Boatneck in geelong lambswool in derby grey

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£320.00 — ex VAT

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


The boatneck is a snug and slim fit. The mannequin here — a standard 40 — is wearing M, but if he wanted a more relaxed look and feel, then he'd be advised to go for size L.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20 21 22 23 24
Back length 23½ 24 24½ 25 25½
Sleeve from centre-back 30 30½ 31 31½ 32
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 and flatter three-ply. Much of the joy of the boatneck are in its rolled edges, which curl back on themselves — most notably at the neck, but also at the hem.
It is made from luxury geelong lambswool — merino's even softer brother — and is thus incomparably cosy and comfortable. Sumptuous is the word. And it is entirely hand-framed: made by a single, skilled knitter on a hand-operated contraption, 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 greys of the darker 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.

So they say

It has arrived. And it is the most wonderful jumper I think I’ve owned. Thank you so much. Perfect fit and just perfect.

Happy words by a man who bought the boatneck in six-ply cotton in January 2021.