You may, or may not, have noticed that this week is Shetland Wool Week, which is being marked in Shetland by a variety of events. Entirely co-incidentally this is also the week that I have made a start on the Fair Isle sweater my dad has wanted for ages. He is one of the most knit-worthy people I know, not only wearing the things I make him but also showing them off to all and sundry and taking care of them. His love of being knitted for is life-long and he has not quite got over his mother switching from knitting for him to knitting for his nieces and nephew when he was in his late teens. Although he later made up for this by getting his grandmother-in-law to knit for him, a mutually beneficial relationship as she loved having someone to knit for.
After a day spent studying the Jamieson's of Shetland spindrift colourcard, a thing of beauty in itself, until I was in a whirl of colour, I eventually picked out my colours, with some trepidation in case they did not work out. Mercifully they do seem to work, bright and colourful without being too "in your face" or garish. I wanted colours that had some tradition behind them, but that avoided the beige background of many Fair Isle sweaters.
I have put together motifs from an old picture featured in Michael Pearson's book Traditional Knitting, which he had helpfully charted, together with a variety of peeries, some from the original sweater, some from Alice Starmore's invaluable Fair Isle Knitting. Michael Pearson's Traditional Knitting was a library find and the book that first got me interested in the knitting of the past. For the charts themselves, rather than spending hours hunched over graph paper, I found some excellent software online called KnitBird, which is charting software for both colour work and textured or lace knitting and allows you to flip and repeat motifs among other handy features. The finished charts look professional and polished too; I'm pleased with it, well worth the money.
So now all I have to do is knit it. I began yesterday and am something just over an inch through the ribbing. Here goes... I may be some time.
The Ravelry project page is here and has details of which colours I am using.