The knitwear thread

The Shooman

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For everything about knitwear, post it here. Tell us about your favourite knitwear, show us your collection, and tell us what you wish to get.



I get really cold in the really early morning while l meditate inside and outside, so l am starting to get really excited about 4 ply and 12 ply cashmere sweaters.

This 12 ply job may be just the ticket in the early mornings in winter:
http://www.oconnellsclothing.com/O-Connell-s-12-ply-Cashmere-Cardigan-no-pockets-Tartan-Green.html

and of course a 12 ply one could be custom made by our old mate Paggy. The long term plan would be to get four or five 12 ply cashmere jobs.

And of course having some of these awesome looking 4 ply crew necks from Berk would also be good:
https://www.berkcashmere.co.uk/product.php?id=512&name=BERK+-+Cable+Crew+Neck+4+Ply

And of course some of these Arans by Inis Meain Aran will be a good place to start:
http://www.henrybucks.com.au/store/Inis-Meain-Aran-Shawl-Button-Wool-Cardigan.html

Time do do the chunky sweater thing and see how it serves me. I am excited! Sure they are costly garments, but sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and get it done. Quality shoos and knitwear IS worth the outlay, especially for me. We can't monkey about with such stuff, we need to do it right and not skimp.

The Shooman.
 

Thruth

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For everything about knitwear, post it here. Tell us about your favourite knitwear, show us your collection, and tell us what you wish to get.



I get really cold in the really early morning while l meditate inside and outside, so l am starting to get really excited about 4 ply and 12 ply cashmere sweaters.

This 12 ply job may be just the ticket in the early mornings in winter:
http://www.oconnellsclothing.com/O-Connell-s-12-ply-Cashmere-Cardigan-no-pockets-Tartan-Green.html

and of course a 12 ply one could be custom made by our old mate Paggy. The long term plan would be to get four or five 12 ply cashmere jobs.

And of course having some of these awesome looking 4 ply crew necks from Berk would also be good:
https://www.berkcashmere.co.uk/product.php?id=512&name=BERK+-+Cable+Crew+Neck+4+Ply

And of course some of these Arans by Inis Meain Aran will be a good place to start:
http://www.henrybucks.com.au/store/Inis-Meain-Aran-Shawl-Button-Wool-Cardigan.html

Time do do the chunky sweater thing and see how it serves me. I am excited! Sure they are costly garments, but sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and get it done. Quality shoos and knitwear IS worth the outlay, especially for me. We can't monkey about with such stuff, we need to do it right and not skimp.

The Shooman.
Nice thread The Shooman The Shooman .

Tell us more about Paggy.

I remember a post by T4 Phage from the early days of SF circa 2004 commenting on how one could get better quality bespoke Shetlands compared to what O'Connels were offering both in terms of quality and price. I'll have to try and dig it up.
 

Leitmotif

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I know people here for the most part shit on anything that is sold to the masses except Rolex. I have had a Etro sweater for 6 years that I bought for 70 dollars. Other than wear in the elbow pads, still as good as the day I bought it.
 

Thruth

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I know people here for the most part shit on anything that is sold to the masses except Rolex. I have had a Etro sweater for 6 years that I bought for 70 dollars. Other than wear in the elbow pads, still as good as the day I bought it.
Sure Etro is a fashion brand but in the past I've found their stuff to be well made.
 

Lord Buckley

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Etro was seriously good back in the early to mid 2000's. They had a really vibrant, yet Blakean August colour scheme that worked really well in the UK. Just as I was getting into them, I relocated overseas to a tropical climate which kind of killed it for me. And interestingly on the flight out they had an article on Etro in the airline magazine which reinforced my interest. And when I came back, I took-up where I left and I initially found them excellent quality.

I had/have a striped sweater from 2002 which is the epitome of Etro's peak and unfortunately for me, the missus washed it and it shrunk. But the Mother-in-law has it now and she really likes it, as she wears it a lot in the winter. That jumper is 15 years old now and it still looks great, all the colours are as vibrant as ever.
 

Leitmotif

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When the lazy italians want to make something good and they try, they truly do a wonderful job.

Such as the Lancia delta integrale
 

Lord Buckley

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The Italians are basically industrious, they are very similar to the Brits in many ways. Both see the exotic, yet compatible other, in each other.

But in saying that, yes, Italy has some real serious banking, corruption and other problems. They also like to get Brits to carry out the dodgy deals for them when they want it to be clear and transparently legitimate.
 

QuandoDio

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Sure Etro is a fashion brand but in the past I've found their stuff to be well made.
Yep. My first OTC wool socks is from Etro and over a decade later, no holes in it. I wear it three or so times a year.

I also have a suit i bought from Etro also over a decade old (one of their more muted designs) which was excellent.

Before Drakes/ Kimber/ Rubinacci started with their properly sized baroque squares . Apart from Turnbull and Asser, Etro sold (and still sells) said squares: i have two squares from Etro, over 15 years and excellent. Shame i very rarely squares ever
 

The Shooman

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Yep, this thread has lots of potential. Got lots of good things l want to post here...good tit bits of info from industry people about knitwear. Hopefully others here will share their experiences too.


Tell us more about Paggy.
Paggy is the name we gave Kabbaz. I find his cardigans to be a little ugly.



