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(see the pictures and charts here)

 Claudia Krisniski
 59 Spring Road Hudson NY 12534

A (Rambling) Pattern for the WEE FAIR ISLE

Materials is a run down of the needles and gadgets that I suggest you gather:
Needles that will result in looser knitting for this project. The one thing that often dooms stranded projects from the start is tight knitting. So, if you are working stranded knitting for the first time, let's purposely work away from that. If you are a tight knitter; get needles one or two sizes larger than recommended for your yarn. If you knit to gauge; get needles one size larger. If you are a loose knitter; use the needles suggested. If you know yourself, and have done some satisfactory stranded knitting in the past, you will know what size needles to aim for. I have used Naturespun sport in the past, and I know that size 5 needles are what I will use for the main parts.

So....16-20" circular # 5 ...and #3 (bottom ribbing and neck bands)
double pointed needles #3 (cuffs)
8.75" circular #6 (there is no #5 available in that length that I know of) OR double pointed needles #5

gauge ruler
a darning needle
a magnetic board (VERY helpful for following the chart we will be doing)
a couple of ring markers
stitch holders or waste yarn for underarms

Colors:  MC = main color = Butterfly Blue
            DCC = darkest contrasting color = Royal Purple
            MCC = medium contrasting color = Sapphire
            LCC = lightest contrasting color =  Purple Splendor
            BC = bright color = Peruvian Pink

Bottom Corrugated Rib Edge
I have been knitting away on this sweater, and have sent Barbara the Spring Star Chart I am using for this pattern and the Sticks and Slants Chart that I have decided on for the body filler color pattern. She has graciously posted them on her website for easier access :
(note...they are also posted at
Countrywool's Wee Fair Isle)

This Wee Fair Isle Sweater will measure 21.5" around on the outside. This puts it in the size 6 -9 months category, so we'll make body and sleeve lengths and yoke depth to match. Interestingly enough, this also makes a perfect size for an adult hat! So, if you find yourself with no baby to knit for, this can easily become headgear...I will add directions for this at the end.

K = knit
P = purl
PM = place marker
** = repeat directions between ** over and over again until you reach the end of the row/round

My working gauge is 6.75 sts=1". From past experience with this yarn, I know it will block out nicely at 6 sts=1", so I am planning the project based on the 6 sts=1" gauge.

As I whined about before, the corrugated ribbing tended to curl for me. I ended up using a few suggestions sent to this list, and worked from the PURL side of the long-tail cast on edge, using the smaller needle for the cast on ONLY, then switching to the larger needle starting with ribbing round 1. This has resulted in an edge that looks great and stays put.

So, here we go!

With #3 circular 16" needle and MC, cast on 130 sts with long tail cast on.
( Here is a great web site illustrating that cast on:

DO NOT JOIN, but using #5  circular 16" needle, work the first row flat as follows:
Using DCC and MC, work first row of Corrugated Rib:
*P 1 MC, K 1 DCC* repeat across. At the end of the first row, join the knitting into a circle, remembering to keep the cast on edge facing the floor all the way around so there is no twist in the edge, and:
PM, P 1 (which is the first stitch of Round 2)
Round 2: *P 1 MC, K 1 DCC*
Round 3: *P 1 MC, K 1 MCC*
Round 4: *P 1 MC, K 1 MCC*
Round 5: *P 1 MC, K 1 LCC*
Round 6: *P 1 MC, K 1 LCC*
Round 7: *P 1 MC, K 1 MCC*
Round 8: *P 1 MC, K 1 MCC*
Round 9: *P 1 MC, K 1 DCC*
Round 10: *P 1 MC, K 1 DCC*

Corrugated ribbing is done. With MC, work one round in P.
Prepare to start the Spring Star Chart.
Yes, all those ends. They are a given in stranded knitting. Everyone finds their own ways of dealing with them and here are a few: (I would love to add in any other suggestions, so please send them along!)

The first thing that is crucial in fastening down ends is to make sure they do not work themselves loose during the wearing of the project; and secondly (if they do), that there is enough yarn to work with to repair the problem. Different yarns act differently in  wearing and washing, so you need to consider that. The superwash wools I have used are very slippery, as are the mercerized cottons. Both tend to work themselves loose, so I knot any ends left. Knots have a way of working loose and of traveling to the outside of the sweater over time, so the fewer in the garment, the better. This scenario does not lend itself to frequent color changes! When making knots, I use at least 4" of yarn. I have found the 4" rule to be adequate for all ends, so I have adopted it for all finishing.

