Shawl cardigan in ten-ply lambswool in imperial blue

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Buying

£410.00 — ex VAT

Heavy cardigan, with double-layer collar, hand-framed and hand-linked with soft geelong lambswool in the south-west of the British Isles, and with horn buttons from the West Midlands.

Sizing

The shawl cardigan fits true to size, and so the mannequin — a standard 40 — is wearing M. Please note that it fits like a jacket, rather than a cardigan, so go down a size for a slimmer fit.

XS S M L XL
To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20 21 22 23 24
Back length 27¾ 28 28¼ 28½ 28¾
Sleeve from centre-back 32½ 33 33½ 34 34½
The shawl cardigan is ten-ply, which means it is preposterously thick. Not only that: the collar is double-layer, so is akin to draping two scarves around your neck. It is hand-framed — i.e. made by a single knitter, who controls the quality and tension of the stitch on an old and hand-operated contraption.
The cardigan can make another boast in the world of luxury-grade knitwear bingo: it is fully-fashioned. That is to say, the sleeve and body are individually shaped and engineered — just like a tailored jacket, say — to achieve the best shape. This is not ordinary; it demands knitting expertise of black-belt standard.
The construction of the cardigan is unusual. The sleeve and upper body is a single panel, and is attached to the lower body with a horizontal seam which runs across the chest. Into this seam at the front has been built a little chest pocket (you have to take advantage of these opportunities).
The cardigan has a front of five horn buttons, which are middling in size, dark in colour, and matte in finish. Because each button is a thing of nature — rather than an ersatz replica — they are all unique, differing to lesser and greater degrees from one to the next in colour and shade and markings and so on.
The density of the cardigan — comparable to heavy seafaring gear — does not come at the expense of comfort. It is made from luxury geelong lambswool — merino's even softer brother — and is thus incomparably cosy and comfortable. If one were prone to superlatives, it could be called sumptuous.
It is hand-linked — i.e. body and sleeve, or sleeve and cuff, are not stitched together. Instead, the tiny knit loops of each part are linked together, with a knitting needle, by hand. Painfully slow work, as you might imagine — but the only way to achieve a soft, seamless finish. The seam here, for example: where is it?
There are three shades of yarn at play here — a complementary trio of dark blues . The yarn is knitted into a tuck-stitch, which has a layered, textured appearance. It is dense, on the one hand, but springy and breathable on the other. And just look at it — marvellously textured, the tuck.

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.