My Fair Isle is too tight! Halp!

topic posted Wed, July 11, 2007 - 3:17 PM by  Samantha Earl
I started knitting the Syncopated Cap from the latest issue of Interweave Knits. It's my first attempt at Fair Isle, and I think I have the technique down pretty well.

I did a gauge swatch and came up with the correct gauge. But as I've knit farther up the hat, I'm seeing NO stretch to it whatsoever. There's no way this baby is going to fit over my noggin. I'm using Dale of Norway Baby Ull as my main color and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock as my contrasting color.

Do you think my complete lack of stretch is due to my technique? Could I be carrying the yarn behind a little too tightly?

Or could it be from the contrast in yarn? I'm not in love with the Baby Ull?

Or could I have just incorrectly read my gauge swatch?

I'm so confuzzled... Help please?!?!
posted by:
Samantha Earl
SF Bay Area
  • Unsu...

    Re: My Fair Isle is too tight! Halp!

    Wed, July 11, 2007 - 7:24 PM
    Firstly, how did you swatch? Flat or in the round? And what is the project, flat or in the round? You carrying tendencies change from one to the other. If your swatch was flat and your hat is in the round, you may be trying to cut corners with your carrying in the round. Because it's not flat the tendency can be to leave less yarn, which will pull it into a smaller shape.

    Measure your knitting as if it's a swatch and see if your stitch gauge is different than your original swatch (your row gauge should be approximately the same). Also, lay it flat, and see if it puckers at all in comparison to your swatch.

    If it's your carrying tension that's the problem, there are several tricks to fix it, one of which is to spread the stitches out on the needle when changing colours.
  • J
    offline 5

    Re: My Fair Isle is too tight! Halp!

    Wed, July 11, 2007 - 10:08 PM
    It is the nature of stranded colorwork to be not that stretchy. When I made Fair Isle socks, I knit the cuff using a larger sized needle than the foot in order to have the sock big enough to put on and wear comfortably.

    When knitting FI in the round, knit the item inside out--just turn it inside out and continue to knit. Knitting it inside out will help keep the floats a little bit longer and they won't have a tendency to be too short. Also, check your work and flatten it out every few stitches so your floats aren't too tight. It's a misconception that floats should be very very loose. Actually you need a bit of tension in order for the knitting to look neat and not sloppy.

    Also, have you tried blocking it? Wool (and superwash wool) can relax and grow with blocking. Put the hat on waste yarn and block it now. You may be pleasantly surprised.


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