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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 27 September 2019
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782215806
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 900
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: £14.99
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Fair Isle Knitting


A practical & inspirational guide by Monica Russel

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Book Description

Fair Isle knitting has a timeless appeal, and is celebrated all over the world for its beautiful patterns and distinctive motifs. Using just two colours in each row you can create a myriad of different patterns that are deceptively easy to achieve. In this definitive guide, expert knitting designer and best-selling author Monica Russel teaches you the essential skills of this traditional colourwork technique and provides all the inspiration you need to create stunning Fair Isle patterns of your own.

  • The book includes a fascinating history of Fair Isle knitting, and takes a close look at the yarns, needles and other tools you need to get started in colourwork
  • There are step-by-step instructions on the key techniques for creating Fair Isle patterns, including choosing colours and using charts, all illustrated with step-by-step photographs and an abundance of colourful examples
  • A stunning collection of pattern swatches provides inspiration and instruction for over 45 borders, patterns and motifs, all accompanied by a written pattern, chart and examples in various colourways
  • To practise your new skills, there are 14 items to knit, ranging from a simple hat to a stunning dress and waistcoat.

Table of Contents

History of Fair Isle
Materials & equipment

How to hold the yarn
Starting a new ball of wool
Fair Isle knitting basics
Reading the charts
Knitting abbreviations

Border gallery
Projects with borders
- Simple Snowflake Hat
- Crowned Snowflake Hat
- Campion Yoked Sweater
- Skroo Socks
- Croft Child’s Dress
- Jake's Sweater
- Pattern gallery
- Projects with patterns
- Retro Cushion Cover
- Dogtooth Bag
- Lerwick Waistcoat
- Rose Shawl
- Shetland Dress
Animal motif gallery
Animal motif projects
- Duck Nursery Blanket
- Sheep cushion
- Ptarmigan Child’s Cardigan with Hat

Index 144

Extra Information

Click Here to view the Errata slip for this title.

About the Author

About Monica Russel

Monica Russel is a best-selling Search Press author with over 95,000 books sold throughout the world. She runs a knitting business through her website www.theknitknacks.co.uk, and she designs all her own patterns and knitting kits, which use only natural fibres. She attends many craft and knitting fairs and has had numerous patterns featured in knitting magazines and books.

Monica lives in East Sussex, UK.



First things first: this is not traditional Fair Isle. The motifs are often modern and bright with the themes such as flowers, cherries, dancing ladies, ducks and alpacas as well as various geometric shapes. Each motif is shown knitted up as a swatch as well as in a chart, and in various colour variations.

The book is in two main sections. The first covers the basics of Fair Isle history as well as colour theory and techniques. The second, larger part of the book, is a series of charted motifs with projects that use some of them; jumpers, hats, socks, blankets, and cushions. I would definitely find space for it on my craft shelves.


Starting with the very basics of Fair Isle knitting, history, supplies and techniques, this is a great book to ease a knitter new to Fair Isle knitting into the fold. The illustrations, charts and photos are large; its easy to see whats going on when techniques are demonstrated, and to read charts without recopying. A knitter is lured into Fair Isle by starting with Fair Isle border motifs, before tackling all over motifs, and then Fair Isle animal motifs. Each motif has a short explanation, a full color chart and at least one color variation and a knitted swatch. There are 14 patterns evenly split between each style of motif. There are sweaters for adults and children, hats, pillows, throws, a shawl and a dress. I really appreciate that they are for not only a variety of levels and time commitments, from a pillow to a dress, but that Ms. Russell explores different weight yarns and non-traditional colors. Theres nothing too wild, but Id happily knit a worsted weight project shot through with lime and orange.

Monica Russells tone is light and friendly, encouraging knitters to try a little, Fair Isle, to mix motifs and boarders how they want to and just to enjoy the process and creativity of Fair Isle knitting.

Customer review

I received this book to review and am so pleased with it. The book has really good photographs and instructions with a good range of projects for different levels. I have previously avoided Fair Isle as I thought it too complicated but this book has definitely inspired me to have a go. I was particularly drawn to the chapter on animal motifs which will make a good starting point before working up to the more intricate patterns. Looking forward to making the Duck Nursery Blanket. 

Customer review

A beautiful book, with lovely patterns and well written instructions and tutorials. 

Customer review

A very useful book to have if you are a learner on avid knitter. Plenty of instructions make knitting fair isle a pleasure to do. Love all the swatches to see the patterns. The animals being a joy to knit with instructions being so clear. Look forward to knitting fair isle as this book is full of patterns which are easy to follow. 

Customer review

I absolutely love this book. It will be a great addition to my bookshelf.
There are some wonderful pictures to help guide you through the designs, as well as clear charts to follow.

It begins with the basics, which yarn or needles...  How to knit in the round, floats at the back of the knitting, sewing on a button and attaching embellishments. Even seaming and finishing are included, so ideal for beginners and novices to colourwork.

Then, the charts. So pretty and lots of options to choose your own colours and add them to whatever youre knitting. So many designs from the easier 2 colour designs to more intricate and traditional.

After those are some amazing patterns, socks, cushion cover, childrens clothing to adult sweaters. All a variety of styles and difficulty levels giving everyone an opportunity to make something.

This book has something for everyone. Clear instructions and beautifully photographed, making it ideal as a gift or just a treat to add to your own crafting library.

Customer review

This book has a lovely glossy feel to it and the front cover is very inspiring to want to try fair isle knitting.

I'm an absolute beginner at fair isle knitting and there are simple instructions/diagrams and photos to assist you on your fair isle journey.

I particularly like the inclusion of charts of colour variations for the different designs.

Seeing knitted samples is an extra bonus, which will be invaluable to me on my learning journey.

There are some lovely projects in this book and I'm looking forward to increasing my skills with the help of this book.

A very good reference book with years of dipping in and out of it.

The Knitter

This practical guide to Fair Isle offers easy-to-follow techniques and inspiration that will be invaluable to beginners or improving colourwork knitters. As well as photo tutorials on all the essential techniques, there is a stitch dictionary filled with design ideas, plus 14 knitting projects including garments and accessories for men, women and children.

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