February 18, 2020
“Faux Isle” is when you combine a self-striping yarn with a solid (or occasionally a contrasting self-striping colorway) in a two-color pattern to produce a Fair Isle effect without managing the use of multiple colors. To find a pattern, use the search filters on Ravelry to find patterns for stranded knitting that use two colors, and then evaluate how them might look when using a self-striping or gradient yarn. You can also specify yarn weight, and I usually toggle on “Ravelry download” in the “Availability” filters to eliminate patterns that are less available. Here is a sample search for patterns that might work with Colourlab DK (see below), and above are contenders for Vanessa Smith’s Novemberist hat!
West Yorkshire Spinners is a mill located in the town of Keighley in West Yorkshire, UK. Their focus is on using quality British wool in developing their yarn lines in house. The Signature 4-Ply sock yarns are a fantastic value—the self-striping colorways contain 35% Bluefaced Leicester, which is both strong and soft, blended with other British Wool, and nylon. When I recently spotted the self-striping Colourlab DK, I quickly added it to my order. It can be machine washed (recommendation is to dry flat), so try it for DK weight boot socks, mittens, or a hat. If you use a two color pattern for stranded knitting, you can take advantage of the color changes to produce a “faux isle” effect. For larger kids’ garments, consider patterns knit in pieces. (Knit in the round with larger stitch counts, the stripes would tend to shift and pool.)
One of you recently mentioned Izzy Dolls to me. I hadn’t heard about them, but made a mental note to look them up. The small dolls are named for the late Master Corporal Mark Isfeld of the Canadian Armed Forces, whose mother made them for him to distribute to children he encountered while serving on peacekeeping missions in Kuwait and Croatia. Corporal Isfeld was killed by a land mine explosion in 1994, but his fellow soldiers asked his mother to continue to supplying them with the dolls. Before she died, she gave the director of the International Community for the Relief of Suffering and Starvation her blessing to carry on the program, and that organization subsequently partnered with Health Partners International of Canada to distribute the dolls as part of their humanitarian medical kits. You can find HPIC’s info about the program (including patterns for both knit and crochet versions of the dolls) here.
The concept of comfort dolls is not unique, and local knitters in Ellensburg have provided handknit toys to first responders for the same purpose, and the Mother Bear project provides knit and crochet bears to HIV/AIDS affected children in emerging nations.
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