My current work in progress:

1. Woodfords, designed by Elizabeth Doherty, knit from Madelinetosh Merino Light in the "paper" colorway on U.S. size 3, 5, and 7 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

The Fair Isle Channel

Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a television channel that showed video 24 hours a day of fair isle being knitted? Perhaps several different knitters knitting several different fair isles?

Hey, if they can have a channel that’s devoted to an aquarium 24/7, why not one devoted to fair isle?

Clearly, I have missed my calling. I ought to be in network programming.

Well, on this fair isle channel, I am at the point where I will put the underarm stitches on holders and cast on for the armhole steeks.

mara062006 The Fair Isle Channel

There was an interesting comment to yesterday’s entry from Cath:

One thing that drives me *nuts* with Rowan is that they don’t provide any info on discontinued yarns. Which wouldn’t be a problem, except there are all these gorgeous design books out there, using Rowan yarn. There are about 5 Kaffe Fassett designs I’m panting to knit, but I cannot for the life of me figure out the colors of the 30+ different yarns he uses. Arrgghhh!!! How do you cope with this?

How do I cope with this? I don’t knit them.

If you’ve visited my knitting gallery, you’ll see that I’m not a huge fan of Rowan. I have seven Rowan designs listed. (I’ve actually knitted one or two other Rowan designs as well — pre-internet.)

I buy Rowan magazines from time to time. Sometimes I “ooh” and “aah” over some of the designs I see, but they are just not “me.”

I got a copy of Kaffe Fassett’s “Glorious Knitting” when it first came out, and was blown away by the beauty of the knits in it. I actually did knit two Kaffe Fassett designs — the Tumbling Blocks sweater and one of the coats with many, many colors. My Tumbling Blocks wasn’t nearly as glorious as his — I think I used three colors — but I liked the finished sweater and wore it quite a bit. For the coat, I ordered pretty much every shade of worsted weight wool from Martha Hall. (Hey! Whatever happened to Martha Hall? I loved that catalog.) The resulting coat was extremely cool and I wore it til I wore it out.

But apart from those early forays, I don’t knit Kaffe Fassett designs. They, too, are not “me” — I like my colorwork along more traditional lines. But they are serious eye-candy.

Jayme commented:
Mara look wonderful but I think Deirdre may feel a little forgotten. Do we ever get to see a finished shot of her?

Yeah, you do. When I finish her. At the moment she is in pieces, waiting to be seamed. That will occur when the spirit moves me to do so. And not before.

Lucy sez:

lucy062006 The Fair Isle Channel

I’m glad the spirit moves her to feed me every day. Just sayin’.

Stash Enhancement

Lookie what came in the mail today:

yarn062006 The Fair Isle Channel

Left to right, that’s sock yarn, sock yarn, silk/merino sportweight, and a big-ass skein of merino sportweight. All beautifully handpainted by Dave Daniels and purchased from Cabin Cove Mercantile. And all far lovelier in person.

Speaking of stash enhancement, one of my favorite online sources for yarn, Carodan Farm, launched a new store website today. Check it out — it’s fabulous! Besides, they stock great reading material.

Comments

  1. HOLY MOLY is that giant skein giant! How many yards is it? Are you gonna make a shawl with it?

    Speaking of shawls, what would you recommend as a first shawl pattern? Lace doesn’t scare me but I wouldn’t mind if the pattern was pretty but not scary, you know?

  2. HOLY MOLY is that giant skein giant! How many yards is it? Are you gonna make a shawl with it?

    Speaking of shawls, what would you recommend as a first shawl pattern? Lace doesn’t scare me but I wouldn’t mind if the pattern was pretty but not scary, you know?

  3. Lisa in Georgia says:

    It just keeps getting more and more breath-taking! Simply Gorgous!

  4. Lisa in Georgia says:

    It just keeps getting more and more breath-taking! Simply Gorgous!

  5. *drool*

  6. *drool*

  7. 24/7 knitting has to be better than a lot of what’s on t.v. today.

    Fair Isle. The final frontier. Looking at your work makes me want to try.

  8. 24/7 knitting has to be better than a lot of what’s on t.v. today.

    Fair Isle. The final frontier. Looking at your work makes me want to try.

