Monday, 5 December 2011

Inside-Out Fair Isle

When we were in Sheffield, buying a Henderson's Relish apron, my sister and I did a circuit of the John Lewis fashion floor, to see what's on offer just now. Lots of jumpers this year.  We saw several Fair Isle jumpers, including some in which the Fair Isle is (deliberately) inside out. In other words, it's the floats that are on view.  Sometimes the effect is quite pretty, as in a cardigan from East which is knitted in very fine wool.  It gives a nice blurry effect, with the colours blending together (though I can't help feeling that right side out would be prettier.) 

Another case was a dress with a Fair Isle yoke, where the wool was not so fine and the floats were much longer.  Being boringly practical, I thought that the floats would easily snag. 

It does altogether seem a strange idea to make a garment with an intricate Fair Isle pattern, and design it so that the detail doesn't show, but only a blurred version of the pattern. I can't imagine that a hand-knitter could ever do such a thing.

I did buy a very nice jumper for myself while we were there.  It's in very fine cotton, with wavy horizontal stripes.  (For some reason, I really like tops with horizontal stripes.)   Not the sort of thing you could hand-knit, because the stitches are tiny.   The pattern is kind of inside out, again - it's reverse stocking stitch, to give the rows of little spots when the colour changes. As far as I can tell, the waves are created by blocks of heel stitch, or something similar involving slipped stitches, in the stripes of black yarn.  The slipped stitches have the effect of contracting the fabric vertically and so pulling the white stripes together.  Very clever.

I wore it when we went out for lunch to celebrate having been married for a long, long time - 33 years and 4 months, or a third of a century.   That's not an anniversary that is recognised much, though I think it should be - we celebrate quarter and half centuries, so why not a third?


  1. Hello, Just wanted to tell you that I am admirer of your blog - I can't figure out how to follow you though - and that I re-blogged one of your photos from your Fair Isle post in September, with a link to your blog, of course. I hope that is ok with you.

  2. I can't figure out following either. I have just taken a look at your blog - love your vintage outfits.

  3. Thank you for stopping by on my blog!


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