Knitwear Guide

Wednesday, 1 September 2021
Knitwear Guide

All great knitwear stories start with a good yarn…

Cordings have always been trusted to create quality garments from our tweed jackets to our Mackintosh coats, and our knitwear collection is no different. Working with small makers and mills in Scotland, England and Wales using time honoured techniques, the seasonal and core ranges are created using a handful of different types of yarn, all natural, and sourced from traditional spinners. Wool is uniquely versatile as a fibre; hard wearing, water repellent, breathable, biodegradable and inherently sustainable. It is the ultimate performance fibre, and so much better than synthetic alternatives with their associated environmental costs. It is the natural choice for us both in our knitwear collection as well as our jackets and outerwear.

Here is a brief description of the different types of wool and why we use them across our Ladies and Mens Knitwear collections.


Where does lambswool come from?

Sourced from a mill that has been spinning woollen yarns in Huddersfield since 1766, the quality of our lambswool jumper collection starts with using this superlative yarn. Lambswool is defined as the first shearing of a sheep, generally at 7 months old and is a well-known wool type for it’s high quality.

What makes lambswool unique?

This fibre is renowned for its resilience. Soft, elastic and yet hard wearing, it is naturally water repellent and has good insulating properties, characteristics that make it ideal for everyday use. This wool type can be dyed in a myriad of colours, or blended to create heather hued ‘melange’ (meaning mixed) shades. Each season we choose a range of colours to complement the seasonal tweeds, as well as offering the classic British country colours such as moss green, bordeaux and tartan green.

Cordings model in a pink v-neck lambswool wearing a check shirt.
Cordings Candy Pink Lambswool V-Neck Jumper


What is special about merino wool?

The Merino sheep is prized for the quality of its fleece, with a longer staple fibre than lambswool with a smaller diameter, making it possible to spin it into finer yarn. Our Merino garments are made specifically using Merino sheep wool – which is not always the case.

What does merino wool feel like?

Merino has a more luxurious handle than lambswool – it is softer, less ‘hairy’ and has a distinct lustre, although it is still reasonably robust, warm and hard wearing. At Cordings, Merino is used for ladieswear garments, fine mens jumpers as well as finer gauge knitted waistcoats and sweaters in the men’s collection, which team perfectly with our city suiting’s and lighter weight tweeds.

Cordings model in a merino waistcoat over a tattersall check shirt.
Cordings Navy Merino Waistcoat


What is geelong wool?

Geelong is a type of Merino yarn that comes from the largest of the Merino sheep. This type of yarn has a shorter staple length than that Merino, but with a comparative small diameter. Unlike Merino, Geelong is carded and spun in such a way to create a loftier, bulkier yarn, while retaining a luxurious softness similar to cashmere.

At Cordings this is used extensively in the ladies collection, as well as in our men’s chunky roll necks and crew neck jumpers. It creates a garment that is warm and superbly soft to the touch.

Cordings ladieswear model in an ice blue jumper.
Cordings Ice Blue Geelong Rollneck


What makes possum wool different from other wool?

Possum as a fibre is totally unique amongst wool-based textile fabrics due to its hollow core. The significance of this is twofold: firstly, the hollow core traps a tunnel of air that provides extra-ordinary warmth (up to 30% more than 100% wool garment), and it creates a light, lofty yarn that can be knitted into garments that are much lighter than their lambswool equivalent.

At Cordings this is blended with Merino wool and used in our ladieswear, each season we create a collection with a New Zealand based mill which is perennially popular. Soft, stylish and uniquely practical – it is highly resistant to pilling and can be machine washed.

Cordings ladieswear model in a black cashmere jumper.
Grey Possum Cowl Neck Sweater


What is cashmere wool?

Prized for its luxurious handle, this fibre comes from the Cashmere goat, native to Nepal, Mongolia and Kashmir.

Why is cashmere wool different from other sheep’s wool?

The length of the hair is much longer, and the diameter much smaller than any type of comparative sheep’s wool. This means it can be spun into exquisitely fine yarns. A firm favourite in the ladies collection, it is used in knitwear, as well as scarves and accessories. It is also found mixed with wool and silk within the men’s jacket collection.

A blonde woman wearing a teal green cashmere sweater over a floral shirt and also a pair of salmon pink jeans.
Green Cashmere Shell Button Cardigan


Understanding how to care for wool properly is key to keeping your garments in good nick for longer.

How to Wash your Knitwear

Firstly, wool is inherently dirt repellent, so avoid washing unless absolutely necessary. Less washing will prolong the life of the garment and is better for the environment. With advances in textile technology, and with the wonders of modern washing machines, it is often the case that knitwear can be washed in a machine. But…. If you want to make sure your garment stays in tip top condition, hand washing is definitely best.

How to Dry your Knitwear and Avoid Pilling

Drying knitwear flat is imperative – putting damp knitwear on a hanger is a recipe for disaster. To remove moisture once you have washed it, roll your sweater up into a towel, and press excess water out. Lambswool knitwear can ‘bobble’ (technically known as pilling). However, this can be removed by carefully going over the surface with a razor or even with nail scissors.

How to store your Knitwear

The best way to store knitwear is folded. Avoid the temptation to hang it, and use ‘moth balls’ to make sure hungry insects don’t devour your favourite jumper!