Like everyone else in Nashville, I spent what felt like half of February stuck at home because of icy roads. Honestly, it was pretty great. Keith worked from home, and I spent more time than I want to admit snuggled under a blanket in front of the fireplace with a hot drink and a good book. I told my best friend, "It feels like a ski trip. Except, you know, without the skiing."
Those lazy days were well-spent, because I started and finished my first Fair Isle knitting project, and I love it. If you're reading this because we're friends, not because you like to knit, here's a quick primer on Fair Isle knitting (also called stranded color work): You knit with both colors at once. You hold the two strands you're using on the back side of your work, and consult a chart to see which color each stitch should be to create the desired effect. Every time you don't use a color, it just sits or "floats" on the back side of your work. Stranded color work creates a very dense, warm fabric, because the floating strands on the back make the fabric extra thick. That's why Fair Isle knitting is great for warm winter hats, gloves, and sweaters.
Now you can be like, "You guys, I know all about stranded colorwork. Psh!" *grin*
This project wasn't just my first Fair Isle piece. It was also my first use of Jeny’s Super Stretchy Bind Off, and my first project with the gorgeous fingering weight Knit Picks Palette yarn that my in-laws gave me for Christmas. To keep the project simple, I worked in the round and made it as a cowl. Working in the round on circular needles allowed me to focus on JUST learning how to do colorwork. No complicated DPNs that make me feel like I'm kitting on a baby porcupine. No purling. Awesome!
Of course, I made things complicated by choosing to adapt a sock pattern into a cowl. And to make matters worse, the sock pattern was written in Finnish! For you knitters out there, I used the Heijastuksia pattern. It's free on Ravelry. Yeah, I know how to make things simple. Pardon me while I smack myself on the forehead. But really, it wasn't so bad. I put all my project notes here on Ravelry, if you're interested. I think it was worth it, because I love the design; it reminds me of Medieval stained glass windows. I learned so much from this project, and I'm excited to try this technique again to make a matching hat. And mittens. And all the things for next winter. I really love Fair Isle knitting!