Fair Isle Tips for the Chanticleer Garden Blanket
The Chanticleer Garden Blanket is a fair isle baby blanket knit in an assortment of colorways of Perfection Sport. Fair Isle is a specific type of colorwork knitting where only two colors are used per round, even if there are a number of different colors used in the projects. In this pattern, there are seven different charted motifs. In today’s post we will spotlight a few tips and tricks to help you knit a successful project.
Tip 1: Perfection Sport as your yarn choice
Wool sticks to itself, so if a stitch drops off your needle, you’ll be able to rescue it quickly. Perfection Sport is a wool/acrylic blend which is an easy care yarn, soft, and durable, great for baby projects and blankets. Yes, you can wash this project. We’re using Snowflake, Silver Grey, Tweet, and Blueberry Buckle for our demonstration here.
Tip 2: Use Stitch Markers
Charts are used to visually represent the stitches for colorwork and there are 7 different charts in the Chanticleer Garden Blanket. Each chart includes the number of stitches in each color repeat and which stitches to knit in which color. Stitch markers are not required, though you may find it useful to mark the border stitches and to place them after each repeat or two of the chart. That way, if you reach the marker before or after the end of the chart repeat, you know you’ve made an error within the last few stitches. Be mindful that you’ll have to adjust the placement of the stitch markers when you change charts - Chart 1 is a 12 stitch repeat, and chart 2 is a 16 stitch repeat in this pattern. Here the pink marker sets off the border and the black markers mark a chart repeat. Our swatch for this tutorial is 37 stitches wide.
Tip 3 Floats: Strand loosely across the back.
A float is the term for the length of yarn that is carried across the back of the knitting. This can be carrying across one stitch or several. If you pull that carried strand too tight, the fabric can pucker, and if they are too loose, the stitches look uneven and can catch on things. To get them just right is a combination of practice and taking the time to spread out the stitches just worked on the right needle each time you switch colors. Also, aim to be consistent to draw the working yarn up in the same manner each time.
Tip 4 Fair Isle on the Purl Side
The trickiest part about this blanket is that it is knit flat, so there are a few rows in the charts where you have to work fair isle on the purl side. Many knitters consider this difficult but we think that’s because it’s just a less common method. Purl as normal, following the chart starting from the correct side! Right side rows are worked from right to left, wrong side rows are worked left to right. Keep your yarns in the same working order as on the right side and be mindful to keep the floats just right as needed.
Tip 5: Avoid Tangles
Do your best to keep the colors you’re using separated - one skein on each side of your lap, one skein in its own ziploc bag, or even pulling out enough yardage to get you across the row. Taking the time to give each yarn space when you start the row will help you avoid tangles later. Avoiding tangles means more time knitting on your project and enjoying the colorwork emerge!
Tip 6: Be Patient with yourself!
Take it one stitch at a time and give yourself plenty of time to work on the Chanticleer Garden Blanket. Time and practice will make you a more confident fair isle knitter. We want you to enjoy it!