Fair Isle workshop

Fair Isle workshop at Hope and Elvis

I’d like to tell you about the Fair Isle workshop that I’m running on Saturday 3 March 2018.

I’m returning to Hope and Elvis, which is within the grounds of the Welbeck Estate, that is part of the Harley Foundation. Founded in 1977 by the late Ivy Duchess of Portland it funds the Harley Gallery and offers subsidised studios to artists, makers and restorers. The Welbeck Estate is in an area now known as the Dukeries; this is at the northern end of Sherwood Forest. It’s close to South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and north Derbyshire.

Stranded colourwork swatches made during a Fair Isle workshop with Nicki Merrall

Stranded colourwork knitting, in which two colours are used across a row, is found across northern Europe. Fair Isle knitting is one style of stranded colourwork. It is justifiably admired for the beautiful use of colour and motifs.

The Fair Isle workshop will start with a designers ‘show and tell’. I’ll show you some of my designs and swatches featuring stranded colourwork, as well as some inspirational knitting books. During the first practical session you’ll practise stranded colourwork techniques by knitting a swatch. Then, I’ll give you some helpful tips for choosing colours for stranded colour work, as well as designing motifs. Finally, you’ll knit a swatch of your own design or one of my projects.

Learn stranded colourwork

If you’re new to stranded colourwork, such as Fair Isle knitting, you’ll practise the basic techniques, of stranding and weaving, by knitting a swatch in rows (no purling required). Stranding and weaving refers to what happens to the yarn at the back of the knitting. I’ll show you how to do this, so that the two yarns stay untangled and the floats on the back are neat. You’ll be knitting from charts with simple motifs. You’ll start with two colours and a pattern that just requires stranding. When you’re happy, you’ll move on to a motif that requires weaving as well.

I’ll give you guidance on how to choose a few colours suitable for stranded colourwork, as well as the type of motifs that are easy to knit. Then, you have a choice! You can either knit a project designed by me, using colours that you choose. Or you can design your own swatch using simple motifs and two or three colours.

Stranded colourwork sample and pincushion from the Fair Isle workshop with Nicki

You’ll need to be confident at casting on and off, knitting and purling, so this isn’t really suitable for you if you’re still at the stage where you forget how to do these things.

Improve your stranded colourwork

If you want to improve your Fair Isle knitting, you will knit a two colour rib in the round. You’ll also cut your knitting and finish the edges using two different methods. This will be nerve-racking the first time, but you’ll have to believe me that the next time will be stress free!

I’ll give you guidance on how to develop a colour palette suitable for stranded colourwork, as well as how to adapt motifs for your own projects. Again, you have a choice! You can either knit a project designed by me, or you can design your own swatch using more complex motifs and several colours.

Stranded colourwork knitting during a Fair Isle workshop with Nicki

You’ll need to know how to knit in the round and, although you don’t need to be an expert, you’ll know how to strand and weave yarns when doing stranded colourwork.

Fair Isle workshop details

The Fair Isle workshop takes place on Saturday 3 March 2018 at Hope and Elvis based at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire.

Places cost £60.00. This includes tuition, Shetland yarn for swatches and projects, instructions, refreshments and home baked cake.

Book now!

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