Barely fair isle?

I finally sucked back my trepidation and started the xmas jumper the other day but am having some serious doubts as to whether I should continue!

Maybe some of the more experienced Fair Isle knitters among you could weigh in? This is the current wobbly state of my stranding technique (worked inside out!):


Which I was thinking wasn’t TOO bad, as I assumed it would block out, but then to be sure I tried blocking one sleeve (was working 2 at a time which probably wasn’t doing me any favours!). This is what I am still left with on the worst, if inner part of the arm sleeve:


What do you think? Will this even out eventually, or should I just throw in the towel? Maybe I am just not advanced enough for this and should switch these bits to a colour pattern with less long floats like a simple double lice stitch or something?

Help! Am despairing. :-{

Should I continue on, or frog?


15 thoughts on “Barely fair isle?

  1. I vote for throwing some colourwork pattern on the inner arm with short floats. I think the snowflake-y bits look fine and just throwing something in there will solve it. And you wouldn’t have to rip all the way back. πŸ™‚

  2. I’m more of a beginner than you are, but I recall that some folk suggest knitting colour work inside out – floats on the outside – when knitting in the round.

  3. You might not like this, but: you might try working this with DPNs rather than circulars. The reason is that the longer stiff needle may help you even out the tension on your floats. I always find it a little difficult to keep the floats loose enough while working small diameter colorwork on circulars. Everything is just too floppy. It’s easier to keep the fabric stretched out on the DPN, so you can keep the floats stretched out too.

      • Just say “om” a lot . . . hehehe

        For me, the problem is usually with the smaller diameter pieces, because they are curving away from the needle at a more pronounced angle. (hope that makes sense) Another way of thinking about that is that you have a smaller distance to keep flat because the piece is so much smaller. With the body, you have a larger diameter, so it will be easier to keep the work flatter and more stretched out, even on a circular. Using the DPNs on the smaller diameter pieces helps me keep small sections of the work flat, rather than curved, while I’m working on them.

        This is just what works for me though – and it may be worth a try, even if only to find out if it works for you too.

  4. I actually find it way harder to work Fair Isle inside out (as purl, rather than knit). When the floats are on the inside, I tend to find it easier to keep them loose (sometimes by pull them out a bit after the first stitch in a new colour) because there’s less worry about them catching on things. Plus, you get a better sense of how your fabric is looking because you can see it as your work.

    Another thing to consider is going up a needle size for the Fair Isle portions. Stranded colour work tends to be tighter than the surrounding stockinette, so going up a needle size might help keep your stitches even.

    I also think adding little stars or something to the inside of the sleeve is a great idea! As was mentioned above, I’d graph it out, so it looks intentional and flows well over the space, but when just little crosses would help keep your tension even over the space, and keep you from having to catch your floats, which can lead to colours peaking through.

    • Here is the weird thing Angela- in the round when you work it inside out you don’t purl! You just flip the sleeve inside out then knit the other way around, so you are knitting on the inside of the sleeve going counter clockwise! It is SO weird and I didn’t get it until I tried, but then it just…works.

      I am not sure it did anything with lengthening my floats, though. Though I did go up a half size for the needle as well.

      A few people at knit night gave me some pointers, though. I frogged back (again). And struggled with it for a further 5 hours last night.

      Yeah, Alex, I was catching too frequently, thinking that would help keep the floats from being too tight, which instead caused all these horrible bits of red to peek out! Blech.

      Gail – I only have birch dpns at that diameter and figured the last thing I needed was to try something else that might screw up my tension (like it matters at this point), but might actually give them a go at some point today and see if it helps on the bleedin sleeves!

      Alli – Thanks darlin.

      And a huge THANK YOU to all of you for trying to help me sort this out. Was pretty despairing yesterday, but feel a bit less traumatised after all your lovely help! xx

  5. Are you “catching” the floats pretty frequently? Whenever I do that I always get some wonky stitches and peek-through, I’ve never managed to keep ’em looking neat on the right side. I’d maybe consider either adding some lice stitch or just leaving the floats super long and then tacking them down later so they don’t catch fingers. In any case if it bugs you now, I’d rip back, because it probably won’t block out completely and will just keep bugging you later πŸ™‚

  6. You’re doing great! Stick with it! And happy to meet up in person and have a look but it should definitely even out some more with blocking. You can doooo eeeet! Don’t despair!

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