Boatneck in six-ply cotton in malt

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£250.00 — ex VAT

Sweater with a boatneck — which is to say, a crewneck which is higher at the front but wider at the sides — which is hand-framed with super-fine cotton in the south-west of the British Isles.


The boatneck fits true to size, and thus the mannequin — a standard 38 — is wearing S.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 21 22 23 24 25
Back length 22½ 23 23½ 24 24½
Sleeve from centre-back 31 31½ 32 32½ 33


The boatneck is machine-washable. You read that right. Wash it on a knitwear cycle or at a low temperature, and it will come out the same as it went in. However, let's not forget that washing by hand is always preferable, for this as any garment, since it will preserve the many qualities of the yarn for the very longest time.

The boatneck is a medium-weight sweater, with a front that's a chunky six-ply tuck-stitch, and sleeves and back that are a lighter, flatter three-ply. It's cotton, though, so is dry and breathable, and thus the boatneck is an easy thing to wear all times of the year, save the sticky, heady heights of summer.
This yarn, then. It is cotton, but cotton of unchartered softness. Superlatives besides soft are second best, but spongey is another good one. And it is entirely hand-framed: made by a single, skilled knitter on a hand-operated contraption — the likes of which is seldom seen in this country these days.
The boatneck looks to the sea in some of its styling — not least the seafaring-friendly dropped shoulder, which gives an easy, casual look, and makes for a soft shape over the shoulder. And, as seen here, many seams are inverted, making the whole thing look bolder than standard landlubbing sweaters.
The neck, hem, and cuffs of the jumper are all rib-stitch, which keeps them nice and tight. The cuffs are turn-back: twice as long as usual, so they can be turned back on themselves. The aforementioned neck and hem, meanwhile, have an extra few rows of stitching that make them roll gently back on themselves.
The back is thinner and less textured than the front. Much easier to wear beneath a jacket. The sloping angle of the seam joining them is a tell-tale sign of full-fashioning, which is knitting wherein each piece of the jumper is individually shaped and engineered — tailored, almost — to achieve the best fit.
One of the most unique and unusual aspects of the boatneck is the panel running all the way from the base of the body, up the sides, and continues in an unbroken channel under the arm and through the sleeve. It's an enormous gusset, offering extended movement all through the arm.
All these parts and panels, all these different weights and textures — it's a good job the knitters responsible are world-leading in hand-linking. Just imagine: every minuscule loop of yarn looped with hand and knitting needle onto the next, to piece the whole thing together. Skilful and strenuous stuff.
There are two shades of yarn at play here — two naturals of middling order. They mingle in the plain-stitch sleeves and back, and the tuck-stitch of the front. The latter is of course the main event. It is a dense stitch, but also springy and breathable. And just look: marvellously textured is the tuck.

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", 38 in the chest, and weighs just over 11 stone. He's here wearing a size S in the boatneck — an early version, which had single-length cuffs rather than ones that turn back on themselves, hence the very short sleeve.
The man is the same, but the boatneck is not only a different colour, but one size bigger — it's a size M — and is thus arguably a little on the baggy side, and too low over the shoulder.

Makers of

The garment is hand-framed by a knitwear maker founded 100 years ago. They work with small, hand-operated machines overseen by one person, rather than automated machines, making them one of the last makers still to do so in Britain. It is slow going, but the results always bear out the work put in.