I remember a post by T4 Phage from the early days of SF circa 2004 commenting on how one could get better quality bespoke Shetlands compared to what O'Connels were offering both in terms of quality and price. I'll have to try and dig it up.
Wow,if you can find it that would be great. If l am going to pay almost 2k (aussie dollars) l definitely want something pretty special and up there with the best.

Late edit: here:
http://www.styleforum.net/t/532315/shetland-sweaters

Check out this beauty from Brunello Cucinelli. A 12 ply which would set you back over $2,600 U.S.
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Oconnells also sell 8 ply wool cardigans. Slightly under $400, so l might get one of those first.
http://www.oconnellsclothing.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1
 
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The Shooman

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O.k, some interesting info from industry people. I want to put these industry comments because l find they are often different to things posted online by amateurs. For eg, igents say that 2 ply sweaters are superior to 1 ply, but that is not correct. Other igents say that pilling is not an indicator of quality, but apparently this is not true either. As time goes on l will post industry comments that talk about these things. O.k, I will start with some soft talk from Caron Slimak and ease into it gently. She talks alittle wishy washy at times, but it is a fun read none-the-less. Later l will get more hardcore in the info.

Caron Slimak is the owner and head of a custom cashmere sweater business, Queen of Cashmere.

Industry talk - part 1

Quotes below:

The water in Scotland
"I buy from a Scottish mill. It’s the water in Scotland. The softness and purity of the water in Scotland vs. China means that yarn spinners imbue their cashmere with softness, and the dyeing process produces more vibrant colors".

Gauge, Scotland and the study gal
"You will often hear about gauge, ply, loft, pilling, softness, and slickness. Some of these reflect quality and some don’t. Gauge simply means, how many needles on the machine and thus stitches per inch. Run the hand behind the sweater and see if it has a loose open stitch. If you have lesser quality cashmere sweater, sometimes the knitter will loosen up on your gauge to get it to appear softer. The traditional Scottish product will be knit flat and tight. It’s made to do distance and will soften with years of wear. The Italians on the other hand like to knit a fluffy, sexy product. It will have an amazing handle (feel) on the selling floor and it’s a more delicate product. It’s the knitwear showdown of Sex Kitten vs. Sturdy Gal. On the other hand, some sweaters are knit out of gauge on purpose, to be a modern, cobwebby, boho-chic soft of sweater".


"Ply really has nothing to do with quality. It has to do with cashmere content and the thickness of the sweater, which will affect the price. Ply is a matter of styling and type of sweater, NOT an indicator of quality. There are a lot of poorly constructed and milled sweaters using inferior yarn that have a high ply and cashmere content"

Testing sweater quality
"A final good test of yarn and knit quality is the evenness of the fabric of the sweater. Hold the sweater up to the light and look though it for uneven or thin patches. A good quality sweater should be consistently knit from a high quality consistent yarn"

Decline in highend availability of cashmere knitwear
"Question: What are some good sources for top quality cashmere?

Answer: Who is left? So many people have exited the top end business".

Knitwear care
"A good piece of cashmere should never be dry-cleaned. But if you have a less than good piece, you need to do it anyway. If you own Woolite, throw it OUT! It leeches color right out of everything"

"So you can afford the better cashmere sweaters. Handwash but minimize the hazards by following these rules: Never ever agitate. (Also a good rule for life in general). Put the garment in the dryer for no more than 5 minutes to get the stitches distributed and aligned, finish drying it flat and touch up with a steam iron using a silicon pressing cloth, or layer of a sheet over. Block the sweater(press with steam lifting the iron in an up and down motion). Never use a back and forth ironing motion or it will ‘grow’ your cashmere and make it larger. Never use the iron directly on the neck or seams because it will glaze the cashmere. If you have a good sweater, follow these instructions and it should look new"

For full article see here:
http://amidprivilege.com/2009/12/ho...stand-cashmere-sweaters-goats-are-involved-2/

 

The Shooman

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I don't like posting three times in a row, but l will try to make an exception this once.

Industry talk - part 2 (quotes from Style Forum)

The internet is littered with comments saying that cashmere from certain parts of the goat is superior, but according to FrankDC on S.F this is a myth. What are Frank's credentials? This = "a commercial buyer and seller of raw cashmere and finished cashmere garments for 20+ years".

Here's some excellent posts on knitwear from Frank, he seems to know what's going on, and these are the finest posts on knitwear from S.F. I post a few highlights below.

The internet myth
As mentioned, better quality cashmere does indeed come from a particular section of the goat. Because the underside of the neck and front section of the chest never experience the harsh elements, this is the zone from which the best fibers are combed?


The truth according to industry professional Frank
"Actually Gary, that's a myth, popularized by marketeers at companies like Lands End who can't think of any other way to sell average grade cashmere sweaters"

"1. The goats who produced it. The absolute finest cashmere, with a fiber width of <11 microns is known as "super white" and comes from Alashan goats in Inner West Mongolia. This stuff represents well under 1% of the annual production from Mongolia, and most of it each spring goes to only a few companies (Loro Piana alone gets roughly half of it every year). In addition, the best of this Alashan is still gathered by hand from wild goats (results in longer fiber lengths), while the rest is shorn by razor or automated shearing machines, which results in much shorter fiber lengths and greatly reduced durability (much more prone to shedding and pilling).

2. How it's processed. Some companies spend more time dehairing, carding etc than others. Simply put, if you leave a lot of guard hairs in the raw cashmere, it's going to wind up as scratchy clothing, regardless of how fine the cashmere is. Also, as you mentioned, the dye used for a particular color does (or at least can) effect quality.

