Feral Knitter

September 2022

I love living in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I must admit that September here is a confusing season! I can feel that touch of seasonal change but we are actually heading into our hottest months, June through August being generally cool and foggy. Another lesson on the need to let go of expectations and enjoy the day, however it presents itself!

No matter what the weather, it’s been a very creative season for me. I’ve developed some new classes—you’ll see them first at Stitches West next March. I’m also bursting with moon designs: deep dark night, twilight, dawn…. Sarah Swett once wrote, “Finally there is no point in making anything unless one is thoroughly attracted both to the subject and the form. There are too many ideas and too little time for anything else.” I’ve found an idea that I can’t put down!

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. Many folks have asked about travel plans for 2023: I have three international trips on my calendar—Ireland in May, Shetland in August, and Iceland in September. The details, however, are still being thrashed out—I can’t overstate how complex the process of creating one of these trips is! Again, my newsletter is where you’ll find information first.


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.