick- up- one- strand- at- a- time method. I have just purchased MaryJane Mucklestone’s Craftsy class hoping to improve my skills.

  • I am pretty good at it (I can hold the yarns in both hands), but I want to try that Ladderback Jacquard method, because I don’t like how the carried color peeks through the front of the garment sometimes.

  • I love the look of Fair Isle, but am chicken to try!

  • About 5 years ago on a trip to the U.K. I purchased a Fair Isle sweater kit as a souvenir directly from Jamieson & Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers). I’ve yet to knit it though since I have a fear that I’ll screw it up, mostly because I might need to adjust the pattern to fit my short torso. The pattern is also written using some instructions that I’m not familiar with (maybe because it’s written by a Shetlander). Hopefully I’ll be able to get some assistance once I begin.

  • Why yes I have gone to Fair Isle and lived to tell the tale!

  • I never even finished the “fairly easy fair isle” sweater!

  • I still haven’t tried fair isle. I want to, but brave enough yet.

  • I buy Fair Isle sweaters and admire those who can knit them!

  • Have done one FairIsle with some success – too small. Have yarn for another but haven’t had the courage to start.

  • I am going to give this a try–with the help of the book! Thanks for helpful review.

  • I’ve never done it, have been too petrified to try!! I have done some 2 color knitting and enjoyed ut!

  • I love stranded colorwork A LOT. I don’t have much experience in true Fair Isle. I did a cardigan from a kit, which sadly came out too small (surely not my fault, right?), and would like to do more. I look at Bohus sweaters frequently…

  • Haven’t done it in awhile but I love color work, I was watching recently for a sweater but the yarn was not right so I look forward to doing it again soon.

  • I avoided any colorwork- until I tackled Janine’s Beginning Fair Isle Cap under the guidance of my LYS Fiddleheads. Her charts are easy to follow. It is so satisfying to knit up.

  • Book lust is happening here.

  • Taking a class was my entry point into fairisle. Loved the teacher, the class, and the evolving skill.

  • I just finished Janine’s Helsinki sweater which is to be a Christmas gift for my daughter. I loved that pattern, the clarity of instructions, and the extra short rows to make it fit just perfect. That was so pleasant, and so pretty when finished, I want to make another for myself. I can’t wait to get my hands on her book!

  • I made a fair isle sweater and matching ski hat, and a little bathrobe for my (now 35) baby, all with fair isle bands, before I knew I should be scared of it. It didn’t seem hard! Now, 30 years later, I’m hesitant for the first time — I guess because the bar seems to have been raised since then in terms of selecting colors, and so many more beautiful yarns are available. This book tempts me to try again, though.

  • I’ve done a lot of fair isle knitting, but I’ve never tried creating my own pattern. Maybe this book would give me the tools and the courage.

  • I love looking at and dreaming about fair isle knitting, but haven’t as yet actually done any. But you never know… a new year looms with 365 days of possibilities!

  • I’ve bought the Craftsy Shetland/ Fair Aisle class Mary Jan Mucklestone teaches — inspired by the great enthusiasm for colorwork her on MDK knitting….I’ve yet to take the class — but I did make 2 color MJM hat!

  • It frightens me just to look at it! Isn’t that delicious? Gotta try….

  • I love fair isle! Corrugated ribbing is my favorite! I struggle with value as well. I would love this book.

  • I kind of suck at fair isle, but I’m not giving up. I’ve taken two classes – one for a headband and another for a hat. Both came out okay, if you take into account that I used the wrong sized needle on the hat and it came no where near fitting on my head. lol! It’s a type of knitting that I so want to be good at!

  • I am just finishing my first all over buttoned vest. I have learned so much! And I LOVE doing Fair Isle now. I really, really do!

  • This is an excellent review of an excellent book. I have had the good fortune of taking one of Janine’s workshops. Armed with that knowledge and this book – I hope to one day overcome my paralysis and put in the work to actually make my own garment.

  • For me it is rather a zen thing. When I am in the moment for fair isle I can do it. When I feel I should be,not so much. Therefore I have learned I can’t compel it to happen.

  • I have and love the book. I have yet to design the sweater, because I’ve hit a dead end. That’s ok. No rush.

    I love doing Fair Isle, I’m good at it, and one day, I will create my own design. But I’m not going to try to push the river, instead, I’ll let it flow.

