Fair Isle (2 strand) knitting


I just finished my second Fair Isle project - a hat. After working on it for three weeks and struggling big time with the dpn finish, it turns out the rim is too small, even though I thought I was careful about keeping the floats loose. Any advice for future projects? I am pretty discouraged as I can’t even get the hat on my head at all.IMG_0466


That hat looks very good and I feel very sorry for you. Hopefully you will find a child with small enough head for it.

When I learned fair isle knitting, I watched quite a bit of fair isle videos and the best advice I received was that it is better to err on the too loose side rather than on the too tight side.


Is it just the rim that’s too small or is it the body of the hat as well (does it give the correct measurement even if you can try it on)? If it’s just the ribbing, you might try this:

It’s lovely work.


No, it isn’t the ribbing - it’s the white yarn (baby alpaca fingering) that doesn’t have enough give in the lower part of the hat right after the ribbing - the line of white “v” shapes. I can’t even get the thing over my head AT ALL. I was thinking it might be possible to snip that section and add in extra yarn maybe using a russian knot or something like that, but I really don’t know.

I just want to figure out how to avoid the problem going forward so I won’t be afraid of two color knitting. My very first hat was fine. The other tough part was using the dpns at the end; it was simply brutal keeping track of the patter/chart on four short needles.



Ah, that is a pity. Engblom’s suggestion of giving this hat away is a good choice. It’s all experience.

It may help to try a swatch in pattern next time. You can use the gauge on this hat as a guide. Usually we don’t bother with a swatch to get gauge for something as small as a hat but working one might give you the confidence to go on.
You could also play around with the same pattern on larger needles.

What is the name of the pattern?


The pattern is Drops Montreal 142-5.

Good news: I decided to “cowboy” a fix and see if it worked and I think I did it. I isolated the offending strand (which happened to be one that I had completely carried with no knitted stitches at all for the entire round) tied a length of yarn at each end of the original loop (like an umbilical cord cut) and then cut the original strand of yarn. I then pulled the extra yarn by gently yanking along the length. I was able to get the hat on my head (albeit a little tighter than I would wish) and now I am soaking the finished hat for blocking. I will keep you posted!


Glad to hear it! Blocking may well relax it enough for it to fit now.
(If you notice that a contrasting color isn’t used for a row you can just leave it at the end of round and pick it up when needed in a subsequent round.)


Something I’ve read about but haven’t tried myself (I like fair isle/stranded knitting, but only ever worked it flat!) is to do it inside out. I’m not sure how that would work in practice but apparently it helps you knit fair isle a bit looser?
ETA - so instead of knitting you’d be purling every round, catching the floats as normal.


Thank you for the suggestion - I have heard of that and just esthetically think it would be less interesting to actually do. I sort of fixed my hat by doing a little yarn surgery adding an extension first and then snipping the offending strand and then gently pulling the extension through the rest of the hat.

Thank you again,


You’re welcome, and that’s fair enough - I think I’d make a lot of mistakes doing it that way myself, but it could still be helpful to someone else!