I have avoided Fair Isle Knitting all these years because it looked difficult. Multiple colors of yarns are used and charts need to be read, all making it seem very complicated. But as they say, looks can be deceiving.
If I could learn to skateboard, I figured I could learn to Fair Isle Knit. Turns out it only took me one sitting to learn Fair Isle Knitting. Much easier than skateboarding. I already had the basic skills I needed to do this type of knitting, the only thing stopping me was fear of the unknown.
To Fair Isle Knit, one needs to know how to knit, how to pearl, and how to read a chart. The rest is so simple that I feel silly for avoiding this technique for so long. Also, there are two types of knitting styles, English and Continental. While this technique can be used with just one of these styles of knitting, it is more efficient to use both styles at the same time. Doing so takes less time as the yarns do not cross and tangle.
I found easy directions for learning to Fair Isle Knit at: https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/fair-isle-stranded-knitting-2116385
Basically, a color is added to the knitting and then after using it, it is dropped and the other color is picked up and used. When picking up a different color the yarn goes under the last strand that has been dropped and knitted as normal. All this is done without cutting the yarn, the yarn is picked up when needed. Longer strands will form on the backs of the knitted piece (the pearl side) but the front of the piece (the knit side) will show the pattern.
To read a chart: The charts are made of squares. Each square represents a stitch. The charts are read from right to left on the knitted side and from left to right on the pearl side. The squares will be in different colors depending on the color of yarn to be used. So if there are two dark squares (let’s say dark=blue), one light square (let’s say light=pink), and three dark squares, one would knit two stitches in blue, then switch to pink and knit one pink, and then switch back to blue and knit three blue. All this is done without cutting the yarn, the yarn is picked up when needed.
Do not be afraid to try Fair Isle Knitting. It looks beautiful and is much easier than it looks.
As always, Happy Knitting!