  • For many years, I thought I’d never learn to knit and my previous difficult experience with it (for a Girl Guides’ badge) certainly didn’t inspire me to try again. Now that I’ve picked up the needles, I don’t want to put them down. I like trying to learn a new technique with every project, so I know that someday I will try my hands at Fair Isle. The idea is both daunting and exciting!

  • This book looks like it would be a great addition to my knitting library. I have only done some hats with fair isle patterns so a Newby to the method, but I adore thesee patterns.

  • Love Franklin’s book reviews! Please keep them coming!

  • I love knitting fair isle, but have struggled with color choice and am delighted to use some classic color combinations or allow one of our excellent designers to choose for me. That said, I am getting braver about adding in the one color I can’t imagine working when I swatch…..and I’m often amazed to see how that color I’m sure I’ll hate is the one that makes everything work.

    Barbara M. In NH

  • I made a beautiful vest once when I was a teenager, but that was 45 years ago. It was in grey tones mixed with silver strands. I never wore it. I started a fair isle accessory but it takes all of my concentration and has been put on hold over the holidays as there are people around me who want my attention. Hopefully, I will pick it up again in the new year.

  • I am just dipping my toe into small fair isle projects this year, building up my confidence. Learning what works and what doesn’t. This sounds like a great book to urge me on to the next level!

  • The 10 stitches per inch gauge is for me! It’s good to have a low key project to counterbalance. This book looks terrific, thank you for the review!

  • I’ve tried it 3 times, & the first one came out so poorly, that it took me years to try again. However, the 2 that I tried this year came out so good, that I’ve been thinking about trying it for fun! I’m partial to the Rav pattern ‘How Cold Is It’ 😉

  • I love fair isle, or stranded knitting. I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing badly, so I’ve never thought about how good (or not) I am at it—sitting down with your knitting on a gray winter day and seeing that color pattern emerge is reward enough—if the stuff is actually wearable when you are finished with it, that is just an added bonus.

  • I love Fair Isle knitting, although I can’t say I’m an expert. I also love so-called mindless knitting (which I try to make mindful and contemplative), but Fair Isle is intellectual, puzzle-solving knitting at its best, and so worth the investment of time and effort.

  • My Fair Isle knitting has two main problems. Tension, and tension.

    Let me elaborate.

    I have yet to master holding both the working yarns in one hand, so I knit with one English, and one Continental, and my tension is quite different for these two styles. It does not result in a harmonious piece.

    Secondly, I have somewhat of a struggle with achieving the correct tension on floats. Again, I get a wonky result.

    This book is so intriguing, though, that I may be ready to re-enter the Fair Isle arena, and do battle with the yarns (Two against one odds! Is that fair?) yet again.

  • A personal goal for 2017–fair isle!

  • The short sleeved sweater in the photo leaves me salivating and my head spinning. Which colors are the foreground and which are the background…? I think I need this book.

  • Color knitting, stranded, fair isle, whatever it’s called I love it. I’m pretty good at it but can always learn more. I’ve read about this book and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Fingers crossed!

  • I would love to do more fair isle and really prefer “how to come up with your own thing” books, so this sounds like a wonderful book for me! Thank you for bringing this work to our attention, Franklin.

  • I tend to overthink Fair Isle work, but when I can get into the rhythm and enjoy the color changes, there’s little that’s more satisfying.

  • I have had good success with small items. In spite of my appreciation for the the beauty as well as the work involved, I have yet to try a sweater. Perhaps this is the year!

  • I love how it looks. But so far, have been a huge chicken in terms of trying it! I did purchase a DVD that teaches color knitting. I hope it helps, as I’d love to try this!

  • I have knit several projects in Fair Isle and they turned out pretty well. Getting the tension right is the tricky part for me. My dream is to knit Alice Starmore’s Mary Tudor.

  • I tried a small stranded project. Fair isle scares me to death!

  • Looks like a great book to add to my knitting library.

  • I knit my first Fair Isle in 1985. The sweater on the cover of Knitters Magazine, the third issue. I ordered a kit from Schoolhouse Press (by mail, with a check!) For something like — gasp — $40.00. I still have the sweater, and have done a lot since. I’m hoping to see Janine when I visit Berkeley in the new year!

  • Love the look of fair isle, but have only done hats, etc. that don’t require steeks! I need to learn more and get better before attempting an entire vest or sweater!

  • I did some decades ago when I was totally self taught, except for the year or so when my grandmothers started me out. I had no idea what to do, designed some motifs myself, and went at it with sticks and yarn. No technique, just guts. Ah, young knitting!. Haven’t tried it recently, but it does keep calling to me.

