This winter I'm determined to try at least a few of the techniques I have on my "to do" list, amassed over the past three years. January 2013 has been Fair Isle month for me, having found a book called 200 Fair Isle Motifs: A Knitter's Directory by Mary Jane Mucklestone while browsing the bookstore at the end of last year. The book contains wonderful instruction about all aspects of Fair Isle knitting, plus color photos and graph diagrams of 200 patterns, which can be easily transfered to crochet.
This type of color designing has also allowed me to try tapestry crochet - a method of carrying the unused color thread inside the stitches of the color being used, so that the back of the fabric contains no loose threads. A two-fer!!
Fair Isle knitting is said to have originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, which are actually located closer to Norway than Scotland. Traditional Fair Isle knitting patterns were made with various shades of fine wool spun from Shetland sheep. Alternating multi-color patterns typify the Fair Isle design. Usually, a smaller border-like pattern is alternated with a larger multi-color pattern.
I started simply with a base and accent color, trying out tapestry crochet as I went along and keeping the color changes straightforward (see the teal and white pattern below). Crocheting this way requires a lot of patience and untwisting of yarns as you progress! Then I began working in border patterns with shapes.
So far, I'm proud to show you what I've done - please tell me what you think and feel free to share your own attempts, if you've tried this, too!