Lambswool stitched three ways

Some soft but steadying Yorkshire-spun lambswool and three fit-for-purpose stitches make up the three-stitch rollneck. So, moss-stitch on the chest, plain most other places, and a strategically deployed rib-stitch, all masterfully knitted by a family-run firm in Nottinghamshire.

First, the wool. Feedback to last year’s Shetland Isle wool was “please soften up”, and this — indecently soft and pliable stuff, spun, oiled, and hand-twisted from the finest lambswool in Yorkshire, by people who have been doing the same thing for 200 years — is the response. Gets on much better with skin, without losing any of the chill-repelling weight; naturally and thumpingly warm stuff, spun so as trap more air than the norm.

The actual act of knitting is a mostly mechanical one, but is handled by a team of highly skilled and experienced artisans in Nottingham, an area of England long steeped in the trade. They are, suffice to say, very good at what they do — each bringing individual care and skill and understanding of the yarn, such that no two roll-necks are quite the same.

There are three stitches at work: moss, plain, and rib. Moss — a hearty and pleasingly dense stitch — is on the chest and back, while plain is used below and on the arms. A two-by-one rib stitch, meanwhile, is used for the neck, cuffs, and welt — blocking warm air at every escape-route. The rib-stitch is particularly handy at the neck, helping it keep shape, hug the neck, but not making things so close-fitting so as to suffocate the wearer.

Another returnee from last winter are the knitted slouch pockets, which sit waist-height on the seam. They’re there if your hands want them, and if they don’t — well, they’re still there, but being on seam means they’re as concealed as such pockets can possibly be.

As the pictures here attest, it’s a narrower, shorter affair than last year’s moss-stitch jumpers — but still with room enough to wear what you like underneath — with much narrower arms to facilitate layering. Speaking of which (layering, not arms) there’ll be many new things with which to layer the roll-neck in the shop in the next few weeks.