The Twins' Fair Isle Vests 兩小的費爾島風背心

Finally, at long last, I finished the two fair isle vests for the twins. This is my first attempt of fair isle on garment, and I must say it was quite an interesting experience. It won't be my last fair isle project for sure!

終於, 兩小的費爾島風背心都織好了. 這是第一次打費爾島風的衣服, 蠻有意思的. 可以確定的是這不會是最後一個費爾島風作品啦!

Sebastian's fair isle vest

Scarlett's fair isle vest

The pattern is from Children's Knit Wardrobe (こどものニットワードローブ), a Fair Isle vest designed by Kazekobo (風工房). It is actually the first time I knit from a Japanese pattern, all I can say is that the experience is really interesting.

背心織圖是こどものニットワードローブ中風工房設計的費爾島風背心. 這是我第一次打日式織圖, 只能說這是個非常有意思的經驗.

Most female family members on my mother's side knit: my great aunt, my grandmother, my mother and my aunt. It was considered a necessity and virtue for a woman. I grew up watching them knit, but none of them thought I could ever manage to do it. For I was conisdered impatient and not skilled at hand as I was an outgoing girl. They didn't see the investment on me (teach me how to knit) would be worthwhile. There were no patterns and if there were they were from Japan. Japanese patterns were the only ones prevailing like many other things in Taiwan for Japan is the nearest advanced and developed country in our neighborhood. Few years ago, I picked up my crochet, which I coerced my grandmother to teach me when I was 9, to knit new garments for a crochet doll my mother made me when I was 5. And I went on to crochet a beret and a jacket for my newborn nephew (my cousin's son, my aunt's grandson). Then I found out that I had to learn to knit for knitting is more flexible and has a lot more choices. I coerced my mother to teach me how to knit when I was 11, just cast-on, knit, purl and cast-off, but I forgot how to cast-on so I googled and taught myself how to knit all over again. Of course, I encountered the splendid world of the pattern that is not Japanese, which suits me very well, so I never conisdered knitting a Japanese one. Besides, I know very well how the Japanese design. The designs are truely intricate, sometimes difficult and require advanced techniques and experiences, but I can't stand they overcomplicate things as they use variegated yarn to knit advanced lace on a complicatedly constructed garment. All I can see is a blur of texture mixed with colors. I don't like it. You will see the reason why I babble about this as you read on.

我媽那邊的女性長輩都會打毛線: 姨婆, 外婆, 我媽, 我阿姨. 我從小看她們打毛衣, 但她們沒有人認為我以後會打毛線, 因為我絕對學不會做不來. 在她們看, 講好聽點, 我是個外向的女孩子, 講難聽點, 我沒耐性三分鐘熱度且手很笨拙, 她們不做這種無謂的投資. 那時候記得好像也沒什麼織圖, 即使有絕大多數都是日本來的. 幾年前我又開始鈎織衣服給我的一個娃娃, 那個娃娃是我五歲時我媽鈎給我的. 鈎針是我小三時強迫我外婆教我的. 鈎了娃娃衣後就開始鈎了一頂貝雷帽和一件外套給我外甥 (表弟的兒子, 我阿姨的孫子). 然後發現我真的得學棒針, 因為棒針有更多的選擇. 小六時有逼我媽教我棒針, 就起針上下針和收針, 但後來我忘記如何起針, 就孤狗了一下, 重新自學棒針. 當然, 也發現美好的歐美織圖世界, 很符合我的喜好. 所以, 我怎麼會想到要去打日式織圖? 日式設計的確很精緻, 有的需要熟練複雜技巧, 或需要較多的經驗, 但我最受不了他們老是用段染線打版型複雜的蕾絲衣服. 漂亮的段染線, 精緻的設計, 美麗的蕾絲, 全攪在一起看起來就是一片模糊. 我不愛也. 至於我為何要在這碎碎念日式織圖如何又如何, 以下編織歷程中會慢慢呈現.

Two years ago when I was buying a ball winder and a yarn swift from a local seller, I saw some Japanese pattern books she carried and bought two from her. I did so because the patterns are actually a little less Japanese or at least it is the Japanese style that I can still tolerate.

兩年前我跟一個網拍賣家買捲線器和傘撐, 順便看了她代訂的日本織圖書, 就順便買了兩本小孩的織圖書. 那是因為那兩本裡面的織圖都比較不日本, 或即使很日本, 那個日本的程度是在我可接受的範圍內.

A few months ago, I had a batch of new yarn brought back from Beijing by my mother, I rearranged my stash chest and found I have more fingering weight yarn than lace yarn and the quantity is much more than I have imagined! So I immediately wanted to start destashing. And how was I going to bust these yarn as fast as possible? Color stranded knitting. Fair isle. Sounds scary! But my determination to destash overcame my uncertainty towards fair isle so I cast-on the vest.

