The Ballad of Sam’s Coats

The First Coat: It was burgundy wool with a mock turtleneck. Very distinguished. The yarn came from a thrift store sweater that I unwound. On a hike up Spencer’s Butte in Oregon Sam ran off. I heard him howling and tracking something for a while…then nothing. Forty five minutes later he stumbled into the dark parking lot. Shivering. Soaking wet. NO SWEATER. He told a big story about how a raccoon accosted him in the woods, stole the sweater, and pushed him into a creek. Every time he tells it the raccoon gets bigger and the creek deeper.

The Second Coat: This one was a beauty. Cream-colored wool with dark blue and red stripes. Very collegiate. One morning Sam walked out into the yard with the sweater on his back, and when I called him to come back in, NO SWEATER. He played dumb this time, trying to make me believe that he never had it on in the first place. A month later I found it…snagged on the compost pile fence ala Peter Rabbit. I can only guess that Sam was elbow-deep in compost when he heard me calling him. The sweater was stuck so he had to wriggle out and leave it hanging.  Sadly, a month of Oregon rain had ruined it beyond repair and I swore I wouldn’t knit Sam another.

sam in bed

No really...and it wasn't just one raccoon. It was a gang of them.

The Third Coat: Just finished it today. Felted handspun on one side and black fleece on the other. Very warm and washable. The style reminds me of those blankets horses wear in the winter. I was inspired to use up the first few skeins of yarn I ever spun – they’re lumpy and inconsistent and too weird for anything you’d wear in public. This coat is basically a big rectangle of garter stitch (sz 10.5 needles) tapered at the hindquarters. The neckband extends into a 6 inch tab and in the middle there’s a wide fleece belly tab. I sewed a piece of black fleece to the felted wool, then trimmed all the edges. For now safety pins will do as closures, but I put velcro on my shopping list.

velcro will replace the safety pins

the warmth of wool and the wind-blocking-power of fleece!

sam's new dog coat

the coat's colorful underside

wool lining of sam's coat

close-up of the felted garter stitch

sam finds our apt too chilly

I know Sam, I think we should turn up the thermostat too



  1. Mary Dunn · February 8, 2012

    I love your blog, your projects, and your spinning/knitting! Thanks for so much inspiration. PS – My daughter is a hair dresser in Boston on the very Newbury St you found your favorite shirt 🙂

  2. Janet Schumm · November 22, 2010

    Sam, What a coat, You look pretty sophisticated!!

  3. Janet Schumm · November 22, 2010

    What a coat Sam, You look pretty sophisticated!!

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