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Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting [Paperback]

Alice Starmore
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 21 2009 Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace
Scotland's Fair Isle is celebrated the world over for its distinctive, stranded-color knitting, and Alice Starmore is famous for her expertise in designing and instructing knitters in this appealing regional tradition. Starmore's richly illustrated guide offers both beginning and advanced knitters a complete workshop in the Fair Isle style. It not only explores the art's history, patterns, and traditional techniques but also encourages knitters to develop their own creativity.
Starmore explains the traditional Fair Isle techniques of circular knitting and presents detailed tutorials on incorporating classic motifs, exploring color schemes, and creating unique patterns and designs. She shares fourteen of her own original designs, including patterns for cardigans, vests, fishermen's sweaters, hats, gloves, and mittens. More than 250 photographs, drawings, and easy-to-follow charts illustrate sources of inspiration, simple instructions, and spectacular results. Knitting devotees agree:  If you have only one book of Fair Isle patterns, this is the one to have!

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Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting + Alice Starmore's Charts for Color Knitting: New and Expanded Edition + 200 Fair Isle Motifs: A Knitter's Directory
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Product Description

About the Author

An acclaimed textile designer, author, artist, and photographer, Alice Starmore is a native of Scotland's Isle of Lewis. Starmore has taught and lectured extensively throughout Britain, Europe, and the United States. She has written 16 books and countless magazine articles, and her classic Book of Fair Isle Knitting is the work that introduced Americans to the popular traditional technique.

4 Questions with Alice Starmore: An Exclusive Dover Interview
Alice Starmore has a fascinating tale to tell. We spoke to the author of the #1 crafts bestseller Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting about her knitting background, professional start, and more.

Clearly, knitting is a deeply ingrained facet of the culture of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Did your mother teach you to knit?
My mother taught me to knit when I was very young. She was a dressmaker as well as a knitter and our house was a place of constant creativity. I was also born at a time when most women knitted as a matter of course, and I had three aunts who had been fisher girls in their youth and were experts at making traditional fishermen's gansies.

I understand that your first language is Gaelic — do you still speak it?
Yes I still speak Gaelic. The Isle of Lewis, where I live, is in the Outer Hebrides the heartland of Gaelic and the only place where you will hear the language in everyday use.

How did you get your start professionally?
I designed a small collection of knitwear in 1975 and successfully sold it in London boutiques. It was featured in a national newspaper and from that small beginning my knitting career evolved in ways that were quite unimaginable to me when I began.

Your books are known and loved around the world, and you've adapted design elements from the textile arts of many countries into your repertoire. Are you still discovering "new" aspects of knitting and fabric arts from other cultures?
I am interested in everything. I find inspiration in all aspects of the world around me. There is enough inspiration in the natural world on my doorstep to last many lifetimes. I am also inspired by art, culture, history, science and music. My own culture features widely in my design work but I have always been interested in other cultures and in other places. My main problem is that I cannot possibly live long enough to produce work from the amount of ideas that come into my head.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST HAVE BOOK FOR FAIR ISLE KNITTERS May 3 2004
This book is a must have, well worth the price. First it takes you through the history of Fair Isle and The Shetland Islands so beautifully you feel like you are there, or wish you were! The next chapter has a good selection of easy to follow charts. They go from basic through to complex, which you can mix and match for your own unique designs. Then she discusses colour schemes; each jumper has a photo of the scenery that inspired the colours, to bring you inspiration. Next are techniques. She has simple diagrams that are easy to understand, showing all the techniques you need to knit fairisle. Her instructions were so simple I have now decided to knit on 4 needles! I have also learnt continental style knitting, as this technique is a much easier way of Fairisle knitting. Other techniques include steeks (making cardigans by knitting in round); knitting up stitches, corrugated ribbing, stranded knitting and lots more. Then there are 14 of her divine patterns to knit. The last section is design she walks you through instructions of knitting your own cap, tammy and gansey. I wouldn't part with my copy for all the tea in china!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Alice Starmore's phenominal study of Fair Isle knitting provided me with everything I want to know about it: history; common designs used in Fair Isle knitting; great patterns; enough help for me to learn the techniques of manipulating two yarns at the same time; enough guidance for me to design my own patterns; and beautiful, inspiring color pictures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Hayley Cann TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have mentioned this is a very complete approach to Fair Isle and is definitely geared towards those knitters who want to understand the origins and the how-to behind fair isle knitting. The author is an expert, many of her books have been knitting best-sellers who have inspired a following of enthusiasts.

And she does not disappoint. The book starts with a history of Shetland and the Fair Isle with an almost anthropological level of detail but a focus on yarn and knitting. The author discusses how the designs came into existence and how they progressed along the years with illustrated examples. The transition into the pattern section is smooth, because the discussion on design and patterns simply evolves from a more sociological point of view to a more technical one. But it does so in a degree of detail that is rarely attained in knitting books. Rarely will you have a superstar designer like Starmore explain just what the rules are and what constitutes a good design. Not only that but the book diagrams a lot of "building block" elements like peeries and border patterns. Then there are discussions on how to combine building blocks and how to go further. The descriptive work itself is the kind of information that it would take years to gather from many, many diverse sources, and has enough comments from the author to make the book worthwhile to textile experts.

The color section comes with a discussion on colour use, and illustrations as examples for the discussion. There are also photographs of natural inspiration and the designs they inspired, meant to nudge the fledgling designer in the right direction. The technical section concerns itself with the general direction of knitting a traditional fair isle sweater, in the round with steeking.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Fair Isle primer Oct. 22 2009
For me, as a young (think late 20's, not teens!) but experienced knitter, this book was something of a mixed blessing. Anyone looking for a detailed history of the Fair Isle technique, multitudes of traditionally-based charts, and a guide to colour selection, this book is a must-have. But I have yet to make any of the projects featured in this book. The information on technique presented here is invaluable but the projects that go with them look extremely dated. There is a gorgeous hat and mittens, but anyone looking to make a Fair Isle sweater would probably do better adapting the charts in this book to their own pattern(s). Unfortunately, the projects don't look antique so much as...1980's.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Alice Starmore's Fair Isle Knitting April 29 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brilliant book with loads of good advice and instruction, many charts as well. It arrived promptly, in excellent condition. I am very Happy with the service offered
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