We have quite a passion for knitwear in Britain.
On the quiet, you know. We tend not to swoon extravagantly over cardigans or wrestle each other in the sales for a Fair Isle jumper, but all the same, we love it.
We love to touch it and feel its softness against our skin. The new mood for hand-made and natural products means that the yearning for luxury knitwear is stronger than ever, with cashmere and pure lambswool much in demand.
The fashion element of knitwear has become stronger too, led by Scottish companies such as Pringle (as worn by Tilda Swinton) and Johnston’s of Elgin, which collaborates with designers including Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Kane.
In Yorkshire, Izzy Lane and Makepiece are two brands that use wool from their own flocks to make beautiful pieces of knitwear, sought after across the globe. New knitwear labels launched in Yorkshire last year include Northallerton-based Needle, which creates cool yet cosy knitwear pieces inspired by the places and people they love.
Knitwear is pretty much an essential, of course, given our chilly climate, especially in Yorkshire. Even in summer, a fine knit is usually needed, often long before the sun goes down.
But it is in winter that we really rely on our knitwear, layering fine knits within the home (so you can turn the central heating down a notch), and pulling on a chunky long cardigan for outdoors, adding a fine cashmere pashmina, socks and gloves. Look out too for knit dresses, long tunic cardigans and biker-style jackets knitted in cable style.
Good knitwear isn’t cheap, of course, not when you’re talking cashmere and lambswool, and not if you want quality garments that don’t fall to pieces within a couple of wears and shrink and bobble within a couple of washes.
All the same, in the sales, quality knits can be picked up for a song. Invest in the best you can afford, and you will have a piece of knitwear to cherish forever.