數月前, 我媽從北京帶回一批新線, 多到我得重新整理我的毛線庫存樟木箱, 然後發現庫存中 fingering weight 的毛線竟然比蕾絲線多? 且數量多得超乎我想像! 馬上我就受不了要來清倉. 那要如何才能快速消耗掉這些 fingering weight 的線? 配色編織. 費爾島風編織. 聽起來很恐怖, 但是我要消線的決心畢竟比較強, 強到可以打敗配色編織的恐懼. 於是, 我就開打了這兩件背心.

Before knitting the vest, I have been learning how to knit Continental style and practiced on several projects, and it proved to be very useful on fair isle knitting: I can carry one color on each hand to avoid tangling and confusion. This is why I enjoyed the fair isle experience so much! I thought it was going to be difficult although I was ready for it. It was really fun! And it's a child's vest so it knitted up fast. Actually, I double stranded all my fingering weight yarns and I have a few sport weight ones that I used single stranded.

打背心前, 自學了左手掛線且利用之前幾個小作品練習, 這在配色編織上非常好用, 因為我可以一手掛一個顏色的線, 線不會纏在一起, 也不容易搞錯. 也許因為如此所以我覺得配色編織蠻好玩的. 本以為會很困難, 結果發現一點也不難, 且這是小孩背心, 打起來很快, 很有成就感. 不過所有的 fingering weight 毛線我都雙線編織, 有幾色是 sport weight, 就擔線編織 .

This time, before casting one, I did a swatch, to decide which size to knit. And luckily, the gauge I had was exactly the same as that of the pattern! One thing about Japanese pattern, usually you have to use the exact same yarn to get the same result and effect, not using one will have you end up in a unimaginable state. The pattern I used is a child's pattern and it was given in three sizes. Patterns for adults usually come in one size only and if you're not as thin as my thin-as-a-malnutritioned-model mother, you will have to rechart the pattern all over (Japanese patterns are charted rather than described and aided with shematics and charts): you rewrite the whole thing. Anyway, I conisdered myself very lucky that I think I didn't have to worry about the possible gauge related disaster.

開打前, 我乖乖地打了織片以確定要打的尺寸. 很幸運地, 織片鬆進度跟原織圖同! 日式織圖就是這樣, 要用一樣的線才能達到織圖中設計的效果, 如果不是就有可能會有不能想像的後果. 我打的是小孩織圖有三種尺寸, 如是大人的通常就一種尺寸, 又不是像我媽那紙片人的身材, 那個圖就要重畫. 重算事小, 還要懂得如何重畫版型, 不然做出來的尺寸圖打起來也是一樣有可能結果淒慘. 總之, 我覺得很幸運, 至少我應該不需要擔心因織片鬆緊度不同引起的淒慘後果.

Sebastian's vest was finished really fast. While I was knitting it, my grandmother, my mother and my aunt all had opinions on it. My aunt saw it first and said it is too thick, as I double stranded the fingering weight yarn, and said it would be too warm to wear. And she said the neck opening was small because she thought I knitted the whole thing too small. Knitters of my aunt's generation tend to knit garments sizes larger, especially garments for children, so that they can wear them longer, but misfit and unflattering, in my opinion. Then my grandmother saw it and commented to my mother that I "double stranded" it in a disapproving tone. My mother said it was too small. Now this is why they didn't want to teach me how to knit because I always think differently and I almost certainly wouldn't accord with them. It was also why, with all these skilled and experienced knitters at home, I still chose to teach myself instead of going to them. Anyway, I came face to face with the neck opening problem real soon. I assure you that it was not because I didn't knit 3 sizes larger, it's the design. As you can see it in the original picture that the neck opening isn't very deep. And I was, should I say, stupid enough to choose to trust the pattern and not to change it. Well, changing it requires recalculation and I was lazy. There, I said it.

謙的背心很快就打好了. 這中間阿姨看到了就說, 這太厚了吧, 穿了會熱死, 還有領子太小了, 妳打太小件了. 大家都知道長輩喜歡把衣服打很大件, 尤其小孩的, 這樣才可穿久一點, 不然很浪費不划算. 後來外婆看到了就跟我媽說, 她用雙線打, 一副很不苟同的口氣, 好像用雙線打是犯大忌. 我媽說好小件. 這就是她們為何從沒想過要教我編織的原因, 因為我不會乖乖聽她們的, 不會乖乖地完全照她們講的做. 這也是為何家裡有這麼多厲害的編織長輩, 我卻還是選擇自學編織. 無論如何, 我很快就必須面對領口太小的問題. 基本上, 不是因為我打太小號所以領口小, 是因為原設計中的比例就是如此, 照片中可以看得出來. 它的 V 領本來就開得不深, 即使打大三號, 領子是會大了, 但是比例還是不對. 所以我應該說是笨吧, 選擇相信織圖沒有把領口改大. 要改要重算, 我懶啦!

