Classes I Offer

I offer a number of different classes in Fair Isle and other stranded knitting subjects. For all classes, I bring a complete set of Jamieson Spindrift and Elemental Affects fingering weight Shetland yarns, some 275 colors, for students to work with.

Color Outside the Lines: Tam

1-day class

Working from a pre-defined colorway (8 colors purchased as a kit), students will learn how color is traditionally used in Fair Isle designs by coloring in the provided classic tam pattern using a step-by-step process. This workshop is ideal for those who want to explore Fair Isle design but are hesitant about starting from scratch.

Fair Isle Yoke Sweaters

1-day class

First we walk through the Elizabeth Zimmermann Percentage System method for designing a yoke sweater, paying particular attention to various fit choices. Using color wheels, we discuss harmonious color relationships. Then students are let loose to pick colors for their choice of three original yoke patterns. Swatching will begin in class, and we will analyze what works and what doesn’t. The emphasis in this class is on the yoke design. Although we use Shetland jumperweight yarn in the class, the sweater itself can be knit in any weight yarn. Students should leave with the information they need to design their own sweater.

Mini–Fair Isle Yoke Sweater

1-day class

Students knit a small sweater for an 18” doll to learn the basic techniques for designing and knitting an Elizabeth Zimmermann–style yoke sweater with a small Fair Isle yoke design. Students will knit the body and sleeves before the workshop; when we meet, we will work on joining the sleeves and body and adding short rows for a good fit. Students will choose colors for their yoke design using color wheels. I will be discussing fit and design issues for adult-sized garments, and the handout walks through adult sweater construction steps. The emphasis in this class is on construction. Students should leave with the information they need to design their own sweater.

Mini Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan

2-day class (this is also offered as a 3-day class, ideal for guild retreats because it offers much more time for completing the knitting and answering questions about Fair Isle knitting in general)

We will work through the Elizabeth Zimmermann Percentage System yoke sweater on a smaller scale: a cardigan sized for an American Girl Doll (or other 18” doll). Students will knit the body and sleeves before the workshop; when we meet, we will work on joining the sleeves and body and adding short rows for a good fit. Using color wheels, I will discuss harmonious color relationships. Then students are let loose to pick colors for the Fair Isle yoke. When the yoke is completed, I will demonstrate the crocheted steek and then students will cut open their sweaters. We will then add a garter-stitch band. The handout will also cover making yoke sweaters for adults.

Choosing Colors for Fair Isle Designs: Working from a  Source of Inspiration

1.5- or 2-day class

The infinite number of color possibilities in Fair Isle knitting can be intimidating! I begin by discussing color theory, sources of inspiration, and the specific requirements of Fair Isle design. Students start by knitting a value swatch; guided by their color inspiration, students then choose colors for a “speed swatch for color.” After we analyze the speed swatches, students are given a choice of two hat patterns and I demonstrate how to add colors to a motif. By the end of the second day, students will have completed the motif swatches and be ready to choose yarns for the hat.

Design Your Own Fair Isle Sweater

3-day class

We begin by discussing the use of color in Fair Isle knitting, color theory, and helpful resources. We will start with an exercize in value recognition and then we will plunge into the actual process of identifying colors in our sources of inspiration. Students choose colors and start speed swatching to see how they work together.

Day two will be spent charting motifs and swatching them with the chosen colors. Students can bring their own charts or create their own in the workshop (some might choose to re-color an existing design).

The focus on day three is construction and fit issues specific to Fair Isle-type garments: steeks, corrugated ribbing, purl-when-you-can borders, and adding bands are discussed and demonstrated as desired. I provide a basic, customizable pullover pattern and will share some simple ways to calculate armhole and neckline curves.

This workshop covers a lot of ground, but by the end of the workshop students will be well on their way to finalizing a unique Fair Isle garment pattern.

Fair Isle Techniques

Classes in the following stranded knitting techniques can be arranged:

  • Crocheted steeks (and interesting things to do with steeks)
  • Adding bands
  • Jogless jog
  • Effect of hand dominance
  • Increasing and decreasing in pattern
  • Shaped shoulder in the round (and general notes on adjusting shoulder lines)
  • Easy way to shape armhole and crew neck bands

Please contact me if you are interested in having me teach at your guild or shop.