Feather and Fantasia


 According to the online thesaurus, the word “fantasia” denotes a rhapsody, a capriccio, or a fantastical air. Music such as this has its ups and its downs; it ascends gracefully, then just as gracefully retreats and is complete in all its wanderings.

Feather and fan puts me in mind of one of my favorite pieces of music, the “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” by Ralph Vaughn Williams. It was composed in 1910 and is truly a haunting piece of music. Thomas Tallis was a Renaissance composer who left this melody and so many others which were inspired by the music of the period. Even though the piece only runs about twenty minutes long, it’s a perfect piece of music to knit by. Try it sometime.

Knitting’s “feather-and-fan” stitch is one of my favorites and one of knitting’s easiest and most popular. Whatever you pair it with, it seems, it just fits. The pattern, just like a fantasia has its ups and downs too; pair those with awesome color changes and you’ve got a winner.

Here’s what I mean.



feather and fan stitch



 To make a scarf out of the Feather & Fan stitch:

CO 18 stitches (or any variation of a multiple of 18 stitches)

Begin with 6 rows of knit stitch.

Row 1:  Knit.

Row 2:  Purl.

Row 3:  * K2tog (3 times), yo, K1 (6 times), k2tog (3 times), then repeat from * to end.

Row 4:  Knit.

Repeat these 4 rows for desired length. You may choose to use one color or two or many, it’s up to you. When finished, knit 6 rows. Then  bind off all stitches and weave in ends.

Then be prepared for raves!



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  1. Elizabeth Lovick, who lives in the Shetland Islands (Orkney), has a wonderful blog article describing the difference between Old Shale (which this is) and Feather and Fan (which this isn’t). See samples of each stitch here: http://northernlace.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/feather-and-fan-versus-old-shale/