Monday, April 18, 2016

"Hand Spun & Knit Fair Isle Sweater"

I have knit three sweaters from the book below.  "Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified" by Ann Bourgeois.

The first sweater I knit was my hand spun in dusty pinks and whites as a trial run on the techniques explained in this book below.  Brave wasn't I to take a chance on wasting my hand spun yarns?  YES!  I kept that sweater simple with no design.  Just measure, do math, cast on,  knit-knit-knit, cut and put together.  I've yet to post the pink sweater but I will.  That sweater will be a bit anticlimactic after having posted these two sweaters with complicated designs.

Second sweater I knit was one I post a few years ago.   The purple/orange/teal checkerboard design.

The third sweater is the one below.

Name of the pattern I decided to knit since it gave me more flexibility on my choice of hand spun and dyed yarns I had on hand.
Two other sweaters in different color ways.

Pullover version of the design in another color way.

"Color Your Own"
  Knitting chart is in the book above along with at least a dozen more designs.

This sweater weighs 2 lbs and 7.4 ounces of wool!  Warm and heavy!  A lot of yarn to spin.  

All yarn was spun on this wheel below and this is just some of the carded and ready to be spun fleece in the basket for the above sweater.

More detailed photos of the sweater design:

Weaving technique that is taught in the book.  Makes a nice clean interior plus has the added advantage of NO long yarn floating over the inside to get snagged on anything.  You also don't have to worry too much about floats causing tension problems.  Once you learn to knit Fair Isle using two hands it's just a matter of minutes before you pick up the weaving technique.

See the line adjacent to the button band?  That is the clipped edge of the body of the sweater after you perform surgery......clip, clip, clip and right through the front of your knitted tube.  Big scissors in hand you clip right up the front of the knitting and thereby creating a "steek!"  All of this is taught to you in the book in a simple and easy to follow style and detail.

Sleeve attached at the body/shoulder.

Now a couple of words about the book.  This book was my second biggest leap in my knitting skills bar none!
Skills I mastered:

#1)  I learned to read charts! 
There is NO KNITTING gibberish in this book.  Just a chart for all the designs available and how to calculate the design to fit the size sweater you want to knit.  Charts of decreases or increases on sleeves and charts for the colors.  You are always free to re-imagine the color sequences and make it your own personal creation!   Learning to chart patterns/designs is a monumental leap forward.  Now the knitter can chart their own designs and figure out how to do it.  Amazing.
Easy peasy and liberating!

#2)  I learned how to prepare a knitted tube to become a cardigan by cutting up the front of the sweater.  
Scary stuff!
Not really that hard or all that complicated once you understand the necessary steps and they are explained in full detail and easy to understand language.  I do recommend that you make a swatch trial run so you are comfortable with the process.  I did and I was glad I had taken the time.  Doesn't have to be very big a knitting project.  Just knit enough that you can maneuver the machine stitching, cutting and casting on to the edges.

#3)  Taught me that I can knit just about anything if I put my mind to it and follow the simple guidelines taught in this book.  There usually are not many mistakes that can't be fixed if you think through the process and use a little creativity.

Today, after about 15 years of learning and knitting, I can look at almost any pattern, chart it and knit it and NEVER have to waste my time reading long, boring, frequently complicated and NEVER universally consistent dialogue about how to knit something.  Chart it and get on with the fun of knitting it!

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