Thursday, 4 October 2007

Fair Isle Hearts

I decided I had done enough bi-directional arrows from Fancy Feet, although I think an entire cardigan done in Kauni in this pattern would look wonderful, and I've moved on to a couple of rows of Fair Isle Hearts. I like hearts, as a symbol and as a shape, and many of my home-made stitch-markers are made from heart-shaped beads, as you will see if you squint at these photographs.

I got these hearts, which alternate upside-down and right-way-up, from a favourite little book, A Shetland Pattern Book by Mary Smith and Maggie Twatt.

It has some pages at the beginning with notes about Shetland knitting, but it mostly consists of patterns drawn up on graph paper, all in black and white. It is a wonderful source book and could supply endless ideas. You can see my hearts at the lower right of the spread shown above, and you can just see them taking shape below.

I always copy the patterns I wish to follow onto more graph paper; I don't usually bother with knitter's paper, I just use the squares, but I think that copying them out helps me get into the swing of them before I pick up the needles.

For some reason that I can't put into words, I want to avoid the very square or sharply angled patterns of traditional Fair Isle and that was another reason to settle on the hearts. I also want to avoid gaps of more than a few stitches between colour changes. I have been looking at charts for leaf patterns, but they were all too naturalistic. Knitasha von Stashenskeins has expressed this idea more elegantly and is doing a heavenly Kauni cardi using a design she's adapted from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Shaded Aspen Leaves in Knitting Workshop. I won't copy her leaves but I must confess to spending quite a lot of time poring over the different aspen leaves EZ shows.

I'm going to visit one of my youngest relations tomorrow, and amongst other things will be exploring the possibility of knitting a sweater and 'jeans' to help hold together his disintegrating but still much loved teddy bear. I will be helped by Knits for Children and their Teddies, a wonderful little book. More anon.


Vivienne said...

That really is a thing of beauty. I've admired Kauni yarn on a lot of other blogs, but this is the first use of it I've seen that makes me lust after some of my own.

Anonymous said...

oh how nice to see that pattern book. i bought it 24 years ago on my first and only visit to Edinburgh !