Monday, 23 November 2009


Vintage beret (Bought from a boot fair)

I have liked the Fair Isle design ever since I can remember. Over the years I have owned many Fair Isle jumpers, cardigans, hats, scarves and blankets. I never tire of it and like having touches of it here and there at home.

Fair Isle blankets bought from Cath Kidston
(On left, is this season's and on the right a previous season)

I love the colours!

I cannot knit (yet), I am still trying to master and find the time to do crochet! As soon as I feel I am competent enough with crochet, I shall be attending a knitting course at Marmalade Yarns.

My English Grandmother, Maud was very skilled when it came to knitting. She knitted many beautiful things. I remember how she would knit at a speedy pace whilst watching TV at the same time. I often wondered how she could do that without making any mistakes. That always impressed me as a child.
I wish I had asked her to teach me how to knit.

I recently went online to find websites selling Fair Isle knitted items. Here are some of the things that I spotted and like.




Pattern from Book Special Family Knits by Debbie Bliss

Vintage Fair Isle knitting patterns from The Retro Knitting Company

Fair Isle bunting from Designed in Shetland by Mary Fraser
(Making it's way to me soon...)

Fair Isle Album from Designed in Shetland made by Mary Fraser

Medium Fair Isle notebook from Designed in Shetland by Mary Fraser
Hopefully will make it's way to me soon, they are out of stock at the moment though....
(UPDATE: 24/11/09 Advised more coming in at the end of this week!)

Fair Isle Album from Designed in Shetland made by Mary Fraser

Little baby bunting from Designed in Shetland made by Mary Fraser

Fair Isle Address Book from Designed in Shetland made by Mary Fraser
On my wish list, still deciding on which one I prefer the most, this colour of the one below...

Fair Isle Address Book from Designed in Shetland made by Mary Fraser

Peerie Fair Isle Sock from Designed in Shetland made by Robyn Roberston



Fair Isle Crafts Ltd


Visit Shetland website

Over the years I have visited Scotland many times, especially when I was a child. During the summer holidays, we would get away from the heat of the South of France and all the tourists. Scotland was a great place to do that, no crowds, peaceful and beautiful scenery. . We had great holidays there, I loved it. However, I have never visited any of the islands. Something which I will eventually do, it is on my must do list!

The weather has been atrocious here, our lane is flooded at one end. However, I am not complaining, it is no where near as bad as in Cumbria. I feel so sorry for all those affected by it.

A bientôt!

Isabelle X


Lisa said...

You do have the knack of finding such beautiful things to share with us!
Lisa x

Annie said...

What a gorgeous posting, I love the bunting, I have just spent ages on the 'Designed In Shetland' website. Your beret is really cute it looks very 1930s. I wish I could remember how to knit , I just about managed a couple of scarves a few years back. Like you I used to marvel at my grandma knitting at high speed in front of the TV and never dropping a stitch !
Ann x

Pomona said...

I love fairisle, too, although I have never attempted to knit any - it always looks a bit complicated. We have a flood in the lane here, too, but nothing like up north - we are so lucky really.

Pomona x

Marmalade Yarns said...

hi, i have to agree with you I am always looking for lovely ideas and things in fairisle. gorgeous things from shetland. delicious to look at, cheers. lol maxine

Lalabibaby said...

How cute is that baby bunting! My nanna taught me how to knit some 40 years ago .... my first make was a little elf and I can still see him in my mind now. We sat in her back room in front of the fire and thinking about it brings back the memories of the smell of the burning coal. Thanks for taking me back with this lovely post. x

bellaboo said...

A lovely knitty post!I have just taken up knitting again,but I would really love to master crocheting,especially when I see all the lovely creations on other peoples blogs.As a child I loved to watch my mother knitting,hearing the clickety-clack of the needles,and marvelling at how she could watch TV at the same time!


Blondie's Journal said...

The Fair Isle pieces are all beautiful. Is it named for the pattern or style of the stitches? I am just not that familiar with it. The blankets by Cath Kitson really caught my eye.

We are expecting very cold temps this week (in time for Thanksgiving on Thursday), as well as snow. I do enjoy the 1st snowfall but then it get burdensome.

Have a wonderful week, Isabelle!


Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Dear Isabelle,
the Fair Isle designs are lovely but I cannot imagine being able to wear them in Australia at the moment. We have had a heat wave (temperatures in the forties in November) And then the last two days it has been freezing! Such contrast of weather means several little ones sick with sore throats and coughs including my own. I love Scotland as well. Edinburgh was so beautiful and the Scottish Highlands to die for. Enjoy your week. I like your new profile photo. I keep meaning to change mine! xx

Lori said...

one of my favorite sweaters was a fair isle that i popped into the dryer one day without thinking...and ruined sad...your examples are lovely Isabelle!!!

Knitty, Vintage and Rosy said...

I am a huge fair isle fan and have kept many things from when the kids were little that were fair isle. I just cannot get rid of them.

Do you check the charity shops? I find many people give these items away as they can't be bothered with the gentle washing of the wool.

So lovely!

Lisa xo

Sal said...

Goodness that takes me back as I had one or two Fair Isle cardis when I was very young.
I think the beret and the baby bunting are my faves!
A lovely post,Isabelle!

KC'sCourt! said...

Yes! There is something definitely about Fairisle isn't there? I knitted my grand-daughter a Fairisle cardigan, I really enjoyed forming the patterns. I love the colours too. I love that bunting!

KC'sCourt! said...

I would love to teach you to knit. I wished I live closer to you.

Tilly Rose said...

Hi .....what a lovely post! I haven't knitted fairisle for years but like you I love it in loads of things. I especially like the bunting ...that's a fab idea. I make bunting to sell but didn't even think of knitting fairisle.
good luck with your knitting classes
Karen x x x

Inspiration in Italy said...


By the way, I passed along an award to you in my recent post :)


Charlotte, Cottontails said...

What an absolutely marvelous resource you have put together for Fair Isle fans!

Love Charlotte

LiLi M. said...

I love this kind of knitting. That vintage beret and the bunting are too cute! Here it's raining cats and dogs for days now, but no floods luckily. Have a lovely day hanging out inside as much as possible!

A Bun Can Dance said...

Ah, fair isle is so very beautiful isn't it? I used to knit such things in the knitting rage of the 1980's. Your post has reminded me how much I love it - Maybe I should knit a little piece of fair isle again?
Terrible weather here too - I've not been out of the door yet today!
Have a great week,
D x

Florence and Mary said...

I love Fair Isle too but have yet to buy myself anything from it's ranges.

My nan taught me to knit when I was younger, I'm bless to still have the blanket she knitted me as a baby.

Victoria xx

Tabiboo said...

A fabulous collection of Fair Isle and I love the baby bunting.

Nina x

The Curious Cat said...

Is 'Fair Isle' the name of the style? I take it is named after where it originates too...Scotland... I love this style too but I never knew it was called this. I've always loved it but it is hard to come by in the usual shops - when I was in the US I found some stuff like it though...thanks for letting me know its name! xxx

Chandra said...

I love Fair Isle anything! It makes me think of the green pastures of the English countryside, the wooly sheep, cobblestone walls, and thatched cottages all at once! Thanks for an eye-candy treat ;)

Les Cotrions said...

Waw Isabelle so nice design and so many beautiful items you suggest! I've never been in Scotland but it's on my list! I hope to be able to go there one day!
Have a nice evening!

Bleudelavande said...

Wooooww Isabelle what lovely collection!Tank you for sharing.

Devon Dumpling said...

You're right; fair isle rocks! Need to get me some of that! x

BusyLizzie said...

Hi Isabelle, gorgeous post! Beautiful goodies & I am fan of fair isle knits too! Lizzie x

Anna said...

So much beauty and cosiness in this post. I'm going to check out the webpage!

Anna x

Floss said...

I has no idea ther wers so many modern interpretations of the design! Good for the Shetlanders!

Catherine said...

i love these patterns ,i bought some in Scotland in beautiful colors. Thank you for coming on my blog catherine

Mr Jones said...

Fair isle bunting? Awesome - quite quirky and fun!

Fiona said...

Thanks for the great blog post about Fair Isle goodies, Isabelle! I hope you'll love your handmade Fair Isle items. And thanks for all the lovely comments about Mary's Fair Isle bunting on We've got a lot more lovely Fair Isle things just about to go on the website including special Christmas super-cute hearts & stars bunting and peerie (Shetland dialect for 'small') triangular bunting - both Fair Isle.

Fair Isle is indeed a particular type of patterned stranded knitting which originated on the island of Fair Isle in Shetland. The Shetland Isles are a spectacularly wild and beautiful group of islands at the remote northernmost tip of the UK with wonderful wildife and seascapes. We are are as close to Bergen in Norway as we are to Aberdeen in the north of Scotland, and have a distinct Norse heritage, different to Scotland. No tartan here!

