Fair Isle and other stranded knitting techniques are a great way to add some color and warmth to winter accessories, because the floats make a knit fabric that is double thickness.
Susan Anderson-Freed first learned these techniques in 1992, then began experimenting with designing mittens and tams. This collection, Nordic Knitting Traditions: Knit 25 Scandinavian, Icelandic and Fair Isle Accessories, is the culmination of that work and offers a nice variety of projects inspired by traditional forms but not in an obvious way.
About the Book
- Pages: 144
- Format: paperback
- Number of patterns: 25
- Skill level: none given, but knitters should be comfortable with circular knitting, stranded knitting and reading charts
- Sizing: all projects are for average-sized women
- Illustrations: full-color photographs
- Knitting lessons: none, but there is one page the explains the stranded knitting technique and offers some tips for success
- Publication date: September 2012
- Publisher: Krause Publications
One criticism I have of this book is that there isn't a lot of instruction of Fair Isle techniques. There's one page that shows diagrams of how the author does it (holding both strands of yarn in the right hand), with no suggestion of other ways you might do it.
It's fine not to include a lot of how-to information, but it's worth noting that this is not really a book for people who haven't done any stranded knitting. The techniques are not difficult to learn, but they do require focus to master and follow the charts needed to describe the patterns.
All of the projects feature allover colorwork and corrugated ribbing, so they're somewhat challenging, but well worth the effort if you have a couple of colorful projects under your belt already.
The book is divided into different accessories and has patterns in each that compliment each other. For example as you see on the cover, there's a tam and mittens worked in the same colors with snowflakes (Lyndi's Nine-Point Allover Tam and Lyndi's Feathered Star Gloves, respectively). There are also socks that use the same pattern.
Each project has charts for two colorways, but of course you can use whatever colors you like to create your own individual projects and sets.
Accessories offered include stocking hats, tams, mittens, gloves, midcalf socks (which are actually pretty long), knee-highs and leg warmers.
Some of my favorites in addition to the ones on the cover include Jenny's Snowflake Tam, which has a six-point snowflake on the top and simple rectangular colorwork around the hat; Jeanne's Sunburst Mittens, worked in shades of pastel and purple; Sabrina's Ojo de Dios Gloves, with a pretty diamond pattern worked in black and brights (the kneehighs in this pattern are really lovely, too); Shirley's Snow Heart Gloves, which have a heart pattern that looks sort of like a snowflake (I really like the socks in this pattern, too); and the Jenny's Maze Leg Warmers, with their bold colors and grids surrounding little flowers.
Another thing I found interesting about this book is that she prefers to knit her mittens from the tip down and her gloves fingers first (though instructions for going both directions are offered) she doesn't knit her socks toe up or explain how to do it. That's not a criticism, just an observation.
Again, while this is not a book for people who are new to colorwork knitting, there are many pretty and dramatic patterns to knit here that will keep you warm and colorful through the winter months.