3. How it's knitted or woven. Ply doesn't matter nearly as much as many people might think, e.g. for feel and hand I actually prefer single-ply sweaters, and have dozens of them that look just as good now as they did 10+ years ago. It's all about fiber quality, not thickness".

FrankDC, Dec 23, 2006

http://www.styleforum.net/threads/how-can-you-determine-quality-cashmere.26421/#post-367016



More great gems on info from Frank...cashmere quality varies from year to year.

"Another issue is that cashmere, like other agricultural products varies widely in both quantity and quality from year to year and region to region. During a good year you may find a $100 Gobi sweater of incredible fiber quality, and the next year you may pay $400 for a Zegna sweater of completely average fiber quality".

http://www.styleforum.net/threads/how-can-you-determine-quality-cashmere.26421/page-2#post-367193



Frank on cashmere care is different to others

"When hand washing cashmere, unless it's stained or heavily soiled, less is always better. Less water, less soap and less agitation. When finished, instead of squeezing excess water out of your sweaters, you can save wear (and lots of drying time) by briefly spinning them in a washing machine's spin cycle before laying them out to dry. Use the machine's delicate spin cycle if it has one. Do not tumble dry and avoid all sources of direct heat".

http://www.styleforum.net/threads/how-can-you-determine-quality-cashmere.26421/page-2#post-367213


"Increasing the number of plys to two helps avoid thin spots in finished yarn. But this doesn't help reduce shedding or pilling, since the number of fiber ends in the yarn are doubled. Beyond two plys there's no real benefit, other than producing a heavier yarn".

http://www.styleforum.net/threads/how-can-you-determine-quality-cashmere.26421/page-3#post-367933


The best post from an amateur at S.F on knitwear.
Best to read the entire post linked, but quoted below is a real feel good quote.

"In my humble opinion, the quality of the old Ballantyne, Pringle, and Lyle & Scott was and remains unsurpassed. The Lockie and McGeorge I've had the opportunity to see are probably nearly there as well. I've also heard great things about Murray Allan and Laing.

These are my Ballantynes, all between 35 and 45 years old Even the oldest still look pristine, showing no pilling or stretching; I wash them once every few months",

http://www.styleforum.net/t/218492/cashmere-sweater-hierarchy/30


The 20 ply jumper
It's no big deal, it's just thicker wool. Just a different type of style. Here's one by Brunello Cucinelli. Check how thick the neck area is.
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I've seen wool up to 30 ply.


My conclusions

So now we can see why some expensive cashmere has been reported to be itchy. Apparently the company hasn't taken the time to sort the guard hairs from the other cashmere. And we now know that quality can't be guaranteed because it can change each year.


My explosive statement

Loro Piana talks about baby cashmere being the best, but according to my common sense this could be just marketing hype. Why? Because the best cashmere is the stuff which has the longest strands. To me the baby cashmere is really about having the finest cashmere with a more narrow width, but that in itself doesn't guarantee quality, all it guarantees is softness. Besides...as Frank says, cashmere quality varies from year to year, so what baby cashmere is really about is softness, because quality can never be guaranteed where as soft cashmere from baby goats can. AND l think the company relies on people associating the finest baby cashmere with quality, and the wishy washy way Loro Piana say it certainly gives the hint = "In many ways Baby Cashmere has established a new frontier in cashmere, a new standard of quality". A "new standard in quality" according to whom?? What is a "new standard in quality"? How is quality different now to what it used to be??? What are these "many ways"?? See what l am getting at fellas! What a load of bunk, softer doesn't mean better IMO. Quality is quality, there is no new standard.

Bunk written by L.P marketing folks in an office to baffle brains with loads of meaningless twattle.
https://www.loropiana.com/en/our-world-Loro-Piana/product-origin/baby-cashmere

See...the best cashmere doesn't necessarily come from a baby goat. The best comes from ANY GOAT who produces the longest lengths of cashmere. It's important to use our common sense and not get stupid about things by buying into emotional fluff pieces and marketing hype written on the internet. Like with shoos, loads of junk is written on the internet about knitwear. It's important to use one's common sense and get professional knowledge so one can make a sensible conclusion.
 
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fxh

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I have seen a good relatively scientific paper than says - and there's no reason why this couldn't be largely true - that very fine baby low micron count special merino being bred now in Australia is softer, stronger and better than most of the cashmere around. But cashmere is hyped so people wont look at the wool.
 

formby

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I have seen a good relatively scientific paper than says - and there's no reason why this couldn't be largely true - that very fine baby low micron count special merino being bred now in Australia is softer, stronger and better than most of the cashmere around. But cashmere is hyped so people wont look at the wool.
That would not surprise me...But the cost is probably the same.
 

fxh

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Basically Cashmere - called the finest or similar - can be from 15 to 20 microns. Superfine merino can easily bust 10 microns.

Merino is shorn every year. Baby undercoat -off neck (if you want to be fussy) - first shear - is simple to get in Australia and as plentiful as wanted - i.e. demand can drive supply -a new lamb within a year - every year. But the hype and bullshit is with cashmere.

A merino scarf in less than 12 microns will be softer than a cashmere @ 15 microns. And I imagine it would cost a lot less to get to mill. Cashmere prices are driven by scarcity and marketing. There is no scarcity of merino in anything more than the very short term.
 

formby

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If memory serves there's some kind of competition for the finest bale...