  9. Priscilla says:

    I know from reading your blog entries that you often buy yarn online. Do you ever feel that the color of the yarn you bought is different than how it is presented on the site? Just curious because I have been avoiding buying yarn online because I never know if I am getting the exact color I want.

  10. Priscilla says:

    I know from reading your blog entries that you often buy yarn online. Do you ever feel that the color of the yarn you bought is different than how it is presented on the site? Just curious because I have been avoiding buying yarn online because I never know if I am getting the exact color I want.

  11. Great idea for a tv channel. I could show what not to do!

  12. Great idea for a tv channel. I could show what not to do!

  13. someone once told me that Martha Hall was a prior incarnation of Halcyon. Not sure if that is true.

  14. someone once told me that Martha Hall was a prior incarnation of Halcyon. Not sure if that is true.

  15. Dude. That is one big-ass skein alright… Any plans for it?

    Oh, and thanks for another link. I need that like a hole in the head! :)

    LOVE your FI! I’m a total junkie and I’m so happy to be visually feasting on Mara. And the channel? I’m there.

  16. Dude. That is one big-ass skein alright… Any plans for it?

    Oh, and thanks for another link. I need that like a hole in the head! :)

    LOVE your FI! I’m a total junkie and I’m so happy to be visually feasting on Mara. And the channel? I’m there.

  17. Y’know if you contacted the DIY network with that idea it might go over. There are shows on scrapbooking, quilting etc. The person who can sell their idea for a show that #1 isn’t already out there and #2 has a proven fan base might get the nod, eh? Why knot knitting? (If you succeed “I want a piece of the action – LOL).

    Everything you have here is gorgeous, btw the filigree lace warmers pattern at Carodan Farm is pretty nice.

  18. Y’know if you contacted the DIY network with that idea it might go over. There are shows on scrapbooking, quilting etc. The person who can sell their idea for a show that #1 isn’t already out there and #2 has a proven fan base might get the nod, eh? Why knot knitting? (If you succeed “I want a piece of the action – LOL).

    Everything you have here is gorgeous, btw the filigree lace warmers pattern at Carodan Farm is pretty nice.

  19. You really could do an internet show. There is a quilting “channel” online that broadcasts quilting shows all day, 24/7. It could be WIKED (Wendy’s Internet Knitting Entertainment Daily)! LIVE! (Repeated on video after midnight for other times zones. lol)
    We need some WIKED now. (Pronounced wicked)

  20. You really could do an internet show. There is a quilting “channel” online that broadcasts quilting shows all day, 24/7. It could be WIKED (Wendy’s Internet Knitting Entertainment Daily)! LIVE! (Repeated on video after midnight for other times zones. lol)
    We need some WIKED now. (Pronounced wicked)

  21. I love the idea of a fair isle knitting channel. And I appreciate your comment about preferring traditional colorwork in knitting. Me too and it’s so nice to hear someone with your expertise say so. The way out arsty stuff just doesn’t ring my bell.

    The Carodan Farm Online store is wonderful. One of the best selections of sock yarns I’ve ever seen. And the buttons!! And the cute sheep pins!!

  22. I love the idea of a fair isle knitting channel. And I appreciate your comment about preferring traditional colorwork in knitting. Me too and it’s so nice to hear someone with your expertise say so. The way out arsty stuff just doesn’t ring my bell.

    The Carodan Farm Online store is wonderful. One of the best selections of sock yarns I’ve ever seen. And the buttons!! And the cute sheep pins!!

  23. Wendy, I’m sure I know the answer, since I am in total awe of your work, but i gotta ask. did you knit ALL those items in your gallery? it just blows my mind that one individual can accomplish so much in such a short time while working a full time job, taking care of a family and writing a book! I must say…. u rock :) and…….give us schleppers… a bad name LOL

  24. Wendy, I’m sure I know the answer, since I am in total awe of your work, but i gotta ask. did you knit ALL those items in your gallery? it just blows my mind that one individual can accomplish so much in such a short time while working a full time job, taking care of a family and writing a book! I must say…. u rock :) and…….give us schleppers… a bad name LOL

  25. the needle enabler says:

    re Martha Hall (a college colleague of mine) – she succumbed to cancer about a decade ago … her company was sold and I don’t remember to whom … but yes, it was a WONDERFUL catalogue – totally pre-heavy internet usage – one of the few connections to classic wool and wool designs around at that point.

