French fancies, sherbet dips and battenberg


Pinks are not my usual colour choice but in this top the combination of them with blue, orange, yellow and cream are simply delicious.
It was a joy to knit; fair isle was a knitting skill I envied, thinking it fiddley and difficult. In reality it is much easier than I imagined it to be, helped along by using the right yarn for the job. Shetland yarn, from the home of fair isle, is fabulously soft, warm and ‘sticky’ – that is to say the fibres act a little like Velcro, making steeking or cutting into the knitted fabric to make arm holes and neck much easier.
I was horrified by the thought of that. It seemed to go against all my knitter instincts and I couldn’t understand why on earth anyone, after spending hours and not to forget expense, would in their right mind want to do that. Scissors and knitting?!? Uh?!?
Having undertaken several (show off) fair isle projects I now get why steeks are necessary. You can, of course, knit fair isle flat by knitting and purling backwards and forwards; in some ways purling fair isle makes more sense as you can see your floats (the loose threads caused by carrying a yarn across stitches when not in use) much more clearly, enabling even tension, especially when you are starting off with stranded colourwork. However this does not help with maintaining even tension when switching stitches so knitting in the round is a better plan as well as avoiding seams. Fair isle sweaters are generally knit in the round to make a tube, then the tube is cut to make holes for arms, and in this case, at the neck to make the ‘v’. Most patterns allow for steeks by adding extra stitches which have to be secured before cutting. With previous projects I have done this by machine sewing two vertical rows either side of the stitch to be cut as this makes solid and very secure seams – even when using Shetland wool, you don’t want to risk any loose threads. This time I decided to step out of my comfort zone and use a more traditional method and crochet either side of the steek stitch.

It worked really well, left very neat edges and is now my steek securer of choice.
Look at the inside, I almost prefer this to the outside, I love how the pattern looks and the little crochet edges are very cute.

Overall I am very happy with the result and look forward to many years of wearing it.



8 thoughts on “French fancies, sherbet dips and battenberg

  1. nessastardom

    Wow, may I say it looks fabulous on and a great choice of colours, I’ve been waiting to see it finished! may I also say how brave you are, I’ve always been a knitter that gets nerved by the idea of steeking or cutting and grafting! You deserve a gold star! 😀 x

  2. Wen

    That is beautiful work. I remember my ex’s Grandmother looking at the inside of my work because that is how you can tell the skill of the knitter apparently. When it looks that good it is because you are a very skilled artisan.

    1. knittingkitten04 Post author

      That’s very kind of you to say. I think fair isle is my favourite knitting technique, one I used to admire in other’s knitting but thought it would be too difficult for me. Now I think it’s easier than it looks!


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