Sticks & String

A podcast by an Australian bloke who knits.

Show 33 – Carpe Lanam

This week we take a look at Fair Isle knitting. There’s a video available here. You can download it by right clicking on it and selecting Save Target… There’s another video showing a different set of techniques available from Philosopher’s Wool here.

What’s happening
Courthouse Stitch’n’Bitch   Every Sunday at the Courthouse Hotel Newtown 1:30pm
NSW Knitters Guild (Blue Mountains Division)   3rd Saturday of each month at the Blaxland Community Centre
Studio 49 Fibre Retreat   A fibre arts retreat that Old Oak Ranch Sonora 16 to 18 November 2007 (pendria AT sbcglobal DOT net)
Sydney Sity Klickers   Every second Saturday at Barmuda, Australia Street Newtown

This show’s music
Heavy Mellow   

From the bottom of the knitting bag
Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified  by Ann Bourgeois and Eugene Bourgeios (link)

Check out the new video (it’s not as good as the professional ones, but it gives you some idea of my way of doing it) and let me know what you think. Next week, a special interview about a new range of yarns…

You can contact me at david AT sticksandstring DOT com DOT au or
podcast AT sticksandstring DOT com DOT au
I’m on Ravelry as DavidReidy.
I’m sure that you know to replace the at with AT with @ and DOT with . but maybe the spam bots won’t.

Click here to play the show using your computer’s audio player.


26 August 2007 - Posted by | knitting


  1. I thought the video was great. I’ve never tried Fair Isle before and this really demystified it for me. Great job.

    Comment by Jackie | 27 August 2007

  2. Your video worked perfectly — nice showing of color work instead of having to “pick up, put down, pick up” — so it even plays in Kz! Now to listen to the show…. Maryjo

    Comment by Maryjo | 27 August 2007

  3. Excellent video. I use the method from Philosopher’s Wool (their book was where I first learned to do color work), but it was great to see how right-handed knitters knit. I might try your method on my next project (I like to mix up my techniques to avoid hand/wrist strain).

    Comment by Chris | 27 August 2007

  4. thanks for the video tutorial. i was just winging it. your way is betta! cheers.

    Comment by dana | 27 August 2007

  5. I have recently discovered your podcast and love listening, especially the essays! THanks for the fair isle video, that method is how I worked it out also. I live in Midlothian Virginia, outside of Richmond, VA. Alice

    Comment by ladyoftheloom | 28 August 2007

  6. Hey David! Excellent point about the fairisle. I have been knitting for over 30 years but it was only in the last year that I finally learned this technique. I don’t know why I waited so long, or why it seemed so hard. I think my first sweater turned out pretty good.
    I’m even working on holding the yarn in each hand, which I prefer.

    The Henry sweater is looking marvelous!

    Comment by Liz | 28 August 2007

  7. Thank you for a wonderful video. Really love to see new technology used – something different. Thanks Again

    Comment by KIm | 28 August 2007

  8. Thank you for a wonderful video. Really love to see new technology used – something different. Thanks Again

    Comment by KIm | 28 August 2007

  9. Thank you s-o-o-o much for the video. I think it will work for me because I already hold my yarn around the little finger in the same way. I’ve always been dubious about working with both hands because my tension is pretty tight, and I don’t see how it could possibly be the same carrying in my left hand. (By the way, Henry is looking pretty great!)

    Comment by Sharon Carleton | 28 August 2007

  10. Hi David, Glad you’re better. Another great show – with videocast! You persuaded me to start a blog and you may well have persuaded me to have a bash at fair isle, though I’ll probably start in a more modest fashion than you – perhaps a pair of mittens. Keep up the good work. Oh, and I love the music, too – no fast forwarding here.

    Comment by serenknitity | 28 August 2007

  11. I look forward to your show each week. The video was excellent and Henry is stunning. I am inspired to finish my Fair Isle project. Keep up the good work!


    Comment by Brenda | 28 August 2007

  12. Between the video and your podcast, I’m going to try Fair Isle, in the form of a Christmas stocking.

    Thanks (I think) for convincing me that I can do this.

    Comment by Elizabeth | 29 August 2007

  13. Thank you thank you thank you. I am so excited to try this technique now, and make the Mirepoix Bodice out of interweave knits for the fall. This will be a great pattern for me to try this out.

    Comment by Rebecca | 29 August 2007

  14. I like your podcast alot and I have been trying to get into the .org site without luck. I live in Massachusettes. Have anyone else had problems? I keep getting No Documents Match your search as a message, even when I put the web address in my browser (IE) bars. Thanks, and keep on knitting!

    Comment by Connie | 29 August 2007

  15. David, thanks for the video instructions. Being a visual person that makes more sense to me than words, always! Thanks also for the podcast. You’ve made me believe that I can tackle the next project, whatever that turns out to be! Unfortunately for me, that probably means that I’m going to have to find a basic Fair Isle pattern now.

    Comment by Ann | 30 August 2007

  16. Hi David,

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better now, We all missed you! I love the podcast and listen every week. When I first got my iPod, I dounloaded all your previous episodes and listened to them one after another as I flew back from Boston where I live to the UK. However, I soon finished them all and now I have to wait a whole week between each episode! The video was really good and believe me, we’d all feel right at home if you wanted to do another video and didn’t want to bother vacuuming up first. Keep up the good work.


    Comment by Moira | 31 August 2007

  17. Your video is terrific! Thanks for making this technique so transparent, I’ve been wanting to try something in Fair Isle and will now definitely do it.

    You made me crack up when you made the comment about having to vacuum, people around me wondered what was going on. Maybe next time you can do this over a table (with a simple cloth as the background.) That way we don’t have to wait for you to vacuum before the next video! 🙂

    Comment by Mary | 1 September 2007

  18. I’ve listened to all your podcasts but this is the first time I’ve left a comment. I am an experienced Fair Isle knitter (made Henry VIII a few years ago, and a number of others as well) but haven’t done it in a while. This podcast really made my fingers itch to get back to it. Henry VIII is probably the FO that I’m proudest of in my (many) years of knitting.

    Comment by Ruth | 4 September 2007

  19. David – thank you so much for the Fair Isle video. I have always wanted to try this technique but have been reluctant to try the two-handed method – seemed too clumsy. Leave it to an astrophysicist to distill Fair Isle down to its simplest components. Nice to see Henry coming along – thanks for the inspiration.

    Comment by Mary | 4 September 2007

  20. David-
    Just wanted to say that you were such a good salesperson for Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified…I had to go and buy it from Amazon. I’ll have it in my eager hands tomorrow this time! Thanks!

    Comment by Rebecca | 11 September 2007

  21. Hi, two big thanks, I’ve only just caught on to your podcast, and Love it, you and brenda are top of my play list. And i loved the fair isle video, I also wasn’t coordinated enough to use two hands in the Philosophers technique, but unlike you I knit continental, so posted my own ‘how to’ video on my blog. What I like about your technique is that you don’t have to think, blue, oh that means left hand, you just use the blue one as they are both held in the same hand.

    I took away the last 5 episodes and listened while traveling over the weekend, in the car, the whole family, 3 non-knitters and me. I listened to the most recent and then worked backwards, and have to tell you it was cool hearing henry de-progress as it were. I dont knit on my bus trip to work, its only 20 mins max – but you have inspired me to try.

    Comment by stella | 30 September 2007

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