    so sad -

  26. the needle enabler says:

    re Martha Hall (a college colleague of mine) – she succumbed to cancer about a decade ago … her company was sold and I don’t remember to whom … but yes, it was a WONDERFUL catalogue – totally pre-heavy internet usage – one of the few connections to classic wool and wool designs around at that point.

    so sad -

  27. OMG that IS one big ass skein of yarn. It looks devine too.

    I could really go in for a knitting channel. All different kinds of knitting though. Not just fair isle. The only time I get to see someone knit is in movies and man they don’t teach them how to fake it very well. lol

  28. OMG that IS one big ass skein of yarn. It looks devine too.

    I could really go in for a knitting channel. All different kinds of knitting though. Not just fair isle. The only time I get to see someone knit is in movies and man they don’t teach them how to fake it very well. lol

  29. I just learned to knit fair isle the past week, so far you are way better than me. Am all jealous and junk.

    For Cath, try http://www.yarndex.com they have a ton of discontinued yarn listed, it’s a big index of yarn and hasn’t been updated since ’04 near as I can tell so hopefully that will work for you.

  30. I just learned to knit fair isle the past week, so far you are way better than me. Am all jealous and junk.

    For Cath, try http://www.yarndex.com they have a ton of discontinued yarn listed, it’s a big index of yarn and hasn’t been updated since ’04 near as I can tell so hopefully that will work for you.

  31. nicole/sweden says:

    Ftv-fairisle tv, ahhh the future doesn’t have to go to hell in a handbasket.

    for cath, solving the challenge of identifying discon’t rowan colors can get solved if you find a rowan store that has been in biz as far back as the original shade cards dating from when the pattern was written. of course this means no chance to substitute away from pricey rowan yarns, just new generation rowan colors where the palate has been significantly limited from days of yore when there were literally 250 lgt wt dk colors. solving the design requirements can be as fun as it is challenging with the right helping hand.

  32. nicole/sweden says:

    Ftv-fairisle tv, ahhh the future doesn’t have to go to hell in a handbasket.

    for cath, solving the challenge of identifying discon’t rowan colors can get solved if you find a rowan store that has been in biz as far back as the original shade cards dating from when the pattern was written. of course this means no chance to substitute away from pricey rowan yarns, just new generation rowan colors where the palate has been significantly limited from days of yore when there were literally 250 lgt wt dk colors. solving the design requirements can be as fun as it is challenging with the right helping hand.

  33. Shelley says:

    For Cath look here:
    http://www.v-comm.net/seattleknitter/rowandata.html

    This list has been on the net for a long time and may help.

  34. Shelley says:

    For Cath look here:
    http://www.v-comm.net/seattleknitter/rowandata.html

    This list has been on the net for a long time and may help.

  35. I truly love that fair isle pattern. I think, once I manage to finish my current projects (including a Starmore sweater–Kinsale), I’ll have to dig up a fair isle project to try out. No way to learn but by doing, right?

    I really love those sockyarn colors. I’m starting to get addicted to sock yarn. It’s like potato chips. Can’t have just one!

  36. I truly love that fair isle pattern. I think, once I manage to finish my current projects (including a Starmore sweater–Kinsale), I’ll have to dig up a fair isle project to try out. No way to learn but by doing, right?

    I really love those sockyarn colors. I’m starting to get addicted to sock yarn. It’s like potato chips. Can’t have just one!

  37. OMG. That is on humongous skein!

    I was just thinking the other day that there ought to be a knitting channel. The problem i see with that is that it would be much like the cooking shows where they do it on TV with way more skill and speed than I ever could. That could be depressing. (Or inspiring)

  38. OMG. That is on humongous skein!

    I was just thinking the other day that there ought to be a knitting channel. The problem i see with that is that it would be much like the cooking shows where they do it on TV with way more skill and speed than I ever could. That could be depressing. (Or inspiring)

  39. Stephanie says:

    Love the Fair Isle in progress!
    Do you ever feel that AS’s designs are just too big and boxy? I love her patterns and colors, but just can’t get motivated to make something so wide and rectangular. Would I be nuts to try to remove a couple of pattern repeats?

