April 6, 2012

The Knitted Coat

My Parents flew to San Francisco in the Spring of 1968. The purpose of the trip was business; my Dad presented a paper at a conference. Neither of my Parents had ever traveled for work. This trip therefore was special.

My Mom knitted a coat for the week-long vacation in San Francisco. It was an exquisite piece. She did not use a pattern; she instead got general instructions (written in pencil on a small memo pad) from a nurse colleague. Mom used one strand of beige (our favorite color) worsted-weight wool and one strand of a pure white, worsted mohair. She worked the coat on size 9 needles. The coat featured three-quarter length sleeves, a jewel-neck collar, and three large buttons. Mom already had completed an advanced tailoring class. She used the skills she had picked up there, and she sewed interfacings, shoulder pads, and a lining into the knitted coat.

Many years later, when the knitted coat fell out of fashion, Mom gave it away. She sent it to relatives, but she does not remember which relatives received it. The coat likely flew to Poland because the Soviet Union then did not permit shipment of worn clothing or used goods.

Since then, I've tried to replicate the coat several times, but I've had only mixed results. Maybe it's because I haven't accessorized my knitted coats with elbow-length, black gloves.

San Francisco, April 1968. I think my Parents were enchanted by San Francisco.

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San Francisco, April 1968. A knitted coat is the perfect garment for a mild, damp climate.

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San Francisco, April 1968. This photo illustrates some of the "mohair aura" of the knitted coat.

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Suburban Chicago, April 1968. My Parents have returned from San Francisco, and I arrange a "welcome home" tea party for them in the Rec Room.

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