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For travel or at home, I’ve been wearing a snood since college. I wsa introduced to one on my first trip to Britain. My college roommate showed me hers, and I was hooked.It’s not only a scarf, it’s a hat. The knitted version is breathable so it’s not too hot when I wander inside to a store or somewhere I would keep my winter wear on.
The one I got in London disappeared somewhere over the years. The black one I replaced it with (I can’t remember where I got that one, but it was perfect) disappeared after my son borrowed it for a Kylo Ren costume after The Force Awakens came out.
Having not found it in two years, I opted for getting a new one (in my favorite color, green) on Amazon while I was shopping for Christmas gifts.
This version is a little tighter than the originals, but it’s comfortable and warm and I still love it. Note that it’s not an infinity scarf. Those are similar, and I have a few winter ones, but they are too big and bulky for my taste.
I start by putting it on my neck and pull it up over my head as you would wear a headscarf to cover my ears and hair during the snow or rain. It keeps both out reasonably well.
Search on Amazon by snood, or neck warmer.
“Take this and wrap yourself in the love of strangers and friends whenever you need warmth.”
This was part of the message I received on a recent gift given to me and I was reminded of it when it came time to write about cardigans. When I was a kid I never liked them. I don’t know why. At some point, that changed, but it took forever to find one that worked for me. I didn’t want zippers or hoods. Those were too much like the sweatshirts I wore all the time as a teenager. They were a reminder of something not quite right.
The cardigans I was looking for had to have buttons down the front, no pockets, no hoods, no ski designs. I worked in a sporting goods store. I hated ski designs. It took forever, but I finally found the perfect one. It was a green, but not the green that I liked. It took so long to find; I bought it anyway. Ironically, the color was a sage green, a color that I now love most of all. It had wide and thin knitted stripes and some kind of design every other strip. It was a crew neck collar, and it buttoned all the way to the top, although the top button was hard to do on the thick double-knit collar. I loved it. There was something writerly about it; the imaginations of going places. I can’t quite explain it. I wore it long after I wore it out. I think I still have it, but I couldn’t find it for today.
Oh, and cardigans don’t mess up your hair.
Now, however, I do wear hoods and zippers, and pockets are a handy addition, but I’m still averse to jersey/sweatshirt fabric. I like wool or wool-like, small knits rather than cable knit.
The one I’m wearing right now was a gift for Christmas, and it is the perfect color to go with anything and everything and the perfect weight for every season. Light enough for a summer sweater, just enough warmth for under a winter coat or heavier sweater and shawl.
If it is somehow too warm, I have taken to wrapping the sleeves around my waist and wearing it that way, so it is always handy and ready for the chill of an air conditioner turned up too high. I am never without a sweater. Well, almost never. And cardigans are always my preference.
My favorite part of the cardigan is pulling it closed. Not buttoning it, but pulling it tight like a hug, like that message I wrote at the top of the page. There is something extra in being wrapped in a cardigan. It brings me memories of Welsh mountain fireplaces and stories under a lamplight, even though in most of those memories I have no cardigan, only its feel.
Some of the warmth I know comes from one of my favorite people known for his cardigans and his tennis sneakers: Mr. Fred Rogers. There is no one warmer than Mr. Rogers. His daily welcome into his home, his soothing voice, his wise and kind words, and of course the feeling that you are the only one he is talking to and that you matter just because you’re you. You felt his love and wanted to visit forever. I don’t know if he made cardigans both uncool and cool again for me, but he is the warmest wearer of them all.
My oldest son, who will be seventeen at the end of this week, was not a huge fan of cardigans, but he loved Mr. Rogers. Unfortunately, iconic Mr. Rogers passed away before my two little ones were born and sadly, they don’t know him as well. Zachary watched Arthur (the cartoon aardvark) and Mr. Rogers every day on PBS. It was a glorious day when Mr. Rogers appeared animated on the Arthur series.
We once wrote a letter to Mr. Rogers, asking for his television schedule and thanking him for his daily friendship. We were both surprised and not when he actually answered. He sent us a packet with the television schedule of topics he would be sharing with his viewers and two separate letters; one for my son and one for me. He signed my son’s “Mr. Rogers” and mine “Fred”. It was wonderful and I still take it out and re-read it now and then.
Cardigans have a feeling all their own and like fresh-baked cookies are better when shared.