Fair Isle Tam Tips and Tutorial

Hey everybody! I'm jumping in here to give y'all some help with your the Fair Isle Tam pattern. Firstly, I have to start with a big "Do as I say, not as I do". You're going to find out in my next couple of posts that I like to learn my lessons the hard way! I'm no expert, but I can certainly get you to learn from my mistakes. Secondly, the pattern works as written, but definitely has a couple of tricky spots! Don't forget this pattern is labeled as "intermediate"!


Judging by the comments, a lot of you are finding the decrease rounds at the crown a little confusing. It may take a little extra concentration to wrap your head around this one, but it's well worth the effort. Look at those awesome lines of decreased stitches on the finished hat! Let's take a look at the decrease, step by step.

Here's what my tam looks like when I've just finished round 6 of Chart II:

(Actually, in real life my knitting isn't blurry - but you get the idea.)
The next round, round 7 is the first decrease round. Here's where you have to start paying attention:

"To begin shaping, slip rnd marker back 1 st at end of last rnd"

The first stitch of each decrease round is the last stitch of the previous round. Woah! I know, tricky, right? The start of the round moves back a stitch to accommodate the two-stitch decrease you're about to do. You don't have to totally understand why, but trust me, you need adjust where you start on these rounds or your pattern won't line up right! So to be clear, don't knit the last stitch of round 6, and instead, count is as the first stitch of round 7. Did you already knit it? Yeah, me too. Just undo the stitch and put it back on your left needle.


Okay, so now that I've slipped back that last stitch to become stitch one of my decrease round, it's time to do that funky decrease.

"Center dec
(worked over 3 sts) = slip next 2 sts as if to K2tog,...




...then pass slipped sts over knit st...


... - center of 3 sts should be on top of decrease. (2 sts have been decreased.)"


Before I began, I had 1 blue st, 1 yellow, 1 blue. The center stitch, old gold, is now on top - just like the pattern says - yay! If we look at my chart, you can see the first stitch of round 7 is yellow - that's the stitch I have left on the needle after the 2 st decrease.


General Tips:

- When knitting in the round (like we are here) remember to read every line of the chart from right to left.
- I didn't bother using a marker the beginning of my round 'cuz it's pretty easy to tell when knitting in the round on dpns; the tail from your cast on is always between two needles. All the guts from starting and ending new yarn colours will be hanging out here too.
- You don't always need to cut your yarn at the end of colour rows. If you see the colour you just finished using will be used again a couple of rows later, just carry it up there when you need it again. Life is too short for unnecessary end-weaving!
- Reading is good for you! The great thing about colour work is that it's really easy to read your knitting. If you see on the chart that (for example) one red stitch should be on top of three blue stitches and your row doesn't look like that - time to take a step back and check for mistakes!
- Blocking works miracles: Stitches a little uneven? Pulled a couple of floats too tight and other too loose? Beret look more like a dreidel? Block it! Follow the instructions at the end of the pattern under "finishing". 100% wool is particularly agreeable with blocking and will totally be the icing (butter cream) on your (chocolate) cake.

I hope that helps! Good luck fair-isle-ers and happy knitting!


p.s. I'll thank you not to notice my "interpretation" of Chart I. Attempting to knit, talk and eat lunch all at the same time can lead to wayward stitches!


Hi Julia! I have a question already to your comment: "If we look at my chart, you can see the first stitch of round 7 is yellow – that’s the stitch I have left on the needle after the 2 st decrease." (And this may be where I went wrong) When you say "That's the stitch I have left on the needle after the 2 st decrease" shouldn't it be gold rather than blue? (I'm looking at the stitch that is on your right needle that is all by its lonesome in your photo...) THANKS for the tutorial! I really hope it helps everyone out! BTW: your colors are fantabulous!!

Oops! Good point! I should have knit that 2 st dec with my yellow (old gold, really) yarn. I've photoshop-ed the pix to make it look like nothing happened - thanks for catching the mistake!

I knit all my first stitches twice, because I did the first one that way and I was trying to be consistent. Erm. Or because I didn't realize there was a better way until too late. :-) Nice work with the tutorial. Beautiful.