Prince of Wales Fair Isle Slipover

This is the “Prince of Wales Vest” by Katherine Misegades from the book “Sweaters From Camp” by Swanson et al. First, a bit of history. The then Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, was given a Fair Isle garment in 1921. The prince was known as a trend setter and he was always keen to promote British products. He wore Fair Isle jumpers, slipovers and stockings in public, especially on the golf course, thereby popularizing Fair Isle garments and giving a boost to the industry. He posed for the famous painting by Sir Henry Lander in 1921, wearing a traditional Fair Isle jumper. This is an “interpretation” of the jumper worn by the Prince in the painting. I suppose as such it is good but as a replication of the original it leaves much to be desired.

The 9 colours remind me of an Arts & Crafts painting or ceramic tile of a big brown bear in the woods surrounded by fir tress and autumn colour leaves (and of course, a log cabin). These colours definitely give the slipover a vintage look.

Boring stuff: It is knitted on 2.75 mm needles for the ribbing and 3.25 for the body with a guage of 32 stitches/inch. It was done in the round with steeks and grafted shoulders. A couple of garments ago I learned to shape the back of the neck so that it accommodates the collar of a shirt worn underneath. I did that again and I like how it fits. The overall design is simple with 3 pattern bands designs and 2 peerie designs. The pattern repeats for the peeries have 6 stitches and 2 of the bands have 18 stitches and the main band has 24 stitches. There are 2 errors in the pattern which I'd be happy to tell anyone who asks. Also, I don't care for the shaping of the armholes. I used Jamieson knitting wools which I sourced from Schoolhouse Press where the customer service is always top notch.

I always swear "never again!" when knitting corrugated ribbing, but I can't resist the final look. This time I decided to try something different and to have the green stripes stand out starkly against the cream background. I purled them proud (dominant) and it gave a great effect to the garment. For the last slipover I learned the invisible bind-off for 1x1 ribbing. It is now my preferred bind-off method. This garment as a 2x2 ribbing and I learned how to do the invisible bind-off with that kind of ribbing, only to learn that it looks terrible in two colours! It's a complicated method (if you think Kitchener stitch is difficult, this is far worse!) and it took some hard concentration to undo it. I ended up by calling a truce with my crochet hook for long enough to bind off all the ribbing in the traditional method.

If anyone is thinking about knitting a fair isle style garment, this would be a great beginner's project.

Image icon Prince of Wales 1.JPG152.49 KB
Image icon Prince of Wales 2.JPG153.98 KB
Image icon Prince of Wales 3.JPG188.09 KB
Image icon Prince of Wales 4.JPG124.98 KB


As usual, Jesse, a simply jaw-dropping creation. I love everything about it. I have had to give up colour work as my fingers now find it difficult to manipulate more than one colour per row. Congratulations on your latest piece.

JRob's picture

Nicely done. Looks great. JRob

Bill's picture

Beautiful work! ...and thank you for the great pictures!

ronhuber's picture

Gorgeous. One of my favourite books.

CLABBERS's picture

I really do sit in awe at your work. It is beautiful! I would love to hire you to teach me.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Crafty Andy's picture

Great Job as always.

cacunn's picture

Great work!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Astounding! Plus, it looks great on you, Jesse.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Kerry's picture

Beautiful vest Jesse, and beautifully modeled, and your ribbing looks great.

Nehkhasi's picture

Beautiful Sweater and absolutely great job! :-)