Above is Drips. I was hankering to make one since I first came across the pattern late last spring. I didn't really have it in me until this fall. I dove in, thinking it would be easy to learn how to do the colour-work. You know that saying, when you 'ASSUME" you make an "ASS" our of "U" and "ME"? Yeah, I forgot about that. Hubris got the best of me. But let me explain ... I don't want to put you off Fair Isle knitting, just please learn from my foibles.
So I figured it should be easy, sure it's a new technique, but I've seen other people do it, it's 2 colours, and an easy chart to read. What could go wrong? My tension, that's what. There are many projects where tension in fair isle isn't a huge issue, and it's ok if it's a little off. But a hat needs to stretch to fit a head, so the tension has to be consistent. If it's too tight, the hat won't stretch. If it's too loose, you'll see gaps between the colours when it stretches.
Of course, I really had not thought about any of this, I just said "Hey! Lets make a cool looking hat! Wheeee!" (I did not actually say any of that, inside or outside of my head, but it illustrates my reasoning, or absence thereof).
I looked up some videos on youtube about Fair Isle knitting, and took it from there. I found that I was most comfortable holding a strand in each hand, so I used that technique. Now, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the tutorials I followed, they were great. I did not learn anything incorrect or bad from them. My problem stemmed from the fact that my tension knitting with my left hand (continental technique) is a lot tighter than my tension knitting with my right hand (english technique). It makes sense, I have knitted English all my life.
After a few attempts, I threw in the towel. The yarn, Malabrigo Worsted, is a single ply and not resilient. If I kept ripping it out I'd also wreck the yarn. I made a compromise, decided to add the drips to my hat using duplicate stitch (embroidery), and resolved to tackle the fair isle issue again after consulting with a professional.
I've since consulted with the intrepid Liane, who learned from the all knowing Mairi, that for me, the best way to get a consistent tension on a fair isle hat is to use the method where I hold both strands of yarn in my Right hand. The 2 handed method was comfortable for me, but I could not control the tension. Problem solved, I'll give it another shot later.