I've always preferred Merino over Cashmere... It holds up better...
 

fxh

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If memory serves there's some kind of competition for the finest bale...

I've always preferred Merino over Cashmere... It holds up better...
Yes. It was traditionally purchased by Zegna but others have got into it now. Zegna has purchased an interest in a medium sized sheep station in NSW to better get a hold on the full cycle from breeding through to weaving and suit making etc. There's also a lot of science going into breeding superfine.
 

The Shooman

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Thank you, The Shooman The Shooman , for this thread and all the edifying information that you have been so helpfully curating and sharing about knitwear lately. From now on, I will gladly step in with further adulation after each brace of posts.
No problems mate.


If memory serves there's some kind of competition for the finest bale...

I've always preferred Merino over Cashmere... It holds up better...
That's what people say, but I am not so sure. When you see vintage pieces from the very top Scottish makers that were supposed to be well worn looking like new after 50 years, AND when you hear stories of the world class Ballantyne cashmere jumpers being passed down from grand father to father to grandson, it makes me think that perhaps some cashmere brands hold up far better than others. Reading S.F also tells me this is the case also. Some cashmere is delicate and other cashmere is like a tough old bird IMO. My Johnstons of Elgin cashmere is more delicate, but some of my Ballantyne cashmere is as tough as old boots.

Personally l much prefer cashmere. Why? Because it is warmer (the main reason), and merino wool is so common in Oz, l want something which sets me apart from the merino wool wearing masses (a small part of it is snob factor). I get very cold so l think buying merino wool is depriving myself of extra warmth and not making the most of knitwear.


Pursuing my turtleneck dream

O.k...decided to splash out and see what it's all about. I've been after great solid roll necks for many many years, and after much wishing l finally got what l was looking for. Check out these bad boys, real substantial heavy cashmere. Various guys at S.F also commented that Kiton does heavy cashmere, so l have been interested in giving it a go.

Again, check out these bad boys...will go great with a heavy tweed coat. These are a dream come true, and exactly my size. Will be interesting to see what experience the Kiton brand delivers. I am thrilled with the purchases and l suspect l won't be disappointed.

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12 ply cashmere knitwear (sources)

O'connells
http://www.oconnellsclothing.com/O-Connell-s-12-ply-Cashmere-Cardigan-Burgundy.html

(can also get 8 ply lambswool jumpers in various collars)

Thistle & Broom (custom)
http://www.thistleandbroom.com/shopping/apparel/cashmere/sumair_moreinfo.htm

Our old mate Paggy (custom)
http://www.luxuryclothing.com/index...e-men-s-12-ply-cashmere-cardigan-sweater.html

Purl Harbour (custom)
http://purlharbour.com.au/chunky-sweaters/

The Purl Harbour is a local aussie maker, and looks to be an old grandma type who knits at home. There is a pic of one of her jumpers, but not appealing because it seems to have very low arm holes and looks so baggy. There is a nice pic of an Irish 12 ply, a beauty!

Got some good info coming.
 
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HenryC

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Nice thread. I'm always surprised that Johnstons of Elgin doesn't get much of a mention in the Scottish circles. Take what I say with a grain of salt because I sell their scarves and beanies but that's also given me the advantage of seeing it in the flesh over a few years now and it's certainly the best cashmere I've had the pleasure of feeling in my hands. Their merino is top notch as well.
 

fxh

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Nice thread. I'm always surprised that Johnstons of Elgin doesn't get much of a mention in the Scottish circles. Take what I say with a grain of salt because I sell their scarves and beanies but that's also given me the advantage of seeing it in the flesh over a few years now and it's certainly the best cashmere I've had the pleasure of feeling in my hands. Their merino is top notch as well.
so - to what extent are you still in the business?
 

HenryC

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Just cruising pretty much. I couldn't pass up stocking some of the great scarves this season. Otherwise I am re-stocking some grenadines on the tie side of things to keep going but no new designs/prints. I'll re-asses next year then what I do with the business as a whole. I'll post some of the scarves on my thread soon.
 

The Shooman

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Nice thread. I'm always surprised that Johnstons of Elgin doesn't get much of a mention in the Scottish circles. Take what I say with a grain of salt because I sell their scarves and beanies but that's also given me the advantage of seeing it in the flesh over a few years now and it's certainly the best cashmere I've had the pleasure of feeling in my hands. Their merino is top notch as well.
I have lots of Johnstons of Elgin cashmere and lambswool jumpers made from the last few years, and a cashmere scarf. While the cashmere is very soft, it doesn't hold a candle to the old Ballantyne, Pringle and Lyle & Scott. Why? While the Johnstons is more substantial than most of the ltalian kniwear, it doesn't compare to the beefy knitwear of the Scottish houses during the golden era of cashmere (before the 1990's imo). The old Ballantyne, Pringle and Lyly & Scott not only feel more substantial, they also keep me warmer and peel much less. The Johnstons cashmere is more fragile and possibly more processed to make it soft IMO, and apparently the highly processed cashmere garment makes it more fragile. I also understand that the Johnstons cashmere now comes from China instead of inner Mongolia in order to keep the prices down.

