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