Get Your Fair Isle On With 6 Stranded Knitting Projects


Fair Isle knitting is addictive: you've been warned. Who could resist all that color and pattern?

Before we dive into our favorite projects, we should note that not everything below is technically Fair Isle knitting. What is it then? Stranded colorwork — also known as carrying two or more yarns along the back of your knitting.

Lots of cultures and traditions use this style of stranded knitting, but Fair Isle just happens to be the one most people know best. Now that we've cleared that up, let's dig into some patterned knits and carry those colors!

1. Hats Off to Fair Isle

When learning a new technique, trying it on a hat is the way to go: it's small enough that it's not a huge time investment, but not so small that it's fiddly to work with. That why this Copenhagen Hat is right at the top of our list.

2. Cozy, Colorful Cowl

This gorgeous cowl will give you plenty of stranding practice. And if a cowl sounds a little too simple, fear not — changing motifs keep this project from getting boring!

3. Get Your Mitts on These Mittens

Stranded mittens are extra cozy — all those floats on the back side equal an extra layer of woolly warmth. Do your hands a favor and knit up a pair while there's still lots of winter left to enjoy!

4. Make it Match

Ok we cheated, this one is actually two projects...but we couldn't break up this adorable caribou family! Since the hat and mittens share motifs, it's basically like one big project (wink, wink).

5. Getting Steek-y

Stranded knitting and knitting in the round usually go hand-in-hand (it's just easy to carry your yarn if you're always on the right side). But what to do if you're knitting something that's not a tube? Enter steeking, the art of cutting your knitting . Sounds scary, but It's really not. Ease yourself into it with something small, like this button-up coffee press cozy.

6. For the Traditionalist

Fair Isle enthusiasts, this one's for you. This traditional vest is full of enough Fair Isle motifs, stranding, and steeking to keep you totally challenged and happy as can be. It's not a quick knit, but it will definitely earn a place of honor in your wardrobe.

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Ready to tackle a new knitting challenge? Try your hand at knitting stacked stitches with the help of expert Xandy Peters. You'll master the basics of this visually striking technique as you knit a stacked-stitched scarf from start to finish. Plus, you'll see how Xandy developed her famous Fox Paws pattern!
Xandy Peters
Xandy Peters
It's hardly controversial to say that colorwork knitting can be a little maddening, and intarsia is no exception. If you don't stay on top of it, all those colors on the back of your sweater can turn on you and suck the joy out of your project. And what if you lose focus on a color change and end up with a hole?!
Ashley Little
Continental knitting: Sounds worldly, doesn't it? Let me first start with an admission: My own knitting adventure has been rocky at best. And it wasn't until I explored knitting videos and tutorials that I realized something really important — there's more than one way to knit! I learned to crochet before I learned to knit, and for the longest time I had been trying to knit with the yarn in my right hand. It felt completely backwards to me, because it was. I was trying to English knit, and my crochet hands weren't having it. That's when I discovered continental knitting.
Lisa Gutierrez
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Get Your Fair Isle On With 6 Stranded Knitting Projects