September 14, 2011

Fair Isle Socks

I have always loved Fair Isle knitting.
Remember Tristan Farnon on All Creatures Great and Small, who wore the most marvelous Fair Isle vests as he went about his business in the Yorkshire dales?! I was smitten with those vests and sweaters and I did manage to fumble my way through a few simple versions of them for the children when they were small. I hope, one day, to get to the Shetland Islands, including Fair Isle, and see some of the original work first hand.

Though I have done stranded mittens, I have never attempted to knit a pair of Fair Isle socks. I've often read that many sock knitters have problems with the fit because the stranding of two wool colors across the inside of the sock makes the fabric less flexible and the socks can be difficult to get on and off the foot with ease. There are suggestions as to how to counteract this - knit the sock inside out, use larger needles, strand very loosely, etc.

I've found a pattern that has only one section of Fair Isle on the leg of the sock and I decided it was time to master the technique. The first pair may be a poor fit. If so, I'm willing to struggle with pulling them on and off all this coming winter! The second pair will surely be better and it is all part of the process of mastering a technique.

Pattern: Fair Isle Flower Sock
Designer: Candice from Home Sweet Home
Yarn: Scheepjes Invicta Extra (1314 Grey) and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (Cranberry)
Needles: Dpn's and circulars - 2.25 mm