Fishermans Kep Knitting to Support Fair Isle Museum

fishermans kep

I came across this Facebook group while browsing Ravelry. It was created to support the George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum in Fair Isle. When accepted to the group, a Kep pattern (traditional “hat” of the region) is offered for sale, and the profit goes toward supporting this museum.

Here are two links to the museum page and the Facebook page. Knitters of this style Kep share their photos and knowledge and support other like minded knitters who have joined the group.

Keep reading about my experience knitting this pattern.

Love Fair Isle Knitting?

Yes, I do! I joined the group and ordered the pattern, which is sold in GBP (Great Britain Pounds) and was around $14 for me here in the US. After about a week or so I received the pattern PDF in my e-mail and began knitting right away.

(If you think that is expensive, it’s more of a donation with a pattern to go along with it. Also, the basic pattern will give you the opportunity to make many variations of this hat. OR… don’t buy it.)

Review of the Kep Pattern and Instructions – you must buy the pattern from the group.

The pattern is not listed here, but you can buy it when joining the Facebook group – link above. I am not a fan of using Facebook, but do so for my business and groups like this.

It did take a little while (about a week) to receive the pattern, so just be patient. The group is run by volunteers and I’m sure they have other things going on in their lives! It arrives as a PDF which is downloaded and then printed out. I don’t have a color printer, which is unfortunate because sample keps are shown on the front page in full color.

A bit of history about the tradition of knitting a fisherman’s kep is included, as well as suggested yarn colors to use for a traditional look. As I rummaged through my wool, I found similar colors in my Jamieson & Smith and Rauma yarn. I figured for my first kep I would try to follow tradition, and the pattern, as closely as possible. Rauma is not from the region, but is a similar wool.

Fair Isle stitch pattern pages are attached in a variety of sizes which can be used to create colorwork designs of my own choosing. I followed the suggested cast-on number and used a size 1.5 US needle. I’m hoping it won’t end up too small, but decided on this size after looking at my Katie’s Kep notes.

The pattern instructions are basic, with cast-on number, placing the plain knit and purl rows, turning instructions (the brim will fold up and be doubled), and when to change needle size. There are detailed instructions for decreasing at the crown (which I would change next time). But all of the patterning is left up to the knitter, which makes for some interesting keps! Having a Fair Isle pattern book is useful at this point although some pattern suggestions are included.

The Hat is On Hold

I had planned to write about how I made the tassel for this hat. The tassel is added after the hat is washed and blocked so I have a ways to go at this point. One kep knitter created an ocean / fishing themed kep and put little fish hanging off the top in place of traditional tassels! I thought that was so clever.

I had planned to write about how I made the tassel for this hat, but I’ve decided to put this hat on hold after finishing the knit. There are lots of ends to weave in, and I’m not liking the fit. I should have gone up a needle size and made the hat shorter. I don’t like the big bunch of fabric on top of my head, and I don’t like the puckering of the crown.

I did have fun playing with the colorwork, and I’m happy with the colors, just not the hat’s fit in general.

fishermans kep

Keep Reading Knitter Friends!


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