  • I’ve never done any Fair Isle knitting. I’ve only tried stranded knitting once. Choosing the colors has kept me from trying any fair isle designs.

  • Honesty. That’s the word that comes to mind with respect to this review. There’s something about the stark honesty in Franklin Habit’s words about the pitfalls of both the mainstream and the indie publishers of knitting patterns that rings true. I have a bookcase full of knitting books that, for various reasons, did not live up to the hype. The Joy of Color, however, sounds like a true winner that will teach me to work hard at gaining new skills, thereby making me a better knitter.

    Thank you for the review and especially for the honesty of it.

  • I would be totally new to Fair Isle, but eager to learn.

  • I jumped in with both feet a few years ago. Made a fair isle felted knitting bag. What was I thinking? I think I’ve not done anything nearly as complicated in the intervening years. Perhaps it’s time to get back up on that horse.

  • At first, I fair-isled with aplomb. Then I read about it, and I got scared and haven’t done it for years, except for the occasional Christmas stocking. Weird.

  • I’ve done a fair bit of Fair Isle. I enjoy it. I’ve won some State Fair ribbons. Never steeked yet, though. That’s my 2017 goal. 🙂

  • Oh my gosh, I adore Fair Isle! About 20 years ago, I started and finished a vest. Flush with my success, I planned a complete conversion to a Fair Isle wardrobe–sweaters, caps, socks, undies!

    Yeah. That plan went nowhere. I’d love to try again, and this book sounds like a delightful way to restart.

  • I’ve only done a bit of Fair Isle, but was surprised at how quickly I was able to pick it up and utilize both hands. It’s really fun!

  • I’ve almost finished my first fair isle project, a cowl with a sampling of motifs. It’s from a Craftsy class taught by the awesome Mary Jane Mucklestone. I’m ridiculously proud of this thing though I’m sure a fair isle vet might see some areas for improvement…learning fair isle has opened another knitting world for me, it’s vast and beautiful, and I no longer have to flip past those patterns with the thought, “I have no idea how to do that”.

  • I love fair isle. in my mind I am brilliant! in execution….I am maybe slightly above average 🙂

  • I have been too timid to try it. Maybe someday.

  • Let’s just say it is far from my specialty.

  • I took a 2 color knitting class in 1999 while living in Bloomington, IN. I learned how to knit a 2 color headband. That year everyone received headbands for Christmas. I enjoyed the process so much that I requested Alice Stanmore’s Fair Isle Knitting book. I eventually would love to make a sweater or vest.

  • I have one almost finished Fair Isle sweater. All that remains is one sleeve but somehow I just can’t muster the courage to finish it because then I’ll have to do the dreaded steek! Having read this and been reminded of that sweater, I think maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind and just do it.

  • I have wanted to do Fair Isle knitting for years. My best friend does Fair Isle very very well, I kind of, well not so much, ok, I failed at it…. Maybe I need to try again!

  • I’ve done Kate Davies’ Peerie Flooers Betsy Farquhar’s Papel Picado – both such fun! I would love to learn how to devise my own patterns and style.

  • I love fair Isle knitting. My tremors make it difficult sometimes. Still love books on it, pour over the pages of color. It is calming and fun.

  • I have been getting Janine’s emails about this book. This review has me wishing I had pre ordered it when that was a possibility. It sounds like an encouraging book for people who want to spread their wings and get braver with putting the colors together in their very own way. Sounds indeed like a classic book to add to one’s knitting library!

  • I have to steel myself up to do Fair Isle every time – but then I love it! I have an unfinished sweater from last winter that I’ll go back to as soon as I’ve finished Christmas knitting (January 1 or thereabouts!).

  • I’ve done a little colorwork, but I plan to make 2017 the year of Fair Isle. Think I’ll start with something small, perhaps a tam or cowl. But I need help choosing colors first…

  • .I have done a bit of fair isles and would love to do more. There is only so much time in a day.
    By the way, what is the pattern for the cardigan or better is there a pattern for it?

  • I have done a lot of fair isle and enjoy the challenge

  • When a relatively new knitter, I fell in love with Bohus yokes. While not strictly speaking Fair Isle, which uses only 2 colours per row, whereas the pattern I chose used upto 5 per row, with purls, I may add, Bohus yokes seemed to me the highest form of the knitting art. So I dyed my own yarns and chose the Wild Apples and cast on, holding my breath for much of the time. I had invested so much of my knitting self into this project, I was tense and anxious throughout the knitting of the entire yoke. It worked out of course, but I’ve only worn it twice. I find the idea that Fair Isle can be fun truly liberating and when I knit my Crofthoose Yoke, by Ella Gordon, after Christmas, I’ll keep the fun element at the forefront of my mind!

