Revisiting the moss-stitch

Makes for a deceptively steadying type of knitwear, the moss stitch. Capably keeps the heat in and the cold out — but never gets too bulky. Take the button-up cardigan, which goes deep into chunky territory without jettisoning any of the possibilities of early-winter layering.

The yarn comes from Yorkshire. It’s pliable and warm lambswool, but it also has some backbone to it — and, hailing as it does from a place that’s been spinning, oiling, and twisting the stuff since the mid-1700s, it’s safe to assume you’re in capable hands. And, as was found with the three-stitch rollneck back in September, it’s a more skin-friendly but no less warm or hardy alternative to the Shetland yarn used for last year’s jumpers.

The actual making, meanwhile, has again been done in Nottinghamshire, in the East Midlands of England, by a family-run firm which has quietly gone about its business since the 1970s. The expertise of the workers, and the trusty, well-worn nature of the contraptions they operate, impart character to the cardigans. Moss-stitch, indeed, is a very idiosyncratic stitch: one man’s stitch won’t ever be same as another’s, depending as it does on who uses which machine, how, and all the minutia of how the machine is set.

The cardigan has a fairly deep crewneck, front-facing patch pockets, and a 2 x 1 rib-stich neck, placket, and hem. It’s available in two colours: one an almost school uniform-like grey; the other “biscuit” — a type of beige. Neither is in the least bit perennial, and the instance temperatures go above 15-degrees, you’re in trouble. Before then, though, they’re a shrewd bet, and they’re both available in very small quantities in the shop right now.