Fair Isle knitting workshop

A one-day workshop with Nicki Merrall

10:00–16:00, Saturday 10 February 2024
Being Knitterly Studio, Loughborough, Leicestershire
Seven places – fully booked


10:00–16:00, Saturday 6 April 2024
Being Knitterly Studio, Loughborough, Leicestershire
Seven places – booking closed


10:00–16:00, Saturday 15 June 2024
Being Knitterly Studio, Loughborough, Leicestershire
Seven places – two places available

There are three levels to the Fair Isle Knitting workshop. Level 1 is suitable for knitters new to Fair Isle knitting. Level 2 is for knitters who would like more practice knitting Fair Isle with one yarn in each hand. Level 3 is for knitters who want to knit and finish a steek.

Levels 1, 2 and 3 are available at all Fair Isle Knitting workshops.

Details below:

(29 customer reviews)



Fair Isle Knitting – one-day workshop

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 Level 1

You will knit a headband using Shetland DK. You will start with a one-colour rib. Then you use the stranding technique for a horizontal band with a simple motif. You use the stranding and weaving-in techniques for the following pattern band, which has a slightly bigger motif, then repeat the first pattern before finishing your headband with the one-colour rib.

Level 1 workshop content:

  • Knitting in the round.
  • Reading a stranded colourwork chart with simple motifs and limited colours.
  • Knitting with one yarn in each hand.
  • Stranding and weaving in the yarns.
  • Understanding yarn dominance.


Skills for Level 1:

Suitable for knitters with little or no experience of the stranded colourwork techniques used in Fair Isle knitting.

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

Fair Isle Knitting Level 2

You knit your headband using Shetland Spindrift, the traditional style of yarn used for Fair Isle knitting. You start with a two-colour (or corrugated) rib. Then you practise the stranding and weaving-in techniques while knitting three horizontal pattern bands. Finally, you finish with the two-colour rib.

Level 2 workshop content:

  • Knitting in the round using a finer yarn than used at level 1.
  • Reading a stranded colourwork chart with slightly bigger motifs and more colours than level 1.
  • Improving your stranding and weaving-in techniques.
  • Knitting with one yarn in each hand.
  • Make a two-colour rib.


Skills for Level 2:

Suitable for knitters who hold one yarn in each hand when working stranded colourwork and would like to try a two-colour rib.

You can knit in the round and may lack confidence when stranding and weaving-in yarns. You would like to practise before tackling more projects on your own.

Fair Isle Knitting Level 3

You knit your cafetière cosy using Shetland Spindrift. You start with a corrugated rib, then knit three horizontal pattern bands, before finishing with a second rib. Then you will cut and finish the steek, pick up stitches along the new edges and knit ribbed bands.

Level 3 workshop content:

  • Working a multi-coloured (corrugated) rib. 
  • Reading a stranded colourwork chart with more complex motifs and many colours.
  • Knitting with one yarn in each hand or both yarns in the left or the right hand.
  • Making, cutting and finishing a steek.
  • Picking up stitches along a steek and knit a corrugated ribbed border.


Skills for Level 3:

Suitable for knitters confident holding one yarn in each hand when working stranded colourwork. It includes a steek to help you overcome your fear of cutting your knitting!

You can knit in the round, and your confidence, when standing and weaving-in yarns, is developing. You would like to try a multi-coloured corrugated rib. You would also like someone to help you when knitting and finishing your first steek.

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.
  • Level 1: 4.00 mm mm knitting needles of your preferred type for working a headband of about 55 cm circumference in the round.
  • Level 2: 3.25 mm knitting needles of your preferred type for working a headband of about 55 cm circumference in the round.
  • Level 3: 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 11 November 2023 at the Being Knitterly Studio, Saturday 10 February 2024 at the Being Knitterly Studio, Saturday 6 April 2024 at the Being Knitterly Studio, Saturday 15 June 2024 at the Being Knitterly Studio

29 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.

  15. Kathryn Houghton (verified owner)

    I’d been looking for a beginners Fairisle course for some time and had Nicki’s book. The course went way beyond my expectations. Well organised. Lots of one to one attention, new skills learnt and a lovely lunch. Will be coming back for more

  16. Vanessa (verified owner)

    I attended the beginners level course earlier this year and I’ve gone from thinking that looks really hard to completely hooked!
    The course was a lovely mix of the what, why and how of Fair Isle knitting.
    Nicki is a fantastic teacher creating a calm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere where everyone felt supported and successful.
    I’ll be back to do the next level soon.

