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

Alice Starmore , Christine Timmons
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 1988
Scotland's Fair Isle has long been known for its distinctive, stranded-color knitting. A designer from the region, Alice Starmore explores the history and techniques of the art and provides instructions for over 15 of her own knitwear designs. 100 color photos.

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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.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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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
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Hardcover
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding fair isle primer May 19 2000
Format:Hardcover
This book will lead you through the history of fair isle knitting, designing, pattern and color selection, knitting with two or more colors, steeks, and finishing. Fair isle is magnificent and quite unlike anything else I'd done before. The concept of intricate color patterns done seamlessly with Shetland wool was and is quite appealing. I was able, with this book to become proficient in this marvelous style of knitting, creating a masterpiece my first go-round (pun unintended!). It also includes outstanding patterns. I literally wore out my first copy, the pages finally came loose from the binding and I am now on copy #2. I own quite a few books on knitting but consider this my fair isle reference.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book! July 29 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This one of my favorite knitting books, period. I have been knitting (self-taught) for about 20 years, and I seldom use a any kind of written pattern. I decide on yarn and wearer and just begin making the sweater. So here is were this book comes in: instructions on planning or designing a sweater (wouldnt even have to be one done in Fair Isle style); page after page of Fair Isle design elements arranged by SIZE; and beautiful photo of incredible Shetland yarn color combinations. There are printed project patterns, a nice selection too--I just do that sort of thing. And I also enjoyed the history of Fair Isle style and the possible origin of design elements. I keep returning to this book for the charted Fair Isle elements and color inspiration.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent technical reference Nov. 10 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
While the photography in this book is somewhat old-fashioned looking already, this book is a tour de force in fair isle technique. Of particular interest was the section on knitting steeked patterns, and the design-your own information. This book belongs in every knitter's library!
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