Fairisle – it looked horrid on me!

This week I’ve been visiting my big sister, Carol and her lovely husband, Steve.

While I was being spoilt rotten, 😀 I remembered to take some photos of a couple of Carol’s jumpers that I made.

The first is a fair isle design from Rowan 38 called Electra – guess what?? It’s on the cover 😳

The pattern gives the sleeveless version and a cardigan version. At the time I made it (2 years ago exactly – dates on photos are a wonderful thing!) I thought, “Yuk! Tank top!” so I decided to make the cardigan for me. I’ve since caught up with fashion and no longer think sleeveless knitwear belongs in the 1970s but please forgive me for that fashion lapse this once…

I was very happy and a felt a little “Stash busting virtue” as, being fair isle, it only needed a couple of balls of each yarn – 2 colours of Yorkshire Tweed DK, 1 colour Felted Tweed and 1 colour Kidsilk Haze (used double). I had a lovely mix in my stash and only had to buy 1 ball of cream KSH. My local John lewis had run out of cream KSH so on the spur of the moment, I decided to use one strand cream KSH and one strand cream Kidsilk Night – a good decision – the subtle sparkle really worked.

Choosing the cardigan was rather ambitious as my only previous fair isle experience had been a pair of Snuggle Bed Socks.

It hadn’t occurred to me that a cardigan has 5 pieces and lots of shaping. A tank top I mean slipover, has two quite simple pieces. I also wasn’t experienced enough to realise that making the pieces flat on two needles was hard too! Purling and wrapping the stitches with two handed fair isle – ick!

I slogged through and finished the beast – Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook was open on the fair isle section most of the time.

The nice thing about this particular fair isle pattern is that although it’s a 34 row repeat, there are only 7 rows which have two colours in them – the rest are stripes. Nice cheat huh?

Here’s the beast “in progress”…

The sleeves were pure evil to fit – it took three attempts to get the pattern matching on one of them – Grrrr 👿 It didn’t help that I was not happy at work at the time and I think I’d knitted a lot of my emotions into this garment!

I finally sewed on the buttons and guess what – I HATED IT! 😯

It looked awful and frumpy on me and too big and the wrong colours. 🙁

Who do I know who takes a slightly larger size than me, loves blues and creams and I love enough to give a precious handknit? My big sister !

Carol tried on the cardi and I was truly amazed. What looked like the most disastrous mess on me looked fantastic on her. It fitted. It looked stylish and trendy. It was her colours. She wasn’t going to give it back again without a serious fight! It has since become one of her firm favourites – I’m so pleased on so many levels!

Here’s Carol modelling for me .

And the back…..

Want to see one of those difficult shoulders too?? It just matches…

I think the right buttons can really lift a garment and I think I did really well with these – they are sold as plain cream buttons and have this beautiful mottling on the back – you can see which side I liked!

I suppose all of you out there are thinking, “Yes. OK. But how neat is the back?!” If it was me, I’d be itching to turn it over and take a look…

With the benefit of hindsight and reading about other people who have made Electra, there are several things I’d do differently if I made another.

  1. Investigate Steeking the whole thing – Eunny Jang has a fantastic intro to steeking on her blog.
  2. At least knit the whole thing – Cardigan or Tank top – in one piece up to the armholes – darning in ends is not my favourite occupation!
  3. Check my tension more carefully so I get to wear it!I have learnt that fair isle does make my tension go loose!
  4. Cast off the button band even looser than I did (it’s a little tight)

This was a sad and miserable garment to make that turned out to be a very happy cardi when it found a home where it is loved!! 😀

Completed Knit Report  
Name: Electra Cardigan
Pattern: by Louisa Harding from Rowan 38
Yarn: Yorkshire Tweed DK, Felted Tweed DK, Kidsilk Haze and Kidsilk Night
Pattern Problems: None (that weren’t to do with my inexperience!!)
Pattern Modifications: None – but I should have considered the points above!
Washing and Wearing: It’s been regularly worn for 2 years and still looking good!
Knit It Again???: I’m tempted by a tank top for me 😉
Difficulty: Hard – mostly because of doing fair isle on two needles.
Rating: 3/5
Other Postings Relating To This One: None

3 Responses

  1. Cheryl
    Cheryl February 24, 2008 at 10:36 am | | Reply

    Thats lovely Susan,it looks nice on your sister.

  2. carol hutchence
    carol hutchence February 26, 2008 at 9:02 am | | Reply

    Hi Susan,
    So happy you don’t like everything you knit. I think it is gorgeous and receive compliments whenever I wear it. I do feel however I must owe you a lifetime supply of chocolate brownies ?

  3. Susan Ernst
    Susan Ernst March 24, 2015 at 8:02 am | | Reply

    Excellent….what luck, for everyone, involved!

Leave a Reply