Now, let's consider what wool yarn does. It's natural clinginess tends to absorb and hide ends over time. With washing the ends sometimes felt into the garment just enough to stay put for decades. This tendency is much loved by stranded knitters everywhere as it lends itself to the easiest of finishing techniques as no knots are necessary. Some wools cling more than others, and shetland wool has this lovely hairiness that is practically like velcro.

So, when you have no knots to worry about, you can play the weaving game with your ends, and that is what this post is all about.

First of all, as this Wee Sweater is worked in rounds, you will have a beginning and end of each round. When you are making a chart, such as the Spring Star, there will be rounds/rows that look odd as you end one and begin the next for the color progression will not match exactly as the knitting spirals itself for a few stitches. I chose a chart that has a vertical line as the first stitch of the round, so the "x" will look askew on the one side, but not be too noticeably off if you do nothing. The same goes for the Sticks and Slants chart (which is a Faroe Island design, by the way). When we get to the sleeves and the yoke, there may
be a few more charts that we can play with to better illustrate the "moving stitch" principle.

But the point with the ends is this: if you leave 4" of old color and begin with 4" of new color, you can use a darning needle to bring the rows "in line" with each other as you are finishing by darning the end of the last stitch in as a duplicate stitch over the first stitch, continuing behind as you hide your end. 
This may be repeated with the other end. That is one way.

Another way is to "weave in as you go" and this has my vote. If all the weaving in does not go well, you can easily pull out the woven end, thread it through a darning needle, and work it back in correctly, so you have nothing to lose. This method is very similar to the plain old weaving in you do when you are carrying 2 colors along in stranded knitting and need to get one woven in as it "floats" behind. The only difference is that you do it on EVERY stitch of the first round until you run out of end, and start it 4" from the END of the round, weaving in the other end as you approach the beginning of the round. Judy Gibson's site has a great explanation of this:
Weaving in ends as you go

So, in an ideal world, you cut any end you will not be using on the next round to 4" and weave it in as you go. But WAIT....what if you will be using that color in 2 more rounds? 4 rounds? 6 rounds? Why cut it? Why indeed....

Welcome to the world of the Real (practical? lazy?) Knitter. I am a charter member. I am The One who gets third prize in any knitting competition because I (shudder) carry my unused yarns up the inside of the sweater. As you carry the unused color, you have a royal mess of yarn ends to deal with, but they do not need anything from you EXCEPT to be carried as neatly and as loosely as can be; woven down every few rounds behind a used color; AND, and this is woven down and ready to knit one stitch BEFORE you need it. This translates into Thinking Ahead as you approach the beginning of any round. If there is a color you will need to fish it out of the woven nightmare at the beginning of the round...bring it up and weave it BEHIND a used color one stitch before the end of the round (or one stitch before you will need to use it). This puts the tension of that yarn back into the proper mode and off you go.

.After the corrugated ribbing is done, and one round is purled in the Main Color, count the stitches, to be sure there are 130. This number is  equally divisible by 26, which is the repeat of the Spring Star Chart.  

The body of this teeny sweater will be 7" from cast on edge to underarm. After working one repeat of the chart, I have found that a filler stitch will fit nicely into the sweater. This will be a timely break for the eye between the chart at the hem and the new charts to be decided upon later for the yoke area.

So, after the Spring Star Chart, work 2 rounds of Main Color, and then begin the Sticks and Slants Chart.
The body length to the underarms will be 7", so this will take almost no time at all. (Be sure to stop after a round 5 or 10 of the chart has been completed.)

(If you want to turn this into a hat, work Sticks and Slants until the knitting measures 8" and follow Hat Finish instructions below.)

The filler pattern is a traditional Faroe Island color pattern that I
found in a few books:
Nordic Knitting--S Pagoldh
Knitting In The Nordic Tradition--V Lind

I opted to keep the filler pattern in a dark colorway, allowing the fair isle borders a chance to pop out in the final sweater. The Sticks and Slants chart is located on the same web page as above.

So work around and finish off the body. If you leave it on a circular needle after it is done, it will be a simpler matter when the joining  round of sleeves and body begins.

