I just put the finishing touches on a Fair Isle cardigan, one I worked using vibrant hues of Jamieson's Shetland yarn. I love the Fair Isle technique, not just because the patterns are aesthetically pleasing and interesting to knit, but also due to the fact that this style is evocative of a particular time and place, one discussed by author Sarah Laurensen in an article in Scottish Memories magazine. She recounts how in the mid- to late- nineteenth century, “. . . Fair Isle knitwear became a sort of souvenir that epitomised rural Scotland. Associations with the everyday life of fisherman fed in to romantic notions of Scottishness at the time, as well as a revival of all things Nordic” (100). To me, knitting Fair Isle, with this connection to a pre-industrial, and perhaps, mythical, past makes me feel tied to tradition and history.
Knitting the Foxglove sweater also evoked more current times, last July in particular, when my husband and I visited friends in the English countryside. My gracious hosts made certain our week's itinerary included a visit to the nearby Oxford Yarn Shop, where the owner introduced me to some of Kate Davies's publications. Davies is a designer whose work reflects her links to the Scottish Highlands, where she resides, and to its heritage of wool and knitwear production. While Davies often employs traditional styles, her engaging designs appear fresh and have a viable appeal to contemporary knitters.
|Kate Davies' blog provides instructions for finishing a steek in a way that's a little different from the other crocheted steeks I have seen in books and videos. With her method, a neat covered seam is made in the the center and then is cut open.
I actually like cutting steeks. The experience is scary, but successfully executing the precise
process fills me with a great sense of accomplishment.
|I found some inexpensive Celtic-looking buttons to use. After showing a friend my finished garment, she told me about friends of hers who make and sell hand-crafted pewter buttons, many in Celtic designs. I'll have to buy some for my next cable or Fair Isle project. I checked out their website and saw that they also make knitting inspired jewelry!
|I love this "Bunny Button" from The
|This is the artists' "Large Bold
Celtic Spiral" button.
|Davies recommends trimming the crocheted steek edge. I was afraid to do this but steeled myself and went ahead.
|The edges didn't fray.
Laurenson, Sarah. "Fair Isle Knitting." Scottish Memories (2015): 100. MasterFILE
Complete. Web. 12. Nov. 2015.