The proportion of the neck opening is small as shown in the original photo. Seba tried on the vest without the neckband and it was just fit for his head to go through it.
原照片中領子的開口的比利本來就小. 謙試穿尚未加邊的背心時領口就只是剛好可以套過頭.

After trying on, the neck opening was proved to be small. I think that at this moment, neither my grandmother, my mother, or my aunt knew what to do about it. I think they would say that I should finish it and give it to some younger child to wear. I honestly don't think they know steeks can be applied. They might never even heard of steeks, maybe my mother have. I'm sure none of them have ever cut open a knitted garment before in order to fix a problem nor will they suggest it to me. Cutting open a knitted garment is like committing a crime. When I first started knitting I tried steeks on a mohair cardigan. Before steeking it I took the knitting to a LYS for buttons. When I told the owner what I was going to do, she was appalled and felt offended that I was going to cut it open. I told her that the Norwegians do their knittings with steeks. Obviously, she'd never heard of it. Well, I'm sorry to say that many knitter's here still don't know about this, although many newer generation knitters might have now.

試穿的結果就是領口的確小. 我想到此時, 我外婆我媽跟我阿姨一定也不知道該怎麼辦了. 可能會說, 把它打好送給其他更小的小朋友穿吧! 她們一定沒想到可以用steek. 她們可能從來沒聽過 steek, 也可能從來沒有為了解決問題把毛衣剪開, 我媽是唯一一個可能有聽過 steek 的吧. 即使她們有想到可剪開做開襟背心, 也不會建議我這樣做, 她們覺得把織好的衣服剪開是件冒犯的事. 幾年前我剛會打毛衣時, 就用一件毛海開襟外套做 steek. 我還沒剪開時就拿去配扣子. 當毛線店老闆娘聽到我要幹嘛時她簡直不敢相信嚇壞了覺得我冒犯了甚麼. 我告訴她挪威人的配色編織毛衣都這樣打的, 顯然她從來沒聽過. 台灣很多織友還是沒聽過這種技巧, 不過我相信年輕一代的織友有不少應該有聽過了.

Another thing is that I was a little nervous and knitted the blue vest a bit tight. I was double stranding so I thought I should tug a little and it effected the size. Although it fits Sebastian fine. So, when I knitted my the red one I relaxed my hands and the sizing immediately changed. Since Scarlett is almost 2 inches taller and more than 1 kilo heavier than Sebastian, her vest, which is a bit longer and wider than Seba's actually fits her well and not too oversized.

打完謙的背心後發現, 可能我擔心雙線編織不拉緊點針目會不好, 結果發現其實不需要, 拉緊反而影響背心大小, 好在試穿後並不會小, 只是台灣人習慣給小孩穿寬寬大大的. 所以開打若的背心時手就放鬆點, 馬上在尺寸上就可出差異, 不過若較謙高近 5 公分, 又重一公斤多, 背心長一點稍寬一點穿起來其實也剛好不會過大.

The two vests in comparison. The blue vest was wet blocked after it was finished but not the red one.
兩件背心比較. 藍背心完成後又下水重新定型, 紅背心沒有, 由此可見差異.

There is one other thing that I didn't follow the original pattern: the ribbed hem. It is common in Japanese pattern that the body is knitted first using a provisional cast-on and then the stitchs are picked up later to knit the ribbed hem using a needle 2 sizes smaller than the one used to knit the main body. I personally don't like to apply provisional cast-on this way, although the result is a pretty and smooth hem. Besides, the half-a-stitch difference needs to be adjusted and I'm lazy! So I used invisible cast-on for the ribbed hem and knitted with the same size needle for the main body.

兩件背心還有一個地方沒照原圖打, 就是下擺的羅紋邊. 日式織圖中都是別線起針打身體, 下擺羅紋邊是最後挑起別線上的針目用小兩號的針打. 別線起針後挑回打邊的結果事非常平整漂亮, 可我個人並不喜歡這個方法來打這樣的下擺, 總覺差半針要橋有點煩有點懶, 所以用彈性起針法起羅紋邊用打主體的同好針來織.

