Fair Isle Knitting for Beginners

If you are a beginner in knitting and wish to compete with pros, you can try fair-isle knitting, also known as stranded color-work knitting. In this technique, you work two or more colors of Yarn in the same row. This method of knitting is fun and easy to understand.

With fair-isle knitting, you work a few stitches in one color, then the next few in another color. Both balls of the thread stay attached to the work all the time. The color you are not working is carried at the back of your piece. Make a float or a snug loop, and this adds to the thickness and warmth of your garment.

Important Tips

1.The Floats Shouldn’t Be Tight

When knitting your piece, ensure that the floats are not carried too tightly. You should spread out the stitches on the right needle when changing colors. The float gets the same horizontal stretch as the stitches on needles. If the floats are too tight, your project will pucker hence spoil the pattern.

2. Prevent Tangling Of The Yarn

Nothing disappoints than working with tangled threads. To prevent tangling, of the two strands, always pick up the first color over the second one. When working with the second color, pick it up under the first. You can also separate the balls by keeping one between your legs and the other one on your right side.

3. Holding The Yarns

Fair isle knitting involves practice and repetition of the process. You should make sure to find a comfortable way to organize your wool since there are various ways to do it. You can hold one yarn in each hand, the two balls with the right side, or keep one at a time.

4. Prevent Twisting

When using the stranding method, always prevent twisting by choosing one color that will be picked up from above the other. The other color should be picked underneath the first one.

5. Carry On The Yarn Not In Use

You should carry the Yarn, not in use along the row at the back to the end. You need to catch the thread with the one currently in use to ensure that it is in the knit. It also provides uniform thickness in the entire fabric.

6. Press The Pieces

It is advisable to press each piece of the fair-isle gently before sewing them up. The yarn label usually has the pressing instructions that you need to follow. You can also pin out the finished pieces to get the intended sizes and place a damp cloth over the top to dry.

It is always advisable for a beginner to start with a simple color pattern then move to more advanced styles once you gain confidence.


Fair isle knitting can be both fun and enjoyable if carried out the right way. For a beginner, you should choose the right colors that enable you to see the pattern as you move. You need also to pick the right size of the needles and don’t knit too tightly.

Make sure to carry the Yarn not in use along at the back and move it loosely not to pucker the piece.  

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