Lucky to be knitting these days! Two new books on Fair Isle knitting have come out in the last couple of weeks. (I carry both of these in my shop: Feral Knitter.)
First, 200 Fair Isle Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone.
This colorful book is so much more than its title would seem to indicate! Certainly, 200 motifs are charted out, but other chart collections are available. What 200 Fair Isle Motifs offers that sets it apart is that each motif is photographed as a knitted swatch and then shown as a black-and-white chart AND as the same chart in two different colorways AS WELL AS shown when tiled, that is, expanded to make an allover pattern. Figuring out how to fill in a chart trips up new designers, and the ability to envision a chart tiled takes some practice.
Sample of an inside page
The front section of the book is filled with invaluable information about gauge, swatching, how to hold the yarn, steeking, color theory, design and more. These topics are covered briefly but well. I think this book is a must-have for the new designer who is learning how to make the traditional motifs their own.
The second new book, Fair Isle Knitting, is written in Japanese. It is filled with garments—37 pullovers, cardigans, vests, handcovering, scarves, and legwarmers to be exact—that make use of traditional motifs and modern coloring, shaping, and styling. The patterns use the Japanese conventions so they can be used, with some sleuthing, by non–Japanese speaking knitters. The yarns used by the designers appears to be Rich More, a slightly heavy fingering weight yarn; the patterns lend themselves well to re-coloring, though. At $60, this book is an indulgence for the knitter who wants inspiration.