Fair Isle Finished

Lately, I have been focused on finishing.

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Pattern: Bea Ellis Traditional Hat
Yarn: Dalegarn Heilo, 1 skein color #0020 (cream) and 1 skein color #3152 (brown); Marks & Pattens Camomille, 1 skein color #208 (for the lining). The yarn was purchased in a kit.

I took an extremely stupid and circuitous route to knitting the top portion of my hat. It was so stupid that I’m sure many of you will catch my mistake before I explain it.

The story starts at the end of the snowflake pattern, which I knit in December. This was where I left off.

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I put it down for awhile and only knit an inch and a half further here and there. When I picked it up again last week, I found that I missed a few rows in the pattern. (This can happen if you have the chart on a magnetic board, use the magnets to track the rows, and the magnets move without your noticing.) So I frogged back. No big deal.

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Dark brown lifeline shows where I frogged back

I proceeded to knit all the way up to the crown decreases. This is how the hat looked:

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Yeah, you can wince. Those ridges aren’t supposed to be there. My floats were too tight, causing all that bunching. While I was knitting I had a sneaky suspicion that this was happening, but I was in denial about it. I didn’t think blocking would help because the tight floats would prevent the hat from stretching out. So I frogged the entire cream portion of the hat and started again.

The second time around, the hat was looking pretty good from the outside. I made a very conscious effort to spread out the stitches on my right needle before stranding the yarn in the back. I got all the way up to the beginning of the crown decreases again. Then I decided to check out MJ’s finished Traditional Hat and the Norwegian Knit-Along Gallery to see at how others’ hats looked on the inside. Guess what I discovered?

There are many rounds that are knit in just one color (cream). Thus, I could have cut the brown yarn and just rejoined it when needed for the brown fleck pattern. This would have eliminated much stranding and I could have avoided the float problem. The bottom line is that I did a lot of extra work for absolutely no reason. Ugh, sometimes I wonder whether I have a brain! ***big sigh***

Now, I would have left the hat alone and just finished it if it weren’t for the fact that now my floats were too loose.

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What did I do?

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Yup. Frogged it again. As you can see my yarn is now fuzzy.

I knit the entire cream portion again for the third time. The positive side of all this was that I got much better at knitting with my left hand. I can now feed the yarn more smoothly and Continental knitting doesn’t feel so foreign anymore. My right-handed knitting is still much neater and faster, but I feel like I have a good start with my Continental knitting.

I finally proceeded through the crown shaping and pulled the yarn through the remaining stitches on the needle. Here is the hat with the “proper” floats:

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My hat is far from perfect, as some of the floats are too still loose, a few rows are too tight (particularly the all-cream rows in the snowflake portion of the hat) and some of the stitches remain uneven after blocking. But I’m thrilled that I tried two-handed fair isle knitting! I will definitely practice Continental knitting more before tackling another fair isle project.

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28 Comments on “Fair Isle Finished”

  1. V Knits says:

    Your toque looks amazing! Great set of pictures too. You’re a trooper, frogging 3 times like that! I really like the colors you chose, and the tassle is a nice touch.

  2. Lauren says:

    Beautiful!! And that is awesome that you figured out a good float style. I always get nervous about having things too tight/ too loose.

  3. Christina says:

    We are always critical of our own creations. Personally, I am awed by the hat- it is beautiful- and your dedication to finishing it. After the second frogging I would picked up something else, if not for good, at least for a LONG time. Brava!

  4. Angela says:

    Looks great Caitlyn! Your fair isle is good. I tried to start mine this week and have to frog cuz my tension is wonky. Congrats on your first fair isle!

  5. ruth says:

    hey you! missed ya at SnB. hey, your hat looks TERRIFIC!! although you had to frog several times, the end result is really really good. great job on your first fair isle!! =D

  6. jillian says:

    As always, I have to say the picture looks fabulous! As a recent first-timer strander…it’s tricky to get that tension, so good job! Pat your self on the back!! And what perseverance!

