Would you be interested in finding easy Fair Isle knitting patterns that don’t require bunches of unmanageable colors in each row, or lots of complicated shaping? If so, Easy Fair Isle Knitting: 26 Projects With a Modern Twist by Martin Storey is a book you’ll be interested in checking out.
Note: I counted 27 projects all together, so the math is even more in your favor than the subtitle of the book suggests.
What You Need to Know About This Knitting Pattern Book:
Publisher: Trafalgar Square Books
Copyright Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-57076-785-2
This book is available in the following format:
- Softcover With Perfect Binding
Number of Pages: 128
Cover Price: $24.95 US dollars
The Focus of This Book:
Martin Storey created Easy Fair Isle Knitting with the goal of giving you the easiest possible introduction to the technique of Fair Isle knitting.
This book also has a cohesive secondary theme: the designs all fit well with the color trends that have been pervasive in both home décor and fashion in the recent past, making significant use of grays and a palette of other subdued colors.
The knitting patterns in this book were all designed with Rowan Felted Tweed yarn, which is a blend of merino wool, alpaca and viscose fibers. If you love Felted Tweed, this is your happy day because you just hit the Felted Tweed pattern jackpot with this book! And if you don’t love Felted Tweed, you’re probably going to want to make some yarn substitutions before working any of these patterns.
You’ll find the following types of knitting projects in this book:
- 2 blankets
- 2 ladies sweater vests
- 2 adult sized hats
- 8 adult sized scarves and cowls
- 1 pair of women’s gloves
- 1 pair of adult sized socks
- 1 child’s hat
- 1 tote bag
- 6 pillows and cushions
- 2 gadget cozies
- 1 garland (also known as “bunting”)
The Best Things About This Book
Do you remember how popular sweater vests and other knits were in the 1980s? If you experienced the 1980s firsthand, you’ll likely be delighted at how well this book incorporates 1980s aesthetics along with more current motifs and silhouettes to create knitted pieces that are reminiscent of times past yet totally up-to-date.
What’s even better: None of these projects are so outlandishly trendy that they’ll become outdated when the current fashion trends cycle and die. What we have here is a treasure of a collection that’s both timely and timeless — exactly what one would hope for when investing in a knitting pattern book.
This is a cohesive knitting pattern collection created by a designer with a distinctive point of view. The resulting projects all have remarkable personality.
This book was professionally styled, and the styling was done well.
The home décor projects are presented in interesting and approachable settings that the average knitter is likely to find appealing. If you love the “farmhouse style” that is so trendy right now, the settings in this book are likely to speak to you.
The fair isle knitted garments and accessories are modeled with basic, relatable wardrobe pieces that look like clothes ordinary people really wear. The wearable projects are modeled by attractive but ordinary people rather than intimidating supermodels — which reassures me that I am looking at honest photography rather than unachievable Photoshopped fantasy scenarios. These things taken together also give me hope that I, as another ordinary human being and not a supermodel, could hope to achieve similar satisfactory results if I were to integrate one or more of these projects into my own humble wardrobe.
The charts in the book are printed in color, and they are large and readable. The fonts used throughout are also clear and legible.
The Fair Isle Knitting Patterns Included in This Book:
1. Heart Wave Fair Isle Knit Scarf Pattern
This is a dramatic scarf pattern that’s knit in 4 colors, but it somehow manages to look even more colorful than it really is. The design features hearts, stripes, waves and other small motifs, In a world filled with drab and nondescript outerwear, this piece definitely stands out as being a conversation starter.
2. Little Rabbits Fair Isle Scarf Knitting Pattern
This is a fun, playful adult-sized scarf design featuring rows of rabbit motifs. The rabbit theme would be especially perfect for wearing on chilly spring days or Easter, although it looks like it would be warm enough to wear even in the coldest part of winter.
3. Little Rabbits Fair Isle Hat Knitting Pattern for Kids
It initially puzzled me why this hat wasn’t pictured on a model anywhere in the book. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that this is a knitting pattern for child’s hat — which makes sense, as the playful bunnies are extremely kid-friendly motifs. The hat is a basic, classic design that’s designed to fit children ages 3-7.
