Well, I had roughed in a blog post about finding the right support people when you self-publish, but time got away from me! I'm off for two weeks in Wisconsin: Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp, Sievers School of Fiber Arts (where I'm teaching my Design Your Own Fair Isle workshop), and Fiddlehead Yarns in Kenosha, where I'm offering two days of choosing color classes. I enjoy my yearly forays into the lovely green of Wisconsin, where I feel so at home.
But there is something I've wanted to share with you and this seems like the right moment. A few months ago I got this email from a customer, Robyn, about Dolly Donhauser's Walking Tour Scarf pattern (published by Feral Knitter). I so enjoyed her story, and she gave me permission to share her exuberant Fair Isle journey with you.
Hi Janine,I emailed you at the end of last year as I was leaving Canada to get permission for a stationery firm to print out a copy of the Travellers Scarf pattern … bought previously from Revelry. They were being ultra careful of copyright ownership - even a copy of my receipt wasn’t sufficient … I was in a major rush because we were taking off for a very discursive trip between our homes on Prince Edward Island and Canberra Australia, via Iceland, Europe, UK, Oman, Malaysia, Perth - and the Travelling Scarf was to be my travelling entertainment. I had never tackled two colour knitting before but I bought a large quantity of gorgeous coloured wool from online and off I went.I knitted my way through Airbnbs, planes, and airports, and by the time I arrived back in Canberra the knitting was virtually done. I haven’t actually measured it by you can see by the pics that it got about as long as a scarf should functionally be - but it was a struggle to stop. I enjoyed the project enormously. At the beginning it was a struggle - my tongue was tied into knots, my technique was awkward, I dropped lots of stitches and made heaps of mistakes, but I wasn’t even confident enough to go back and unpick the mistakes … so the end is much better than the beginning. It took me a while to realize that if the number of stitches falls out of sync in a row, you have to get it sorted asap …. it generally means a dropped stitch … or a pattern mix up which is not going to sort itself out ...Sorting out and tidying all the ends took quite a few days … It took quite a while before I was up to handling that as I went along, as you recommended … just too clumsy …Choice of colours was also a learning experience. When I chose my wools, my colour ranges were a bit too subtle - as were some of my early choices. One star pattern in particular was very disappointing - colours looked okay as the balls were sitting side by side, but tonally, they were just too similar for the star to stand out.While I more or less followed your pattern, the colour choices were my own, and I missed the sequence you intended - so I just ploughed on through the order of patterns as they appeared. Occasionally I added in touches of my own. I don’t think my colour choices or structure would pass the Fairislers test. the tassels were added after I had been reading a book about South American knitting!Still, in the end I was really really happy with it and entered it in the annual Canberra Agricultural Show … “Exhibition" in Canada. It achieved a range of awards. The knitting section awarded it a Second, no doubt noting the earlier imperfections in technique in particular. It was moved out of the knitting section however, into the Great Scarf Competetion where it received First place and a few other awards.In the last photo, with the tassels, the end showing is where I started ….So - thank you for your pattern [Note: Dolly's design!]. I cannot really express just how much I enjoyed knitting it!!!Robyn