Over the last few years William Kroll has worked tirelessly to nurture an evolving family of British artisan producers to supply his needs. The result is Tender, a small clothing label that specialises in denim and making an ever growing inventory of products by hand. From a pair of wattle dyed hand linked cotton socks to a hand thrown red clay coffee mug and graphic interlock t shirts to cotton acetate sunglasses, each Tender item is is a personal and exhaustively conceived, sourced and manufactured celebration of craftsmanship. Each is a labour of love. It should come as little surprise that his most treasured item shares these values. Here, Kroll tells us the tale behind his favourite piece of knitwear...
William Kroll and the Grandmother knitted Guernsey knit.
"This is a Guernsey sweater that my Grandmother knitted for me. One of the reasons that I love Guernsey knits in particular is the tightness of the knit pattern is and how the wool reacts to rain to help seal it. It affords you that bit more protection from the elements. Another, is how they are knitted. They have a pattern from the middle of the chest up to the neck whilst the rest, including the sleeves is left plain. They are the same front, back and inside out so you can wear them four ways which means you get extra wear from them. Also, when you get washed overboard and drowned, the pattern on the top represents your village and means you get returned to the correct place. Each village or town has their own distinct pattern and is complete with initials on one side.
I chose a relatively plain stitch because I liked the look of it in all honesty but if I were to be lost at sea, or anywhere else for that matter, I would be returned to Scarborough which is where my Grandmother used to go on holiday. My initials of W.A.K. are on the back and are a little stretched because she got the pattern a little mixed up.
I've had it for about three years now and wear it almost every day during autumn and winter. These days, I only tend to wear things that I have designed but this is one of the few things that I didn't, yet wear regularly. It was a real labour of love because it is navy blue and she didn't find the yarn easy to see. It is packed full of interesting features. It's not completely faultless but that's one of the reasons why I like it so much. Ultimately, I love the fact that my Grandmother knitted it for me, that there is only one of them and when I first got it there were a few white hairs knitted in to it. It's just a lovely thing." William Kroll.