Lots of people across the world produce Fair Isle patterns and products and call their knitwear 'Shetland' but only a few are truly made in Shetland - from the ones listed in this post, only ours, Designed in Shetland, are the real Shetland, plus Ninian & Fair Isle Crafts Ltd. Most of the goods on Designed in Shetland are handmade and made by people in Shetland in their own homes to create or supplement an income in a remote, rural place surrounded by the famous Shetland sheep!

Oh, also coming soon, something *very* special. Only two available at the moment - handknitted Fair Isle waistcoats by the world's fastest knitter, Hazel Tindall of Shetland. You can see Hazel wearing one here -

What's interesting are the new ideas people in Shetland are coming up with for Fair Isle, such as the bunting, as well as still producing top-class traditional Fair Isle knitwear too, such as berets, gloves & jumpers.

I have some fantastic new-style Fair Isle products made by a young Shetland designer. Andrea Williamson, here in my wee shop, Oily Muggie - (feel free to become a fan!) and they'll be on the website some time too. Gorgeous Fair Isle things made with the softest lambswool, including a working Fair Isle knitted clock!

Thanks again & sorry for the long comment! It's lovely to see all the interest in gorgeous Fair Isle!

Beach Vintage said...

Such beautiful designs, everything looks so soft.

Torie Jayne said...

Great post! I love your Cath Kidston blanket and that bunting is adorable! Have a sweet day!

Rubyred said...

What a lovely post! I love Fair Isle too! The beret is gorgeous and I love the bunting!Especially the heart one!
Have a great day!
Rachel x

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Wow Isabelle, this is gorgeous, thank you. I especially love the fairisle bunting, it so warm and just right for my Christmas kitchen!
I am hoping for a ck fairisle beret for Christmas! fingers crossed!

Sarah x

lou said...

Hello Isabelle, I’m in love with it all…my Christmas list is getting bigger and bigger!
I wish I could knit like my Nan and mum; my knitting skills are very basic.

Good luck with the knitting!

Love Lou xxx

Fiona said...

Oops, apologies to Eribé who do have garments made in Shetland, however they aren't a Shetland company. But still lovely products!

a mermaids purse said...

beautiful knit creations! i want , i want ,i want hehe!! all on my mile long list for xmas hehe! really beautiful reading ur posts ;0)x

Sylvia said...

Hello Isabelle,
The blankets from Cath Kidston are beautiful, I also love the colours.
I used to knit, a long time ago.

Have a nice evening,

Enitram said...

So lovely blog!
So lovely collection !
So lovely island !
I shall come back !

beedeebabee♥ said...

Hi! You have such a lovely blog!!!
These Fair Isle knits are so beautiful, I just love those socks and the baby bunting is too precious! I know I'll be back for more visits as I totally enjoyed this one! ;) Paulette

maría cecilia said...

Hi Isabelle, love all these knittings, specially your blankets, so, so beautiful!!
Cariños from Chile
María Cecilia

All things bright and beautiful... said...

Hello Isabelle!

Sirdar have a yarn called crofter - you knit just plain and purl stitch and it self patterns to a fairisle design. Could be your first yarn when you go to knitting class?


OhSoVintage said...

Great post (as always from you!) That book does look good but they don't look like things you can knock up in a couple of evenings. I shall go to her website to have a better look. I love fairisle too. I used to knit it when I was younger and made a lovely coat and hat for my daughter when she was 2. All I have now is a beret from Boden which, sadly, doesn't really suit me. I would love to learn to crochet. I saw an amazing crochet blanket in an interiors shop recently and couldn't believe the price!
Ruth x

Fiona said...

Just to let you know, Isabelle, that we've now got the full range of Mary's Fair isle bunting up on the website. If you thought the baby bunting in hearts was lovely, then you'll love the Christmas hearts & stars bunting! That's the picture on the front of my website, of the bunting hanging in my peerie (small) shop. I had it draped over my curtain rail last Christmas too.

The Vintage Kitten said...

Love the bunting! X

Julies knitting corner said...

What a wonderful post I have enjoyed reading this. You have left us with some interesting links to look at, I love those buntings quite a neat idea. Thanks.
best wishes. Julie.C

MelMel said...

Lovely pictures!
Its my wish to own a CK blanket...maybe this year FC will bring me one!x

Eline Oftedal said...

I love fair isle knitting too. Thanks for a beautiful post about it!