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Fair Isle All Over

November 28, 2017

When we first designed the Strange Brew pattern I immediately wanted to take it to the next level. Patterning at the yoke? Nice. But patterning all over?! Yes! I had to do it!

Strange Brew

The Strange Brew recipe gives you the freedom to work patterns at cuffs and hem or all over; or keep it simple and stick to the yoke.

Planning an all-over sweater takes a little more math and a little more thinking ahead, but can make for a very high-impact result. For my Strange Brew knit-along sweater (all the KAL details are here) I decided that I wanted to take things one step further: all-over Fair Isle with a rainbow!

My youngest daughter Bodhi is obsessed with rainbows right now and so I pulled out my vaguely obscene stash of Tanis Fiber Arts DK to begin. This may have been a bad move. Faced with this crazy rainbow, I was immediately overwhelmed with options and put the project aside. I needed a little more time to think (or perhaps just the pressure of a deadline?).

Prism Hat

This fabulous rainbow Prism Hat uses tone-on-tone rainbow stripes.

Things I had to consider….

Once I had relaxed a little, I began to think this project through. I needed to gather some information to make sure I didn’t end up with a sweater that moved from red to orange to yellow to green…..and ran out of room for blue and purple. How did I go about this?

  1. I measured a sweater I like on Bodhi. I knew I was going to knit the 4-6 year size (she’s nearly 4), but it’s always a good idea to check and see if you want to change the lengths. For Bodhi I decided to knit 12″ for both the sleeves and the body, as called for in the pattern.
  2. I checked my colourwork gauge (note, if the entire sweater is in colourwork, swatching in stockinette makes no sense), and it is 22 sts & 30 rounds for 4″. This means every 7.5 rounds is one inch in length. For the body and the sleeves I needed to discount 1.5″ for the cuff and hem ribbing, so I had 10.5 inches (12-1.5=10.5) in the sleeves and body to work with. 10.5″ x 7.5 rounds per inch = 78.75 rounds, I rounded that to 78.
  3. Next I checked the number of rounds in the yoke. I decided not to include short row shaping for this sweater. It is for a wee one and it wouldn’t really work with my patterning plan. The yoke join, one knit round, and decrease round, plus the 31 rounds of patterning makes 34 rounds in the yoke before ribbing at the collar.
  4. This meant my sweater was 78 + 34 = 112 rounds. I could divide this by the number of colours I chose (8) and make it all nice and even, no risk of my rainbow missing a colour!

Choosing my rainbow

I originally intended to use ALL the colours, but once I had laid them all out I decided to be a bit more selective. There were a few options of course, all of which I liked for different reasons, but I finally went with this one:

Tanis Fiber Arts DK in Grape, Lilac, Peacock, Sea Breeze, Frost, Lotus, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Caramel, Buttercup, Orange Blossom, Brick, Poppy, Grapefruit, Plum, and Orchid

I chose 8 tonal pairings that I thought would contrast well enough, but I’m sure I’ll learn a few things on the needles! This will make for a rather vivid sweater, but in my experience 3-year-olds are pretty okay with that.

So I had my colours chosen, I had some idea of the small repeat motifs I wanted to use (but mainly I was willing to wing-it in the motif department) and I knew I needed about 14 rounds per colouring pairing (112 total rounds / 8 colours = 14). I was ready! Except…..what colour did I want for the cuffs and hem? This set the project back another few days as I pondered my options. In the end I decided I had no idea and worked a provisional cast on for the body. Hopefully the answer will come to me when the sweater is complete!

Once I have the body complete to the underarms I will have chosen my motifs and I will know whether my colour pairings will work the way I think they will. Then it will be time to figure out the sleeves…..stay tuned!

How is your Strange Brew KAL sweater coming along? Check out the hashtag #strangebrewKAL on Instagram to see all of the fun!

This is Emily’s first Strange Brew KAL sweater. She’ll be sharing all the details on the blog soon… and she’s feverishly working on another one before December 11th rolls around…

More Rainbow fun from TCK:

One Comment leave one →
  1. emccarten permalink
    November 28, 2017 3:29 pm

    Fantastic colours. Don’t know if you’re planning on cutting to make a cardigan, but it’s my fave way to go since the machine sewing down the front means I get a break from having to weave in ends at least in the body. I have a blog post about how I do this at Can’t wait to see how this works out.

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