Prada’s hippie-Cowichan funhouse sweaters

Prada's hippie-Cowichan funhouse sweaters

There was this thing on the Prada Fall 2016 runway last spring that I quickly clicked right past, aghast at the … well, at the whole thing, let’s be honest. I didn’t linger nearly long enough to notice or wonder about the knitted fabric that made up the body of that cardigan. Then last week a reader sent me an email containing the image at the top of this post — from Prada’s current ad campaign — asking if I could shed any light on it. A few days later, a friend texted the Eddie Redmayne becardiganned version below it. Both images had the opposite effect on me: I could not take my eyes off them. The fabric is fascinating, but the vest! It’s like some kind of hippie patchwork version of my fitted Cowichan-ish vest, one of my all-time favorite garments. The colors in the Prada vest are too Bob Newhart Show for me (although I like it against the pink!), but the palette of Eddie’s cardigan is mesmerizing — like The Plucky Knitter was involved.

But what IS IT, you’re wondering? So was I! For a diagnosis, I turned to my friend Kate, who sees it as a variation on the short-row scallops you see in something like Olga’s Aranami shawl, with intarsia for the color changes, and a single-row stripe worked as a purl stitch running along the upper row of each scalloped ridgeline. No big deal!

I’ve never knitted anything in the scallops category and never done intarsia, but I’m sufficiently fascinated with that vest that I might have to give something like it a try someday. (Thank you, Ece!)

Prada's hippie-Cowichan funhouse sweaters

PREVIOUSLY in Fall 2016: Best of the Best: Dries’ epic sweater

30 thoughts on “Prada’s hippie-Cowichan funhouse sweaters

  1. I spent a good 10-15 minutes studying the Eddie Redmayne photo in a print magazine. I LOVE IT. I find as I get older I am more and more attracted to bold patterns and colors. Glad to have some resources to consult if I every try to create something like this. The million ends is a deterrent though! Thanks for sharing.

    • No! You NEED lots of ends so that the UN-woven-in ends make a great hippie shaggy vest when wearing it in reverse. I bet Prada will reveal that version soon. I like this vest, color included.

  2. There’s another colorway on Eddie that I like better than these two for the same campaign and it’s labeled intarsia Shetland wool sweater.

  3. I saw Eddie wearing that sweater on and kind of fell in love with it. Honestly, I think this is a sweater I can totally pull off (wearing wise), but the possible logistics of knitting it (or, let’s be honest, weaving in the ENDS for DAYS) gives me the vapors

  4. This is a method called modular knitting.An old time afghan s

    method extensively developed much further by Horst Schultz. See his “patchwork knitting” book. Also a student of his Patricia We’re has really used the method to make fabulous garments . See her book “Dazzling Knits”.

  5. Ha ha – At first I though you meant that the vest was too much like something that Suzanne Pleshette’s character Emily Newhart would wear – which she could totally rock with a pair of palazzos – but then I realized you were talking about the colours. ;) If someone could reverse engineer these scallops and write up this pattern, I would totally knit it, a million ends to weave in be damned!!

  6. That sweater is so much fun! I am always drawn to pattern and color, but I feel clownish when I wear such things! I was surfing the internet with Fringe Association as my jumping off point just now (as one does…), and somehow I got here, which seems to complete the circle today:
    Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for the wonderful things, skills, and people fiber arts have brought into my life. I am thankful for you too, Karen. Your blog is responsible for me finding out about Squam, and the past two fall workshops have enriched my life so, so much. XOXO

  7. I admit that based on the title, I almost didn’t click through to this post … but I’m glad I did! This knitted fabric is fascinating. I have the Aranami pattern and love it, although I haven’t made it yet. I wonder if using fewer colors would tone the sweater down a little (more my taste) and cut down a bit on the number of ends …

  8. Agh! I love these so much! I’ve been studying the scallops and can’t fully wrap my brain around it. If someone figures out how to do it, I’ll gladly learn from you :) I especially love the carry-over color creating the garter ridge at the top of each scallop. So cool.

  9. I took a workshop from Lucy Neatby years ago and we worked intarsia like that. She had this coat pattern that I wanted to knit, and then thought better of it, because it could be really clownish with the wrong color choices.

  10. Thank you Karen, for featuring this here and generating a great discussion! I identified 12 colors on that vest (!) and that’s the extent of my progress on this pattern so far :( But there are some very helpful ideas here that might push this obsession over the edge into success territory yet.
    Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for your blog and for the community built around it, for all the inspiration and energy you generate by your output.

  11. Hi Karen,
    I’m coming to this post a bit late, but I actually just read a great writeup about this sweater on Mason-Dixon knitting. Julia Farwell-Clay really breaks down how the stitch pattern is created and shows that the ends on the back side are probably knotted, not woven in. A commenter also noted that this isn’t Mr. Redmayne’s first time modeling knitwear, either! :-)

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