Look ma, three colors!

My first colorwork

The universe has sent me several signs in the past month that it’s time for me to learn fair isle knitting. (Tell you about them when I can.) What the universe apparently missed is that I had already signed up for a class! Which is where I spent my Sunday morning: learning proper habits and smart tips from the highly revered and totally charming Mary Jane Mucklestone. She not only bowled me over with her deep historical knowledge and her mountain of jaw-dropping colorwork swatches — each of them roughly twelve by twenty-four inches! — but also with her red clogs, literally the best clogs I have ever laid eyes on. I didn’t get very far on this hat-to-be, but I have totally got this.

[MISSED CONNECTION: Your name was Denise and you loaned me a stitch marker. Didn’t mean to swipe it. Will pay you back in spades if you’ll only tell me how to contact you!]

The Knitting Lab market was high quality but tiny compared to similar events I’ve attended, so I managed to escape with only one skein of yarn — a really deliciously hairy, naturally pewter, alpaca and mohair blend from Toots le Blanc, at half price. And Friday evening I got to eat at a hilarious little Japanese place with two of the very loveliest yarn people. Pretty brilliant weekend.


ICYMI this week is quite recent but highly relevant, here in gift-knitting season: Scarves to start now.


The yarn is Kenzie, sent to me by Skacel.

30 thoughts on “Look ma, three colors!

  1. Love the golden tan tweed with the turquoise bits in it. Can’t find any pictures on rav that really show it off like what you’ve got here. If it weren’t for this post, it would have slipped past me. So, thanks for that!

      • Yes, it’s important to regularly checking that the row pattern is right.. it’s slowing you down, but saves you from unraveling
        i used to count in numbers, i.e. 1black-3white-1red-3w-1b-w as a repeat for a row (just an example)
        I’m sure you’ll do well, it’s a matter of keep practicing!

  2. Karen, I know this is supposed to be about the yarn and their colors, but you hve piqued my interest on the red clogs!!! No pics ?!?

    • I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of them. They were Troentorp, and I’m pretty sure it’s the Raphael model. But they looked way cuter in person — broken in a little and not so tightly buckled down. The sole looked like it would be amazing to wear.

  3. It looks great! I’ve only dipped my toes into fair isle because I’m not so great at keeping the floats loose enough but I may have to give it another go soon.

    • MJ’s advice on that is to just keep making sure you spread out your stitches on your right needle as you go. As in, spread them to the tension they should naturally be — don’t stretch them or anything. But if they’re bunched up on that needle, you’ll keep pulling the next ones tight against them.

      It’s those little bits that are why I love classes. That seems so obvious but I wouldn’t necessarily have realized it myself.

      My problem is they’re too loose, actually. I’m trying to do the two-handed method and am just not that great at tensioning the yarn in my right hand, so those stitches tend to be looser than the left-handed ones. But I’ll get there!

  4. Fair isle is one of my favourite things to knit (why don’t I do it more often???) and it looks like you’re learning from one of the best experts around! Have fun! I can’t wait to see all the beautiful things you’re going to make.

    • Funny you said that — when you posted that you’d knitted the sample of Kimmswick (right?), I thought huh, I didn’t realize Nicole did colorwork. Not that it should surprise me.

    • It depends on your finger dexterity, I imagine. It’s just stockinette, worked almost always in the round, so the only trick is how you hold the two yarns you’re working with at any one time — and there are several different methods or styles for that. Do you hold your yarn in your left or right hand normally?

        • I think that’s supposed to be the easiest to adapt — you just (“just”!) have both yarns on your left index finger, and as you go to “pick” a stitch with your working needle, you just pick from whichever of the two yarns you need next.

          I’m a “thrower” — I generally hold my yarn in my right hand. So I’m working on the two-handed method, where I have one yarn in my left hand and one yarn in my right, and alternate which hand I’m using based on which color I’m knitting with.

          It really sounds more complicated than it is. Or will be, with practice.

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