At the heart of every Fair Isle knitting pattern are two simple rules: the knitting must be worked in stocking stitch, and only two colours can be used on each row.


From these simple principles come almost endless design possibilities. And with so many beautiful knits out there, finding your perfect Fair Isle knitting pattern can be tricky – but Gathered is here to help!

We've rounded up a mix of garments and accessories in styles ranging from traditional to modern. You'll find classic Fair Isle motifs as well as stranded knits inspired by broader colourwork trends.

With 12 patterns on our list, including seven Fair Isle sweater patterns, there's something here for every wardrobe.

The patterns we've chosen are mainly suitable for intermediate knitters, but some are also in reach of adventurous beginners. Check out our in-depth guide to Fair Isle knitting for everything you need to know before you cast on.

12 eye-catching Fair Isle knitting patterns

1. Rowan Jess sweater

Fair Isle knitting patterns Rowan sweater

Want to turn heads this winter? Treat yourself to this colourful Fair Isle sweater pattern featuring bands of motifs across the body and cuffs. Get the design in The Alpaca Collection by Lisa Richardson for Rowan, which features 14 projects in snuggly alpaca yarns.

2. Kate Davies Knitting Season jumper dress

Fair Isle knitting patterns Kate Davies dress

Every season is 'knitting season', so find a cosy, comfy space to cast on some gorgeous colourwork from Scottish designer Kate Davies. She has so many great Fair Isle knitting patterns to choose from, but this yoked dress has to be one of our favourites.

3. Caitlin Hunter Navelli summer sweater

Fair Isle knitting patterns Caitlin Hunter cropped sweater

If you've been anywhere near Instagram lately you've probably seen Caitlin Hunter's colourwork jumpers in your feed. We love this lightweight Navelli crop, a relaxed, Italian-inspired summer sweater that's perfect for wearing over dresses.

More like this

4. Sirdar all-over Fair Isle sweater

Fair Isle knitting patterns Sirdar sweater

Go big or go home! This eye-catching Sirdar sweater features an all-over Fair Isle pattern and contrast colour block ribbing. Knit it in Cashmere Merino Silk DK for added luxury, and find more contemporary spins on traditional motifs in the Modern Fair Isles Collection.

5. Arne and Carlos sweater and scarf

Fair Isle knitting patterns Arne and Carlos knits

We couldn't write a Fair Isle knitting patterns round-up without mentioning Arne and Carlos. The Scandinavian design duo are famous for their bold and beautiful stranded colourwork, including this coordinating jumper and scarf from their Greatest Knits collection.

6. West Yorkshire Spinners men's jumper

Fair Isle knitting patterns West Yorkshire Spinners jumper

Sometimes simple is just as effective, like this pared-back patterning from West Yorkshire Spinners. A neat diamond band shows off the natural, undyed wool used for this cosy Fair Isle sweater. It's from the Fleece collection, which includes knits for men, women and kids.

Knit flawless Fair Isle

Designer Rosee Woodland shares her top Fair Isle knitting tips to help you get perfect results every time.

How to knit perfect Fair Isle 4

7. Mary Henderson Eilidh vest

Fair Isle knitting patterns Mary Henderson tank top

With its corrugated ribbing and classic floral motif, this Eilidh vest by Mary Henderson is one for traditional Fair Isle fans. You can find out about more of Mary's gorgeous tank top patterns on Gathered, and she's also a regular designer for The Knitter magazine.

8. Debbie Bliss Fairground layette

Fair Isle knitting patterns Debbie Bliss layette

This gorgeous set from Debbie Bliss is designed for toddlers aged 12 to 36 months, and includes a cardigan, jumper, hat and socks. Go for bright fairground colours or choose your own palette from the huge variety of shades in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

9. Jennie Atkinson Cartwright jumper

Fair Isle knitting patterns Jennie Atkinson jumper

Go beyond Fair Isle with a design that mixes different techniques to dramatic effect. For this smart-casual jumper, Jennie Atkinson has combined bands of vintage-style motifs with tweed-effect slip-stitch colourwork. The result is a strikingly modern look.

Free Fair Isle knitting patterns

We have lots of gorgeous Fair Isle knits right here on Gathered! These are our top three:

1. Fair Isle dress

A lady with long red hat stands against the door wearing a navy knitted dress with Fair isle cowl and skirt pattern bands

With its simple geometric pattern of diamonds and triangles, this tunic dress from designer Pat Strong is a joy to knit – and guaranteed to turn heads! The gorgeous rustic shades of Rowan Felted Tweed give it a timeless appeal. Which colours will you choose?

2. Fair Isle tank top

Free tank top knitting pattern

Make this versatile tank top a staple in your spring wardrobe. Created by Rosee Woodland, it mixes classic diamond motifs with soft floral colours and is perfect for layering over blouses and dresses. Knit it in a cashmere-blend yarn for sumptuous softness and warmth.

3. Fair Isle hat and matching mitts

Fair Isle hat pattern

Add a pop of bright colour to any outfit with this fun accessory set designed by Sophie Jordan. We can't resist the marled shades of Scheepjes Stone Washed, which look fantastic together in the big pompom that finishes off the hat.

A timeless technique

One of our favourite qualities of Fair Isle is its versatility. We love how old motifs can look different in new contexts, and simple changes of colour palette can make designs from long ago feel fresh and modern.

Do you prefer the novelty of current graphic styles or the familiarity of traditional motifs? Subtle colour shifts or bold contrast? All-over colourwork or just a hint of pattern?

Whatever your style, there are Fair Isle knitting patterns to suit – and we hope we've helped you find the one that will be next on your needles.


Knit Fair Isle like a pro

Keep your colourwork knitting neat and tangle-free by learning how to catch Fair Isle floats. Boost your knitting skills with Gathered.


Sarah WinsperDigital Assistant, Simply Knitting and The Knitter

As well as spending her working life thinking about yarn, Sarah designs knitting patterns in her spare time, too!

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