As promised, here is the finished product, completed after a few weeks of work. The color is slightly washed out, but you get the gist. Overall, I am very happy with the results. The biggest challenge with fair-isle is to keep the tension of both yarns you are carrying even throughout the row. This went pretty well, though the result is less-than-perfect. The only thing that drove me a bit crazy was the finishing work. Once I complete knitting a sweater, I am most impatient to have it all seamed together and completed. I really don't want to be bothered with sewing and blocking. But, alas, these things are unavoidable, and the color pattern dictated that there would be many ends to weave in. In a few places colors peaked though due to hasty weaving, and had to be pulled through to the back of the work. It was a pain, and well, I've learned my lesson. Once all ends were weaved in (properly), I heavily steam-blocked the areas that needed it, such as the sleeves, and the bottom and top, which curled up regardless of the garter-stitch boarder. And, ta-da! Fairly Easy Fair-Isle is finished!
Next, I've got several hat orders and most of my hats have already sold, so I best get crackin' and turn out a few more.
After three years of resistance, the fair-isle bug has finally got me. I figured I was long overdue to delve into the world of color patterning. Still, I decided it would be best to start with something basic. That said, I chose the Fairly Easy Fair-Isle sweater from Debbie Stoller's Stitch n' Bitch Nation as my jumping off point. Right now, I've finished the sleeves, and am more than half-way done with the yoke, which, being full of fair-isle, really is the fun part. Hopefully, I'll have pictures of the completed project posted by the end of this weekend.
I've gotta say, realizing that fair-isle doesn't have to be so complicated opens up a whole new world for me. The cardigan, even with the fair-isle, is an extremely basic pattern. Why didn't I try this a long time ago? The possibilities are endless. But before I get too cocky, a week or so ago, I stumbled across the blog of a knitwear designer, Eunny Jang, who deserves all of our praise and adoration. If you have a moment, check out her blog, called See Eunny Knit! She is incredible, and certainly puts me in my place as an admiring amateur. Her site includes works-in-progress, past projects, patterns (for free and for sale) and very well done tutorials. Eunny, you are my new hero.
On Tuesday, I mailed off my portfolio for Level 1 of the Knitting Guild's Master Hand Knitting program. I await their judgment. Once received, the portfolio will be sent to several expert knitters to look at and critique. They will then ship it back to me and have me redo anything that isn't quite right. I sent a cover letter indicating that I'm left-handed and therefore knit "backwards" from most knitters. I wonder if they'll be able to tell.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photos, but I wanted to give you some idea of what went into completing level 1, and I am not the expert photographer in the family. These pictures were taken with inadequate lighting, and by the time Drew realized what I had done, I'd already packed up the box and mailed it off. So, no photo redos. Anyways, the program dictated that I complete 16 swatches. Each swatch is meant to show competency in one or more skills, including ribbing, increasing, decreasing, cables, joining yarn, etc. I also completed 14 questions pertaining to the skills learned knitting the swatches, plus a short report on blocking, and detailed knitting directions for a cable pattern of my choice (see single swatch picture).
This all took longer than I anticipated, partly because I procrastinated, partly because each answer needed to be referenced. Well, mostly because I procrastinated. I'll have to wait a number of weeks now to see how I faired. Wish me luck!