You've probably noticed that Fair Isle-style knits are huge right now.
You can find them just about anywhere this season, often at rock-bottom prices. This Victoria's Secret Fair Isle cardigan, for example, is just $49.
But sweaters like this one are factory-made, mass produced, and a far cry from authentic Fair Isle sweaters, which are knit by hand on up to five needles and take about 120 hours of knitting to create!
And in another 10 years, authentic Fair Isle sweaters might be a thing of the past.
Read on to find out why ...
According to the Daily Mail, which has a fascinating article out today on the Fair Isle knitting tradition:
Whereas 60 years ago there were thousands of women creating them, only six elderly women knit on Fair Isle itself -- a tiny island midway between the Shetlands and Orkney -- along with a handful of ladies in their 70s and 80s scattered across the Shetlands.
A true Fair Isle sweater must actually have been knitted on Fair Isle off the northeast coast of Scotland, which has a very small population. And while authentic Fair Isle sweaters cost up to $795, that only works out to about $6 per hour max for the knitter.
The entire Daily Mail story on Fair Isle sweaters really is worth a read -- I find the whole thing fascinating, right down to the belief that the style of knitting (which resembles Moorish patterns) is a result of a shipwrecked vessel from the Spanish Armada that ended up on the island 400 years ago.
And now, I have to admit, I'm going to be on the hunt at vintage stores for an authentic Fair Isle sweater for myself.
How about you?
Image via Victoria's Secret