Pull the wool over

JUSTINE JAMESON
Last updated 12:54 27/04/2012
 Loobie's Story cardi
KNIT-PICK: Loobie's Story cardi from Cooper and Rouge.

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I remember when I was a little girl holding out my arms for what seemed hours (it was probably about a minute), while my mum wound the wool that she had spun around them. This was when my love of wool was born – there is nothing like beautiful soft wool against your skin to keep you warm in winter, except maybe if, like my sister, you get eczema. It probably wasn't the best choice on mum's part making her wear woollen stockings but nevertheless, knits are a winter essential.

I am sure many of us remember when our mums taught us to knit. The project usually started as a jersey, then turned to a scarf and then a nice placemat. Maybe you had more patience with knitting than I did, but if the craft is not your thing who cares – leave it to the experts, there is plenty of knitwear around town to take your fancy.

If you want to be up-to-date with the latest trends in autumn/winter knitwear then read on.

The 90s staple sweater is back. Think casual 90s oversized slouchy sweaters or the other end of the spectrum – tight and cropped. Geometric Navajo designs are big, textured jerseys in ribbed, chunky cable, chain-knitted or crocheted styles. They come in multitudes of autumnal colours from soft creams, rust, mustard, deep blue, purple, red, burgundy, tan, chocolate brown, greys and dusky pink, to the brighter statement colours and multi-coloured patterns for the more eccentric style. Necklines of this casual winter style are mainly crew or boat neck.

Another winter season look is the 70s kimono-style cardi, poncho or cape. Opt for slouchy comfortable shapes with uneven hemlines or a more traditional kimono boxy shape with a shorter wide sleeve. Lots of these styles have deep pockets and look great layered over a tight long-sleeved merino basic.

This season's favoured patterns are the two-toned wider stripe or other Navajo prints. There are also plenty of staple merino cardis with draped fronts and uneven hemlines that just touch the knee. Retailers have stocked this style in heaps of basic or bold colours to layer over tunics. This look should be teamed with leatherette panelled tights or jeans.

If cutesy yet elegant is your look, you may wish to opt for the soft 1950s to 60s-style cardi. Lots are embellished enough to wear out with some of the season's 1950s and 60s-styled skirts in a pencil or a full silhouette, teamed with a chiffon Peter Pan-collared shirt. The fabrics are soft cottons, lambswool or merino and some have fur trims or are embellished with beads or diamantes.

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On my mission to find my favourite knitwear in Nelson, I came across a store called Cruellas, in Hardy St. It's more than just a readymade knitwear store – you'll also find all types of wool blends and patterns to help you make your own garments. The store also stocks samples of every pattern in store (which you can buy off the shelf) but if you aren't keen on doing your own knitting they have contract knitters on standby to knit whatever style, colour and size you wish at really reasonable prices. Go check it out for yourself as I am sure you will be as amazed as I was.

The key to wearing knits this season is to choose different textures and lengths. Throw out what you have been taught and mix knitwear with fabrics that may have been taboo in the past. For example, floral chiffon or lace teamed with chunky knits is a great trend for the upcoming season.

I believe nothing beats the warmth of a woolly winter knit and to save you time shopping for your winter wardrobe, I have been on a mission to find the hottest knits for winter from Nelson retailers (as above).

- Nelson

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