Now, the biggest difference from the original pattern are the steeks. I've done it once before knitting the vests and I studied carefully the tutorial on Eunny Jang's blog, and went for it. When I cut open Sebastian's vests I was a little confused for it was not as I remembered, the stitches were fraying like hell! I frogged the first button and buttonband, redid the reinforcement and picked up the bands again, but still...So I applied another reinforcement on the edge: heavily whip stitched the while thing. Very ugly, but it secured the stitches. This took me days for I worked slowly and carfully not to pull or tug on the knitting. After finishing the blue vest, I stopped for a few days, and then it hit me: the inicial reinforcement - the crochet reinforcement - I applied was WRONG! It should be single crochet stitches but I did chain stitches instead. No wonder the stitches frayed like hell! It never crossed my mind that I did the stitch wrong! Well, I was sick at the time and maybe it was effecting my head! Now I can do Scarlett's vest the right way and this time, it was just fine!

與原織圖最大不同處就是我把它變成開襟背心了. 我做過 steeks, 也把 Eunny Jang 的教學再看過, 然後就動手了. 剪開後挑扣洞邊時覺得很奇怪怎麼跟以前做得看起來不一樣, 一直要脫線的樣子. 只好把邊拆掉, 重做一次強化再挑邊. 另外還把剪開的地方用毛線緊緊纏住, 這才沒有繼續要脫線. 這裡邊實在是很醜不過也沒辦法了. 打完謙的休息了一陣才又繼續開始若的. 然後我終於恍然大悟: 會脫線是因為謙的強化我用錯針! 應該是用短針而不是鎖針! 謙的背心我做到完都沒想到, 鎖針當然沒有強化作用所以當然會脫線! 若的背心就沒問題, 短針加強剪開挑邊都很順利.

The chain stitch reinforcement I did on the blue vest and the correct single crochet stitch reinforcement on the red vest.
謙背心上的鎖針加強是錯的, 應該是若背心上的短針加強才對!

I had to whip stitch the whole edging heavily to prevent further fraying.
因為用錯針所以剪開後織片邊因為鎖針不夠強會脫線, 只好另外用縫的把邊纏住, 終於不再脫線.穿過洗過毛線會因為摩擦有點毛氈化就會"黏"在一起,更不會鬆開了.

The horrible afterthought whip stitch reinforcement vs the correct crochet reinforcement
藍背心超醜加強邊 vs 紅背心的正常steek加強邊

I don't know why I didn't knit these fair isle vests in the round but chose to follow the pattern and knit them in pieces and then sew together. The ends are so many! I weaved in all the ends on the blue vest and it took me AGES! So I braided the ends on the red vest which was not too bad, and it took me a lot of time, too. Kazekobo specializes in Fair Isle designs, I just don't understand why isn't the vest designed as knitted in the round? I did give it a thought of doing it in the round but eventually didn't because I saw the color chart was charted somewhat differently and I was afriad the pattern wouldn't match up at the join. Although, luckily the color pattern of the size I knitted did match when I sew them together. I'm not too sure about the larger sizes. Alright, I was lazy and didn't adjust the color chart to suit my plan.

通常配色編織都是圓編, 最後再剪開, 我不知道我為何當初沒有圓編. 風工房專長費爾島風設計, 更令我費解的是, 既然是專長怎麼會設計成前後兩片編織再縫合呢? 這樣會有多少線頭要藏阿?! 謙的背心我就是用藏的, 弄了我非常的久. 若的背心我就不幹這種事了, 用編的綁成辮子, 結果也還好啦, 只是也花了不少時間. 早知道我就圓型編織, 結果我就是太相信織圖! 尤其日式織圖...我是有想過圓編, 但是看到配色圖表, 怕如果圓編接頭處花樣對不起來怎麼辦? 好在我打得這個尺寸縫合時發現花接得起來, 兩外兩個尺寸我就不知道了. 好啦, 我懶啦沒有去橋, 就只好忍受這種令人幾乎無法忍受的後果.

The braided ends

Maybe I shouldn't be complaining about Japanese patterns when I was being lazy. But, seriously, I haven't seen an American or European pattern that can cause this much trouble! Now I think I really made myself clear why I didn't and don't care for Japanese patterns. And mind you, there are many free patterns that are so well written and designed than these paid Japanese patterns! Like I said at the very begining, this is not my last fair isle knitting, but next time, I'm using non-Japanese pattern for fair isle!

也許我不應該因為自己懶而抱怨日式織圖, 但是說真的, 我沒見過哪個歐美織圖可以把人家搞得這麼糟的. 這下我應該是表達得很清楚為何我不喜歡日式織圖了. 說難聽一點, 有很多免費的歐美織圖寫得設計得比這要錢的日式織圖好太多了, 我幹嘛為難自己? 如前面所說, 這不會是我最後一個費爾島風作品, 但是下次我不再用日式織圖了!