  7. Purly Whites says:

    Incredibly impressive that you kept at this. It looks fabulous. I hope you are very proud of yourself!

  8. Karen says:

    It looks wonderful to me! I have reknit the hat I am working on now about 4 times and it’s plain old ss. sigh

  9. yahaira says:

    All the reknitting and your perseverance was well worth it, the hat looks great! I’ll have to try one of these kits pretty soon.

  10. Diana says:

    It turned out perfect! You were very dedicated to fixing mistakes on this hat, and it totally paid off. nice work.

  11. Jackie says:

    The hat turned out great!

    I don’t if you’ve read Knitting without Tears by EZ, but I was pretty fussy about my fair isle (very concerned about getting the ‘perfect’ tension with my floats) and then I read the section in there about fair isle – which was very helpful.

    It’s worth a read, and I think at some point she says not to be worried about floats that are too loose (or that there’s no such things floats that are too loose.) Anyway, just a suggestion – it really helped me get comfortable with my fair isle. 🙂

  12. Jennifer says:

    The hat is gorgeous. It was well worth all the frogging.

  13. Jes says:

    I think the hat looks great! Good job with two handed knitting.
    I’m sure it was frustrating to go through that, but at least you figured out what was wrong.
    I’m thinking about trying Fair Isle soon. Do you think this was a good starter project? Where did you get the kit?

  14. Stephanie says:

    Wow. It looks great. And I’m in awe – all that frogging was definitely worth it. The hat is very cute and I don’t see any wonky stitches!

  15. Lolly says:

    It really came out so well, Caitlyn! I am planning fair isle this year – I hope my first one is as good as yours!

  16. Phoebe says:

    I think you did a fab job…gosh I feel like I so cheated using my yarn guide with my traditional. Love your braided cord tassle! Simply marvelous! Up for another kit to try?

  17. Lori says:

    Wow!

    Hats-off (like my pun?) to you for frogging THREE TIMES and then completing your project.

    I would’ve stopped after the second attempt. 😉

    BTW…
    I’m self-taught and chose continental style to begin with.
    Even though I’m right-handed, I felt that holding needles and working yarn in one hand would be far too ackward.

    Congrats!

  18. it looks awesome! really great job… i love those traditional hats you guys are doing 🙂

  19. Hilari says:

    Wow! That is one amazing hat! And kudos to you for sticking with it and making it perfect!

  20. Gracie says:

    It looks lovely! I am glad that you figured out a good way to float the yarn, even if it did take several frogging attempts!

  21. Julia says:

    I think your hard work paid off! It sounds like you learned a lot, and I commend you for going back and fixing the problem. Sometimes that’s so hard to make yourself do. Your hat looks great, and I love those creamy colors, gorg-ee-ous.

  22. Cyndi says:

    Very cute! You’re going to have to show me how you knit continental… I’ve tried, but cannot get the hang of it at all. I’m going to have to figure it out before attemting fair isle for sure.

  23. j a r e d says:

    you’ve had quite a little adventure! haha. i enjoyed your post and the hat looks great. i’ve been doing some fair isle in secret (in the unblogged portion of my knitting life) in hopes to get it consistent, but it takes a lot of work. great job.

  24. well, all I can say is that the persistence with frogging really paid off. the hat looks fantastic! A tip I read somewhere, if you’re knitting fair isle in teh round, try knitting it with the wrong side out. That extra little difference in the circumference is supposed to help make the floats a little looser when you turn it right side out. I can’t for the life of me figure out how too knit from a chart with the wrong side facing, but apparently it can be done.

  25. Tammy says:

    Wow – what a great job. You do beautiful work.

  26. Nyasha says:

    Caitlyn, your hat is wonderful! Great job on sticking it out. Hope you and the family are doing well.
    Nyasha

  27. MJ says:

    Great hat, Caitlyn! I know how you must have felt with the frogging, but it turned out beautifully. Love those earthy colors, too!

  28. jacqueline says:

    thanks for the tip on practising continental knitting first. i am itching to start my first fair isle…but too impatient to practise.

    i guess i will just have to develop some patience!