Goodbye To The Best Cashmere Sweater I Ever Had

This is it. No doubt. The best cashmere sweater I ever had. Oh, the navy blue skinny rib turtleneck is nice. The Wilkes Bashford sky blue thick rib turtleneck is pretty, and unique. But this one was my friend.

Worn to the corporate wars for comfort. With a pair of navy blue pleated Armani trousers. Manolo ballet flats. Pearls in the ears and around the neck. Anything from white button downs to small white t-shirts underneath. In this guise, it’s pale blue, almost golfish in its conservatism. It’s always good to make people think of golf, in corporate life.

Worn on weekends for style. With a pair of flared Seven jeans. And those same flats. I am in the buy-shoes-you-love-and-wear-them-to-death camp. Sweaters too, apparently. In this mode, the pattern feels all Brat Pack, 1950’s post-modern, ironic even. A little irony livens up the weekend.

Have taken it to the reweavers. Valiant attempt. One day, the poor little woolen just exploded. Holes in the elbow, under the arms. Cuffs frayed. Stains appeared all at once.

OK. I get it. Into the Goodwill bag. Still a very warm sweater. Still comfortable. Was always comfortable. (Have you ever seen cashmere so thick? Where can I find its mother? Sister? Brother? Was, after all, a men’s piece in M.) Should keep someone cozy in our Northern California version of winter. Besides, if I don’t get it out of my drawer, I’m doomed to wear it again some day because it is, Just. Too. Soft.


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  • It is snowing and we're having wind gusts up to 45 mph here in northeast Ohio, so I searched in my closet and found a flattering and comfortable Liz Claiborn sweater combo from a couple of years ago, wondering why it had been relegated to the back of the closet.

    I realized when I got to work. I tend to tug on the bottom of my shirts (I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time) and there are two holes at the hem, one on each side, approximately the size of my thumbs.

    This is one of those times when it's good, working in an office full of men who wouldn't notice what you're wearing (unless you were naked) if you beat them over the head with your new leather jacket and cute Sketcher flats.

  • I hate it when I have to say farewell to a favorite piece of clothing or shoes. I don't care much about clothes, but I definitely have my favorites ……

  • i don't know if it would feel too much like stuffing the family pet, but you could commission someone to make one hell of a fabulous patchwork sweater quilt for you with that. get thee to sun moon lake goods, lisa! (how good would a sweater quilt look tossed over the arm of your leather chair?)

  • …or sweet felt goods, if you're feeling a bit thriftier. (apologies for the slight hijack; i get excited about good textiles.)

  • That's a lovely send-off to a beloved sweater. Should all our sweaters be so worthy.

  • oh, it would be lovely as a pillow too! I just had elbow patches put on 2 of my favorite black cashmere sweaters – my pointy elbows seem to poke hole through a sweater a year.

    Is it OK if a Chinese company makes things in China? I thought TSE was a Chinese company….

  • Yes, I'd have to make that one into a pillow — and it would be such a good colour on my bed . . . with a silk-satin 2-inch ruffle all round, perhaps in navy . . .

  • Jan, those men would also notice you if you were dressed like a Star Wars character, no? And OMG everyone IMMEDIATELY CLICK on the link Lauren posted to sun moon lake goods in her comment above. As in right now. I'm still reeling from how terribly beautiful. This is a moment when I would wish for mater's small motor coordination. And as for it being OK to make things in China, my last company was Chinese. We made a lot of stuff in Shanghai and Beijing. I offer no judgment, only data…

  • Patsy – I just looked. Yes. They are a Chinese company. "In collaboration with the provincial government of Xiang Jiang in China, TSE has complete control from securing the purest raw materials to yarn spinning operations to the production of all finished goods." That explains it. How is it I did not know this? I hope to make up for my decades of ignorance one day.

  • I like Materfamilias idea to turn it into a pillow. Isn't it fun to have a brainstorming session here? The ideas are getting better and better :)

  • You must do something with it. Softness that worthy needs to be celebrated permanently!

  • I have a few favorites…, and wished that I had known (that they were going to become my favorites), so I could have bought at least two, and stored "the twin" away.

  • A tragedy to be sure! So sorry to hear you are having to part, but perhaps a new one to be loved just as much may ind its way under your tree!

  • I would be wearing it around the house when I didn't want anyone to see me…but I also like the pillow idea. I saw somewhere instructions on making a pillow out of a tee. Just sew the neck and arm holes closed…stuff the daylights out of it and then sew the bottom. LOL!

  • Lisa, only if it were Princess Leia's slave costume from Return of the Jedi.

  • Lisa, the Scots, those thrifty devils, are genius at repairing cashmere. I have connections! There is nothing like this in my line but I could try to help you get another season or two out of this sweater with a bit of darning and redressing.
    Keep in mind, plastic surgery isn't inexpensive. Even for sweaters.

  • Oh no! Is there no way to salvage a portion of it, perhaps as a tiny pillow?

    If it does have to go , you are sending it off in grand style, it can be proud of its years of service.