  • OMG! A book review from Frank Habit about Fair Isle?! I almost fainted with joy! Although colourwork is not something I really tried but once or twice and very shyly keeping to just two colours, this should be really a goal fro 2017! Maybe nice mitts as an early ambitionate project for the holidays in January… this could be something 😀 I will embrace you, pretty colourful knitting <3

  • I have wanted to learn Fair Isle for so long! This looks like a perfect book for me.

  • I don’t do it often enough to say I’m really GOOD at it, but as long as I’m working on circular needles (and not DPNs), I can get into a rhythm and do fairly well. Took a class from Sally Melville at Stitches a few years back which was great!

  • My first knitting project was a fair aisle sweater. It was too small for me and I refused to cut the steek so it was never worn.

  • Thanks for this review! I’m a beginning Fair Isle knitter and love the process but choosing my own colours…I am definitely intimidated. Will absolutely have to get my hands on this book….one way or another. Happy Holidays!

  • I’ve only done a wee bit of Fair Isle knitting, but I certainly want to do more. I have dreams of someday making a Starmore sweater.

  • I love color! But boy, do I struggle with two-hand knitting. I keep trying though.

  • Have done some fair isle knitting – hats, Christmas stockings and a cowl. Love doing it.

  • Time to learn to knit with yarn in both hands!

  • I just knit my first stranded Colorado project,and while it was awkward to hold two yarns at once, it was definitely do-able and I love the finished sweater! I would love to have a look at this book and learn more in depth ☺

    • Oh geez. That’s stranded colorwork!

  • Love Fair Isle knitting. I am new to this type of knitting. Think there is more fair isle in my future.

  • I am of Latvian descent so have knitted lots of mittens and hats in the round. Blending colors is a challenge but improves after paying close attention to my ‘failures’. Fair Isle type of knitting is my favorite type, though I’m experimenting with lace.

  • I knit with all yarns on my left hand, sometimes separated on different fingers. When possible I pay attention which yarn goes on top, unless too complicated. Then it really seems too academic because too much is going on in that round.

  • Terrified of knitting with two yarns at THE SAME TIME!!

  • Love the beauty of Fair Isle and finally gave it a try. My hat turned out reasonably well and I learned a lot along the way (including the realization that a black yarn background is not my friend after 4:00 pm!) Now I’m ready to do some more!

  • I have dabbled in Fair Isle in the form of Christmas ornaments. Keeping tension is the biggest challenge but the end result is so rewarding.

  • I’m an awesome Fair Isle knitter.

  • I did a little double-knit ornament as my first foray into stranded knitting..not so easy for a continental knitter. I find I lose interest if I am unable to be efficient with my technique.

  • I thought I sucked at color knitting so I put a project down and walked away. When I came back to it I thought, “that is not so bad!”
    Unfortunately the baby I was knitting it for is 4 years old now!
    I definitely need someone to light the way!

  • I’ve knit a couple Fair Isle hats, but I confess it was nothing to write home about!

  • I did knit some sweaters with Fair Isle yokes years ago before I considered that they might be challenge! I should dive back in once again.

  • Fairly new to Fair Isle (yoke of sweater, band areound mittens). I took a class with Janice at the Plucky Knitter GLAMPING event in 2016 & loved the class. I am excited to tackle a Fair Isle hat from this class after the holidays.

  • I have only yet done the most elementary of fair isle this may spur me to do more! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • I have done lots of stranded knitting, but haven’t tried a traditional Fair Isle pattern…yet!

  • I haven’t had a chance to try fair isle yet, but it doesn’t seem to tricky, considering what i’ve already mastered.

  • I love Janine’s work and her classes are truly excellent. Would be excited to win such a book.

  • I’m OK at fair isle. Learned early on to make myself a note about whether I was holding the background color in my right or left hand – which has saved me a headache more than once

  • Because I’m in a knitting slump it has been a while since I’ve done any fair isle. I dream of it though. In fact, there is one vest (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tracery-4) that I plan to make, even have the yarn ready to go, but it is knit flat!!!! I know this is insane, and I should figure out how to make it in the round, but that means I will have to do a bit more thinking than I’ve had time for, because I know I will have to figure out how to do steeks–and I only have a little experience doing that.

