The Itchy and Scratchy Show

80s jumper

I was driving the car yesterday, family in tow, when I looked over to the passenger seat and saw James with his arm stuffed up his top frantically scratching. I asked what the issue was and he replied that his new jumper from John Lewis was really itchy. I have recently bought a wool top too which has also caused me to itch. This sparked a conversation about how we both recalled the pain of itchy woollen jumpers as kids but had not really had that sensation since we were really young… until recently.

We can only put this down to the fact that for the last 20 years we have worn predominantly imported wool/cotton blends rather than pure British wool. The course texture of James’ new jumper certainly brought back memories of the Christmas jumpers his granny would buy him as a kid and so would spend every Christmas day red raw.  In fact, rather than it being an irritant, he  finds something strangely nostalgic  about the itch of his new jumper. I on the other-hand, am not so fond of it.

Sometimes the itch of a new jumper new or old is something you just have to put up with but it might be that now it’s getting colder and wetter that we can survive by adding layers underneath.

– Emily



  1. Better than usual wool is Lambswool, or Mohair which are not “Itchy and Scratchy” at all. My Lyle and Scott pullover was Made in Scotland from 100% Lambswool and you can wear it next to the skin no problem…

  2. Have you located any fabric softener made in the UK? If not, there are lots of DIY recipes online (although one I looked at started: Take one bottle of hair conditioner and…!)

  3. Charlotte says

    The way the wool feels has nothing to do with the origin of the yarn but the breed of sheep. There are a number of breeds of sheep from the UK that have lovely wool such as the Blue Faced Leicester but you’re unlikely to find them in mass market sweaters. Learn to knit or crochet and you will discover a world of people dedicated to keeping farming and industry alive in this country.

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