Saturday, November 05, 2016

Chapter three: The Collar

Thank you for coming back to read how my coat is slowly transforming, and thank you for your comments on the coat adventure.

As if I don’t have enough coats to work on, I quickly stopped at one Flee Market this week and took a quick look at the coats. I did not see any that would have inspired me then and there to work on, and was sort of relieved but also a bit disappointed to realize that. Now two days later, one coat keeps coming back to me. Maybe I will need to check back next week to see if it is still there and think about buying it. I am not sure if it was the color or the material that haunts me… or the shape.
My idea for the collar in the first place was to make a ribbed, doubled, small and neat collar that would stand up but stay inside the coat. But (there is always but) I wanted to use the same yarn as for the cuffs and I thought that I did not have enough for doubled collar and so I decided to not to do that, which was a mistake, because in the end I would have had enough yarn, at least, enough so that if I would have needed to add something else, it would not have made a difference. My second choice was to make a longish, soft ribbed collar and button it up so that it would stay close to neck.

(After all this work, which I am about to tell you next, I must admit, that maybe it would have been better just to knit separate shawl or scarf and forget about this build-in scarf. But I wanted to add warmth to the coat and that set me into this path in the first place. Plus, I would not know, if I had not done it. It is so easy to be wise afterwards…)

Of course, I had one false start, where I cast on lots of stitches and knitted for about 2” just to realize that my collar was not wide enough. The second time around I had enough stitches and while at it, I made four one-row button holes. Three to button up the collar part and one that would button with the coat. This idea worked out just fine.
I used old buttons I had on hand and they were the best of what I had, although if I had gone button hunting outside, there most likely would have been better choices out there. I sewed the buttons with backing buttons for added stability. I knitted the collar top down and started with tubular cast-on, used 2,25mm (US1) needles for the most of the collar, except for the last final rows; they were done with 2,5mm (US2).
The side edges of the collar looked little bit ragged when I had finished the knitting. I always slipped the first and the last stitch of the wrong side row and clearly it left a lot to hope for; therefore, I crocheted two rows of chain stitches on both sides. So much better…
I blocked the collar to the measurement of the coat, pinned it to its place and hand stitched it to the seam that attaches the coat collar to the coat. The outcome had to be “cleaned” and I crocheted chain stitches to both the inside and outside of the collar.
No matter how carefully I have been thinking beforehand, I always know afterwards how it should have been done. But one always learns from the mistakes best; every single mishap is a good learning opportunity and that is how it should be seen, but alas! you grind your teeth and feel not so good for a few moments. But I am not letting it eat away my joy of remaking this coat. The collar stays and next time I hope I am wiser.

Although I am not sure what is bothering me so much at this point … Maybe I need to think that for a bit…

So, I would have wanted to have doubled, neat collar and not this floppy sort. Could I still make it into one? What if I knitted another collar and sewed it to the present one, so that they would act as one. That would probably not work because I would still need to button it with the coat and then three layers to button up would be too much.
I could rip out the whole collar and just knit a lovely, lace shawl instead… No, I am not going to take that route. I think it is good enough, and with this thought, I am going to let the case rest and move forward.
One small thing, I changed the coat’s old button into a new one and examined the buttonhole to see if it was damaged in any way and it was not. It had held up well and did not need any attention.
My next step will be the back.
At this point the coat is usable and beautiful as it is, but I am a maker, and I need to work on this for a bit, for better or for worse. I thought I would give you a peek of what I am thinking but then decided not to… because this might not work, not work at all. But, it does not stop me from trying…

In the meantime, as we now have -8ÂșC, little bit snow on the ground, and the lake has a very thin ice coat along the shore line,

Wool with you,


  1. Priscilla in London13:00

    Dear Lene,
    I've just read the story of your coat; as always your work is beautiful and your ideas are inspiring.
    It's really striking how the details make all the difference: the new button for the coat is such an improvement! I can't wait to see what you do on the back; will we see some of your wonderful embroidery?

  2. Love your creativity!

  3. Your work inspires me to try some altering/additions to my own clothing; many thanks.

  4. Lene, you totally amaze me! So creative!

  5. Anonymous13:05

    Lene, Thank you so much for sharing your project! You are indeed an inspiration. The coat alterations are imaginative and very stylish. Better than the original! - Lynn in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

  6. This is wonderful. You are very inspiring. I am loving reading/seeing this journey. Can't wait for the back!!

  7. Anonymous17:31

    I've enjoyed reading about this! Would you want to create a button hole on the coat where the button was so that the button comes from the new knitted collar and through 2 button holes on the coat? Does that make sense at all?