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The start of something new – my Fair Isle journey!

I have long been thinking of introducing some Fair Isle patterns to the Purl Alpaca Designs collections, but years have come and gone and it has never really happened. I have pushed myself to do stripes, like in the Honesty Cardigan, mixing two strands like in George Hat and Scarf and even a few triangles in last years Journey Collection’s Lady Cardigan, but have never really gone “all in”! Why?

I have come to realise I have been scared! There aren’t many things that scare me, but I do have a fear of being terrible at something. So instead of diving in head first and embracing a challenge, I am happier when I lean back and do something I have already proven myself good at. Silly, really.

Lovely shades of pure wool yarn from Hos Jette

In November I was given some beautiful, pure wool yarn in stunning colours by our Norwegian stockist Hos Jette, to experiment with, and they were screaming for Fair Isle, I realised I had to stop being scared and really go for it. I decided I’d knit my mum a present. Whilst thinking of my mum and working on the Fair Isle beret I recalled when my mum knitted Fair Isle for me. I was 14, the winter Olympics were held in Lillehammer in Norway and I really wanted the official Olympic sweater! It was a huge project, all in colourwork, but my mum agreed to knit me one. I remember well how difficult she found it, but she stuck with it and I had my stunning jumper! Thank you, mum! I think it was a fitting present to return something in colour work to her after all these years!

Photo from Dale of Norway

Do you know what else? I found I could do it! And I wasn’t terrible at it! Who knew??

Around this time I watched an amazing video on how children learn and how we can help enhance their learning skills. I found this video incredibly interesting and helpful and think it doesn’t only apply to children but to anyone open to learning. I applied this thought process to my Fair Isle knitting, and off I went!

I started swatching with my left over bits of yarn (believe me, I have a lot of left over yarn) and really enjoyed it. I experimented with different patterns both in the round and flat and have found lots of inspiration in the lovely patterns and colour combinations that appeared. I feel inspired to design using my new skills and are excited (and maybe a little nervous) to learn about pattern writing for Fair Isle.

Our wonderful undyed yarn work perfectly in Fair Isle patterns!

One thing is sure though; whilst I previously may have said I couldn’t do it, I now add the words “not yet” and look forward to the challenge!

Kari-Helene xxx

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