  • I don’t fair isle much for the same reasons I don’t twerk: looks a little scary, not sure I’ll be good at it, might hurt. (But am ready to try again- the fair isle-Ing, not twerking)

  • I learned Norwegian stranded colorwork while living in Norway as an exchange student. While I’m fascinated with Fair Isle, I’ve only done a couple of projects and I look forward to delving into Janine’s book. Her sense of color is truly impeccable.

  • I’m getting better at stranded knitting. But would love to be better. And I’d love to get one of the books!

  • Fair Isle was on my 2016 goal list and I not only accomplished the goal, I’m crazy about Fair Isle kmitting. This book looks like a must have in my library

  • Fair Isle keeps me challenged in my knitting. I love it for that.

  • Fair Isle scares me a bit. I have done it, but worry about floats being too tight, making a tiny mistake and I’m doomed, and running out of yarn! I love the way it looks, though, and it’s on my list of “knitting techniques I need to learn.” Thanks for the visuals!

  • I can never get my stitch tension right. Want to perfect this!

  • Looks like a wonderful addition to the library

  • Have always been afraid to attempt FairIsle.

  • LOVE Fair Isle knitting! I try to incorporate a bit in many projects … afterall, patterns ARE just suggestions, right?

  • I love fair isle knitting and just yesterday wore a vest I knitted, my first project with steeks. It is my favorite type of knitting and I hope to do much more. I would love to win this book!

  • Cool, I love fairisle knitting!

  • Fair isle : A bit of sucking going on here☃️☃️☃️☃️

  • I’m good at the knitting but my color choices could be better.

  • Can’t suck at something you’ve never done! Maybe this book can get me started. Thanks for the chance.

  • My only foray was a Stopover, which wasn’t really even FairIsle. But I would love to learn how.

  • Love it and would love a copy of the book! I enjoy seeing the design come alive!

  • I did a fairly successful Philosopher’s Wool pattern FI sweater (don’t put the yarn joins in the front where the main steek is for a cardigan!!) but have always wanted to design my own pattern. Guess I’d better add this book to my collection!

  • True confessions: a sweater (partial) in a bag that keeps calling to me from the depths. I love the pattern and the concept, but keep deferring to more simpleminded sock patterns promising quicker success. Thanks for the reminder of the new year and resolutions of finishing!

  • Cool, would love to win!

  • A fair-isle sweater is the most entertaining thing I knit. It’s like reading a good book. I find it hard to put down until I reach the end of a “chapter” (a color change.) Or I live in expectation of seeing a beautiful block of pattern emerge. I knit with both hands. Every part of me — physical, intellectual, emotional – can be deeply involved. Bliss!

  • It is certainly a love hate relationship. Maybe I need a small project for 2017.

  • Really need to try an intermediate fair isle project.

  • I consider myself a good Fair Isle knitter, but honestly i haven’t done any big projects such as a sweater. Only accessories. I’ve taken many classes with Beth Brown-Reinsel (we live in the same town), and one with Franklin. Perhaps in 2017 will be the year of the sweater.

  • Great review! I will seek out this book. Thank you! (Oh, and love “questions from students both brilliant and . . . not.” Do I hear the voice of another experienced teacher there?)

  • I did ok with a Zoe Moeller sweater for my granddaughter: stripes, flowers, and intarsia sheep. learned continental, too.

  • I’m so concerned with the floats being too tight that I sometimes make them too loose!

  • I really enjoy your writing, Franklin. This piece was particularly well-written. Thanks!

  • I’m a complete Fair Isle pattern beginner. I’ve always been too intimidated to try! I’d like to make a pair of fair isle mittens or a hat.

  • I want this book!

  • I always figure that it’s just knitting. Someone else figured it out, probably in candlelight. No reason I can’t do it. I also sew, and have cut into plenty of fabric. Steeks are cutting fabric too. No big deal.

  • the finished product of fair isle knitting is a joy!

  • I love fairisle, but the most complex pattern can be done if you break it down row by row neatly, keep the different colors in little plastic bags wound neatly,loosely and use a yellow hi-liter to mark off what you have done so far on the pattern, seeing the colors merge and create a pattern you can see is amazing.start with something easy-create a scarf, draw picture you like-color it with your favorite color markers-graph paper
    works well, and start knitting. basically its always stockinette stitch, use 2,3 knit stitches for the borders oneach side of the scarf . good luck…..

  • Wow! Tell me it’s hard, but tell me I can do it! Perseverance is key.