Fair Isle knitting workshop

A one-day workshop with Nicki Merrall

10:00–16:00, Saturday 16 July 2022
Being Knitterly Studio, Loughborough, Leicestershire
Seven places

To do the Fair Isle beginners workshop, you need to know how to cast on and off, knit and purl, and follow a simple pattern.

To do the Fair Isle improvers workshop, you need to know how to knit in the round and strand and weave in yarns (although you do not need to be an expert).

Details below:

(14 customer reviews)




Knitwear designer and tutor Nicki Merrall will teach you about the stranded colourwork techniques used in Fair Isle knitting. She will show you examples of knitting from different stranded colourwork traditions. Then she will show you typical patterns used in Fair Isle knitting and how Fair Isle knitters use colour to create such beautiful effects.

Fair Isle Knitting for beginners

Beginners will knit a headband using Shetland DK. You will start with a single-colour rib, then use stranding to work a small, simple motif before using stranding and weaving-in to work a bigger motif.

Beginners workshop content:

  • Knitting in the round using a variety of methods.
  • Reading a chart for stranded colourwork knitting.
  • Knitting with one yarn in each hand.
  • Stranding and weaving in the yarns.
  • Understanding yarn dominance.



  • You can cast on and off, knit and purl and follow a simple pattern.


Fair Isle Knitting for improvers

Improvers will knit a project, using Shetland Spindrift, with many colours, a corrugated rib, and complex motifs, before cutting and finishing a steek and adding ribbed bands along the sides of the steek.

Improvers workshop content:

  • Working a two-colour rib.
  • Practising stranding and weaving in techniques.
  • Knitting with one yarn in each hand or both yarns in either the left or right hand.
  • Understanding yarn dominance.
  • Making and finishing a steek (you will be cutting your knitting).
  • Picking up stitches along a steek and adding a rib.



  • You can knit in the round, and although not necessarily an expert, you can strand and weave in yarns when doing stranded colourwork.


Further Information

Price includes:

  • Tuition.
  • Shetland yarn for projects.
  • Pattern for your project.
  • Refreshments all day together with a light vegetarian lunch and home-baked cake in the afternoon.


Please bring:

  • Notebook and pen.
  • Yarn scissors.
  • A yarn needle.
  • Beginners: 4.00 mm knitting needles of your preferred type for working a headband of about 55 cm circumference in the round.
  • Improvers: 3.25 mm knitting needles of your preferred type for working a project with a small circumference in the round.

Double-pointed and circular knitting needles will be available to purchase during the workshop.



The Being Knitterly Studio is in a beautiful Edwardian house in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

After booking, Nicki will email you details and directions, as well as ask about your previous experience.

Here is how we are keeping Covid safe.

Additional information

workshop date

Saturday 16 July at the Being Knitterly Studio, Saturday 26 February 2022 at the Being Knitterly Studio, Saturday 30 April 2022 at the Being Knitterly Studio

14 reviews for Fair Isle knitting workshop

  1. Linda (verified owner)

    I really enjoyed this workshop . It made you think!! I learnt new techniques which were very useful and will come in handy even if I am not knitting Fair Isle. It really helps having someone as patient as Nicki to explain the techniques and then sort out the problems when they occur. You go home more confident to try it at home .

  2. Ann (verified owner)

    This was a really enjoyable, well taught course and I shall certainly be keen to attend another course this year. I learnt a lot of new techniques and now I no longer end up with balls of tangled wool! I’m quite a slow knitter but Nicki was very patient. I can highly recommend the tea and lemon drizzle cake which appeared in the afternoon to spur us all on.

  3. Sue (verified owner)

    Really enjoyable and informative workshop. The day started with Nicki giving a short presentation about the background of Fair Isle knitting which was very interesting. The day was well structured, all materials provided were good quality and project well thought through. Nicki’s knowledge is invaluable and I learnt a lot which helped improve my confidence (and knitting). I have been on Nikck’s workshops before and know they are never disappointing and always good value for money. Keep up the good work Nicki!