4. Little Circles Fair Isle Scarf Knitting Pattern
This is a basic wardrobe piece that’s knit in 3 colors. It has a timeless, classic appeal, and it looks like it would integrate well into a wardrobe that already has some trendy and / or basic outerwear pieces in it.
5. Kitten and Stripe Fair Isle Knit Scarf Pattern
The main knitted motif in this scarf looks something like a more sophisticated version of Hello Kitty; it’s a kitten’s head without a body. To my eyes, this looks like an edgy, youthful sort of design that might appeal to tweens and teens. However, the original colorway is so subdued that it doesn’t match my perception of the overall design concept. I think it would be interesting to re-color this scarf into a teen-friendly colorway of vibrant pink, purple and aqua on a pastel or light-colored ground. As it’s originally colored, it’s an autumn-friendly colorway that would work well with most neutral-colored outerwear.
6. Tree and Ripple Fair Isle Knit Bag Pattern
There’s a hedgerow of knitted trees that adorn the lower edge of this bag. Above that, rows of colorful wave motifs add visual interest to the project. It’s a versatile design that lends itself well to a variety of uses. This pattern alone would give you sufficient reason to buy this book, as you’ll likely want to knit this stylish tote bag multiple times. There are a zillion ways you might find to use it:
- It would make a lovely knitting or crochet project bag.
- It would also make an amazing yarn organizer that could be hung in your craft room or whichever space you use for storing yarn.
- It would be a wonderful, environmentally-friendly market bag for days when you go to the farmer’s market or grocery store. Tuck a few of these in the trunk of your car so you never again have to choose between paper or plastic bags.
- It would be a sophisticated book bag, ideal for camouflaging any romance novels, political magazines or other reading material you want to carry around without advertising to everyone in the world what you’re reading.
- It would make a fantastic gift for anyone who might need it for any of the above uses.
- Not only would it be a fantastic gift, it would also make a spectacular gift bag (but only for people who would appreciate the bag at least as much as they’d appreciate whatever other gift you tuck inside it!)
7. Fair Isle Waves Vest Knitting Pattern
It doesn’t get much more “hipster” than this “preppie” fair isle knit vest. Looking at this wardrobe piece takes me right back in time to 1988 when I had a comparable sweater vest knit up in colors that looked amazingly similar to these. My sweater vest had a v-neck just like this one does.
The model in the book is pictured wearing the vest with a shirtdress and tights, which were also trendy styles back in the 1980s. The designer of this piece has perfectly captured a look that’s simultaneously on-trend now plus evocative of past fashion trends.
8. Little Hearts Vest Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This pretty vest is one of the most remarkable projects in the book, as evidenced by the fact that it adorns the front cover. It’s another sweater vest design of the same sort as the other mentioned above. The design and colorway are both reminiscent of styles you’d see around in the early 1980s, yet they’re also totally current now. The colorway is spot on with current fashion trends, and it also would have been right at home in a trendy lady’s wardrobe circa 1983.
This design has some long floats that you really have to be conscious of when you are knitting.
9. Little Hearts Cowl Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This cowl features the same colorful heart motifs that embellish the vest mentioned above.
10. Little Owls Cowl Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This luxurious cowl is pictured on the front cover of the book. It’s another one of my favorite designs in the book; the owls are quite charming. This design, too, has some long floats to be aware of when you are knitting.
11. Folk Cowl Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
You’ll combine knitting and embroidery to make this lovely cowl. The design includes French knots, chain stitches and lazy daisies.
12. Folk Warmer Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This interesting project is sort of a hybrid between a cowl and a capelet. It has a ribbed turtleneck, and it extends down around the shoulders. It features the same style of embroidered motifs as the folk cowl mentioned above.
13. Plaid and Diamond Socks Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This is a guy-friendly pattern for slouchy, casual socks.
14. Plaid and Diamond Beanie Hat Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This fitted beanie-style hat precisely matches the plaid and diamond knit socks mentioned above. Both incorporate the same motifs and colorway.
