I have been a busy bee. At last you can see one of the things I’ve been up to – designing a vest for, and filming a Craftsy.com class! Exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Here’s the press release in my own words:
With its striking color combinations and elaborate motifs, Fair Isle knitting can seem overwhelming. Join me, Mary Jane Mucklestone, for my new online Craftsy class, The Fair Isle Vest: Stranded and Steeked, and learn the techniques that take this dazzling form of stranded colorwork from daunting to doable.
We’ll start with the fascinating history of Fair Isle knitting, how it differs from other forms of stranded colorwork, and why traditional Fair Isle knitting is the perfect introduction for learning any form of stranded knitting. We’ll learn the special properties of Shetland wool and why it is well suited for stranded knitting. We’ll delve into color theory and learn tips for assessing colors and color values. Next we’ll discuss essential techniques like reading a stranded knitting chart and I’ll show you three different ways of holding the yarn. We’ll learn the importance of making a test swatch both for gauge and for color. From here, we’ll work through the knitting vest, learn how to change colors as we go along, identifying the pattern motif colors and the background colors. We’ll learn the importance of really looking at the work in your hands. Then, we’ll focus on armhole and neckline shaping and setting up the steek stitches for the openings. I’ll show you three ways to reinforce a steek and and then – we’ll cut it! And have fun doing it! Nothing to fear! The last lesson we will be picking up for knitting the neckband and armbands, weaving in ends, and learn the special importance of finishing in Fair Isle knitting. Voila! Before you know it you’ll be stranding like a master!
I taught myself Fair Isle knitting about 20 years ago, after being afraid for the longest time to even try it. One day, I took a deep breath and just started doing it. I had so much fun that I never stopped. I got so crazy about it I wrote a book! I know how nice it would have been to have someone show me the ropes, so I’m especially glad that I can be the one to show you. The more of us who enjoy it, the more fun for all!
My background is in art. I studied printmaking and textiles in college, and since then I’ve worked in both the fashion and hand knitting industries as a designer and stylist. Stranded colorwork allows me to get my color fix. I find inspiration everywhere: the colors of my morning grapefruit, a dense fog shrouding a field of grass, a thrifted potholder laced with bright rick rack, foreign films, art books, japanese magazines, and of course the work of other designers. Travel has also been an important source of inspiration and learning. Shetland and Peru are two of my favorite colorwork knitting destinations. I hope to make it to Iceland later this year and I have plans to visit more of South America.
Unlike the Shetland Islands, Craftsy classes are easily accessible. Once you enroll in a class, it’s yours for life, to watch at your own pace, as many times as you like. If you want to see a technique again, just rewind. If you want to make notes about a certain technique, you can, right there in your video. Craftsy classes are also interactive, so you can ask questions, and get answers from your classmates and from me. Plus, you can upload pictures of your projects to get feedback and insight, and browse your classmate’s projects to stimulate your creativity.
So check it out! Click the button below for a special discount price – 50% off – just for you my dear readers!