Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Day trips and fine knits
Minimalism is back, a fine knit jumper is one of autumn's hot buys and That's Not My Age couldn't be happier. A recent trip up to Derbyshire to visit the fabulous John Smedley factory, followed by a quick whizz round the factory shop - a sort of posh Supermarket Sweep without the trolleys - has added a handful of simple, stylish sweaters to my winter wardrobe.
The factory was built in 1784 and is so old it has ancient monument status. Smedley have been producing quality knitwear for over 200 years and dedicated followers include Joanna Lumley, Paul Weller and HRH the Queen (Her Majesty wears the vests). The company also produce knitwear for Paul Smith and Margaret Howell. People, we are talking classic, refined, timeless.
The business has a friendly, family-owned feel - bosses agonize over what to do with a 30-year-old machine that's not being used anymore, workers are genuinely upset when something goes wrong. I'm tempted to ask for a job.
Creative director, Dawne Stubbs likes a good v-neck. Dawne owns around 40 John Smedley garments. Her oldest knit is almost 20-years-old and she still wears it on a regular basis. Now, if that's not an investment buy, I don't know what is. That's Not My Age has an extra long body so I put in a special request for longer-length jumpers and the good news is that John Smedley are 'addressing the issue of length.' Hoorah.
On the trip around the factory we came across:
No, not the place where workers have a good old knee's up on a Friday afternoon, this is where two yarns - top quality Sea Island Cotton or extra fine Merino wool - are twisted together. .
And now for the factory shop booty - which looks like a lot but I spent £130 or the equivalent of one full price sweater. Not bad eh?
Three lovely knits and two pairs of argyle socks for me and a classic three-buttoned Merino polo shirt and three pairs of socks for Mr That's Not My Age.
Buy online at John Smedley or get yourself down to the factory shop for some super-fine bargains.
John Smedley, Lea Mills, Leabridge, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 5AG
Tel 01629 534 571