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Fair Isle knitting for beginners: basic how to

Fair Isle knitting is a technique that allows you to switch between two or more colours in the same row to create patterns in your knitted work. It may seem complex but with a bit of practice you’ll be knitting words and pictures in no time!

Tips and instructions for knitting with two colours:

Let go of the colour you are knitting with.

Take the new colour and simply loop it around the next stitch. Secure it by tying a knot to the original wool – you want to tie this tightly, but not so tight that it pulls/stretches your work.

As your grid pattern dictates, drop the colour and pick up the other colour.

How to manage tension of strands when knitting with two colours:

Depending on how many stitches there are between colours, there will be a strand that you carry when you need to once again pick up and knit with the new colour.

Ensure that you leave a fair amount of slack when you pull across the wool to knit – if you pull too tightly, you will bunch your work.

How to carry yarn when knitting in the round with two colours:

When knitting in the round with two colours, unless the round uses both colours all of the way, you will end up with one colour stranded in the middle of the round!

Below is a *very* simple way to catch your loose strand at the back as you knit to avoid very long strands. You basically twist the two strands together before knitting your stitch and this "catches" the colour you are not using in the back of your stitch.

It is up to you how often you do this – I tend to catch my floats with this method every 3 to 4 stitches, max!

This basic video below accompanies my Newfoundland-style knitted mittens pattern:


Knitting Patterns