100% cotton

There’s only one problem with the cotton cardigan. No one believes it’s cotton. They think it’s wool. Some sort of merino maybe. But no: the cotton cardigan is — honestly, genuinely, and all joking aside — cotton.

100% cotton    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

Incredulousness is understandable. The cotton here is the stuff of luxury — the finest fibres of the most minuscule microns of diameter — and its use is made possible only by the anti-modern and anti-mechanisation technique of hand-loomed knitwear making.

Hand-loomed knitting means knitwear made on one human-sized knitting contraption operated by one human-sized person. Someone usually very old and always very skillful carefully pushing a shuttle back and forth; going at a slow and unwavering pace to maintain tension and so on. It is slow going, hand-linking — each cardigan takes around one day to make — but, so goes the mantra at the factory, “quality takes time.” Taking up more time still is the herringbone pattern of the cardigan, with its two complementary shades of blue plain-stitched together to create everyone’s favourite sartorial serration.

100% cotton    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

The cardigan is also “fully fashioned”: tailored, in a sense, with front, back, and sleeves hand-linked together for a fit impossible with knitwear cobbled-together and mass-made. To fully appreciate the mind-boggling meticulousness of hand-linking, meanwhile, it is necessary really to see someone actually doing it. It sees every strand of yarn on, say, the body of the cardigan linked around the corresponding strand on the sleeve. That’s a lot of linking; a lot of work. The results, though, bear it out: hand-linking means no stitch lines, which means comfort and also means no “bump” where seam meets seam. Clever.

100% cotton    Garments made with the makers of the British Isles

Back, then, to cotton. Cotton is lightweight and breathable and makes the odd prospect of spring-time knitwear an entirely normal one. What you get, in effect, is the best of all possible worlds: the appearance and handle of fine wool and the hard-working characteristics of cotton. Both light-blue and navy cotton cardigans are in the shop now.