I just finished a project for my younger son, using up a 500g batch of natural-white Cascade 220 fingering that I won as a door prize at a knitting retreat a few years back. It was languishing in my stash until I got inspired enough to dye it up and do some fair-isle with it. I've never done a garment-sized fair isle piece before!
The dyeing worked quite well; I used iDye packets, which are super-easy to use. I ruined only 1 50g skein by dyeing it black - and then changing my mind and attempting to bleach it back to grey. Duh....mistake. Bleach did not produce grey, but fugly beige! But for the rest, I got a nice palette of colours; Toby wanted something with a brown background and kinda retro.
[iDye'd Cascade 220 fingering]
Then I had some fun trying out different colour combinations for the fair-isle. I drew up the chart in Exel and then used "format painter" to switch up the colour scheme a few times. Then I put the charts up on full-screen and stood away from them to see which one I liked best. Small changes make a big difference to the overall appearance, and it is really important to get a feeling for the overall effect from a distance! Notice obvious striping or strange shapes that leap out at you, and then make adjustments by rotating through your colour choices.
[Squint at this one and you'll see obvious horizontal striping.]
[Here, the white and yellow make strange shapes.]
[This is the one I settled on. The stars show nicely.]
When you've got something you like, swatch it!
The v-necked vest knit up surprisingly quickly, actually. Maybe I've gotten over my sweater-fear a bit? The colourwork helped, I'm sure, keeping me entertained. Also there were no sleeves, which cut down on the knitting time!!
Fair-isle tops usually involve steeking. I've done it before so no biggie, and I prefer a crochet steek because it provides such a beautiful finish and is easy to do. But I did stumble across some other techniques, which I think I might have to try sometime:
Kate Davies' "steek sandwich", which is reversible and would work nicely for a front band.
Tom of Holland's knotted steek, which is very minimal - weightless almost!
Fair-isle usually has minimal shaping, especially at the shoulders, which I don't really like. The fit is kind of boxy. I prefer some shoulder shaping, which is normally done back-and-forth...but I hate purling fair-isle! So I tried this technique which allows you to do shoulder shaping in the round. But I don't like the 3-needle bind-off done on the outside (really???!), so I did it on the inside instead. Hm. Didn't work out so well; I'd left long loops of yarn and had to bind off over top of them, which left an ugly finish on the inside of my vest. So I have not yet mastered this technique...
But anyways, am quite happy with the vest - and so is my son!
[Toby's new vest!]