Updated Location for 2/2 Guild Meeting

Construction on the new Adult Education Center still is not quite finished. So we will be in the old Adult Education area inside the high school again. Enter the high school through the door marked #28. We will be in a classroom space on the left.

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Color Theory Class

Beatrice Perron Dahlen of Thread and Ladle will be a guest teacher at our February guild meeting! She will be teaching us about color theory in our knitting.

Have you ever been unsure of how to choose colors for a project? Color can be a lot of fun where you have some foundational knowledge of how colors play together in different projects. We’ll talk about color blocks, stripes and colorwork and how colors play differently in all these types of knits. We’ll use paper to test out some different color schemes, and then we’ll dive into knitting with our new knowledge of color theory!

Materials:

• Bring ALL the odds and ends you have in fingering and worsted weights. This is a great way to use them up and have lots of colors to choose from. You’ll have the choice of using fingering weight or worsted weight, so bring all those odd bits of yarn and add what you don’t want to the pile for classmates to choose from! The more colors we have to play with in this class, the better!
• Size 4 and 7 US circular needles in 24” length
• Stitch markers
• Graph paper
• Pencils and erasers
• Color pencils are handy!
• Color swatches from the paint store if you can get your hands on them!
• scissors
• glue stick or tape

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Quick Update on New Guild Location

Construction on the new Adult Education Center is not quite finished. So we will be in the old Adult Education area inside the high school. You can park in the same area, just enter the high school through the door marked #28. We will be in a classroom space on the left.

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New Location for our Guild

If you’ve been to our guild meetings lately, you may have noticed that we are getting a little crowed in our space in the library. So, we have decided to expand a bit and move into the Windham/Raymond Adult Education Center which is located behind Windham High School (very close to our previous location.) This move is effective immediately. Our January 5 meeting will be in the new location.

Check your email or the December newsletter for details and instructions to the new location. Remember the links to the newsletters are located on our guild page.

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Book Review: The Art of Fair Isle Knitting

The Art of Fair Isle Knitting

by Ann Feitelson

I have always been intrigued by Fair Isle knitting.  The intricate designs and awe inspiring colors seem rather intimidating.  This book helped me better understand all that goes into a fair isle project, as well as a lot of the history behind this style.  About one third of this book is dedicated to the history of fair isle knitting. While this was interesting, it felt like overkill to me as I was approaching the book to learn the techniques.  The next third of the book is dedicated to techniques, while the last third includes her original patterns which illustrate the techniques she taught.

Ann Feitelson frequently visited the Shetland islands to dive into the history of this knitting style.  She spoke with knitters who remember their mothers and aunts knitting commercially when they were children or being required to knit themselves as young children to contribute to the family income.  She goes through changes in styles over time and how that came across in the knitting of the Shetland islands. The history section of this book goes very deep but isn’t very helpful if you are looking to jump right into knitting your own Fair Isle garment.  

The middle section of this book discuss techniques.  The illustrations in the technique are very easy to understand.  They clearly show where the yarn should be for whatever technique is being shown.  She spends a lot of time showing different ways of holding two yarns at the same time.  The only technique that I felt like she could have spend more time on is the floats. When I first learned Fair Isle knitting, I found picking up floats to be the most confusing item, but this topic is really just glossed over in this book.  She just states that it’s important to get them just “loose enough.”

The technique that I found the most instructive was the color section.  While this section isn’t technical in the sense that it isn’t showing how to create stitches, I think that choosing the right colors to create the Fair Isle “look” is the most important.  She discusses how different color sequences are overlaid on top of one another. For example, the background and the foreground designs are different sequences of colors happening at the same time.  She includes several full-color swatches that beautifully illustrate what she is discussing and really helped me understand the ideas.

The last technique section is about the math for designing Fair Isle garments.  It doesn’t include enough information to be your only source for designing a sweater, but it does add the extra information that you will need to know to make that sweater a Fair Isle sweater.  For example, the size of the sweater needs to be coordinated not only with gauge and the desired width, but also the number of stitches in the repeat of the pattern. She also explains how to make sure the repeat is properly centered on the garment.

Finally the last section of this book has 23 original designs!  This is a good number of designs for a regular pattern book, but they are included in this book that is rich with history and technique as well.  Within the patterns, the author describes how she applied the color theory techniques to her designs to help reinforce her teachings. Some of the patterns have only one size and include a statement that to get to another size you could either knit at a different gauge or stretch it out in blocking.  This seems like a shortcoming of the book, but only if I’m looking at the book as a pattern book rather than a holistic technique book.

This book also includes a glossary of shetland knitting terms.  It isn’t what you would probably expect in a glossary included with a knitting book.  It includes Shetland dialect and a translation to what Americans might say. This one was my favorite:

Makkin’: What you are making; your knitting.  Takkin’ your makkin’ means bringing your work with you, implying that you should take it wherever you go, and be industrious.

This book is currently out of print, but you should be able to get a copy from your library or used book store.  If you are able to find a used copy, I would recommend purchasing it to add to your personal collection if you are planning to do any Fair Isle knitting or designing in your future.

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