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Mystery Revealed: Fair Isle Advent MKALendar

December 2022 just flew by knitting the Fair Isle Advent MKALendar. Here's a reveal of what the pattern entailed. If you're eager to see what everyone else made, check out the hashtag #fairisleadventmkalendar on Instagram!


Fair Isle Advent MKALendar :: colorwork mystery KAL from talvi knits.

With the Fair Isle Advent MKALendar you can create a colorful, fingering-weight, Fair Isle inspired accessory either for your head or for your neck. The pattern comes in three styles (beanie, stocking cap, or cowl) and five sizes: four for the hat (kids, teens, ladies, and gents) and one for the cowl. In addition, cowl circumference and length can be adjusted pretty freely.


All styles and sizes are worked in the round and from the bottom up. You start with a little bit of twisted ribbing and then move onto the colorwork. For the stocking cap you'll work decreases to shape the hat into a long pointy tip with an optional pompom or tassel. The cowl is the same circumference throughout and ends with a similar bit of twisted ribbing on the other end.


Fair Isle Advent MKALendar :: colorwork mystery KAL from talvi knits.

The pattern consists of 24 colorwork charts that come in two variations: one for a light(er) background and another for a dark(er) background color. Color placements differ slightly in some of the charts but the basic motif is the same in both versions.


Most of the charts are depicted using three colors: background (BC), contrasting (CC), and accent color (AC). But all charts can be worked with only two colors — just replace the AC with CC. And you don't have to stick to the same three colors for each chart! Your color choices determine whether your advent will be filled with classic or modern interpretations of traditional Fair Isle motifs.


Fair Isle Advent MKALendar :: colorwork mystery KAL from talvi knits.

I've knit the pattern three times now, each with a different number of yarns used. For the stocking cap version I picked color palettes at (mostly) random with the help of colorhunt.co and ended up using 46 different colors of scrap yarn.


For the cowl version I planned background colors ahead of time, going through the entire spectrum of colors from magentas and violets on one end to deep, dark reds and burgundy on the other. The contrast colors for each day were picked on a whim: whatever I felt like doing out of what was available in my stash. For this version I used a total of 49 different colors.


Fair Isle Advent MKALendar :: colorwork mystery KAL from talvi knits.

The Fair Isle Advent MKALendar a great project to start practicing stranded colorwork for various reasons. For one, regardless of how many total colors you pick, all rounds in each chart are knit with just two colors. This makes the colorwork really easy: you only have to deal with two yarns at a time. Second, for the most part there are only short floats that don't need to be caught… except on one chart. And for that one I recommend catching floats on the next round. Third: you can stop at any point you think you've had enough practice!


How's this possible? Because I've written an emergency exit into the pattern. The cowl can be stopped any time you want. After any colorwork chart is complete, work some twisted ribbing on the other end and bind off! Voilà — you've got a custom-sized cowl.

Fair Isle Advent MKALendar :: colorwork mystery KAL from talvi knits.

To turn the stocking cap into a beanie you need to take a little bit of measurements. The emergency exit instructions can be done after working five to seven charts, depending on the size you're making, your round gauge, and how much slouch you want in your hat. For my emergency exit beanie I did charts from Days 1–6 before starting the crown decreases. In this version I ended up using only eight colors: six different background colors for each of the six charts, the same color for the ribbed brim and CC in colorwork, and the eighth for the crown decreases.


To knit the pattern you'll need fingering-weight yarn in as many colors as you want in the following amounts:

  • beanie: approx. 160 [180, 190, 210] m or 180 [190, 210, 230] yd

  • stocking cap: approx. 440 [470, 490, 530] m or 480 [510, 530, 580] yd

  • cowl: approx: 730 m or 800 yd

12 different balls of yarn in a jumbled mess

As said, you can use just about as many colors as you want for this pattern. The minimum you need is two but sky's the limit! (Technically, there is a theoretical upper limit: 98.) That makes Fair Isle Advent MKALendar ideal for all sorts of fingering-weight leftovers, scraps, half-a skeins, unicorn tails, or advent calendar minis. And the yarns don't even have to be the same type. I used a mix of 75/25 sock yarn, 100% alpaca, wool blends, wool/silk blends, single ply, minimally treated or non-superwash yarns… and everything in between!

12 different balls of yarn arranged into a color wheel

In addition to instructions for knitting the accessories, the pattern also comes with tips for choosing your color palette for the project with the help of the color wheel. The pattern includes examples of seven different color schemes — monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complementary, triad, tetrad, and square — and how to apply them to Fair Isle patterns.


A typical way to use colors in Fair Isle patterns is to have alternating, horizontal colorwork bands which are often interspersed with smaller motifs called peeries. Colors can change within one band: stitches towards the center of the band are often highlighted or accented with an eye-popping color that stands out from the rest. What makes the design in Fair Isle patterns very clever is that regardless of how many colors total are used to knit one motif, all rounds are worked with just two colors.


Fair Isle Advent MKALendar :: colorwork mystery KAL from talvi knits.

Free clues for the Fair Isle Advent MKALendar will stay up in my Mighty Networks community for a couple of more weeks until the end of January 2023. A printable PDF with pretty pictures and all the clues combined into one will be available for purchase in my Payhip and Ravelry (seizure warning) patterns shops from February 1 onward.


I've already been thinking about re-visiting the advent MKALendar next December… Let's just say: hold on to your sock yarn scraps. 😉

 

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With the Fair Isle Advent MKALendar you can create a colorful, fingering-weight, Fair Isle inspired accessory either for your head or for your neck. The pattern comes in three styles and five sizes. In this blog post I reveal what the mystery knitalong entailed, how the pattern is constructed, how much and what type of yarn you'll need, and how many colors you can use. The pattern was released as a mystery KAL in December 2022. #knitting #knit #adventcalendar #mkal #mystery #knitalong #fairisle

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