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Nothing as Fair as Your Isle

Updated: Aug 18

potholders with dragon motifs made with fair isle crochet

My next technique is fair isle. This is usually associated with knitting and makes beautiful patterns. the good news is you can also crochet fair isle.

I am fond of this technique as it lets me indulge in my fondness for vintage designs, in particular filet designs.

Fair isle is worked from a chart and filet patterns work really well for this.

But how do you do it, I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you.

However, before we get into that, the basics of fair isle are simple on block on your chart equals one single crochet.

I start by choosing two contrasting colours, usually one light and one dark and go from there. I then decide which colour is represented by the white block and which colour is represented by the black block.

chart of knight on the ground.  can be used for crochet, knitting, or cross stitch

Since you are working with more than one colour you will need to carry the colour that is not being worked across the piece as you work.  This is done by crocheting over the yarn that is currently not in use.  When a colour change is needed this is done in the usual manner, that is in the last yarn through of the single crochet stitch.

Now that the basics of fair isle have been covered, the essence of it is that all single crochet stitched are worked in the back loop throughout the project.

Your fair isle project can be worked in one of two ways, worked flat or worked in the round.

When a fair isle project is worked in the flat it is important to know that the piece is not turned at the end of each row, rather the yarn is cut off and a new piece or pieces of yarn is used to start the next row.

The starting chain for working flat is the number of blocks on the chart plus one.

I am not fond of this method of fair isle as it leaves a lot of ends to be woven in, which is not something I am fond off.

This leads to the second method, working in the round. This method does not require each round to be started with a new piece of yarn. It does however give you a distinct front and back to the project. I find this useful.

To make a piece with this method your starting chain needs to be double the number of blocks on the chart. The starting chain is then closed to make a ring with a slip stitch taking care not to twist it. The pattern is then worked. When the pattern row is complete the remainder of the row is worked in the main colour. When the row is complete join with a slip stitch or work in spiral using a stitch marker. Repeat this until the pattern is complete.

Depending on what type of project you made will depend on how you finish the project. Options include making a single crochet border, sewing the piece closed, or a combination of both to make a bag out of it.

I will often use this technique to make pot holders as the double thickness works well for this, or coasters, small wall hangings, or coasters.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to chatting with you again soon. Charlie

potholders made with fair isle crochet

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