Hat Finish:
Work chart (s) until hat measures 8". End after a Round 5 or 10 of the  Sticks and Slants chart has been completed. Work one
round in Main Color. Divide sts evenly on 2 circular needles in  preparation for grafting the top together. With Main Color graft sts  together across top. Darn in ends.

Grafting instructions:

Thread darning needle with a piece of new yarn at least twice as long as the row you need to work. Work from right to left.
On front needle:
1. Pass tapestry needle through as if to knit, drop st off needle
2. Pass tapestry needle through as if to purl, leave st on needle
On back needle:
1. Pass tapestry needle through as if to purl, drop st off needle
2. Pass tapestry needle through as if to knit, leave st on needle

When last we left our Wee Sweater, the body had just been completed to 7" from the cast on edge. This we will put aside as we make 2 sleeves.

While creating this sweater, I have relied on Elizabeth (Zimmermann's) Percentage System to come up with numbers for all the sweater measurements. Her books are fabulous, and she was among if not The First in our time to work with and explain the designing of sweaters based on a Body Number or "K" and a knitting gauge. Way cool.

For babies, the sleeves cast on needs to be 30% of the body number. We will then increase to 40% at the cuffs and knit evenly up to the underarm depth, which will be 7" to match the body. So, the body being worked on 130, the sleeve cast on will be 40. Make the cuff (to match the bottom ribbing), and then increase 10 to 50 sts in the purl round before beginning a color chart.

All right. We have 50 sts to work with and need a chart that will fit. I have found one that looks a little like a four leaf clover to me, so I will christen it the Spring Clover Chart. (These charts are all to be found in Alice Starmore's much beloved and much used  Book of Fair Isle Knitting.) Barbara will be posting this chart soon to the project web page:

After the Spring Clover chart is done, with the Main Color work 2 rounds in knit, increasing 2 sts evenly in the last round to 52 sts. Work the Sticks and Slants chart until the sleeve measures 7".

So make this wee sleeve on double pointed needles, or be brave and work the little sleeve on a little circular needle. It measures 8.3" around so the smaller circulars that are 8.75" should work nicely. And when you are finished with one, make another. Leave both of them on a circular needle (of any length) that is smaller than the one you worked on. This will make the attaching of them easier.

For those of you who have been waiting for this  sweater to get going, please know that the yoke  knitting is starting tonight! I spent last evening  going over the numbers and design of what has been  done, and am poised and ready to launch the next
phase. I have chosen 3 small different charts to  work into the yoke, and will do the first one  tonight. Pictures will then follow.

The next step is to identify the underarm areas on the "tube" we have made for the body, and to remove 11 sts from the "tube" at these two places....each underarm. Put these sts on a holder. Then find each sleeve, and remove 11 sts at each "underarm" area and do the same. That will put 44 sts in total on holders. If all the math works will have
sleeve 1...52 sts on sleeve - 11 underarm = 41 left
sleeve 2...52-11 = 41
130 sts on body - 11 at each underarm (-22) = 108 left
....54 for front and 54 for back

So, join all the sleeve sts and body together on the big needle as follows: Place a Beginning Of The Round Marker (BORM)  (which will become the back left shoulder (as one would wear it) and knit across the sts of one sleeve. Then...knit across the sts of the body front...then knit across the sts of the second sleeve...then knit across the sts of the back. You should now have all the sts on the big at the BORM. The stitch count should be 190 sts.

1. Work through chart # 1, 7 rounds, Spring Clover (the same one you used on the sleeves). Work one round in the background color, work a second round in the same color decreasing 46 sts as follows: *k2, k2tog* 46 x.= 144 sts
2. Work through chart #2,  Spring Diamond and Clover, 5 rounds. Work 1 round in background color and work a second round in the same color decreasing 32 sts as follows: *k2, k2tog* 32x =112 sts. (This is not an evenly decreased the midpoint of each sleeve, work 8 sts evenly to balance the decreases).
3. Work through chart #3, Anthills, 3 rounds.
Work 1 round in background color and work a second round in the same color decreasing 28 sts as follows: *k2, k2tog* 28x = 84 sts. (This makes a VERY large neck, but very easy to slip on and off baby).

With smaller 16" circular needle, knit all sts for 2" and bind off loosely. Voila! You're done.

Knitter's Stretch Book
Hand Balm
Yarns  Spinning Wheels & Fibers