15. Soft Stripe Hat Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This is a slouchy beanie-style hat with a prominent Fair Isle stripe motif as the focal point; thinner stripes accent the thicker ones to make the design interesting.
16. Soft Stripe Gloves Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
These gloves match the hat mentioned above. The same Fair Isle stripe adorns the cuffs of the gloves, and the same colors are echoed throughout the design.
17. Little Circles Pillow Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
The focal point of this pillow is a band of little circle motifs that are exactly the same as the motifs in the Little Circles scarf mentioned above. The remainder of the pillow front is an allover Fair Isle dot pattern. It looks to me like there is a mistake in the page number the instructions refer you to look at for the chart; if you buy your own copy of this book, be sure to make a note on page 102 that you’ll find the correct chart on page 66 of the book.
18. Paper Dolls Pillow Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This is an unusual pattern that combines a fun and interesting paper doll motif with simple but beautiful leaf motifs. The back of the cushion is striped, which makes the knitting move along faster than the Fair Isle work in front — plus it adds a bit of interest to both the design and the crafting.
19. Simple Spots Pillow Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This simple design repeats in a predictable way that makes it easy to memorize and super simple to knit, exactly as the pattern name suggests.
This is another pillow design that features colored stripes on the back.
20. Paper Boats Pillow Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
It’s hard to choose just one favorite pattern from this book, but if I had to pick one I’d say this is it. It’s a lovely nautical design that would work well for anyone with a coastal themed room — or for anyone who dreams of sailing, traveling or having a coastal themed room.
The original colorway of this design is lovely and on-trend; however, I don’t love the gray background color, so I’d recolor the design to make it cleaner, brighter and more eye-catching. But that’s me; there are plenty of knitters who are going to fall in love with the grayed-down, subdued original colorway just as its pictured in the book. Either way, it’s an excellent design well worth knitting. However, do be aware that there are some long floats present in the design that will need attention when you are knitting.
21. Goosey Pillow Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This is a fun, fabulous pillow pattern that’s in desperate need of re-coloring. The colorway pictured in the book does not have enough contrast, so the wonderful goose motifs seem to disappear into the background of the pillow. The result: The focal point of the pillow looks like the small ripple motifs used to border the geese. The ripples contrast more and therefore seem to pop out from the background.
On a 1-10 scale of problems a knitter could have, this rates as a “1” assuming you choose a better colorway before ordering all the yarn you’ll need for the project. If you knit this pattern, be sure to choose a darker, brighter color for knitting the goose than you use for knitting the background. I recommend swatching first to make sure you’ll like your chosen colorway before committing time and yarn to knitting the entire pillow.
22. Nordic Pillow Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
The Scandinavian countries are famous for their forests filled with spectacular evergreen trees, berries and other woodland delights — and this pillow utilizes simple knitted pine tree motifs emblematic of the forest. The pillow is a colorful design with a folk-art feeling about it.
23. Nordic Garland Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This garland coordinates well with the pillow described above and the throw described below. It’s a pine-tree themed project that would make a cute Christmas decoration — but since it isn’t specifically Christmas-y, you could leave it up all winter if you want to. Or you could re-color the design to make it more Christmas-y if you specifically want it to be used just as Christmas decoration.
24. Nordic Throw Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
If you want to knit a matching set of home décor items, this throw is a great pattern to consider. It coordinates well with the Nordic pillow and Nordic garland mentioned above; the same simple, primitive style pine tree motifs create the focal point of the Nordic throw. It’s also a lovely standalone pattern, so don’t worry about making it on its own if you just need a blanket without the pillow or garland.
In some ways, this design resembles a folk art quilt, especially when the photo in the book is viewed from a distance. Up close, it’s more obvious that you’re looking at a knitted blanket, and the picture has more of a tweedy, wooly sort of appeal about it. It’s a colorful, fun design with a primitive, old-fashioned flair; this throw or the entire set would be at home in a farmhouse style setting or country themed home.
