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January 17, 2006

Tie the Knots

Riddle:  What do a book and the makings of a fair isle bag have in common?  Besides the fact that they both deal with beauty.

Hmm, what do these two object have in common?

Answer:  These two objects share the pleasure of process and the sadness of completion.  Over the last few days I finished reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith and finished knitting my Fair Isle bag.  And in both cases, I was sad for their pleasure to end.  You know the feeling -- when you finish the book and could turn it right over and start reading it anew.  Or when you slow down those last few rows not quite ready to bind off.   nona's got a tough life, don't she!?

Faced with the daunting task of weaving in a zillion ends I turned to my pal, Anne Feitelson, and her book, The Art of Fair Isle Knitting.  My Karma must be good -- look what I found on page 68:

When changing colors ... Shetlanders break off the old color and do no more than knot the new color to the old with a square knit, leaving an end 1/4 inch to an inch long.  The strength of a square knot combined with the slight felting that occurs ... make this a durable finish.

Hello!?  Knotting and cutting off ends is traditional!?  Heck I'll give that a try -- you'll never know, if you never try!  Besides, I'm lining this bag and no one will ever see the inside.  You won't tell will you, will you?

January 17, 2006 | Permalink


I admire a gal who will give respect to tradition! :-) Go for it, Nona. The knitting is soo beautiful! Looking foward to the finished project.

Posted by: me, Mavis | Jan 18, 2006 3:59:41 AM

Nona Tied up in Knots,

Thanks for the permission!

I've posted another peaceful palm gift. Take a peek?

Posted by: kathy b | Jan 18, 2006 3:59:57 AM

I know just what you mean. About the book and the last few rows. And about the handiness of a traditional knot finish. That is some beautiful stretch of knitting.

Posted by: gale (she shoots sheep shots) | Jan 18, 2006 4:45:44 AM

Please so it to us...it looks VERY beautiful.

Posted by: margene | Jan 18, 2006 5:02:01 AM

That bag is truly a work of art :-)

Posted by: janine | Jan 18, 2006 5:02:43 AM

Do you weave your two colors while you work the fair-isle patterning or do you let the unused color float across? I ask because if you have the skills to weave the unused color, you already have the skill to weave in the ends AS YOU GO. that means that there is, magnificently, NO end-weaving at the end of the project. just a little trimming to make things tidy.
all you need to do is carry the new color along with the unused color, weaving them in together, for 6-8 sts before you switch. then you carry the old color along with the unused color for 6-8 sts after the switch, then snip. this is the most profound thing about weaving instead of floating for fair-isle- besides making the wrong side of the garment look fascinating.

Posted by: Rachel Life | Jan 18, 2006 7:59:06 AM

No no no ... don't worry, I won't tell a soul. But you must promise to show us the finished bag ASAP ... ;)

Posted by: Agnes | Jan 18, 2006 8:54:18 AM

On my striped honeymoon cami I have knotted ends all down one side (I wove in the ends at the points that would show, but nowhere else). The yarn is pima tencel and it's done just fine. Wool should hold up like a champion.

Posted by: Julia | Jan 18, 2006 10:10:01 AM

The timing on this could not be better for me. This bag will be my Knitting Olympics project. I was going to set up an end weaving station in my bathroom so as to use every spare second in those 16 days, but this comes as very good news indeed.

It's a gorgeous bag, I hope I can do half so well!

Posted by: jenifleur | Jan 18, 2006 10:25:03 AM

What a great idea!! Try it, I won't tell. I promise. You did a really gorgeous job with your Fair Isle. Do you have any tips on getting it to be so perfect?
Oh I know that empty feeling after finishing a great book. Time to find the next!

Posted by: Kimberly | Jan 18, 2006 10:26:47 AM

Oooooh, I'm so excited how it's going to turn out!! Looks INCREDIBLE!! YOU MADE THAT?!

Posted by: Julia | Jan 18, 2006 10:53:56 AM

Nona, your fair isle is truly beautiful, lovely color choices. I hope you will post a picture of the finished bag. Your work is inspiring.

Posted by: Teri | Jan 18, 2006 11:02:49 AM

Can not wait to see the finished bag!! It looks beautiful as it is right now ;-)

Posted by: Esther | Jan 18, 2006 2:58:08 PM

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