  17. Dr Kathryn Ann Houghton (verified owner)

    Excellent start to my Fairisle adventures. Nicki knows how to break down the necessary skills into what you need to grasp it.

  18. Patricia Cordingley

    Pat Cordingley – February 25, 2013

    It was my first foray into Fairisle knitting and I can honestly say that I learnt a lot of skills and even though I didn’t finish my project, I felt fully equipped to continue. Nicki was extremely patient with all of us and it was obvious that she has tremendous knowledge of Fairisle knitting which she was keen to impart to us. A great lunch too!

  19. Fiona Baxter (verified owner)

    I recently attended the Fairisle workshop with Nicki and really enjoyed the day. I learned so many tips I could bring to my projects, but also created a lovely head band which has been much admired already. Thank you Nicki and of course Andrew for a lovely lunch.

  20. Jackie Parker

    Thank you Nicki for a great workshop level 1 fair isle. Such a lovely day. Such a great teacher. You are very calm and very skilled. I learnt so much and not just about fair isle! Magic loop too. And thanks also for the great tip about how to work my decrease/ increase on a work in progress at home. I would love to attend another workshop in the future.

  21. Klaudia Mody (verified owner)

    I recently attended this workshop at Level 1, and I learnt everything from it I needed to make successful, simple fair isle projects. Nicki is a great tutor, each part of the workshop is well thought out, and the project is set up for you to succeed regardless of your level of experience with fair isle. Nicki’s explanations and demonstrations are very thorough, she patiently answers all the questions and helps 1:1 if needed. I got hooked on to fair isle and I am looking forward to attending another workshop in the future.

  22. Emma Schuck

    Lovely workshop I have the confidence and knowledge of how to steek. When I got home I looked at the pattern that want to knit which included steek and knew exactly what i needed to do. My cafeteria cosy is looking lovely and is in use!
    Lovely atmosphere created couldn’t recommend enough. Thank you Nicki.

  23. Louise (verified owner)

    I have been to a level 1 and 2 course now and absolutely have enjoyed every minute and can happily complete projects at home.
    Looking forward to level 3 soon!
    Wonderful course and hospitality match.

  24. Rachel Walker (verified owner)

    My first workshop with Nicki and it was super. I feel inspired to tackle more fair isle patterns after just the level 1 workshop. She has patience and gives helpful advice and demonstrations as required. I look forward to booking onto level 2 soon! Location easy to find, and lovely food and drink provided too. Catered perfectly to my dietary requirements too, which made me feel even more welcome!

  25. Rosie Kightley (verified owner)

    Thank you Nicky for an excellent Fair Isle level 1 workshop on Saturday 15th July. I learnt new techniques and increased my confidence. It was great to immerse myself in knitting for a day and to meet such enthusiastic knitters. You are an excellent teacher who is inspiring, encouraging and very patient too! Thank you for the lovely food and cake and for organising the day so well.

  26. Andrea Osbourne (verified owner)

    Really good workshop. I really enjoyed learning new techniques in a calm and helpful environment. I learned everything that I was expecting, including two handed knitting. Yay! Really pleased with the help I got, and finished the project at home without any problems. Thanks Nicki

  27. Maggie Webb (verified owner)

    I joined the Fair Isle Knitting 10th February, I’m so glad I did. I spent the day with people who enjoy my hobby. Although we had different skills levels and experiences of knitting it didn’t matter to Nicki. She gave clear , encouraging , individual instructions to us all throughout the day .
    Lunch was warm and tasty and there was plenty of tea, coffee and cakes throughout the day .
    I completed my headband and I have noticed a skills difference for the better on my current work in progress
    Im planning on attending the next level workshop soon .

  28. Linda Ellis (verified owner)

    I thoroughly enjoyed Nicki’s Fair isle workshop. I joined at level 2, as I had done some before, but I still learned plenty. I am knitting a (secret) cardigan for my husband and had been struggling with holding 3 colours in the one row, but Nicki showed me how.
    I have already passed on Nicki’s details to a knitting friend who hopefully will sign up for a workshop.
    I would definitely recommend as Nicki is so patient and welcoming and there’s plenty of coffee!

  29. Jayne Stanton (verified owner)

    I enrolled on Nicki’s Fair Isle knitting workshop as a largely self-taught knitter keen to develop new skills: stranded colourwork, knitting in the round and magic loop. Under Nicki’s easy-to-follow, patient and observant tuition, I came away with the makings of a Fair Isle headband which I completed that evening to pleasing results. If you’re looking to learn or develop skills in a small group, I heartily recommend Being Knitterly day workshops.

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