Feral Knitter

August 2022

Santa Rosa plum season has passed, here in Berkeley, which tells me that summer is moving along quickly! I’m finding perspective and relief from the cares of the world through the meditative joy of knitting. The snippet of poetry that inspired my new projects—”Even in all its phases the moon is still whole”—continues to inspire me to see beyond the present moment.

Later this month I’m off to Shetland again with another group of travelers! For years people asked me whether I’d ever been, and when I said no, they said (invariably), “You have to go! It’s magical!” When I returned from my first visit, I told everyone, “It’s magical!” If you love Fair Isle knitting I hope you get an opportunity to visit Shetland at some point!!!

I’m moving ahead with designing a long-form class on designing a Fair Isle sweater and/or cardigan. I’ll announce it in my newsletter (sign up below) when more details are available.


Treat yourselves and those you meet with generosity! We can’t be creative in an atmosphere of scarcity.


What’s New this Month

There have been some changes to my travel plans for 2023 and 2024. I’ve added Shetland (in August) and Ireland (in May) trips in 2023—details on both trips are being worked out right now. Scotland, Yorkshire, and the Lake District has been pushed back to 2024. And as I wrote above, the Colors of Italy retreat will return to Montelparo, Italy the first week of June in 2024.

Are you new to Fair Isle knitting? Let me recommend my two patterns geared to beginners: Dryas Octopetala, a slouchy hat, and the Beginner’s Fair Isle Cap, a small, close-filling cap. Both these patterns include motifs that build in complexity, giving you a chance to build your confidence in carrying two colors at a time.

My approach to Fair Isle knitting is modern and very personal; my goal is to share my deep appreciation for this type of knitting and to help you develop the confidence to plunge into this world of color and pattern.

My newsletter is where you will get the most current information about teaching and travel and new patterns, so please sign up if you haven’t already!


In 2003 I was setting up a Fair Isle color study sub-group of the Seattle Knitters Guild. A non-knitting friend, overhearing the discussion, asked me, apprehension thick in her voice, “Janine, WHAT is a feral knitter?” The name stuck. A feral knitter is someone who loves color knitting, playing with color combinations and garment shapes, and learning about construction and fit.