    Do you leave the aquarium channel on for Lucy when you go to work? I bet she would like it.

  40. Stephanie says:

    Love the Fair Isle in progress!
    Do you ever feel that AS’s designs are just too big and boxy? I love her patterns and colors, but just can’t get motivated to make something so wide and rectangular. Would I be nuts to try to remove a couple of pattern repeats?

    Do you leave the aquarium channel on for Lucy when you go to work? I bet she would like it.

  41. Also, do you have recommendations for first Fair Isles? I’m not afraid of bigger things like sweaters or cardigans. :)

    Also, finally found your book. It’s wonderful! :D

  42. Also, do you have recommendations for first Fair Isles? I’m not afraid of bigger things like sweaters or cardigans. :)

    Also, finally found your book. It’s wonderful! :D

  43. Louise in Maryland says:

    Martha Hall and Halcyon are unrelated, except that both are Maine institutions. I used to shop from the Martha Hall catalog (back when Patternworks was just a small black-and-white brochure) and visited her store in Yarmouth once – I recall she had a box of toys under the stairs and my young son sat and played quietly while I spent money. A very nice lady bought the business and was running it for a while from her farm in Freeport – I drove there once and my 3 children chased her chickens around the yard while I spent money (I recall I got lots of Bartlett for mittens and hats that trip). Eventually the catalogs dried up and the name disappeared from the lists of places to shop in Freeport.

    Depsite the fact that I live in Maryland, Halcyon is my LYS. Its the only place I ever find the time to actually go and browse.

  44. Louise in Maryland says:

    Martha Hall and Halcyon are unrelated, except that both are Maine institutions. I used to shop from the Martha Hall catalog (back when Patternworks was just a small black-and-white brochure) and visited her store in Yarmouth once – I recall she had a box of toys under the stairs and my young son sat and played quietly while I spent money. A very nice lady bought the business and was running it for a while from her farm in Freeport – I drove there once and my 3 children chased her chickens around the yard while I spent money (I recall I got lots of Bartlett for mittens and hats that trip). Eventually the catalogs dried up and the name disappeared from the lists of places to shop in Freeport.

    Depsite the fact that I live in Maryland, Halcyon is my LYS. Its the only place I ever find the time to actually go and browse.

  45. You need to stop posting all these links in your posts! All it does is tempt me to buy more and believe me…I don’t need to add to my stash! :)

  46. You need to stop posting all these links in your posts! All it does is tempt me to buy more and believe me…I don’t need to add to my stash! :)

  47. Love the idea of a knitting show–it could show us beginners how to do all sorts of complicated things. And wouldn’t it be soothing after a tought day at work! Unfortunately, I’d never get to see it because we don’t have cable.

  48. Love the idea of a knitting show–it could show us beginners how to do all sorts of complicated things. And wouldn’t it be soothing after a tought day at work! Unfortunately, I’d never get to see it because we don’t have cable.

  49. Wendy- Brilliant! The Fair Isle channel- where are you holding auditions?
    But be careful, certain designers may have something to say about that- LOL!

  50. Wendy- Brilliant! The Fair Isle channel- where are you holding auditions?
    But be careful, certain designers may have something to say about that- LOL!

  51. I’d love to see a knitting channel. My EZ videos kept me going through my third pregnancy.
    Your FI is making me completely disgusted with my WIP’s. Yesterday I sat on the couch with Meg Swansen’s Knitting for far too long. Would socks or mittens be a better first project? I have Folk Knitting in Estonia…or should a fearless knitter just dive right in? I did start my knitting journey with the Charlotte Bronte shawl…much to the dismay of the LYSO.
    Probably should finish the aran first though, huh?

  52. I’d love to see a knitting channel. My EZ videos kept me going through my third pregnancy.
    Your FI is making me completely disgusted with my WIP’s. Yesterday I sat on the couch with Meg Swansen’s Knitting for far too long. Would socks or mittens be a better first project? I have Folk Knitting in Estonia…or should a fearless knitter just dive right in? I did start my knitting journey with the Charlotte Bronte shawl…much to the dismay of the LYSO.
    Probably should finish the aran first though, huh?