25. Counting Sheep Throw Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
Most knitters have a special fondness for sheep and their wool. If you’re one of them, this simple sheep-themed throw is likely to appeal to you. I find the design quite charming, particularly since it combines several of my favorite things including checkerboard patterns, sheep motifs and uncomplicated design work. The simple gray color scheme is enlivened a bit by a green border around the edge. The colorway is quite trendy as designed, but I’d be likely to recolor this to make it brighter if I were going to knit the pattern myself.
26. Little Houses Tablet Cover Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This fun design sort of reminds me of an updated and more knitterly version of the old-fashioned schoolhouse quilt block motifs. If you’d like to cozy your tablet or other gadget in a colorful knitted grid of one-story suburban-style homes, this is the pattern for you.
27. Little Houses iPhone Cozy Fair Isle Knitting Pattern
This pattern matches the Little Houses tablet cover mentioned above, only it’s sized smaller to fit an iPhone or other similarly-sized gadget. If you have a small camera, you might be able to fit it in this little pouch. I’ve also used pouches this size as gift bags in the past for things like jewelry, gift cards and cash.
Things to Be Aware of Before You Buy This Book
If you don’t already know how to knit, this book isn’t going to teach you; it’s strictly a pattern book, and it’s not a comprehensive guide to knitting. Aside from giving you patterns to practice with, it also won’t teach you how to actually do the Fair Isle knitting technique; there are no step-by-step Fair Isle knitting tutorials included in the book. However, the book does give you some Fair Isle knitting tips that will likely prove helpful if you already know how to knit. If you want to learn how to do the stranded colorwork technique, I recommend buying Andrea Rangel’s Alterknit Stitch Dictionary, which includes instructions, diagrams, tips and insights on the technique in addition to bunches of stitch patterns plus complete patterns for five gorgeous projects.
The editing in Easy Fair Isle Knitting isn’t perfect. After several readings with a hyper-critical eye, I found a typo plus the aforementioned page number error. I didn’t catch any other mistakes, and overall I found the instructions to be clear and workable — although I haven’t knitted any of the patterns in the book yet to say definitively.
The organization of this book makes it pleasant to flip through, but perhaps less pleasant to knit from. When it comes to actually working from the book, I don’t find the organization to be particularly logical or intuitive, although it isn’t horrible either.
When you knit from this book, you are likely to need to do a significant amount of flipping back and forth between the front of the book where some of the pictures are and the back of the book where the patterns and some other pictures are. Some of the patterns also share charts, which will require additional page-flipping. For me, this isn’t a deal breaker; it’s one of the tradeoffs of having a book where some of the pieces coordinate with each other. The upside to this is that you get more patterns this way than you would in a similarly priced, similarly sized book that doesn’t utilize shared charts.
I’ve already briefly mentioned the other important thing to be aware of: namely that Rowan’s Felted Tweed yarn is the suggested yarn for all the patterns in this book.
Overall, Easy Fair Isle Knitting is a delightful book with loads of personality. It’s also an excellent value for the money you spend on it; for the purchase price, you get a large number and wide variety of patterns. While it isn’t a flawless book, I think its positives far outweigh its downsides. I’m delighted to recommend this book to other knitting enthusiasts, particularly knitters who are interested in color knitting and ready to get to work on some easy color knitting patterns. It’s a fantastic pattern book filled with charming, on-trend designs that many knitters are likely to find appealing.
This book is well worth its cover price of $24.95 US dollars, but the retailers I’ve linked to below often sell books at discounted prices; if you’re able to find the book on sale for less than its cover price, it’s an even better value.
Where to Buy This Book:
Similar Craft Books and Related Resources
- The Alterknit Stitch Dictionary: Charts and Patterns for Stranded Colorwork Knitting
- Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens
- Knit Yourself In
- Fantastic Knitting Pattern Books
We invite you to sign up for our FREE knitting and crochet newsletter if you’d like to receive updates about all our latest knitting book reviews, crochet book reviews, free patterns and other knitting and crochet news. Our newsletter subscribers are usually the first to know when we post new patterns, book reviews and author interviews online.
This page was last updated on December 31, 2017.