Craft Book Review: Fair Isle Knitting



Although I have enjoyed knitting for many years, I have never really ventured beyond the basic dishcloth.   Fair Isle knitting has always intrigued me, but I’ve never been brave enough to give it a try.  Its intricate patterns are intimidating at best.  Lynne Watterson’s craft book, The Very Easy Guide ot Fair Isle Knitting  was just the nudge I needed to step out of my yarn comfort zone.    The front cover reads “step-by-step techniques, easy-t0-follow stitch patterns, and projects to get you started.”  So tell me, how could I possible resist? Much to my delight, with the help of this book I was able to learn enough of the basics of Fair Isle to complete an entire project.

What I loved:

1.  Stitch guide.  I’m starting with my absolutely favorite part of the book.  The yummy two-page spread of tiny images of each pattern with corresponding page number is heaven, visually fabulous for getting the lay of the land.  I often found myself flipping back to this guide as a reference in deciding which patterns I was going to use together for my project.

Very Easy Guide to Fair Isle Knitting

2. Yarn weight.  Being a simple knitter, this part was a pleasant surprise.  You may already know this about Fair Isle; all the patterns use the same weight of yarn.  Simple!  Easy!

3. Organization.  I found the book very easy to follow.  The first section was the obligatory knitting refresher section reviewing the basic stitches, abbreviations, and such.  The techniques were broken into simple lessons that built upon each other as you progress in your skills.  The Fair Isle bands get progressively more intricate and interesting.  Following the lessons are the most exquisite projects for you to use.  It is very unusual for me to love the majority of the projects.

4. Easy to use.   The symbols and notes were easy to follow.  The instructions were also clear and easy to follow, even for a simple knitter like me.  I liked that they used symbols and wrote out the pattern.  The instructions were visually appealling.  The patterns were easy to pick up and combine with projects as they were organized for me by multiple of stitches.  Mathmatically speaking, I had no problems converging three simple variations together.  For me, this was a huge help!

5. Colors.  Color placement is vital to Fair Isle knitting.  The author did a lovely job explaining how intricate tonal and pattern variations can create a stunning overall effect.  This concept was reinforced in all the colorways used in patterns and projects.

6. Confidence building.  I certainly felt like a yarn superstar when I finished.  It was just as if I had a friend holding my hand as she guided me through my adventures in Fair Isle Knitting using the techniques I learned from inside the covers.
Simple Fair Isle Knit Baby Hat

For my project, I used three very simple patterns and three colors of light worsted weight wool yarn.  My baby hat came together quickly and easily.

Fair Isle knitting looks complicated and may be intimidating to beginner knitters.  I am glad I found this book to help my understand the basics and gently guiding me through the techniques as I explored the principles of Fair Isle.  The Very Easy Guide to Fair Isle Knitting lived up to its title.  And I, for one, am very glad it did




  1. Caryn S says

    I love fair isle. My first experience with it was a mystery knit along which helped me learn how to read the chart. Plus, because we were allowed to post questions and comments each week, feedback for any issues was constantly available. For anyone who doesn’t have this kind of first experience, this looks like a fantastic book. Now, if the author would only write one on entrelac!

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