Let me say that a couple of my Ballantyne cashmere jumpers wear like iron without any noticeable pilling at all. They are an unfinished rougher cashmere that is tough. I still love my 1 ply Ballantyne cashmere intarsia jumpers the best, my 1970's argyle intarsia has no noticeable pilling (see below). My other 1 ply cashmere Ballantyne argyle intarsia's from the year 2'000's are also very high quality and works of art. Those 1 ply Ballantynes are my most special jumpers. In the next post you will see how special Ballantyne really was, especially those 1 ply intarias.

1970's Ballantyne label
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my well worn 1970's Ballantyne 1 ply argyle intarsia with no pilling in perfect condition
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1960’s Pringle label
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My 1960's Pringle cardigan - substantial with hardly any pilling. Amazing!
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1970's Pringle label
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My 1970's Pringle cashmere knitwear. No noticeable pilling.
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This jumper below is bright red and is from the 1970's. It looks brand new with NO pilling at all. It is completely STUNNING in person!
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I will say that my 1980's Australian aussie lambswool jumper i've had since l was a young bloke has no noticeable pilling either. It is a beauty! Quite expensive in the day, about $100.
 

The Shooman

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Industry talk - part 3 - BALLANTYNE

This post is based on quotes from this amazing Robb report article linked below. Definitely worth reading the entire article. I'll also include some commentary of my own.

"his coarse, burly fingers prove nimble enough to manipulate individually the finest strands of cashmere around the razor-sharp needles that line the iron base of the frame. Hope, who has plied this craft since the age of 15, is one of the few remaining knitters in Scotland capable of such work".


My side comments

How tricky is this work for making an intarsia jumper? Look for yourself. And if it's 1 ply cashmere being put on this sharp edged looms it will take much longer and take more care because the threads can easily break or be put through the wrong prongs (takes a careful hand). You will soon see that the 1 ply Ballantyne intarsia is a real luxury jumper because it is a higher opportunity cost to make it compared to the 2 ply. Don't let any igent try to con you into thinking that the 1 ply jumper is a cop out and dirty word, because in reality the 1 ply is really high artform that takes greater time and skill to do.
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How complicated are intarsias to do? Look for yourself! Imagine trying to do that on the loom pictured above this video with fine 1 ply cashmere thread. It takes ages to do, takes great skill and is easy to ruin the extra fine thread of those sharp edges of the loom.


Industry talk - part 3 - BALLANTYNE continued...........

"The type of loom that he operates became obsolete more than 75 years ago, when most manufacturers abandoned it in favor of automated equipment that can produce in minutes what a knitter such as Hope requires days to make. While Ballantyne utilizes mass-production machinery for many of its knits, it also continues to operate more than two dozen hand looms at its dingy, 85-year-old knitting factory in Innerleithen, Scotland, located a picturesque hour’s drive south of Edinburgh. “Other cashmere companies—such as Malo, Loro Piana, and Brunello Cucinelli—try to duplicate the look of a hand-knit sweater, but they do it with machines because they need the mass quantity to be profitable,” explains Tom Harkness, Ballantyne’s Scotland-based chief operating officer"


And also note that those rare original Ballantyne looms were smashed up, so despite Berk using many of the original Ballantyne staff, are they able to duplicate the original Ballantyne without using those original looms that Mr Hope used to use??


"Unlike many of its competitors, Ballantyne attaches the sweaters’ collars, cuffs, and waistbands by hand"


My side comments

If you carefully look at the Ballantynes you can indeed see where they have attached it all by hand, and indeed the front of the intarsia jumpers are all done by hand, and l doubt hardly any jumpers are done by hand now in Scotland unless it is special ordered, but even then l doubt the intarsias would be handmade because they would be too expensive to have a market for IMO. The Scottish makers seem to have gone more down market and one would think that they would go fully automated with their intarsias to compete in a modern market place. If you look at this Berk intarsia you'll see it only costs 850 GBP, i'd be willing to bet Berk uses modern looms to do it...wouldn't pay to take a day or 2 or 3 to make it because it would cost so much to buy it, but l could be wrong because of a quote l make further down the page. I am just talking aloud here inviting thoughts about these things.
https://www.berkcashmere.co.uk/product.php?id=704&name=Snow+Leopard+


Industry talk - part 3 - BALLANTYNE continued...........

"Furthermore, Ballantyne uses single-ply cashmere yarns almost exclusively. These are finer than other yarns and therefore are more prone to breaking during the manufacturing process. “We could increase our production by a third if we did more two-ply yarns, because every person in the factory can do two-ply knitting—but not everyone is capable of doing one-ply,” says Harkness, noting that the head of a two-ply knitting needle is larger to accommodate the thicker yarn".

"The delicacy and complexity of single-ply knitting account for the relatively high cost of Ballantyne intarsias. Prices start at about $1,100 for simple repeat patterns and can quadruple for more complex designs and custom orders. “Some of our most complicated patterns can take even an accomplished knitter such as Richard Hope as many as two days to make,” says Harkness, “and that is only for the front of the sweater.”


My side comments

See...that's the thing l was saying with about Berk's intarsia costing only 850 GBP for something so complicated. Imo there is no way they could sell such a jumper for such a low price unless it is machine made like the top Italian houses do. But but BUT, it is possible l am completely wrong and talking through my backside because of this comment in italics below. AND when you read `Industry talk - part 4' you will indeed see l am wrong and have indeed talked through my backside.

"The designers also created some elaborate treatments that combine the multicolored diamond pattern with motifs ranging from animals to automobiles. A knitting machine, which is best suited for simple, often repeating patterns, never could produce such complex designs"


And yes, you can tell the fine work and quality in those 1 ply jumpers, they are undeniable works of art that take a really fine hand to make where-as those 2 ply intarsias are more ordinary.

