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How to Use Fair Isle Crochet in Amigurumi

How to Use Fair Isle Crochet in Amigurumi

Have you been scrolling through Pinterest and seen beautiful amigurumi made with several colors all worked together? It looks complicated and that’s BEFORE you get a look at charts and stuff. It doesn’t have to be scary though. This article will walk you through how to use fair isle crochet in amigurumi.

We’ll even talk a bit about how to read crochet charts!

What is Fair Isle Crochet?

Originally, the term ‘Fair Isle’ strictly referred to a unique type of stranded knitting developed on the small island of Fair Isle in the UK. Now however, it is used as a kind of blanket term for any kind of stranded colorwork for both crochet and knit projects.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about the origin of Fair Isle knitting, check out this link.

In crochet, when we’re talking about Fair Isle, we’re referring to any colorwork project that uses floats, which are strands of yarn across the back of a work to create an image or design.

example image for how to use fair isle crochet in amigurumi
Images by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

The image above is an example of this technique worked in the round rather than flat. We’ll talk about the differences below.

How to Use Fair Isle Crochet in Amigurumi

Fair Isle in Flat Crochet vs In the Round

Using this colorwork technique creates slightly different results depending on whether you’re working flat or in the round. Here’s some examples of these differences.

Working Fair Isle Flat

flat fair isle example for how to use fair isle crochet in amigurumi
Graphic by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

In this swatch, which is 10 stitches across by 8 rows of single crochet, the chart is mostly symmetrical. The chart would be perfectly symmetrical if only 3 stitches were used for the mouth, but I liked the look of 4 better in the swatch.

Can you see how there is a very slight lean to the stitches? It’s more apparent in the eyes, but overall, the swatch still looks pretty even.

Unlike with knitting, where the stitches stack atop one another, crochet stitches tend to lean. The degree of the lean varies greatly between crocheters because of differences in tension and working style.

Working Fair Isle In the Round

fair isle example for how to use fair isle crochet in amigurumi
Graphic by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

The chart doesn’t look symmetrical at all compared to the flat example.

The reason for this is that the natural lean of the stitches is accentuated when working in the round. Both images (round and flat) are of right-handed examples, but left-handed would be the same except the stitches would lean to the left.

In order to create a symmetrical image, the lean needs to be accounted for, which is why the stitches are shifted over on the left side. In this example, the shifted left eye accounts for and mirrors the slight lean of the right eye.

Let’s Practice!

Let’s make a little practice pumpkin using the example and chart above.

Materials:

  • 2 different colors of yarn, preferably of the same weight (I used 2 colors of a basic 4 weight acrylic)
  • an appropriate hook (I used a 3.25mm)
  • a stitch marker or scrap length of yarn
  • tapestry needle
  • stuffing

Stitch Abbreviations

(**) – See Project Notes section

  • MR – magic ring (**)
  • Sc – single crochet (**)
  • Inc – increase (**)
  • Dec – decrease (**)
  • St(s) – stitch(es)

Project Notes

  • Unless otherwise specified, work in continuous rounds without using a slip stitch to join rows.
  • Move stitch markers up every row as you go.
  • Magic Ring: Create a magic ring and work the specified number of single crochet into it (ex. MR6 = 6sc into the ring).
  • Single Crochet: Unless otherwise specified, this project uses the yarn under technique. Insert your hook into the stitch, yarn under, pull up a loop (2 loops on your hook), yarn over, and pull through both loops.
  • Increase: work 2sc into the same stitch.
  • Decrease: Unless otherwise specified, use the invisible decrease method. Insert your hook into the front loop of the next stitch, then insert your hook into the front loop of the following stitch, yarn over and pull through the first loop (3 loops on the hook), then yarn over and pull through all 3 loops on the hook.

Sample Pattern

Using Color A.

Row 1: MR6 Place your stitch marker in the first st.

Row 2: inc 6 times. (12)

Row 3: [inc, sc] 6 times. (18)

Row 4: [sc, inc, sc] 6 times. (24)

The numbers along the bottom are the stitches in the row and the numbers up the right side are the rows. So starting from right, select the row you’re on and then count over to the left. The white squares are Color A and the black squares are Color B. You can download a printable version of this chart here.

fair isle chart example for blog post
Graphic by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

This is where the color changes start. You can refer to the video tutorial here or if you want to check out methods of changing colors mid-row, see this article: Quick Guide to Color Changes in Amigurumi.

Row 5: A: 5sc, B: 4sc, A: 15sc. (24)

Rows 6-7: A: sc around. (24)

Row 8: A: 5sc, B: 2sc, A:, 2sc, B: 2sc, A: 13sc. (24)

Row 9: A: 5sc, B: 2sc, A: 3sc, B: 2sc, A: 12sc. (24)

Fasten off Color B. The rest is all worked in Color A.

Row 10: sc around. (24)

Row 11: [sc, dec, sc] 6 times. (18)

Add stuffing.

Row 12: [dec, sc] 6 times. (12)

Row 13: dec 6 times. (6)

Fasten off with a long tail. Sew the remaining hole closed. Then press your tapestry needle down through the center and out through the magic ring on the bottom. Go back through the magic ring (just not in the exact spot you came out of) and push the needle through the sewn hole on the top. Pull the yarn tight to compress the mini pumpkin.

You can do this as many times as you like, but tie off and weave any remaining yarn into the pumpkin when you’re finished.

Then just hot glue a little stem on and you’re done!

Summary

There are several ways to change color, but Fair Isle is one of my favorites because it works so well with amigurumi. The floats are always on the inside and you never have to worry about working on the ‘right side’ in the round. What do you think?

Do you have other methods that you prefer when making amigurumi?

If you liked this article or mini project, be sure to Pin it for later and share it with your friends! If you have any questions or want to connect with me, you can email me at chanel@cbfiberworks.com or find me on social @cbfiberworks.

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