theraineysisters knitting and so much more

April 29, 2007

From Sally — Inside of Widdicombe Fair

Filed under: Knitting Tips,Widdicombe Fair — Sally @ 5:55 pm

I won’t steal Susan’s clever “skirt lifting” title, but Lisa asked me to show the inside of Widdicombe Fair. She was also wondering about some of the floats, which she thought looked as if they could be quite long. As a quick refresher, here is what the blanket looks like. (I’ve now finished the third out of five horse repeats.)

Some of the floats are quite long for fair isle. I think the longest is 17 stitches, but there are numerous others in the 10-13 range. My rule of thumb is to do nothing for any float up to 8 stitches. Eight is my cut off. At that point, I will “catch” the other color at some convenient point. For example, if I have a 9-stitch float, I will:

1. Try to convince myself that I should stretch my 8-stitch rule to include 9. I’m never successful.

2. Knit 4 or 5 stitches, catch the unused color, knit the remaining stitches.

What I try to be careful of is where I catch it. I don’t want to “stack up” those catch points on top of one another. So, if in the row below I also had a long float, I try to make sure I catch the next float one or two stitches apart from the first. I also don’t want that caught color to ever peek through, so I try to not catch it right above a color change. I’m probably thinking too much, but that is my nature.

If I have a really long float — such as the 17-stitch one in this blanket — I’ll catch the unused color twice.

Here is the inside of the blanket:

Someone asked about wedding shawls. I’ve been thinking a lot about that question, but I don’t have a great answer. I think it so depends upon what level of difficulty you would want to tackle and what shape shawl you want. For example, the Forest Path Stole that was published in Interweave Knits would make a beautiful wedding shawl if you wanted a rectangle. Heritage Knitting and Fiddlesticks both have some lovely patterns — but there are so many shawl patterns out there. I’m no expert.

What does everyone else think?


  1. Widdicombe Fair continues to be as beautiful as ever. Your progress is amazing. As for the wedding shawl question, I think it really all depends on what you consider to be a wedding shawl. If you are thinking of ring shawl sort of thing, then what fits through a wedding ring is not necessarily the definition of that (many a knitter has produced a Birch that fits through the smallest of rings). If you are thinking more along the lines of a beautiful shawl to brave the chills then that’s an entirely different matter. Consider the intended bride – is she traditional or modern? Is the shape to be triangular or rectangular? Consider visiting pink lemon twist and having a look at her rectangular shawls. All are beautiful. The Hanem

    Comment by Gale — April 29, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

  2. Sally- So, do you line the blanket? After it’s washed, you maybe don’t need to.
    My rule of thumb is catch a float for every inch- in my Fair Isles, I always have a built-in
    rule, as many are 8 to the inch. I favor the OXO and geometrical patterns.

    Sharon Miller’s site is wonderful for fine shawls, but I suppose any
    lace pattern you like can be a wedding shawl if done fine enough.

    You Rainey’s- so shameless in lifting your skirts!

    Comment by Lorraine — April 29, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

  3. Whenever I catch a long float, I can see the contrast color (of the float) on the front. Does this happen to you? Am I just being too completely anal and no one else would notice? Or am I doing something wrong?

    I agree with the Forest Path stole for a wedding shawl. Very lovely. 🙂

    Comment by Romi — April 29, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

  4. I too am amazed at your prodigous progress on fair isle projects. This is one lucky baby.

    I knit a Diamond Fantasy Shawl, by Sivia Harding, as a really literal wedding shawl that was much loved by the wearer. Not even white, but green to match her dress. You give good sources in Heritage knitting and Fiddlesticks as well. Fiber Trends also has a few nice shawl patterns.

    Comment by Annie — April 29, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

  5. I do that not stacking too but start catching the floats with anything more than 6. I need to rethink that!

    Comment by Marina — April 30, 2007 @ 5:54 am

  6. The back of your blanket is so neat and orderly, I just love that you can see the horse clear as day. When you posted pictures (last year?!) of the first blanket, I would have bet money that it was done by machine — now I know better. Amazing, it’s just beautiful.

    Comment by Wendy O'C — April 30, 2007 @ 7:43 am

  7. From Susan — To avoid a “speckle” of the off color: when I catch floats I do it by the same/similar color the round before or after so the speckle is camoflauged. For instance, if I am knitting a long stretch of a dark color and need to catch a light color, I look below that round or above that round to see if a light color was used and make the catch there — even if it means splitting the catch 2 sts-6 sts.  If it needs to line up with the round after (which would be hidden by my post it note), I mark the appropriate st with a tiny pencil dot. I only catch floats if they are 8-9 sts or more apart.

    Comment by lv2knit — April 30, 2007 @ 7:45 am

  8. thanks so much for showing & explaining!

    Comment by Lisa — April 30, 2007 @ 9:56 am

  9. I just realized that I put my comment on an earlier date. Here it is again.

    I’m attempting to finish a Debbie Bliss pattern from Junior Knits. It’s the Molly bolero. It needs to be finished by Friday (I’m in big trouble). I can’t get the front edging to come out right, I’ve tried everything, the instructions don’t make sense to me. Has anyone had experience with this pattern. My grandaughter has to wear it on Saturday morning and right now it looks like I should have made her a shawl (or bought one). Thanks for any help. Peggy

    Comment by Peggy — April 30, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  10. Thanks for the recommendations on the shawl. I ordered the Sharon Miller’s Unst Wedding Shawl(Heritage Knitting). The bride to be is hard to peg but the groom is definitely traditional. The Forest Path Stole looks lovely. If I find Unst too daunting, that is my back up plan. Thank so much for your help!

    Comment by niteowl — May 1, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  11. River by Sharon Miller was in one of the Rowan magazines a year or two ago. It would be a beautiful, elegantly simple wedding shawl.

    Comment by Beth in Seattle — May 3, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

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