Knit it in Jaeger

Photograph of Jaeger vintage wool card

Chilly days and the knitting needles are twitching. Or rather, for me, the accoutrements of knitting come out onto the shelf. The design of this lovely card of darning wool is such a happy combination of type, shape and colour. Humorous too. The Jaeger typeface is a mystery (Ashley Havinden?) but nevertheless it’s a joyous bit of card.

Dr Gustav Jaeger was famous for championing sanitary wool for clothing. It was, he said, cool in the summer, warm in the winter and would ‘assist the evaporations of the emanations coming from the body.’ Hmm.

Jaeger called his first shop Dr Jaeger’s Sanitary Woollen System. Opened in 1884 it sold clothes – mainly underwear – and camel hair blankets. By the early decades of the 20th Century the name Jaeger, bought by Englishman LRS Tomalin, had become a fashionable and classic brand name. Coveted by the smart set, it was worn by Scott on his way to the Arctic and Cary Grant on his way off set.

It has to be said that today knitting hasn’t quite the cachet it may have had when this card was produced, probably in the early 1950s. It is also hard to buy such a small amount of anything useful, as haberdashers have all but died out. And pretty much nobody would think to lavish such attention to the design of such a small and inconsequential item today.

1 Comment

  • Jo says:

    I remember going to the ‘Wool Shop’ with my Nan, the windows always seemed to have that yellow plastic lining and there were always (child height) baskets full of every different colour of wool. Then there was the rag market in Birmingham of course!

    My sister and I would pick clothes we liked from magazines and our Nan would recreate them in wool for Christmas (lovely matching skirts and jumper sets…mmm).

    For some reason now most wool makes me itch like crazy, funny how these things happen when you’re older.

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