Fair Isle knitting workshop

Fair Isle Knitting – a one-day workshop with Nicki Merrall

10:00–16:00, date to be confirmed
Venue to be confirmed
8 maximum.

This workshop is suitable for you, whether you are new to stranded colourwork, or want to improve your technique. You’ll practise stranded colourwork techniques by knitting a project designed by Nicki.

(11 customer reviews)

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Join knitwear designer Nicki Merrall to learn stranded colourwork techniques as used in Fair Isle knitting.

Fair Isle knitting is justifiably admired for the variety of patterns and the beautiful use of colour. Join Nicki to learn about different stranded colourwork traditions as well as learning and practising techniques and knitting a project. Beginners will knit a headband, using Shetland DK, designed so they start with simple motifs and techniques before progressing to slightly harder motifs and techniques. Improvers will knit a project, using Shetland Spindrift, with many colours, a corrugated rib, and complex motifs, before cutting and finishing a steek.


10:00–16:00, date to be confirmed
Venue to be confirmed
8 maximum.


Full details and directions will be sent to you upon booking.

Workshop comprises:

  • A designer’s ‘show and tell’ using Nicki’s designs, swatches and knitting books.
  • An introduction to stranded colourwork traditions, such as Fair Isle knitting.
  • Tuition on stranded colourwork techniques.
  • An introduction to colour theory.
  • Refreshments all day together with a two-course lunch.
  • A project as well as advice on what to try next.

Nicki will email you to ask about your experience with stranded colourwork, to help her decide which skills to teach you.

Stranded colourwork beginners will learn to:

  • Read a stranded colourwork chart.
  • Knit with one yarn in each hand.
  • Strand and weave in the yarns.
  • Understand yarn dominance.
  • Knit in the round.

Beginners will knit a headband, using Shetland DK, designed so they start with simple motifs and techniques before progressing to slightly harder motifs and techniques.

Stranded colourwork improvers will learn to:

  • Work a two-colour rib.
  • Improve their stranding and weaving in techniques.
  • Knit with both yarns in the left or in the right hand.
  • Understand yarn dominance.
  • Make and finish a steek (yes, you’ll be cutting your knitting!).

Improvers will knit a project, using Shetland Spindrift, with many colours, a corrugated rib, and complex motifs, before cutting and finishing a steek.

Book two dates to do both beginners’ and improvers’ Fair Isle.

Price includes:

  • Tuition.
  • Shetland yarn for projects.
  • Refreshments all day together with a two-course lunch.

Please bring:

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

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


  • Stranded colourwork beginner: (you can cast-on and off, knit and purl and follow a basic pattern).
  • Stranded colourwork improver: (you can knit in the round, and, although not necessarily an expert, you can strand and weave in yarns when doing stranded colourwork).

COVID precautions

The Hope & Elvis studio is large, airy and easy to ventilate. The number of students will be low, relative to the size of the studio, which means students can have a large work area and maintain social distance. The studio will be thoroughly cleaned beforehand and surfaces and handles will be cleaned throughout the day. There will be plenty of soap and sanitiser gel around the studio, and Dettol sprays for the toilet. Visors will be provided to wear when watching demonstrations. We are unlikely to share any equipment, but if we do, it will be wiped between uses.
Lunch will be provided by Magie who prepares all lunches for workshops at Hope & Elvis. She will prepare food wearing appropriate PPE. You can eat your lunch at your work area or outside if weather permits. Hope & Elvis is part of the Welbeck Estate. There are a few other artists’ studios, a farm shop, a garden centre and the Harley Gallery on site. Apart from that, Hope & Elvis is in a rural location which is easily accessible from the M1 or A1.

11 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!

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