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Fearless Fair Isle Knitting: 30 Gorgeous Original Sweaters, Socks, Mittens, and More Paperback – February 15, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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  • Fearless Fair Isle Knitting: 30 Gorgeous Original Sweaters, Socks, Mittens, and More
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

With over 30 years of knitwear design experience, Kathleen Taylor is the author of the best-selling "The Big Book of Socks," "I ♥ Felt, " and "Knit One, Felt Too "and has published over 500 craft and needlework articles in such magazines as "Spin-Off, Crafts 'N Things, "and "Knitting World." She has designed many knitwear projects exclusively for the Knit Picks yarn company and has appeared on HGTV's Smart Solutions. Check out her blog, Kathleen Taylor's DakotaDreams at http: //kathleendakotadreams.blogspot.com/

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600853277
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600853272
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Fairbanks Reader - Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you love Fair Isle knitting like I do, this is a must-have book for your knitting library. It contains thirty patterns of sweaters, socks, and mittens. The first chapter is on Fair Isle basics such as steeks, wet blocking, weaving in the ends, changing to double pointed needles, charts, etc. The rest of the book contains beautiful patterns.

Some of my favorite patterns are The Children's Cardigan in lovely shades of pink and green for a girl in your life. It is for child size 2 through 6. The floppy hat in yellows and oranges is great for ear warming and for fashion, perfect for men and women. The Women's socks are lovely in rose and blue. Though I'm not sure I'd go to the trouble to knit Fair Isle socks, they are beautiful to look at. There are lots of cardigans, mittens, purses, hats, pullover sweaters and even a dress.

When I purchase a knitting book, I ask myself three questions:

Is the book a good resource?
Will I knit the patterns in the book?
Are the patterns clearly written?

The answer to all three questions is 'yes'.

The book is definitely for more advanced knitters but it is beautiful to look at and any knitter will appreciate this. It is reminiscent of Alice Starmore books. I highly recommend it for knitters who have a background already in Fair Isle and want to expand their abilities.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A collection of attractive Fair Isle designs that remind me of the best contemporary knitting designs from Norway, as seen in Norsk Strikkedesign: A Collection from Norway's Foremost Knitting Designers and Poetry in Stitches: Clothes You Can Knit (both available now only from third-party sellers). The talented Kathleen Taylor's approach to Fair Isle knitting is to use patterned bands with geometric or nature-inspired motifs, stacked harmoniously, to create the fabric for a variety of largely unisex Fair Isle garments.

The "Fair Isle Basics" chapter has a wonderful discussion of steek finishing techniques that is illustrated with photographs showing crocheted, hand-sewn, and machine-sewn steeks both before and after cutting. The chapter also discusses a couple of intriguing technical innovations: (1) knitting Fair Isle sleeves two-at-a-time and sewing them in (instead of picking up the sleeve stitches around the armholes in the traditional fashion); and (2) shaping curved necklines after the knitting is off the needles by folding back a facing.

Unfortunately, the "Fair Isle Basics" chapter seems inadequate for novice Fair Isle knitters. For example, the discussion of placement of yarn balls--one color on the chair arm and one color on the lap--doesn't really communicate the need to knit the yarn colors (and floats) with one color always above the other color.
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By C. B. on February 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I own many books on Fair Isle and this one is my favorite so far. The designs are beautiful and some are perfect for a beginner and yet the experienced knitter such as myself will love this too. The projects are "Knit Picks.com" yarn friendly. She uses their Palette line for some of the projects and that yarn is VERY affordable. In fact, I just ordered two of their yarns for two of the gorgeous sweaters in this book~ I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in fair isle knitting. It's a beauty!
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Format: Paperback
The patterns in this book are a bit different than the standard, OXO or peerie designs you see in traditional fair isle. (OXO is literally that O followed by an X followed by an O that makes a sort of octagonal motif. Peerie are very small motifs that run in narrow bands between the OXO bands.)

There is a Dakota prairie design, with slanted wheat ear motif, star bands, reindeer bands, and some all over designs that you haven't seen before. Even if you don't knit the garments in the book, the charts will be interesting for years to come.

As to the garments, there are toddler clothes, a vest for man, women's cardigans and jackets and a dress. Yes, a dress. Socks, caps, scarves, mitts, a bag complete the 30 items.

I love the colors and the shapes and the charts. This is not your average fair isle book. If you don't own a basic fair isle book, this would not be my first choice to learn that technique of two-color-per-row knitting, but it would be my choice for any avid knitter to add to the library for reference or just the joy of making these beautiful projects.
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Format: Paperback
If this book were not addressed to beginners at color-stranded knitting, I would give it a better rating. The patterns are lovely, and they do begin with some that are easy for beginners. The patterns are grouped into different garments all made with the same color-patterning, and they include gloves, hats, socks, and scarves, as well as vests, hoodies, sweaters, and cardigans. The book ends with a lovely dragon shawl--the reason I bought it. In addition, if you are an experienced knitter, there is information here about how the author approaches steeks and shaping for necklines that was new to me--and I'm experienced. Taylor prefers to draw the neckline and sew a zigzag machined seam where planned, cut, and then pick up stitches for the neckband--an interesting approach. This new approach is a plus for me--I will think about it and may try it. There is information about which yarns (non-wool) to avoid for this technique, and more that I found valuable.

BUT: there's not actually enough information to guide you through the processes she covers if you've never done them before. For instance, though the introduction is supposedly meant for beginners, she spends no time at all on how to actually handle two yarns. She says she throws her yarn and moves on. How to hold and handle yarn is the single biggest issue beginners at two-color knitting have. Likewise, the information on stranding versus twisting carried yarns is sketchy and not entirely clear. The information on crocheted steeks is good, but the detailed information that would help make her own just-cut-it approach a bit easier to try is not there. She says to use "the widest zigzag stitch" on your machine to overcast the line you plan to cut. Really? Even if it's bigger than the stitches?
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