theraineysisters knitting and so much more

April 18, 2007

From Sally — Widdicombe Fair

Filed under: Widdicombe Fair — Sally @ 11:03 am

I made the mistake of looking at the calendar, and realized it’s mid-April. I decided that I better knit the baby blanket I promised my husband I’d make for some dear friends who are expecting their first baby. I love making fair isle baby blankets. I’ve knit three or four of them. They’re fun, they’re quick, and they make a wonderful gift because they will never be outgrown.

I told my husband he could choose the one I knit from among several Jade/Alice Starmore patterns. He chose one I’ve already knit: Widdicombe Fair (which I often call the Carousel Baby blanket because the pattern is carousel horses). It’s available as a kit from Virtual Yarns in both a red and blue colorway. I’d already done the blue one for my niece’s baby so I was tempted by the red. My husband really really really wanted me to do the blue one again. So I am. Here’s a photograph of the finished one I’ve already made:

It’s kind of anti-climactic to post pics in progress once you’ve knit the whole thing, right?

Even though I just started it yesterday, I’m almost finished with the first repeat (out of five). One of the advantages of these baby blankets is that they’re only a little over two feet wide, which means that you have fewer than 200 stitches on the needle. That’s a lot fewer than I would have if I were knitting a fair isle sweater; it’s one reason the project goes quickly. Moreover, because these are, after all, baby blankets, the patterns are very obviously pictorial. It makes the pattern quite easy to see and follow without needing to consult the chart every few stitches. Finally, there is no shaping and only one steek. Therefore, I think that a baby blanket like this would be a good first project for someone thinking about doing fair isle. Just my opinion.

For this particular blanket, the directions tell you to knit two rows with one color before starting on the actual chart patterning. You are then supposed to pick those rows out later, when you want to have live stitches for the border. ???? I did not do that. Instead, I used a provisional cast on. I’m not sure what the advantage could possibly be of the other method.

I don’t do any finishing to the stranded back on these blankets, other than the finishing I do to the cut steek edges. The strands lightly felt and stick to each other anyway; I don’t foresee a problem with a baby’s fingers catching in them. I suppose you could sew a complementary fabric backing to it and if someone I give a blanket to wants to do that — that’s fine with me. I’m not going to do it, though. I knit them. That’s it.

While perusing the Virtual Yarns site to get the link for the blanket kit, I came across something else I’d like to knit: this Rheingold Wrap. It comes in a gold colorway, too. I’m intrigued by it. I’ve always wanted to knit the Persian Tiles one as well.

So many projects, so little time.


  1. Sally- Really lovely- almost worth having a baby to get one!

    The Virtual Yarns site is a very dangerous place.

    Comment by Lorraine — April 18, 2007 @ 11:12 am

  2. I agree with Lorraine… it’s almost worth having a baby so that you can knit one of those gorgeous blankets for me…*L*. The key word is ALMOST!!

    Comment by Joanne — April 18, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  3. Those are beautiful! I like your point about these being good starting Fair Isle projects, too.

    Comment by AuntieAnn — April 18, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

  4. Sally, the blanket is really gorgeous. Such a thoughtful and lovely gift.

    I have never knit Fair Isle, but given your comments I think that I might try one of these one day. Would you recommend a class or is it possible to learn Fair Isle from a book?

    Do you order the kit from Virtual Yarns or purchse the yarn from your LYS?
    Is the yarn in the kit a wool that is soft enough for a baby? Is the pattern available separately from the kit?

    One thing I wasn’t clear on is where there would be steeks in a straight piece of knitting. I’ve read about them. I thought steeks were normally inserted in a sweater where the piece was knit in the round. Is the blanket knit in the round and then cut?

    Love reading your and Susan’s postings.


    Comment by Toby — April 18, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  5. Once again I look at your blog and my “wish list” and “to do” list just grows and grows! I say we (tee hee)like how I say “we” when I have about 5 people who frequent my blog?! Anyhooo I say why don’t we start a fair isle blanket / wrap / sweater / KAL? This way it would force all the subjects (me being one of them) in your kingdom to take the bull by the horns, but we would have the ability to “impose” on your ALWAY GRACIOUS kindness and expertise. or not…. just sayin’ 😉

    Comment by Michelle — April 18, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

  6. Well, start knitting! Or ordering if you don’t have pattern at the ready.

    I must say I’m also very tempted to knit the Persian Tiles wrap out of Royal Alpaca. That pattern originally called for Dunedin. I don’t absolutely need a kit for that since I own the book (Collector’s Item) with the pattern.

    Someone talk me out of it – please. I’ve already been thinking about color combinations.

    Comment by surly — April 18, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

  7. Yes, yes, yes, do it! Persian Tiles would look so lovely!

    I don’t have a baby either 😉 But I think those blankets, if made a bit bigger, would be great as lap blankets!

    Comment by Marina — April 18, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  8. That is gorgeous! Rheingold is one of my absolute favorites, btw, and I love Persian Tiles.

    I think you were right: we *were* separated at birth! Can I be an honorary Rainey sister? 😉

    Comment by Romi — April 18, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

  9. My mother can NEVER see that blanket! I’ll have to knit it for her and she won’t be swayed by the baby blanket bit. Gorgeous!

    Comment by Carrie K — April 18, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  10. That is just beautiful! I have to tell you, I just found you both a week ago…and wow, I have read every blog, you have wonderful things on here! Your photos are the best I’ve seen on any blog! Very clear, close up, excellent! I ordered Poems of Color (it came yesterday )because of your pictures in the Green Apple sweater. I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE that sweater, maybe in my lifetime…someday! I just wanted you to know that all the work it DOES take to write this blog was greatly appreciated! Wendy

    Comment by Redsoxgal — April 19, 2007 @ 9:56 am

  11. When you crochet the steeks, do you use a separate peice of yarn and crochet it in? Or are you pulling loop through loop using the slip stitch? I enjoy your blog every time I surf over. Your work is amazing.

    Comment by christine — January 29, 2008 @ 10:46 am

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