Fair Isle Memories

Fair Isle Memories

(photo source)

Years ago when I traveled to Scotland, I stopped into a small, boutique clothing store, full of hand-made sweaters and other knitwear. The shop, with its hardwood floors and table displays, had the ultimate warm and cozy feeling – like Christmas morning in front of a fireplace. While browsing, I noticed that the items were not grouped by color or style, but rather by pattern. The shop owner explained that each pattern referenced something different in Scotland, whether it was Clan/family or a region you were from. With a modest Scottish background, I knew that leaving the store empty-handed was not an option. After searching through dozens of patterns (many of which looked like my old Catholic school uniform) I came upon a beautiful pattern known as Fair Isle.

Known for its distinct OXO pattern, the Fair Isle pattern of knitting is said to have originated on the island of Fair Isle, near the Shetland Islands north of Scotland. Traditional or true Fair Isle knitting is said to use two colors in each row, using an average of 4 colors; patterns are not repeated. — Exclusively Fair Isle

Intrigued by the story and enamored with the look and feel of the wool, I left with hats, scarves, and gloves for all of my family, most of which included the Fair Isle pattern. Many years later, I still love the Fair Isle – for the beautiful, Winter-inspired pattern itself, the romanticism of its Scottish origin….and that it always reminds me of Christmas.

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