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Fair Isle knitting patterns – best 5 free downloads & more

February 13, 2020

Fair Isle knitting patterns – best 5 free downloads and my favourites to buy

I have a bit of a thing for fair isle knitting patterns in general and fair isle cardigans in particular. Not the boxy, big-shouldered numbers I can remember layering over Lady Diana-style high collared blouses back in the 80s. Nowadays it’s all about natural, north country knits that conjure the feeling of being at one with wild, windswept landscapes. To be slightly less poetic about it, there’s nothing more practical on chilly days than being able to pop on a warm cardi, is there?

I have decided to have a go at making one myself, so I’ve done the research. I do love a project like this – searching for and collecting the most beautiful fair isle knitting patterns around. So, of course, I’m sharing my findings with you.

Some of the fair isle knitting patterns I’ve found are free and some of them aren’t. But all of them are beautiful in their own way and would make the perfect crafty project for this time of year.

I’ve started with my favourite patterns to buy – all totally gorgeous finds, in my humble opinion. If you scroll down the page you’ll also discover my 5 best free Fair Isle knitting patterns – all also utterly beautiful, and totally free to download. Whichever pattern(s) you pick, I hope you find something you love.

 

Fair Isle knitting patterns to buy

Jennifer Steingass

Jennifer Steingass lives in rural Maine with her family and has created an absolutely beautiful collection of knitting patterns, Buy 2 of her patterns in her Ravelry shop and get the third one free.

I just love this Icelandic-style Fern and Feather pullover pattern, which Jennifer says is a great first time stranded yoke sweater project. It’s worked seamlessly from the top down, starting with a simple rolled neckline. Just lovely. Again, not a cardigan, but definitely worth a mention here.

The image below is by Lisa-Mai (see her other Ravelry projects here)

love this free nordic icelandic fair isle knitting pattern for a jumper by Drops designs. Click through to get your free pattern as well as lots of specific video tutorials to help! #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove #knitting #jumper 

Kate Davies

As I’m supposed to be writing about fair isle cardigans, I’ll move on to a real find – Kate Davies. Kate’s story is rather an inspirational one, to say the least.  A stroke at the age of 36 put an end to her career as a literary academic.

While recovering, she supported herself by designing digital patterns for hand knitting, establishing an independent publishing company and starting to produce books that combined her skills as author and designer. She has produced 15 books to date, including Yokes (click here to buy now)

yokes fair isle nordic knitting patterns by kate davies

Colours of Shetland (click to buy now)

colours of shetland fairisle knitting patterns kate davies #fairisle #shetland #kntting #patterns #frombritainwithlove

and West Highland Way.

This is Epistrophy (inspired by the Thelonius Monk track of the same name). The tune is characterised by its repetition and modification of a single, imitative phrase. Like the tune, as this yoke progresses, the diced pattern imitates, repeats and modifies a single motif. This is worked in the round and then steeked.

love this fair isle knitting pattern for a cardigan by Kate Davies Yokes. Click through to get your free pattern as well as lots of specific video tutorials to help! #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove #knitting #katedavies

Hilary Grant

If you love fair isle patterns and nordic knitting in general, you need to know about Knitting from the North knitting pattern book by Hilary Grant. It’s her first hand knit project book and includes 30 patterns for contemporary hats, scarves, mitts and jumpers.

knitting from the north knitting pattern book

My picks would probably have to be this Icelandic jumper and fair isle scarf patterns.

love this fair isle knitting pattern icelandic pullover hilary grant knitting from the north. click through to get all the info you need to source the pattern - as well as lots of other free patterns to make a beautiful fair isle cardigan or sweater #fairisle #knittingpattern #frombritainwithlove #icelandic #nordic #knitting love this fair isle knitting pattern icelandic pullover hilary grant knitting from the north. click through to get all the info you need to source the pattern - as well as lots of other free patterns to make a beautiful fair isle cardigan or sweater #fairisle #knittingpattern #frombritainwithlove #icelandic #nordic #knitting

Marie Wallin

When it comes to fair isle and shetland patterns, you simply can’t beat Marie Wallin. Her pattern book Shetland is full of inspiration. It’s a collection of modern fair isle using Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift wool.

Also lovely is her Bloomsbury collection (click to buy now)

bloomsbury collection knitting patterns book marie wallin #shetland #knitting #patterns #english #mariewallin #frombritainwithlove

This short film gives you a flavour of the patterns and the landscape that inspired them.