  53. Wow! I guess I’ve never done true Fair Isle before. I’ve knit Norwegian steeks up the middle for the front opening and cut into Norwegian knit armholes (that is, nuttin’ but the knitting, post-sewing machine-added reinforcement, and most recently crocheted reinforcement), but I’ve never “put the underarm stitches on holders and cast on for the armhole steeks.” Sounds redundant somehow. Why put stitches on holders then cast on for the same stitches? I don’t get it. If you’re so inclined, would you comment on this technique?
    Just finished your book, btw. It was a good read. I miss it already. It’s like reading your blog, but without an end. Sadly, it ended. Write another! :-)

  54. Wow! I guess I’ve never done true Fair Isle before. I’ve knit Norwegian steeks up the middle for the front opening and cut into Norwegian knit armholes (that is, nuttin’ but the knitting, post-sewing machine-added reinforcement, and most recently crocheted reinforcement), but I’ve never “put the underarm stitches on holders and cast on for the armhole steeks.” Sounds redundant somehow. Why put stitches on holders then cast on for the same stitches? I don’t get it. If you’re so inclined, would you comment on this technique?
    Just finished your book, btw. It was a good read. I miss it already. It’s like reading your blog, but without an end. Sadly, it ended. Write another! :-)

  55. I would *so* watch a fair isle channel. I’d even Tivo it so that I didn’t miss anything. You did indeed miss your calling in network programming.

  56. I would *so* watch a fair isle channel. I’d even Tivo it so that I didn’t miss anything. You did indeed miss your calling in network programming.

  57. That sweater you’re making is something else. I’ve done a grand total of two Fair Isle pieces, both very small and I’m not sure they were even technically Fair Isle (as I understand it, all Fair Isle knitting is stranded but not all stranded knitting is Fair Isle), and now you’ve got me itching to do more. That should go nicely with Dave’s Bitchin’ Mittens. (Yes, I am itchin’ for bitchin’.) That Dave is one talented dude, isn’t he?

  58. That sweater you’re making is something else. I’ve done a grand total of two Fair Isle pieces, both very small and I’m not sure they were even technically Fair Isle (as I understand it, all Fair Isle knitting is stranded but not all stranded knitting is Fair Isle), and now you’ve got me itching to do more. That should go nicely with Dave’s Bitchin’ Mittens. (Yes, I am itchin’ for bitchin’.) That Dave is one talented dude, isn’t he?

  59. I blame you. Go ahead, talk about how great Carodan Farm is, make me want to go and see their site, make me spend money! (How’s that for not taking responsibility for my own actions!) But I do agree with you, they are great and the reading material does seem to be top notch!

  60. I blame you. Go ahead, talk about how great Carodan Farm is, make me want to go and see their site, make me spend money! (How’s that for not taking responsibility for my own actions!) But I do agree with you, they are great and the reading material does seem to be top notch!

  61. Juliette says:

    I love it…”Deidre – Resting in Pieces”.

    You go girl with your bad Fair Isle self.

  62. Juliette says:

    I love it…”Deidre – Resting in Pieces”.

    You go girl with your bad Fair Isle self.

  63. Another Julie says:

    On the subject of Rowan yarns; I was just in the village of Holmfirth,Yorkshire, home to Rowan Yarns and I was disappointed when I was told that there was no shop at the mill. A yarn store in the village stocked Rowan yarn but the selection was disappointing for someone who was expecting to find a complete range of fine fibres in all colours. The discontinuing of yarns appeared to be quite a problem. I travelled all that way and bought nothing. I suppose Rowan has to protect the integrity of its retailers and can’t be having an outlet store full of bargains for dreamers like me.

  64. Another Julie says:

    On the subject of Rowan yarns; I was just in the village of Holmfirth,Yorkshire, home to Rowan Yarns and I was disappointed when I was told that there was no shop at the mill. A yarn store in the village stocked Rowan yarn but the selection was disappointing for someone who was expecting to find a complete range of fine fibres in all colours. The discontinuing of yarns appeared to be quite a problem. I travelled all that way and bought nothing. I suppose Rowan has to protect the integrity of its retailers and can’t be having an outlet store full of bargains for dreamers like me.