  4. Liz (verified owner)

    This was a great introduction to Fair Isle knitting which I had never tried before. The brief introduction to the history of Fair Isle was fascinating, while the practical projects were challenging but achievable even by a novice like me. The course has definitely inspired me to take on more complex knitting projects – thanks Nicki!

  5. Margaret Andrew (verified owner)

    I concur with all the comments made by the other participants. Thoroughly enjoyable, informative and instructive. I would definitely attend others to extend my skills. I just need to practice now before I forget what I have learnt!

  6. Diane (verified owner)

    This is the third one of Nicki’s workshops that I have attended. She is a great teacher and I really enjoy my days with her. The Fair Isle knitting workshop provides a good balance of background/history, information and practical experience. I came away with more confidence for my Fair Isle knitting journey and lots of practical hints and tips. The highlight for me was the steeking exercise! Thank you Nicki.

    • Being Knitterly

      Now you’ve knitted and cut a steek, there will be no looking back!

  7. Kim McDonald (verified owner)

    Highly recommend this workshop, Nicki is a very experienced and knowledgeable tutor, she is also very thorough and patient, I learned so much from her as I am a total novice, and came home eager to get stuck in and finish my project, which I was able to do with confidence. Looking forward to carrying on using my new found skills, and working towards an improvers workshop. Thank you Nicki

    • Being Knitterly

      Your swatch and finished pincushion look great Kim! And you know all the techniques that you will need for the lavender bag kit that you bought.

  8. Linda Hearn

    Excellent workshop, Nicki is a excellent teacher and so patient with everybody. I felt so much more confident with my fair isle technique. Thank you

    • Being Knitterly

      I’m glad you enjoyed the workshop, Linda. I hope you feel confident enough to knit and finish steeks now!

  9. Jane Sansom (verified owner)

    Another lovely workshop. Nicki’s skilled & calm teaching helps everyone, whatever level they are working at. She provides history & background to Fairisle knitting as well as a fab lunch & cakes!

    Her own patterns & colours for this workshop are really lovely & I couldn’t put my project down!

    • Being Knitterly

      I’m glad you enjoyed the workshop and liked the purse pattern so much. I love those colours too: I really must use them for another design!

  10. Mrs Katie Mansfield (verified owner)

    Great workshop. Nicki is a very good teacher, really patient and spends equal time with each participant. It was a good sized small group which enabled everyone to get a lot out of it.
    I’ve never been to a workshop in someone’s house before. It felt very welcoming and relaxed. Nicki went to a lot of trouble with the catering, all homemade food and the cake was amazing!

    • Being Knitterly

      I’m glad you enjoyed the workshop Katie. My aim is for each workshop to be a special experience: I’m glad I succeeded on Saturday!

  11. Mrs Carol Yorkstone (verified owner)

    With covid in mind Nicki moved our workshop to a lovely large and airy location. It felt very safe there. (The food was great too).
    The day was planned to help us learn the maximum we could and be able to complete the headband at home with all the techniques to hand. Mine is now complete, I am delighted with it and inspired to do more. Thanks Nicki for a lovely design and clear tuition.

    • Being Knitterly

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the day! And your headband looks great!

  12. Mo Kennedy (verified owner)

    This was a great experience. I already do Fairisle knitting but was terrified to a try a steek. With Nikki’s support I have come away confident to make my first steeked cardigan. It was a very pleasurable and informative day. Nikki created a very relaxed and easy environment to learn new skills. Very good value for money (and delicious cake)

  13. Carol (verified owner)

    This was a great day from all perspectives. Venue, food, other like minded course members and Nicki’s interesting and helpful teaching.

  14. joanna (verified owner)

    Thanks for another lovely knitting day. My confidence in Fair Isle is growing and knitting speed increasing thanks to expert tuition within an encouraging and calm environment with excellent refreshments and good company. Still nervous about steeks and would like a tutorial or half day workshop dedicated to steeks and finishing? Many thanks.

    • Nicki Merrall

      Thank you Joanna, I think a Fair Isle project day would be a good idea. You work on your project and I help you overcome the things you are uncertain about.

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