My very first fair isle project is off the needles, blocked and worn! I am so happy that it was a pattern by a good knitting friend, Julie. She’s been such a huge inspiration for me in so many ways. This project is the embodiment of the blog’s name – the pattern was gifted, the yarn I used was gifted and the cowl will be a gift for my dear Granny and for her green eyes!
I love the cowl’s generous size and how both sides are “public” – all floats are hidden inside. I really enjoy wearing it with my Gallery sweater! But I have to put it away before my trip to my family or I will keep it instead of giving it to my Granny! 🙂
Pattern. Xanadu Snowflake Cowl by Julie Crawford. I love Julie’s design aesthetics so much! She always creates simple, timeless and beautiful knitwear pieces. This colorwork pattern of the cowl is just striking. The snowflakes are so delicate and airy. When I look at them they also remind me of a starry sky… The pattern is very easy and straightforward. I did only one modification – 6 full repeats instead of 9. I was knitting with slightly thicker yarn, so the cowl was growing much faster.
Yarn. Palette by Knit Picks. I used 1.5 balls of dark green shade and less than one ball of light green. At first I wasn’t sure how the yarn will knit up in fair isle, but turns out it is absolutely perfect for it. It created such a wonderful fabric – not too thick and very light. I was also pleased to see that the water was pure clean after washing the cowl – the colors didn’t fade at all!
Color. Julie’s sample was knit in light neutral shades and I was afraid that the snowflakes would be too sharp in my version as the contrast between my colors was much stronger. But turned out the pattern is perfect for both color options!
Construction. The tube of the cowl is knit in the round before the beginning and end of the cowl are grafted together. This allows you to have a total control over the cowl’s length, which gives you a great opportunity to use completely different kinds of yarn and not to worry about gauge too much. I am sure it will be great in DK or sport weight as well and I can only imagine how warm it will be! You can also experiment and make it two times longer for a double wrap.
Colorwork Pattern. I absolutely loved “drawing” these snowflakes with yarn. The chart really speaks to you and I did’t refer to it that often. I got into pattern rhythm pretty fast and only occasionally checked the chart. I could easily knit and watch a movie at the same time. I have a good visual memory though, so I can’t speak for everyone.
Here are the techniques I used and some of my tips that you might find helpful for your project.
- Magic Loop. I don’t knit accessories that much and I don’t have any circular needles with a short cord, so I had to use my usual 31″ cord circular. If not used properly, this method can create very noticeable unevenness in the fabric. Here is the video I found that gives very helpful tips on how to work fair isle using the magic loop method – Fair-Isle Knitting on DPNs and Magic Loop.
- Needles. I started my project on 3 mm ADDI click metal needle, but several weeks ago I needed it for another project and I have only one set. I changed it for 3.5 mm wooden needle and there was no difference in gauge. The gauge on the metal needles is usually slightly looser than on the wooden ones, as the stitches slip more easily (at least for me).
- Blocking. I was worried at first that my tension is not perfectly consistent and I would end up with a lot of bumps in the fabric, but Julie assured me that blocking will work for fair isle just like for lace – it will make wonders to the fabric. And it did! My cowl’s fabric was far from perfect, but wet blocking made it almost impeccably even!
- Grafting. The video for the grafting technique to refresh my memory – The Kitchener Stitch – Grafting your Knitting
This project has been with me for more than three months and I am kind of sorry to let it go… I really loved this technique and I am happy Julie inspired me to try it! Off to new projects!
I hope you will have a wonderful Sunday!