SHETLAND – a short film from Marie Wallin on Vimeo.

Laine magazine

Also very lovely is this Marit pattern from Laine magazine, issue 7. A high quality Nordic knit and lifestyle magazine for knitters, Laine is passionate about natural fibres, slow living, local craftsmanship and the simple things in life.

fair isle cardigan knitting pattern. click through to get your free knitting pattern #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlovelaine magazine issue 7 fair isle nordic knitting patterns #fairisle #knitting #patterns #laine #frombritainwithlove

Other knitting pattern books with nordic, fair isle sensibilities that I love:

Norwegian Knitting 

Norwegian Knitting Designs (click to buy now)

Norwegian knitting design knitting pattern book fair isle nordic patterns #fairisle #nordic #knitting #patterns #frombritainwithlove

Jared Flood

And how adorable is this Atlas pattern by Jared Flood?

atlas icelandic fair isle knitting pattern children by jared flood #fairisle #icelandic #knitting #pattern #frombritainwithlove

North Child

Another cute child’s nordic/icelandic sweater pattern: Heima PDF download by North Child

icelandic fairisle child jumper knitting pattern #icelandic #fairisle #knitting #pattern #child #frombritainwithlove

Also by North Child Trading (on Etsy):

FJALL patterned yoke Child’s Icelandic sweater – available to buy as a download pattern only or as a complete kit which includes Lopi yarn and project bag. Click the links below to buy from Etsy.

To buy the pattern download only, click here

icelandic pattern yoke knitting pattern for child #knitting #pattern #icelandic #frombritainwithlove

To buy the kit (including pattern, yarn and project bag) click here

icelandic pattern yoke knitting pattern and kit for child #knitting #pattern #icelandic #frombritainwithlove

Nicki Trench

And if you like pretty pastel and candy colours, you’ll love Fair Isle and Nordic Knits by Nicki Trench (click to buy now)

The book includes 25 projects inspired by traditional colourwork designs, including these favourites:

nicki-trench-fairisle-jumper-knitting-pattern nicki-trench-fairisle-cardigan-knitting-pattern nicki-trench-fairisle-cowl-scarf-knitting-pattern

Fair Isle knitting patterns – 5 free downloads

Free pattern number 1

Based in Oslo, DROPS Design is a great resource for knitters. As well as offering a wide range of free patterns, there are tutorial videos, lots of tips and ideas.

I have picked out these beauties from their free patterns, but there are many more to browse for inspiration. Click the image or text links to get your free pattern. What’s particularly brilliant is that there are specific tutorial videos to help you at the end of each pattern.

First one I picked out is this After Midnight jacket. It’s worked from the top down with round yoke and nordic pattern on the yoke. I adore the slightly ballooned sleeves too. This might be the one…

love this free nordic fair isle knitting pattern for a cardigan by Drops designs. Click through to get your free pattern as well as lots of specific video tutorials to help! #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove #knitting

Free pattern number 2

I do realise this Night Shades jumper isn’t actually a cardigan. But I like it so much I decided I wanted to share it with you anyway. It’s knitted bottom up with a lovely nordic pattern.

 love this free nordic fair isle knitting pattern for a jumper by Drops designs. Click through to get your free pattern as well as lots of specific video tutorials to help! #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove #knitting #jumper

Free pattern number 3

This Mandal Jacket knitted with round yoke and simple Nordic pattern in extra fine merino wool is pretty.

love this free nordic fair isle knitting pattern for a cardigan by Drops designs. Click through to get your free pattern as well as lots of specific video tutorials to help! #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove #knitting

Free pattern number 4

And if you fancy a cardigan with pattern going further down below the yoke, this Spring Fjords pattern worth considering. It would look pretty in a soft blue with the pattern worked in white don’t you think? Or grey with the pattern in bright orange or rainbow colours? Choosing your colours is half the joy of knitting a fair isle knitting pattern isn’t it?

love this free fair isle knitting pattern for a cardigan by Drops designs. Click through to get your free pattern as well as lots of specific video tutorials to help! #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove #knitting

Free pattern number 5

I was so excited when I found this Ellen Cardigan free pattern by Amy Christoffers. I love the pattern and also how she has used deep forest green here contrasted with pretty pinks, blues and pastels.

fair isle cardigan knitting pattern. click through to get your free knitting pattern #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove

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fair isle cardigan knitting pattern. click through to get your free knitting pattern #fairisle #knittingpattern #free #frombritainwithlove

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