Christmas is Cardigan-Shaped - John Smedley

A Vision of Cardigans

It was as if I'd had a vision. I suddenly turned to young Mrs Tweed and said, "We must travel north, for I have seen Christmas and it is cardigan-shaped." I had a craving for some new John Smedley cardigans to get through the festive period. We try and fit in a pilgrimage to the Derbyshire factory once a year anyway.

John Smedley's Derbyshire Factory and Mill Shop

The John Smedley factory at Lea Mills, established in 1784, has claims to be the world's longest running factory. It is a bit of a devil to get to, but set in lovely countryside and surrounded by Peak District attractions. Something can always be found in the Mill Shop. The Mill Shop is open on weekends, which is handy for us, as otherwise we'd struggle to visit. But for some reason, we always arrive when they are close to closing. Timing issues. We shared the shop with a Japanese couple who had made a pilgrimage far greater than ours. Maybe the time imposition helped focus the mind. I decided on three cardigans with Bond-like decisiveness just as the nice ladies in the shop started to jangle the keys for closing-time.

One suggestion for John Smedley: a cafe would be nice. We've come a long way and we need a cup of tea.

We Three Cardigans

As Hardy Amies mentioned in An Englishman's Suit, the cardigan is probably the most versatile of the sweater-family, as it looks fine with a tie. (He wasn't keen on v-neck sweaters with ties.) They look okay without a tie to me too.

Here are the three — all in fine-gauge merino wool:

The Christmas Eve

The Christmas Day

The white buttons probably make this a bit of a summery cardigan, but for the sake of this piece let's say they remind us of snowballs.

The Boxing Day

A risqué sleeveless number.

There we are. I'm all set. The cardigans might be battle-weary at the end of the festive season — contending with mince pie and port stains — but they'll live to fight another day. As you know, a cardigan isn't just for Christmas.


  1. There's a cafe around the corner at Cromford Mills.

    1. Thanks Anon. I tried it. A nice spot to enjoy a cuppa. Best wishes, Tweedy


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