Fair Isle pattern

Masterclass: Design your own Fair Isle hat, part 4

1st March 2013

In part onepart two, and part three of this Masterclass, Jane Crowfoot explained the stitch-counts for the Fair Isle cast-on and rib, how to select the colours for your own designs, working out Fair Isle charts for the small and large Fair Isle bands, and shaping the top by decreasing. In this final part you'll see the whole design come together!

Top of the hat

In the final stages of knitting a tam the decreasing is worked over a pyramid shape. To get the flat shape of the hat the decreasing needs to be done every round. 

The first thing to decide is how many ‘sections’ the hat should have. It is traditional to have five, six or even seven, but not usual to have any more or less than this – indeed, I don’t think the circular shape of the tam can be achieved with anything fewer than five segments.

I chose to have five sections so I needed to do the following calculation:

120 (stitch count at this point) divided by 5 = 24 sts.

This meant my pattern repeat chart for the top decreases needed to be drawn over 24 sts. The chart has the pyramid shape and a single filled in column, which represents the middle stitch of the shaping technique.

One of the things that can be really hard about working out the shaping is the fact that the row end/beginning can end up in the middle of a pyramid.

To make sure my chart started and ended in the right place, and to ensure that my shaping lined up with the shaping that was previously worked, I used my knitted piece as a guide and then drew out my design accordingly.

Trying to work this out without my knitted piece would have been pretty tricky, I think, especially as I don’t have the best head for maths and often find I need to have a physical example rather than trying to visualise things. However, you may find you can do it all ‘theoretically’ - just do whatever works best for you!

The chart shows the full pattern repeat, with the centre of the decreases lying in the middle.

At the end of the chart there should be no more than two stitches per pattern repeat on your needles. In my case I had five repeats and ended up with 10 stitches.

Thread the yarn through these last few stitches and fasten off, and there you have it - your very own Fair Isle tam!

Subscribe to The Knitter

The Knitter is the premier magazine for confident knitters who are looking for beautiful, original patterns from the world’s best designers. Subscribe today and receive 3 issues for £5 - saving 67% on the shop price!

The Knitter issue 90 cover