12 February 2011

The Chunky Hunky knits - lastly the fairest of them all; Fair Isle

A Scottish hunk from the Shetland Isles, although it is said he did get some of his good looks from the Spaniards when a ship from the Spanish Armada was wrecked near the Islands in 1588 and the islanders fell in love with the Moorish patterns the sailors wore. But his striking colouring is all Scottish from local plants and lichens.
In 1922, the Prince of Wales made Fair Isle designs the must-have when he wore an authentic hand knit Fair Isle jumper on the golf course.
Today the Fair Isle looks are emulated by wannabe Fair Isle knits and have become the trend for this season, especially on the chunky knit. Pictured above: New Look Fair Isle-style shawl jumper with gloves. www.newlook.com
The placement of the pattern is important as this will draw the eye towards that area. For those with a larger tummy go for the yoke pattern as in this chunky Republic Soul Cal jumper (pictured above ); it will draw the eye up away from the middle.www.republic.co.uk
Not all the Fair Isle hunks are chunky; even in the finer knits, wearing the pattern along the top will give the illusion of broader, hunkier shoulders. Pictured above: New Look red Fair Isle style jumper. www.newlook.com
But for the fairest Fair Isle of them all and ‘the real MacKay’, you have to look to the Shetland Islands. At Thistle and Broom the website introduces you to the actual knitters.  This ‘Eas a’ Chual Aluinn’ knit (pictured above) is hand-knitted by Agnes in blues, greens and aqua to represent its namesake – the highest British waterfall. It takes her approx 100 hours to create and costs from £245 to £525, depending on what you are buying.  A bit more expensive than the wannabees, but here you are getting a 100% Shetland wool item lovingly hand-knitted which will last, so the cost per wear will work out to be reasonable, if not cheap!
And if you want a very similar pattern to that worn by Edward, Prince of Wales, then Mary Williamson (the actual niece of Maggie Simpson who knitted the Prince’s jumper), is your knitter! She knits tank tops, waistcoats and cardigans in the pattern and even skull caps modelled here (pictured above) by her son-in-law John.

 Full article on http://www.eclipsemagazine.co.uk/NewEclipse/Joomla15/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=48&Itemid=74

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