Am starting to play with an idea for a Fair Isle vest design.... time for an "All Creatures Great and Small" marathon on PBS? My mother calls Fair Isle "James Herriot" sweaters.
I'm designing a vest with a delicious yarn called Khroma from The Fibre Company. It's not inexpensive, so to keep the overall project cost down, I'm planning to do the colourwork only on the front.
So of course, I swatched. I swatched in Fair Isle, even.
I don't know what level of Zen Master you have to be to get the same tension in fair isle as you do working a single strand of the same yarn.... The label tells me I'm supposed to get something like 18-20 sts on 5mm needles. I'm actually getting 24 stitches, no matter how relaxed I am.
Of course, what this means is that if I'm going to do a plain back, I have to fudge the tension on the back to make it line up. Ribbing seems the perfect answer. k2 p2, maybe?
The other thing I've discovered is that designing fair isle patterns isn't as simple as it seems...