Wednesday, 3rd October 2012
The hearty whiff of fresh lanolin about the place can mean only one thing. The knitwear has landed. Two jumpers — crew-neck and shawl-neck — to be exact. And not just any jumpers, but ten-ply tuck-stitch jumpers somehow at once both unusually thick and miraculously soft.
The “ten-ply” part means ten stitches per inch, which doesn’t take much imagination to realise results in armour-type thickness. One jumper folded neatly, indeed, is the same height as four semi-cutaway shirts (themselves no slouches in the thickness department).
The “tuck-stitch” part, meanwhile, means a traditional stitch with the yarn-strands woven into an interlocking matrix-like fortress of warmth. The shawl-neck jumper uses two colours of yarn (two complementary shades of light grey) — while the crew-neck jumper uses four (grey at the darker end of the spectrum times three, and a dark green).
But what the jumpers gain in density and warmth they don’t lose a bit in comfort. The yarn is the finest lambswool going; lambswool that could quite easily get away with calling itself cashmere. And so the jumpers have a tremendous softness that is worlds away from the stiffness attendant to most knitwear of similarly nuclear-grade thickness.
This has all been made possible by working with one of the finest luxury knitwear makers in the country. Maybe not the best, but in experience here, definitely in the top one; the go-to for all things knitted and of top-grade / upper-crust luxury. Founded over 100 years ago, it works with hand-operated machines overseen by one person rather than the industrial-size knitting machines of the day. It is one of the only, perhaps the only, maker to do that in Britain. Slow going — relying on hand-operation, there’s no go-faster dial, and if a knitter’s wrist takes a knock (it can happen) production comes to a halt — but the results without doubt bear out the time, skill, and considerable effort involved.
Here then: the crew-neck — with slouch pockets that fasten with a Midlands-made horn button — and the shawl-neck jumper — horn-button at the neck this time. Both limited edition in the true sense of the term: you can count the available numbers on two hands.