The thinner 1 ply are just as good as the thicker two ply jumpers imo because they are all a solid tight knitted cashmere made with long strand cashmere therefore it makes no sense that they would be inferior if the cashmere length is long for both the 1 and 2 ply jumpers. Why would Ballantyne spend more skill to make an inferior jumper if 2 ply is cheaper and easier to make??? My 2 ply Ballantynes hold up just as well as the 2 ply jumpers, and one of my 1 ply jumpers has held up better than a bunch of the 2 ply Ballantyes. To me this is proof that quality is not about ply, it is largely about the length of the cashmere (processing methods exclused from this conversation). We need to be careful of igent waffle and use our own brains and observation and research OUTSIDE of internet forums because you'll find the reality appears to be much of the opposite to what igents online are saying....same goes with shoos and suits...igents buy into ideas and it often turns out to be the opposite.

It appears many of the top Scottish firms used to make hand knit Intarsias, unlike what the top Italians were doing. "hand-knit sweaters, particularly those from Ballantyne, John Laing Cashmere, Murray Allan, Hawick, and other Scottish makers"

http://robbreport.com/Fashion/Style-Knitting-Wits (April 2006)


Industry talk - part 4 - job advertisement for intarsia workers

"Hand Intarsias are employed by luxury cashmere knitwear companies, particularly in the Scottish borders".


My side comment

As we can now see, hand intarsia work still must go on in Scotland. We can now clearly see that my comments on using automated looms for intarsia work in Scotland was WRONG. But hey, l am not trying to be right, l am trying to have an interesting discussion. But that being said....I now think l am starting to work stuff out and get it right on many of the points l have made here. See...it's easy to get it wrong, but at least l have picked up my mistakes and have tried to work out what is what. It's easy for us forum people to make fools of ourselves, but at least l have picked up my mistakes.


"A Hand Intarsia works at a knitting frame picking up the yarns by hand and placing them in precisely the right position to create the pattern. They work from a chart, which shows them the design and measurements. On average it takes two to four hours to produce a sweater, although more intricate designs can take all day Intarsia is a traditional knitting technique which uses a single piece of yarn for each area of colour. The name means ‘inlaid by hand'. Knitting machines cannot interweave the yarns to achieve the same quality or patterns as intarsia".

http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles/688_hand_intarsia (2017)
 
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viaattovannucci

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TOP TOP™ research, The Shooman The Shooman ! It is all archive- and drool-worthy.

May I kindly ask where you secure all your old-school Ballantyne and other Elite™ made in Scotland cashmere knitwear? I completely understand if you wouldn't want to divulge publically a limited resource, of course.
 

The Shooman

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TOP TOP™ research, The Shooman The Shooman ! It is all archive- and drool-worthy.
Yes, we want to finally put out some really good information in one place. Until now that hasn't been done on the internet. Finally we can now try to sort fact from fiction. There has been so much disinformation on the internet about knitwear, but finally there is something we can get our teeth into.



My answer is not very interesting or grand. Wish l had a nice story to tell you, but l don't. If you really want to know l will tell you, but it kind of takes away from the grand dreamscaping l am painting here.

Btw, Johnstons of Elgin is very very good mid end cashmere, very decent quality and respectable, and very good priced. If you own such jumpers you are doing well. For cashmere jumpers in the $500 range in Oz it is a great buy. Other Italian cashmere priced the same doesn't compare.

Do any Scottish cashmere company supply the really highend cashmere anymore? One would think that since Berk went to the trouble of employing many of the old Ballantyne workers that they would be wanting to supply cashmere jumpers of very high quality, but who knows....I find out soon. Btw, Berk seemed to have pulled a sales trick to baffle brains. They say their 4 ply was 675 GBP, but it never was because l always check the site. The original price was 575 GBP and NOT 675 as now claimed.

https://www.berkcashmere.co.uk/product.php?id=512&name=BERK+-+Cable+Crew+Neck+4+Ply

The Kiton rollnecks are true highend knitwear. Substantial tightly knitted delights. Probably at the very highest end of knitwear these days imo.

I got this vintage handmade Johnny Laing argyle intarsia recently (see below). I also got another Ballantyne vintage gray intarsia with red argyle pattern and it is bulletproof with NO pilling at all. I currently have on a lemon Ballantyne as my roust about jumper, it has more pilling than the others, but certainly not as much pilling as my Johnstons Of Elgins.
free image hostcertificity.com

This vintage 1980's cashmere Highlander is quite o.k too. I have worn it a few times and it looks great and has abundant character. It is more fluffy than my other highend jumpers, but not really any pilling so far. Seems very promising...quality seems good. Very warm to wear.
photos upload


My vintage Lyle & Scott cashmere jumpers both have the Royal Warrent, so they would have been made after 1975 according to this source (directly below). My Lyle & Scott are nice beefy solid and soft cashmere jumpers, completely amazing! Hardly any pilling on any of them. One of my Lyle & Scott is a real scene stealer. It is stunning with it's vibrant eye catching beauty! (pics another day).
http://vintagefashionguild.org/label-resource/lyle-scott/

The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman The Shooman
 
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fxh

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Just cruising pretty much. I couldn't pass up stocking some of the great scarves this season. Otherwise I am re-stocking some grenadines on the tie side of things to keep going but no new designs/prints. I'll re-asses next year then what I do with the business as a whole. I'll post some of the scarves on my thread soon.
HenryC HenryC Getting any black Grenadine Grossa in?
 

