Friday 6 November 2009


Fair Isle swatch
Originally uploaded by

Wool in an array of glorious colours (leftovers and new skeins I just couldn't resist) plus Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting = high time to swatch! It's a book I really recommend, primarily for the excellent pattern library section.

Not only is there an abundance of patterns, they are also arranged according to how many rows they consist of (from 1 to 19 rows plus a number of allover patterns). Starmore also encourages playing with the pattern shapes and explains how to do so in a structured way.

With so many choices it's difficult to decide where to start. For this swatch I simply picked one of the many irresistible patterns to see how the colours in my stash work together. I really like this combination of colours, but not so much my colour sequence.

The rusty red is too dominant and demands attention at both the beginning and the end of the repeat. That's too messy in my opinon, so I'm going to move it to the middle where I think it will play nicely with the warm shade of yellow. What's more, that should result in a single focal point in the centre of the repeat with the glowing colours against the undyed and beige background.

I should add that Starmore's book has many qualities apart from the pattern section. Even though parts of it may seem dated at first glance (after all, it was first published in the 80s) I would say it's a timeless book above all.

The yarn is Shetlandsuld from BC Garn; 3 mm needles (US 2½).


Mandy said...

I just got the republished version of the book. You're right, the sweater shapes are dated, but everything else about it is fantastic. I have read most of it with great interest, learning new things and feeling more confident about the things I already knew. Nice swatch, but I think you're right about moving the red. Good eye!

Unknown said...

It's interesting to hear of your thought process. The colors are beautiful; I'm certain you'll figure out a fitting progression. Will you try two different options in the center of the repeat, (1) using the red for the pattern (e.g. 3-stitch diamond) against the off-white background, and (2) keeping the pattern in gold but using red as the background color? BTW, I found the linen in the background strikingly handsome.

miastick said...

Hej Ravelrykompis! Vad roligt att hitta dig och din blogg. Kul också att läsa om hur du upplever Starmore. Jag måste dyka djupare i den boken, köpte den och tänkte "80" och ställde den i bokhyllan.

Lars said...

I like the colors, a lot! Looks like I need to check out Starmores book. I have too many books already and am always reluctant to add to the collection unless I'm sure that I will use it the new addition. There are a few that I thought I had to have but after buying and looking through them I've never opened them since.

Asplund said...

Mandy: "Two souls, one thought", to translate a Swedish expression I'm fond of.

Dan: My plan is to use the red in the centre of the pattern - I believe the red and the yellow will "eat" each other (can't think of a better word) if used in the same row. I might give it a try to see how it turns out, though. Thanks for the suggestion!
I love the linen too; it's a towel I bought recently. The flower ("fritillaria meleagris" or Kungsängslilja in Swedish) is a symbol of a region called Uppland.

Mia: kul att du hittade hit och att du gillar min blogg! Jag vill gärna veta vad du tycker om boken när du tar fram den igen. (Jag blev faktiskt lite besviken när jag först snabbläddrade igenom den, men ändrade mig snart. Det berodde nog lite på att jag hade så högt uppskruvade förväntningar!)

Lars: Glad you like the colours! I must admit I too have more books than I really need (although I try to tell myself they're all necessary) and try to restrict myself to the ones I find most useful and inspiring.

Kerry (Ravelry & MWK) said...

I really like your choice of colours, and Starmore designs for motifs are always good. I've never seen Shetlandsuld and have been looking at the website, what lovely colours. So far I've found who sell it, do you know of any others?

Asplund said...

Hi Kerry! There are two yarn stores in Sweden where I buy it, "Yll o tyll" in Uppsala and "Marias garn" in Stockholm. Perhaps they send yarn or know where you can find it.

There are links to the right far down on the blog page, below "Feeding the habit". The sites are in Swedish, but you will find email addresses there and can write to them in English. Good luck! And let me know if you need any help!

Anonymous said...

Gee, those colours are beautiful. I am working on a sweater now in natural shades. I love the rust colour and think it would give such a pop wherever it is.
Ron in Mexico

katarinaw said...


Lars said...

Today Amazon sent me an e-mail with a special offer on the Starmore book.
Coincidence? Or am I fated to buy it?

Asplund said...

Ron: I love that rust colour too. It brings all the other colours life too somehow. (It's leftovers from a sweater I knitted about a year ago, a Russian pattern.)

Katarina: hoppas du kan komma till Marias garn den 28! Det skulle vara så roligt att ses igen!

Lars: I'd say it depends on how much you want the book :D If you want it, it's fate, if you don't it's pure coincidence.
Personally, I like "The Art of Fair Isle Knitting" by Ann Feitelson even better but am happy to have both.