icelandic fair isling

You guys, I am totally making this color section of my Icelandic sweater happen! I’m extra motivated because I would love to have it finished and blocked for my trip to the cabin this weekend to photograph it as well as have it keep me warm. I have a question for you knitters out there though. The colorwork section of an Icelandic sweater, it it called Fair Isle or is that saved for a certain type of sweater, Scottish or something? Help my confusion!

8 replies on “icelandic fair isling

  • Jessica

    You’re totally right, Fair Isle is a specific type of color-work that originated in Scotland and the islands of its coast. I think the biggest difference between it and selbu style color-work is that fair isle has lots of colors and selbu and similar styles usually just have two colors. At least that’s what I think 🙂

  • martha

    As far as I know fair-isle is a specific type of pattern, using two colors at a time and never more than a specific amount of stitches (3, I think) between the colors. And usually it’s done in lighter-weight yarns, though of course that has skewed a bit now. Usually I just say colorwork so that I’m not wrong. ha!

    I can’t wait to see your finished sweater! It’s going to be awesome.

  • Caitlin

    I think you can also call it intarsia, which is working with two or more colors. That’s usually what I say but it helps when you’re describing it to people who don’t knit because they can’t correct you! 🙂

  • Grace

    Fair-isle is a term that is now regularly used to describe stranded colorwork sweaters. I usually hear the phrase “scottish fairisle” when specifically refering to a traditional fair isle. I don’t think it matters if you call an Icelanding color work sweater a fair isle, however I am a proud knitter who would describe my knitting in very specific terms so I would probably call it an “icelandic sweater with stranded colorwork yoke”.

    Stranded knitting is NOT Intarsia.

  • Erin Wallace

    I”m working on some Norwegian color work right now and I am loving the process! It’s a hat with a Selbu star pattern which I’m doing in a base of brown and the pattern in green. Can’t wait to get it done so I can blog about it!

  • CamberwellGal

    Your work looks lovely; I’m enjoying the natural undyed wool colours I keep seeing round the place. Yours, above, has a gorgeous texture. There’s a woman in Edinburgh who does the most amazing knitting, Fairisle, particularly Shetland work on her blog:


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