Named after the Shetland Island that made the work famous, ‘Fair Isle’ is a celebrated knitting design formed by the complex interweaving of colours that run behind the work. The wool is traditionally sourced, spun, dyed and hand-knitted using local vegetation and labour.
It’s not something to be taken lightly and requires an expert hand, but if you like a challenge …..
For new knitters, simply making a narrow band along the edge of a cushion or for a cottage tie-back is an achievement; and if you enjoy it, perhaps first progress to a whole cushion before you tackle a bed cover…
Commercially made ‘Fair Isle’ designed knitwear is relatively inexpensive and can often be found in charity shops; these are, however, perfect for recycling into furnishings if you just want to ‘ get the look’. In any case hand worked fair isle garments can always be repaired so it’s a travesty to cut them up – if there’s enough life left in them for a cushion, they should probably be rescued.
And of course, Fair Isle works can always be commissioned, either from local expert knitters or from the source. It is surprising how often, by asking around, we find there is a good amateur knitter close by, who would welcome an intricate, paid project. Always buy the best wool….