My knee length bright orange coat is made from thick mohair and is luxuriously soft with a beautiful green lining made of silk. It does not have buttons and I secure the neck with a large broach made from gold and jewel coloured glass. Last November, I had the idea that I wanted another hand knitted coat to compliment my bright orange one.

Having an idea and finding someone who can realise it can be a challenge but for me it was easy. I contacted a dear friend, Douglas, who lives in Crete as he is an amazing creative knitter. He mixes yarns and colours to produce signature sweaters and practical garments and he is fast! However, a greater challenge was finding a pattern of a ladies coat that I liked and even more difficult finding mohair wool that was thick, richly coloured without too much synthetic fibre. I searched on the web and visited yarn shops in London and found no wool but I did find a pattern in a small shop established in 1963.

During the following three weeks Douglas and I worked through Skype and email as he reintroduced me to the language and the maths of knitting. We talked about tension, lot colours, the number of balls of wool required for a coat and the size of needles. He like me had trawled shops but in Chania, Crete and he couldn’t find anything that matched my brief.

Imagine my surprise when in Rome recently I visited a merceria (haberdashers) and found a purple mohair wool, not one or two balls, but 14! I bought the lot knowing that it was not enough to make a coat but maybe a jacket. Imagine my double surprise when Douglas emailed a week ago to say that he had traced the exact dye batch of the purple wool to a supplier in Thessonaliki, Northern Greece.

Wool made in Italy, found in Rome and Thessaloniki to a pattern from an old shop in London and knitted in Crete is typical of the fashion stories that MSL hears and collects everyday.

By Maggie

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