Earlier this summer, I read The Geography of Bliss. The author, a foreign correspondent for public radio, sets out to find the happiest places on earth. While traveling he meets and interviews people in those countries and learns what makes their lives so happy. After traveling to several countries with high happiness quotients (Bhutan, Switzerland, Iceland, UAE) he realizes that he needs a base line – an opposite – to completely understand why the citizens of these countries are SO happy. Working with researchers, he pinpoints a few countries that are the unhappiest in the world. Topping the list is the former Soviet republic of Moldova – landlocked, small, and supposedly a very hard place to live and to find work.
I want to give Moldova the benefit of a doubt: is it really that bad? The way the author describes it, it sure sounds like the nation has had a rocky time since the Collapse. I guess that is one of the main reasons that the people at Peace Fleece yarns wanted to reach out to Moldova – naming one of their lovely yarns after the country. “Warm Wool from a Cold War” it says right on the label.
So, it is because of the yarn name that I call this coat “Moldova”, not because I am unhappy with it.
I made a few modifications on this coat; the most obvious being a cropped version. Mine skims the hips while the model version goes to the knee. I probably had enough yarn to do the longer version, but the longer it was, the less likely I was to wear it… so, I cut off about 9 inches of seed stitch.
In order to do this, I started with less stitches – if my memory serves me, it was about 40 less, and I cut out 3 sets of decreases. The coat still has a flare to it at the bottom, and it suits me fine this way.
Instead of knitting the coat piece by piece, I cast on the full number of stitches for the back and the left and right panels. With markers at the sides to indicate where to decrease, I worked the garment back and forth. It seemed to save a lot of time, but most importantly, it saved me the seaming headache! Once I got to the armhole decreases up top, I then put the panels on waste yarn and worked each piece separately. The sleeves are short, and only took a few hours to knit. Once they were complete, I was able to sew the raglan seams and attach at the underarm. In the end, I picked up stitches around the neckline and worked 8 rows of stockinette in a smaller needle. This gathered the top, and created the little roll. I did the same for the sleeves. Very simple construction!
Once I put it on, I could tell that it was a little bigger than I would have liked – it’s not a dealbreaker per se, but if I were to do it again, I would have chosen the smaller size or played around with needle size to get a smaller gauge. I chose the 40″ because it is a coat and ideally, I would wear things underneath. However, the seed stitch stretches quite a bit.
Considering the wool, it is not as heavy as I would have thought. It is comfortable to wear. The only challenge is finding clothes to wear with it, specifically tops. The scoop neckline is lovely, but it seems disruptive to wear a top with a higher neckline. V-necks are out. So, that leave more scoop necks or camisoles, like I am wearing here. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to plan how to wear it.
Up until the last minute, I had my mind made up on the wooden buttons I picked up in California.
I thought that they would be a perfect complement. THEN, I remembered the beautiful antler buttons from Nova Scotia… and once I put them alongside the seed stitch and the yarn color, I liked that combination even better. I attached the buttons and made small crochet loops for the button holes. I have to say, my crochet is getting better! The button placement was a little difficult. I didn’t want the garment to pull across the bust too much. I settled on this, and it is satisfactory, although I am not exactly thrilled about how it looks.
So, I am considering how to “shrink” the coat a little bit. Should I take in some of the seams inside to create more of an hourglass shape? should I throw it in some hot water and ever-so-slightly felt it? (I don’t want to lose seed stitch definition!) or should I just leave it alone all together and wear it as is? Any ideas you have would be very welcome!
Even if I do nothing to it, I will wear it. As autumn creeps up – the crisp breeze this morning! – it seems like a perfect addition to the wardrobe.
I must admit, I was completely shocked by the number of comments on yesterday’s post! Thank you for your overwhelming response! Because of the response, I decided that one prize was really not enough… and truthfully, two prizes isn’t either, but that is what I offer. I have a hank of Peace Fleece from this coat that I would love to give away too. Hopefully the winner will like working with it as much as I did – it will be perfect for winter accessories or for felting.
Winner #1 (Malabrigo and River John DPNs) is Wendy at Musings from a Knucklehead
Winner #2 (Peace Fleece hank in Moldova Burgundy) is Rachel at RachelKnits
If you are a winner, please email me with your address!