You and your scarf

Your scarf. You ask one thing of your scarf in winter. You ask for warmth. You ask that that feeble throat of yours be kept safe, snug and shielded from the cold winds which will, any day now, come its way.

But, as with so much else in life, as soon as you get what you ask for, you ask for a little more. You ask, for instance, for something that doesn’t itch. Doesn’t bobble. Doesn’t go twice around you neck then stop short: your neck-wrapping stuck halfway to nowhere.

So, while the demands placed upon your scarf at first seem so straightforward, the truth of the matter cascades quickly into your classic hierarchy of needs. And, if you look right to the top of this hierarchy, you end up asking of a scarf some really nitty-gritty stuff; stuff that can elevate a good scarf to great; can lift a great scarf to the rarefied heights of super. Things like: how it was made — by a heaving room-size juggernaut which knits and pearls at the behest of a big green button? Or by someone probably old and local working on your behalf over a single-bed knitting contraption, back and forth, with the know-how and wherewithal of someone who has done so since before you were born?

A tuck-stitch part of the navy-midnight lambswool scarf (above) and a plain-stitch part (right). Worn with a navy-charcoal rollneck jumper — could a neck get any warmer?

Satisfying every step on the neck-need-hierarchy is this scarf: the lambswool marl scarf. Does it keep you warm? Yes it does. It is six-ply: dense for any knitwear, let alone for knitwear for necks. Does it itch? Bobble? Not likely. This is pure lambswool. Fibres of the finest quality and of diameter half that of the human hair — 32 microns or so — which, once processed and softened, make for yarn with the most luxurious handle around. Does it get the job done in the wraparound stakes? Sure does. At 6ft 8in, it is taller than the tallest man in Accrington, and longer than the neck of an adolescent giraffe. It can go around your throat two times, and still leave length enough for the knot of your choice.

Then there’s the top-level stuff. The scarf is hand-framed by a troupe of expert knitters in the south-west and striped with alternating stitches — going plain-tuck-plain-tuck-plain-tuck over its length. The full-blown textural odyssey of the tuck-stitch has been documented already this autumn here, and its none-more-dense smothering properties are balanced out with the lighter and more pliable plain-stitch. The best of both worlds.

The scarf is available in the workshop and the computer-shop in two different two-colour marls: one of charcoal and derby-grey, and the other of navy and midnight-blue.