  65. Love your Fair Isle, love the links to websites, although right now I’m on a yarn diet till I get some of my WIPs done.. we’ll see how long that lasts! :-)

  66. Love your Fair Isle, love the links to websites, although right now I’m on a yarn diet till I get some of my WIPs done.. we’ll see how long that lasts! :-)

  67. gorgeous yarn! thanks for the new store link -well, i thank you… hubby does not :D

  68. gorgeous yarn! thanks for the new store link -well, i thank you… hubby does not :D

  69. Your sweater is so beautiful. You really are inspiring me to have a go at Fair Isle! One day…and probably sooner than I think…

    Just asked my Border’s to get your book in for me.

  70. Your sweater is so beautiful. You really are inspiring me to have a go at Fair Isle! One day…and probably sooner than I think…

    Just asked my Border’s to get your book in for me.

  71. Cath, ‘most any longtime Rowan stockist will be happy to help you substitute yarns to knit those older KF patterns. You can e-mail me privately if you need suggestions.

  72. Cath, ‘most any longtime Rowan stockist will be happy to help you substitute yarns to knit those older KF patterns. You can e-mail me privately if you need suggestions.

  73. I’d watch you knit on the Fair Isle Channel, you must knit at lightning speed! I’ve been doing some little fair isle for a bit now, and usually do both strands in my right hand, but am much slower than you are. I’m always impressed with what you are making!

  74. I’d watch you knit on the Fair Isle Channel, you must knit at lightning speed! I’ve been doing some little fair isle for a bit now, and usually do both strands in my right hand, but am much slower than you are. I’m always impressed with what you are making!

  75. If they can advertise a TV channel for infants-toddlers (I swear!), then an all-fair isle channel is definitely a possibility…mention it to enough people, and I bet you could convince someone to produce it!

    I’m in if you need signatures on a petition, or something. :-)

    –Judy

  76. If they can advertise a TV channel for infants-toddlers (I swear!), then an all-fair isle channel is definitely a possibility…mention it to enough people, and I bet you could convince someone to produce it!

    I’m in if you need signatures on a petition, or something. :-)

    –Judy

  77. That sweater is fabulous. I’m about to start the “Fair Isle Sampler Hat” that was in I-Knits, but first I thought I’d learn to knit right handed so I can use both hands. You’re inspiring me, as usual.

    I wish we had the aquarium channel and the fair isle knitting channel – I’d watch both. Why don’t you could set up a web cam aimed at your knitting hands? What about OUR needs?

    I waste a lot of time watching the Tiger mother and cub cam.

  78. That sweater is fabulous. I’m about to start the “Fair Isle Sampler Hat” that was in I-Knits, but first I thought I’d learn to knit right handed so I can use both hands. You’re inspiring me, as usual.

    I wish we had the aquarium channel and the fair isle knitting channel – I’d watch both. Why don’t you could set up a web cam aimed at your knitting hands? What about OUR needs?

    I waste a lot of time watching the Tiger mother and cub cam.

  79. That tiger link didn’t come out right – it’s here:

    http://a.cfmx.si.edu/Animals/GreatCats/default.cfm?cam=T3#cam

  80. That tiger link didn’t come out right – it’s here:

    http://a.cfmx.si.edu/Animals/GreatCats/default.cfm?cam=T3#cam

  81. Okay, I’m a broken record, but, holy cow! You’re lightning fast! Crazy-fast. Amazing. I think you need to start video-blogging (lots of people do it!) and just post a video of a few minutes of yourself knitting fair isle – that would sure be a kick to watch! And then, boom – you’re now your own network programmer. You’ve heard of the WB? Well how ’bout WK? Coming to a PC near you!

    And Caroden Farm – I’ll always have a warm feeling and happy thoughts about that place. Such beautiful country. Such nice people, such a nice (but little) shop. Such cute lambs! And where I learned socks on DPNs. What more can a girl ask for?

  82. Okay, I’m a broken record, but, holy cow! You’re lightning fast! Crazy-fast. Amazing. I think you need to start video-blogging (lots of people do it!) and just post a video of a few minutes of yourself knitting fair isle – that would sure be a kick to watch! And then, boom – you’re now your own network programmer. You’ve heard of the WB? Well how ’bout WK? Coming to a PC near you!

    And Caroden Farm – I’ll always have a warm feeling and happy thoughts about that place. Such beautiful country. Such nice people, such a nice (but little) shop. Such cute lambs! And where I learned socks on DPNs. What more can a girl ask for?