Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Designing a Fair Isle Vest

I've started designing a Fair Isle vest for my husband. This is one of the only things that he has ever asked me to knit.

And I've been working on it, but in a round-about way, slowly moving toward the goal. I've knit Komi mittens from Mostly Mittens. I've modified the Komi patterns to accomadate a much warmer, thicker yarn. I've knit and taught my colorwork cowl pattern (see a post below). And this fall, I led a knitalong with a project of a steeked, stranded colorwork vest modified from Fyne from Rowan.

As you see, I try to learn the new skill, and then modify/wrangle it into a slightly different size or yarn or method. I've been trying to keep track of these riffs by making notes on my Ravelry project page. Unfortunately, I have a very bad track record of losing mittens and hats before I write the changes down. And on a more positive note, I've taken lately to giving away things that friends or family admire. (You like this cowl? Here, it's yours. Very fun.)

For this vest, I'm using a photo of a Ralph Lauren vest that my husband admired a few years ago. Luckily, it was still in my knitting files on the computer. The picture provides color choices and an idea of the balance between peeries (small designs) and motifs (larger, more complicated patterns, usually not television-watching-while-knitting friendly).

The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK. This is the only DK-weight yarn that we sell at the shop that has the range of colors needed for Fair Isle. And even with, hmm, 28 shades, there are still holes that a traditional company like Jamieson and Smith, which has at least 100-150 different colors of yarn in a fingering weight, would offer. (I just noticed that we don't have Mineral: a bright yellow.)

Phase 1 of this project was teaming up with a friend who also is knitting a Fair Isle vest for her husband. Hers, which will be natural colors of amazing yarn from Long Island Livestock, will be very different from mine.

Phase 2, which is my project for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (non-stop knitting, movies, and a fire) is swatching to try to figure out the charts and colors that I'll be using.

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