I was born and grew up in Shetland, and was taught to knit Fair Isle at primary school. It's something that I've done off and on throughout my life, but have only recently started experimenting with my own designs.
One of the features of traditional Fair Isle knitting is that the natural (sheep toned) colours are very muted and mix together to make very beautiful but subtle patterns, whereas the dyed colours sometimes create the opposite effect. Another feature of Fair Isle knitting is that the overall effect tends to be stripy.
My colour combinations have evolved from a desire to look at stripes or colour changes in nature that are other than sheep-tones, and translate these into Fair Isle patterns, to see if the traditional knitting structure can create the same kind of subtlety using dyed wool that we see with the undyed colours. Three things that particularly attracted my attention are: the inside of seashells; the northern lights; and bird feathers.
And then some days I just want to do Fair Isle for Fair Isle's sake.
All of my designs are hand knitted in the traditional way with double pointed needles and a knitting belt, using Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight wool.