BespeakUK

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Ideas for good rollnecks/turtlenecks? Not a fan of the ultra slim neither want it ultra thicc.

Have looked at Anderson shepphard and they have some merino ones for ~150-200£

Not too experienced with knitwear so open to ideas. I hate ultra fitting skintight knitwear
 

The Shooman

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Ideas for good rollnecks/turtlenecks? Not a fan of the ultra slim neither want it ultra thicc.

Have looked at Anderson shepphard and they have some merino ones for ~150-200£

Not too experienced with knitwear so open to ideas. I hate ultra fitting skintight knitwear
Johnstons of Elgin have rollnecks that would probably fit the bill. Johnstons stuff doesn't fit tight and it is medium thickness. Check this out:
http://www.johnstonscashmere.com/international/cashmere-classic-2ply-mens-roll-neck-sweater.html

I got this 1970's vintage lambswool argyle from Pringle. A real statement piece and a welcome addition to my jumper collection.
pic hostingcertificity.com


A complicated Gucci intarsia. Was apparently worth $3,700 USD at the time. Notice the all seeing eye of the illuminati! :areyouserious::wegotabadass::thelongpause:
image hosting freecertificity.com
 
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BespeakUK

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Johnstons of Elgin have rollnecks that would probably fit the bill. Johnstons stuff doesn't fit tight and it is medium thickness. Check this out:
http://www.johnstonscashmere.com/international/cashmere-classic-2ply-mens-roll-neck-sweater.html

I got this 1970's vintage lambswool argyle from Pringle. A real statement piece and a welcome addition to my jumper collection.
pic hostingcertificity.com


A complicated Gucci intarsia. Was apparently worth $3,700 USD at the time. Notice the all seeing eye of the illuminati! :areyouserious::wegotabadass::thelongpause:
image hosting freecertificity.com
Yeah its probably too fine for my liking. I'm more athletic build and dont really wear sweaters full stop but want to utiulise a roll neck under a sportsjacket for ultimate igent persona.

I like the look of this atm
https://shop.anderson-sheppard.co.uk/roll-neck-merino-pullover-37980/

THings Im looking for:
-not skin tight
- plain
- price to value - e.g. examle i posted is 245£ for merino vs your link of cashmere (but again this is finer and I want a bit more texture
- Resale value - A&S well known name, I noticed a ebay link to branded hermes e.t.c second hand sweaters but for me I think I need to try on based on my body fit hence buying at retail is prob my only option

ultimately these I suppose are just repackaged under the brands name so i guess you pay a bit for markup also
 

The Shooman

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I have this one coming in from " The Shooman The Shooman 's private purveyor."

View attachment 22325
You are lucky, l nearly bought that one myself. That's a 1970's.

btw, l had on my John Laing forest green argyle with bone cords yesterday and it was an eye popper! Completely and utterly awesome! I love forest green for knitwear. Another good colour is plum with navy pants and top notch conservative striped dress shirt, and medium blue jumper with gray pants (classic), and camel jumpers with gray trousers and reddish tweed coat, and red jumpers with carefully chosen colours.

Last night l wore my bone Kiton rollneck to a party with a thick tailored tweed coat (a real show stopper), navy flannel trousers and reddish tan bespoke shoes (a stunning unique old school colour) and many commented on the great combination. The shoos really made the outfit...tan or ordinary brown wouldn't have worked so well, but the shade on my bespokes was just perfect! I did notice my shoos got a deep scratch on them, aghhh.
 
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The Shooman

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Got these woolens for an adventure. Finally wanted one of those Inis Meain thick woolen knitwear pieces to see what the fuss is all about. Looks o.k, but the buttons look cheap and there is no backing support for the button holes. And yes, it has got some of those funky coat hanger shoulders, but we'll see if we can settle that down after a wash or steam.

INIS MEAIN ARAN SHAWL BUTTON WOOL CARDIGAN
photo upload
http://www.henrybucks.com.au/store/Inis-Meain-Aran-Shawl-Button-Wool-Cardigan.html

The exact same cardigan below in blue.
imgurl


Also pulled a fashionista move by purchasing a thin wool turtleneck more for Springtime to wear with a tailored fancy sportscoat. I'll do the `city sophisicate yuppy look' with horsebit loafers included so l can have some fun with the look.
HENRY BUCKS MERINO WOOL ROLL NECK PULLOVER
http://www.henrybucks.com.au/store/Henry-Bucks-Merino-Wool-Roll-Neck-Pullover-4600336.html

Other men in turtlenecks

Freeman Dyson does it in an interesting way. He wears a thin bone turtleneck under a woolen v neck and country sportscoat, and it works!

Our old mate Tom doing the urban sophisticate look in his famous rant LOL. :crazytroll:


A link to some nice turtlenecks:
https://axelsltd.com/collections/mens-turtleneck-sweaters
 
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viaattovannucci

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I need to get myself a fine roll-neck as well after I snag a couple more argyle v-necks. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration The Shooman The Shooman !

