Fair Isle Yarn

As a knitter I love yarn and my favourite yarn is wool. I also love colour and the Fair Isle technique, so it was inevitable that eventually I should buy yarn from Shetland. Spindrift, from Jamieson’s of Shetland, is spun from wool produced by Shetland sheep, and every process required to turn the fleece into yarn is carried out on Shetland. So the yarn miles are minimal. and it is available in over 220 beautiful colours, which to quote Jamieson’s “allows immense design potential”.

Shade card from Jamieson's of Shetland

In my ideal world, I would order one of each colour – in the real world I could only order 15; I changed my mind so many times!

One extremely exciting day a parcel of yarns arrived and I began swatching, testing out both patterns and colour combinations.

Flowery purse - testing colour combinations

Flowery purse – testing colour combinations

Fair Isle knitting is quite addictive and to my mind is far more satisfying than intarsia.  The yarn is wonderful to knit with; it’s quite magical to see how adding another colour changes the appearance of the sample.  Some colour combinations worked better in certain patterns.  My swatches grew and I finalised my colours.  Then I started the project, a small purse with a pansy pattern and a variation of a corrugated rib.  Joy, from beginning to end!

Fair Isle flowery purse

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2 Responses to Fair Isle Yarn

  1. Nicki Merrall 20 November 2012 at 20:56 #

    I’ve travelled around the northern coast of Scotland but never been to the Hebrides or Shetland. I’d love to go to both and meet the craftspeople and learn about their heritage. I’m so glad Harris tweed is having a resurgence and that different patterns are being made again.

  2. brenda 19 November 2012 at 10:21 #

    Since a teenager I inherited my mother’s love of fair isle and tweed… she knitted several fair isle items for the family – so very popular then …since spending time in the western isles and meeting crofters and weavers/knitters, I returned a great lover of the beauty of fair isle and harris tweed. This project will enchant me. In every design there’s a narrative particularly one concerning the ever changing colours of the landscape and the lives of women – not sure if you’ve visited but if you you ever get a chance go up there, do…lovely project…a place where maybe our projects might cross…transitions…

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