Fair isle tutorial

One person who read  a recent post asked if I could add a video tutorial.

Now I don’t do video tutorials and in fact, for myself, I normally prefer pictures and diagrams that I can peruse at my leisure, so I am going to share a few photographs that I hope explains exactly what I was suggesting.

The post in question was on knitting fair isle and how I had now mastered a way of ensuring that the yarns didn’t get tangled and could even be twisted every other stitch if wanted. I give a description of this in an Addendum to the post but maybe a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, so here is an explanation with photographs.

I don’t describe what to do for purl stitches because it is essentially the same principle and when learning fair isle it is better to use circular knitting where all the stitches will be knit. However a piece of flat knitting is easier to photograph.

Knitting Fair Isle

The first thing is to separate the two yarns one on either side. The one on the right being the ‘upper’ (normally background) yarn and the one on the left being the ‘lower’ yarn.

As in this photograph.I am referring to the person’s own right and left.

Arranging the yarns like this naturally makes the one on the right hand side higher than the other and helps in remembering which is which.

This method will work whether you are twisting frequently or only every few stitches. However it always involves two adjacent stitches of the same colour.

When twisting frequently and knitting an odd number of stitches in the same colour,  I will always knit the first one normally and then twist the yarn for the next two. (Repeating the twisting for more pairs as necessary.)

Firstly I will deal with twisting the yarn for stitches using the ‘upper’ right-hand side yarn.

I think you can see in the photograph how the green (right-hand) yarn naturally sits above the pink (left-hand) yarn.

For the first of the two stitches, I pull a loop of the upper yarn forwards under the lower yarn and use that to wind round the needle. (See arrow)First stitch with upper yarnFor the next stitch, I pull the yarn back and use that to knit the stitch. (See arrow)Second stitch with upper yarnI think you can see that this will bring the green yarn back to the top.

The yarn should now be untwisted in any way and back to where you started.

Now knitting with the ‘lower’ left-hand side yarn.

This time I pull a loop backwards under the ‘upper’ yarn and knit with this. (See arrow) First stitch with lower yarnLooking at the photograph below I think you can see how the pink yarn is now naturally above the green.

So I pull the yarn forward and use the length that is below to make the stitch. (See arrow)Second stitch with lower yarnAs before, the yarn should now be untwisted in any way and back to where you started.

Everyone has their own way of holding yarn but I find it is possible to hold both in the right hand and use the first finger and thumb to twist from one to the other. Though a certain amount of letting go is also needed.

I hope that all this is helpful and adds to what I said before.

(As a footnote. When working purl stitches I did tend to find that I needed to treat the right hand yarn as the lower and the left hand yarn as the upper.)

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2 thoughts on “Fair isle tutorial

  1. Wanting to let you know I received my beautiful red cross in the mail today. I love it! Thank you so much. I love your photography and gardens too.

    Liked by 1 person

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