  • L, Wait, WAIT! Sky blue suede shoulder patches? Cut up the body and make a pillow? Sleep it it when you have a cold (as my mother did)?

    I have a TSE royal blue cable tunic going on 12 years- just got it back from the invisible weavers who did magic with a 'double hole' – whatever that is. Some TSE is delicate but the mid to heavy weight wears extremely well.

  • Gorgeous sweater. Why is it always the mens' stuff that wears so well and is so versatile?

    I like mater's pillow idea.

  • OK. Well. Maybe a pillow. Maybe so…

  • It would make a gorgeous pillow. Although I'd go tailored, no ruffle, to keep with the golf-preppiness.

  • I think you could shrink this baby in hot water, sort of "felting" it and do this several times until it is very thick, then have it made (or make it yourself) into a hot water bottle cover or 2 if there is enough and when you are feeling chilly or sick there's your old faithful at your side.

  • sadder than if Linus had to give up his blankie :(


  • I have a Burberry dress from a cousin who worked at a Chinese factory. That factory also made Aquascutum and DAKS, I think. Maybe it was a British-plaid-stuff specialty factory. :)
    Hate to break it to label lovers (and I am one myself), but there is no difference between major brands.
    Some Chinese guy earning US $400 a month makes one plaid dress with a Burberry tag, then a slightly different plaid dress with an Aquascutum tag.
    Fashionistas all over the world buy this stuff without thinking or knowing.
    Same for American-branded sneakers, the gold trinkets on designer purses, etc.
    Asians LOVE brands. But, since we're so close to the production, we're also cynical. Nobody believes the ads showing some Pre-Raphaelite beauty hand-stitching a bag in a Parisian atelier.
    All I worry about is beauty, durability and quality, regardless of where it's from.

  • Ouch, and I have been chastising BC for selling coal to fuel the furnaces in China which in turn make the winds blow fiercer here on our coast. I cannot abide pollution. PROTEST! Stand up for clean air.

  • Sorry! I've got on a fifteen year old cashmere turtleneck today. I understand.

  • I tend to hang on to favorites too. There is just something so comfortable and inviting about them. How nice though that you pass it so that someone else can enjoy it!

  • Hi Hostess – That's a good protest. China should stop using so much coal. And the pollution does blow very far. God knows we feel it here in Hong Kong. Most of the clothing factories are on our border.

    That said, I don't know if a dress made in China is any more or less green than one made in a factory in the West. Some companies are responsible, some aren't. Factories dealing with Western clients are more likely to follow international standards.

  • Oh, good grief! Did no one notice that the size in the seater is M, as in Medium, rather than the man's XS as claimed?

  • Wait, you're right! I made a mistake. It is a Medium. It was also a man's sweater, however. I'm getting old, however, not "making claims." The sweater exists. As do I:). Just getting older.

  • Hi Lisa,

    I immediately thought "hot water bottle cover!" I love the felting idea. It would make a good cover for those thermal bead hot packs too. Thursday I had on a RL fair isle sweater that was 12 years old. They don't make 'em like they used to!

  • Ah, sorry for the tragic loss of your favorite snuggly sweater! I am the same and will hold onto favorite pieces until they are no longer suitable for wearing, even when I'm home alone and then I donate! hahaha One thing I do is when I find something I love, I buy it in every color so I have them longer! Been working so far!!!

  • The subject of donating has come up several times. Ladies, if you or anyone in your family wouldn't wear it any longer because it is visibly worn, has holes, etc., you're not doing anyone any favors by donating. It's a very outdated "noblesse oblige" attitude toward those less fortunate. (Lecture over!)

    That being said, all the ideas for repurposing a favorite sweater are wonderful! I love the idea of a boudoir pillow on my bed that is like an old friend or a heating pad cover or taking several garments and making some kind of patchwork coverlet with a velvet or fleece backing.

  • Hi Lydia – sometimes donated items are not used as they were in their first life. My mother-in-law is a (rug) hooker and she and the other hookers often use thrift store textiles in their rugs. I also just purchased (on etsy)several pairs of mittens made from re-purposed sweaters from thrift shops. You may actual be making a crafter's day by donating it, rather than lording it over the poor peeps.

  • Wait…don't ditch it yet!! I recently saw on Martha Stewart how to make a great pair of gloves out of an old cashmere sweater. Here's the link to the directions:

    Good luck!

  • Lisa, I’ve missed the train on this post by a few too many years. But if you still have this sweater (and I hope you do), can I just say–the intended pattern is lovely (wonderfully quirky and golfish, as you say). But the inside knit that you revealed in the care tag photo is just heartstopping. If you still have this sweater, have them stitch/reweave/reinforce the holes on the flat-knit side (the “outside”), and turn the seams over. Wear it inside-out. Voila, another ten years of sweater life, since the fluffier, more chaotic patterning will make disguise all sorts of problems–including reinforcements/reweavings that the flat-knit side would obviously show.

    I know what it is to love something and wear it to death–I do the same thing. Here’s hoping all is well with your favorite.

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