My vintage Ballantyne argyle arrived today (see above). It is remarkably soft and delightful to touch, yet somehow feels much sturdier and warmer anything else I have seen in this caliber. Quite fine and weighty at the same time. What is really incredible is that there is no pilling whatsoever on it, and to top everything off the ribbing on the cuffs and waist still feels tight and pristine. The deep v-neck is an absolute delight and offers the perfect excuse to show off one's tie.
 

The Shooman

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Another purchase from the special source. Soaring to new heights under the wings of The Shooman The Shooman . (Though the hanger scares me on this one!).

View attachment 22393
I remember seeing that and was tempted to buy it. It's a good one, congratulations. Good knitwear IS worth it. Snap them up while you can.

My aim was to have four turtlenecks in my collection, mainly medium - heavy weights, and now l have achieved that with this beauty. A new Brunello Cucinelli cashmere turtleneck. It's colour is versatile and interesting, so a welcome addition.
img host

I woke up early this morning and it was cold, so l put a heater on and then remembered my lnis Meain cardigan, so l popped it on. 5 minutes later l switched the heater off because l was too hot.

Good knitwear is worth it. Why? Because it is very functional, it is luxurious AND it can be used to create a huge amount of different and great looks. It's good to have stuff for every occasion.
 

viaattovannucci

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I remember seeing that and was tempted to buy it. It's a good one, congratulations. Good knitwear IS worth it. Snap them up while you can.
This piece arrived today as well. And what a delight it is!

Again, for a '70s piece (according to The Shooman The Shooman 's expert opinion), it's in fantastic condition; it has retained its perfect form, all the ribbing is in great shape, and the jumper is still true to size. On that note, I should emphasize that there is no vanity sizing on these. On most contemporary brands, I wear 40 (M/50 IT); both of these jumpers are labelled 44", yet provide some of the best and cleanest fits that I've experienced (see below for a quick snap with the grey one). You might want to "size up" 2-4" accordingly, or simply get the correct size for your chest measurements.

I think that this one has made it to the dry cleaner's and back quite few times, though, considering that there is some pilling on it (which is what one gets already, I'm afraid, after a single season with a lot of the "Made in Italy" cashmere knitwear - Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, etc.).

IMG_0350.JPG
 
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The Shooman

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Some of my jumpers.

JOhnstons of Elgin (mainly cashmere)


Some of the beautiful vintage reds by Pringle


Some bright cheerful argyles (The Highlander, Lyle & Scott, Pringle)


Bright cheerful argyles + 1 (The Highlander, Lyle & Scott, Pringle, John Laing)


My favourites - all 1 ply Ballantyne - all handmade works of art!


Some amazing turtlenecks (all ltalian) - Kitons, Brunello Cucinelli, Henry Bucks


3/4 of my jumper collection - a bunch of aussie jumpers, lots of Scottish and some ltalians





Some observations
* the vintage Pringle and Ballantyne and Lyle & Scott blow the Brunello Cucinelli out of the water
* the Kiton turtlenecks are really special and are exceptionally high quality and very VERY prized knitwear of mine
* the red Pringle jumper is really BRIGHT red that is made to draw attention, truly special and unique
* the 1 ply Ballantynes are works of art, l treat them with much care and value them highly. They feel really luxurious.
* some Ballantynes have an unfinished dry feel where-as some have a push oily feel, some are very soft and some are hard. The 1 ply masterpieces have a dry feel, very special indeed.
* the vintage Lyle & Scott is very plush and seductive cashmere
* the blue and green Lyle & Scott is a real show stopper.
* Lyle & Scott is such an awesome name, very posh sounding!
* the Brunello Cucinelli is more tightly knit than Johnstons of Elgin, but the vintage Scottish jumpers are more tightly knit than the Brunello Cucinelli
* the Johnstons of Elgin are thinner than the vintage Scottish knitwear and are the jumpers I usually wear under coats along with the ltalian turtlenecks. I avoid wearing the vintage Ballantyne, Lyle & Scott and Pringle under coats because they are too special. The Johnstons of Elgin blows all mid end ltalian knitwear I have seen out of the water.
 
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The Shooman

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Pthh.

Story time - a bloke and his jumper #1

Hey Fxh, l saw an old bloke about your age on the train on Saturday morning. The first thing l noticed was his amazing cable jumper. I checked for fit and stretching and pilling and everything told me it was quality. I went into Henry Bucks and l saw the same bloke in there. I went up to him and told him l saw him on the train and l recognised him because of the nice quality jumper he was wearing. We talked like old friends and he told me it was made in Peru and he bought it for $400 and it was made from alpaca wool. I told him when l saw his jumper on the train l thought "this blokes knows what he is doing". Then l said, "us two blokes are a declining breed these days, few blokes value the jumpers like we do".

See, blokes still like nice clothing items...they'll pay the money when needed. Not everyone wants to skimp and buy made-in-China. So rare to see quality on a man these days.

---000---
Btw, l try to pick up a black lambswool turtleneck today at Henry Bucks. I ordered it. More for a city sophisticate look.
 

The Shooman

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A vintage 1960's Lyle & Scott cashmere navy blue cardigan (pics may be invisible on some browsers)


A typical 1960's Lyle & Scott label:


It will be nice to have a navy cashmere cardigan, and being Lyle & Scott it will be lush and amazing. It is said to be in very good condition. Now l have two vintage 1960's cashmere cardigans, a burgundy one from Pringle (amazing) and now this one. I feel very lucky.

I am getting my mate into vintage knitwear too. I sent him a link to a certain vintage Lyle & Scott cashmere v neck.
 
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