Posted by: vjicha | August 28, 2008

Designing Fair Isle

Because the process of designing a Fair Isle sweater seems so daunting at first, I thought I would share what worked for me. I started with graph paper and colored pencils and just played around with designs. When I got something that seemed unique, I swatched. I originally thought to work with greens and lavenders.

I admired Alice Starmore’s use of color, and clearly I had not hit the mark. The 1st swatch on top was horizontal and would emphasize my widest hip measurement, so the 2nd swatch was an attempt to work vertically. Neither one excited me.

Swatch 3 was an improvement – at least the ribbing was promising.

The colors, however, in the body of the swatch were still not working. The color changes were too stark. I decided to try working with all the shades I could find of just one color.

Swatch 4 showed that I was definitely on the right track.

The blocks of one color still lasted too long, however. A little refining and the final swatch told the story.

The following photos show the progression of the process.



  1. Thanks for posting these. Very enlightening to see the thought process that led to the final project.

    Beautiful sweater.

  2. Beautiful work! I have recently challenged myself to learn Fair Isle.

  3. That is beautiful! You’ve gotten the Starmore shading down well.

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