Adding color to your crochet projects is easier than you might think using the crochet fair isle technique. With only two colors worked in each row, managing your colors is a great beginner color work technique. We’ll share a bit more about the technique here and how to do. We’ll also give you some of the best resources if you want to take the technique further.
Remember that you can learn all things colorwork in both knitting and crochet by joining Camp Colorwork, our online Masterclass that you can work at your own pace.
What is Fair Isle Crochet?
This is a technique that creates patterns using multiple colors. You can use it to make patterns, such as graphic motifs, or even create pictures with your yarn. You’ll work with crochet color grid charts when you work Fair Isle Crochet. One stitch represents one pixel of color in the chart, as is the case for several other types of crochet colorwork.
Each row only uses two colors at a time working over the unused color of the row. So, you’ll have 2 colors in each row, but you can choose to make a very colorful piece by changing which two colors you use from row to row.
This technique is similar to tapestry crochet in the way that the colors are changed. In tapestry crochet, the stitches are worked around unused strands of color, but in Fair Isle crochet, the unused strands are held behind the work. By doing this, the finished piece of crochet has more stretch than a tapestry piece and is less stiff. It’s great to learn both techniques, because then you can get the drape and texture that you want, in addition to the great colorful designs.
Inside Fair Isle Crochet Projects
One great resource for this technique is the book Fair Isle Crochet Projects by Melissa Leapman. You will find a short tutorial section teaching the basics of the technique. Then, there are eight different colorful crochet patterns in the book for you to work with.
NOTE: Don’t forget to read the section at the front of the book about reading the chart. These charts are written like a knitting chart, so it is important that you understand the structure of the charts to not have issues while working the pattern. If you know how to work with tapestry crochet charts, you’ll undersatnd. You can also learn all about reading colorwork charts in depth by joining Camp Colorwork.
Crochet Fair Isle Patterns in this Book
I love how there are two matching items for each pattern. This allows you to have a finished set in the pattern that you like the best. The patterns in this book allow you to play with color to your liking.
The four matching pattern sets (for eight total patterns are):
- Laurel Leaves Crochet Hat & Scarf
- Hugs & Kisses Crochet Hat & Cowl
- Stars & Diamonds Crochet Afghan & Pillow
- Zigzags & Diamonds Crochet Afghan & Pillow
Purchase a Copy
Love the book? You can purchase a copy for your own library through Amazon.
More Fair Isle Crochet Patterns
Here are some more great free and for sale Fair Isle crochet patterns over at WeCrochet
Traveler Fair Isle Crochet Sweater by Briana K Designs
Traditional Fair Isle Knit Sweaters often have a solid-color body and a designed yoke, which is what we see here with this great crochet sweater pattern.
Pine Crochet Fair Isle Sweater Pattern by Briana K
As you can see, my friend Briana K is a master at this technique.
Here are some of her other Fair Isle Crochet Patterns:
- Pine Fair Isle Hat
- Fair Isle Colorwork Hat
- Diamond Fair Isle Crochet Beanie
- Deer Fair Isle Crochet Mittens
- Squirrel Fair Isle Crochet Mittens
Wildflower Beanie by Deja Joy
This really shows you how you can use lots of different colors in this technique, even though you only use two colors at a time.
Pony Creek Fair Isle Cowl from WeCrochet
This shows you how working with just two colors can also create a really interesting design!
Shape Teaching Crochet Snake Pattern by Deja Joy
This is a really cool pattern. You get to practice creating shapes and colorful designs with the technique. And you can use the snake to teach colors and shapes to children! Fun for everyone.
Fair Isle Super Saver Yarn
Red Heart created a “Fair Isle” yarn that comes in a great selection of colors. The idea is that just by working regular crochet stitches, you can achieve something similar to a Fair Isle look without actually learning the technique. Of course, it’s not going to come out exactly the same, but it offers another fun and easy way to play with color in crochet.
Tunisian Crochet Fair Isle
If you know how to work with Tunisian crochet, then you have additional options. There are Tunisian crochet fair isle techniques and patterns too!