Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee

Entries in Fair Isle (6)

Sunday
Mar162014

Whit's Knits: Kid's Fair Isle Vest

For this Kid's Fair Isle Vest I used a technique credited to a tiny island north of Scotland (aka Fair Isle) and a stitch pattern from another tiny island, this one west of Estonia (Muhu). In times and places where, by logic, function should have ruled sweater design, instead, knitters seemed to have taken sheer joy in form. It seems to me that, when they cast on for a new sweater, the women from these cold, isolated island places threw all of life's hardships and frustrations right out the window.

Such knitting ingenuity from anywhere, anytime is awe-inspiring, and the creation of this vest was a wonderful opportunity to get inside the minds of the incredible knitting women who came before us. Armed with the beautiful book, Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island, I used a pared-down palette and design to bring a modern sensibility to this extraordinary traditional stitch pattern.

And since my son, the intended recipient of this vest, doesn't plan on spending the next few months aboard a fishing vessel, instead of thick, scratchy wool, I chose Anzula's soft and supple Cricket. A combination of merino, cashmere and a touch of nylon, this subtly hand dyed yarn isn't necessarily seaworthy, but it is what we modern city-dwellers have come to appreciate!

The Kid's Fair Isle Vest is a fun challenge and also a truly satisfying trip into knitting history. Thank you to all those inspiring women who innovated such beauty by lantern light! -Whitney

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar022014

Laura's Loop: Arctic Wrap

My mom and I have a deal. Every Christmas she gives me an IOU for a class I’d like to take, and in return, I share with her what I learn. Over the years I’ve taken quilting classes, Italian, calligraphy, weaving, machine knitting, the list goes on… What will this year’s class be you ask?!?! Indigo dyeing!

I picture this class in a flower-filled garden or a breezy field (proof, I suppose, that I’ve grown very tired of winter). While I wait to find this perfect springtime class, my imagination fills with inky blues and seeping dyes, and so, I decided to translate the as-of-yet unknown art of indigo dyeing into something I do know… knitting. And since this polar winter is seemingly endless, it feels just right for right now! 

For my Arctic Wrap I used Purl Soho’s Worsted Twist merino in the color Heirloom White as a constant backdrop and Purl Soho’s Alpaca Pure for beautiful, shifting color. In a basic 1 stitch x 1 stitch Fair Isle pattern, the blooming halo of Alpaca Pure hovers over the smooth finish of Worsted Twist, highlighting the textural difference and softening the pixilated stitches into a gorgeous knit translation of a dip-dyed fabric. 

Working on this generously sized wrap has kept me cozy warm as I daydream about my indigo dyeing class, the sun on my cheeks, my fingers stained deep blue. Are any of you chronic class takers? What are you most curious about lately? Whatever it is, I hope it inspires you to create… maybe even this Arctic Wrap! -Laura

PS: You can get all of the yarn you'll need for this wrap with Purl Soho's Yarn for Arctic Wrap kit!

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb162014

Laura's Loop: The Purl Soho Friendly Fair Isle Sweater

Being partial to lore and a sucker for furry creatures with power, each year leading up to Groundhog’s Day I wonder what Punxsutawney Phil will predict. And each year, I am conflicted. Do I want the warmth and light that come with an early spring, or do I want six more weeks of winter cold so I can keep knitting with gloriously thick and wooly yarns?

Well, my ambivalence didn’t stop Phil from deciding. His decree: six more weeks of winter. But fear not, those who’ve grown weary of windburn, this Friendly Fair Isle Sweater is for you! Not only is it cuddly warm for an enduring winter season, but this punchy sweater also spreads the brightness and cheer of spring. And just in case Punxsutawney Phil’s meteorological skills aren’t quite on point this year, the Friendly Fair Isle is such a fun, quick knit, you’ll be weaving in your ends long before that early spring arrives!

I designed this no-fuss pullover with a classic cut and a raglan sleeve shoulder. And for speed and coziness, I used Purl Soho’s aptly named Super Soft Merino. The colors, I picked purposely to pop out like spring’s first flower buds peeking through the earth.

Since Phil is as unpredictable as the weather itself, I’m glad that this year I have my bases covered, a toasty sweater for winter, done well before spring… no matter when it comes!

For more information about the Friendly Fair Isle Sweater, please read below. And for the full pattern, please click here. -Laura

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec052013

Laura's Loop: Button Candy Hat

As we bustle around in this brisk month of merriment, seasonal sweets seem to be everywhere you go. I must confess, even as an adult, when I’m offered a tray or bowl or basket of goodies, I reach with a sly grin, full of anticipation, overwhelmed by choice. That moment of choosing, it’s nearly as sweet as the sweet treat itself!

Now this may be a youngest sibling thing, but for me, being offered a moment all to myself to choose what I want, that brief moment of picking, it’s golden. It’s no wonder, my affinity for Button Candy. Feet of scrolling white paper covered with colored candy dots, and most importantly, all mine. Mine to be picked and plucked at my pace, creating patterns from my selections. So many options, so much joy.

Inspired by the festivity of those candy colors, the wonderment of their arrangement and the joy they bring, I knit up this Button Candy Hat. The bright colors of Koigu’s hand-dyed merino Needlepoint Yarns are perfect for the fair isle bobbles, and Purl Soho’s incredibly soft Line Weight merino makes a wonderfully downy backdrop. Get them all with Purl Soho’s Yarn for Button Candy Hat kit!

I hope this season is filled with joy and merriment and many moments of selecting sweet treats. Happy Holidays! –Laura

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan192012

Laura's Loop: Father and Son Knit Ties

When it comes to gifts for my dad and brothers, I often find myself stumped. Thanks to Page's Rolled Hem Handkercheifs, their pockets are chock-full of squares; and thanks to years of knitting, their heads and feet are warmed by piles of hats and socks. In need of a new go-to gift, the Father Son Knit Ties were born! 

Now, my dad and brothers aren't fancy men, but they are gentlemen of the southern variety. They don't flinch at dressing up, and somehow even their "casual" is always quite pulled together. I think these chic and simple hand knit ties will be right at home with their refined style, dressing up jeans and a sweater or adding a kick to slacks and a blazer.
I made these ties with two gorgeous yarns, Koigu's Premium Merino and Anzula's Sebastian: one matte and one shiny for  textural complexity and both with a sophisticated polish that makes these ties special!  The Father's Tie is in reverse stockinette with a handsome stripe, and the Son's Tie is a sweet and easy Fair Isle pattern. Both are delightful to make, for dads and brothers or yourself! And, just in time for Valentine's Day!

Click to read more ...