Monday, 30 November 2015

Fair Isle Knitting with the London K&C Guild

The London Branch of the Knitting & Crochet Guild met this Saturday afternoon and the extremely talented Mary Henry presented an excellent Fair Isle workshop. There was so much to learn about this most "traditional" of techniques, from the beautiful symmetry of colour and stitch in each design to the most practical ways to manipulate two colours on one row. 

Fair Isle knitting by Mary Henry

Mary had brought along some of her own garments to illustrate techniques. As well as being beautiful on the outside, each garment was stunning on the inside with the floats having the same symmetry as the design. 

Fair Isle knitting by Mary Henry
Mary demonstrated the usefulness of a camera phone to work out colour combinations. Taking a photo in colour then changing it to black and white shows the difference between hue and saturation. This can make all the difference when selecting multiple shades for a complex design.  

Colour Shade card

The same shade card in b&w

We had a lively discussion about techniques for steeks! Mary had brought a swatch with her and showed us one technique that uses crochet to secure the edge stitches. Mary used a contrast yarn to crochet two lines of stitches on either side of the stitches to be cut. Then, with much trepidation for some of us, we all got the chance to cut the steek!
Crochet edges in progress

Crochet edges in progress

Partially cut steek

Philippa Thomas joined Mary to talk about machine knit fair isle. It was extremely interesting to hear about Philippa's lovely designs and how her design process changed over time. 

Fair Isle Knitting by Philippa Thomas
There was time to try some of the Fair Isle techniques and I particularly enjoyed trying out corrugated ribbing. Reversing the colourways changed the look of the ribbing and although I ran out of time to test this fully in the meeting, I did finish the swatch on the train home!

Fair Isle sample in progress by Emma Vining

The next K&C Guild London branch meeting will be on 6th February 2016 and will feature Jennie Atkinson on "Sparkle: The Art of Beaded Knitting". All are welcome to come along, members £10, non-members £15.  More information on the K&C Guild and the London Branch can be found on the Guild website

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