Six tries was all I needed to knit a mutually acceptable, properly executed, nicely fitting collar for Mr S's sweater. After all variations on funnels and scoops, we settled on a classic roll neck.
It was so hard for him to (in his mind) criticize the original sweater, and it took a little convincing that I was happy to keep trying until we got it right. He felt like he was rejecting my gift and all my hard work by acknowledging that the collar was wonky.
But for me, I was not going to put this sweater in the finished pile until it was right. I spent over two months knitting this sweater, and I expect it to be worn. I want it to be a useful garment, not some symbol of my willingness to put a lot of effort into something for the husband I love.
It was worth the extra two weeks of attention to find an acceptable solution, and I think he now understands that. I also think he liked being greeted every evening upon his return from work with "Hi honey. Take off your shirt."
As promised, here is Mr S in his new, finished sweater.
Pattern: Dylan Goes Electric, designed by Karen Baumer, IK Summer 2005
Yarn: Cascade Sierra color #24, 8 skeins
Notes: I know a lot of knitters who do not like to knit cotton, but I am not one of them. I actually quite like knitting with cotton, and quite liked knitting with this (mostly cotton) yarn. It has lovely stitch definition and held up well to frogging. It also has enough body to be able to cable without a cable needle, which can be awfully hard with a slippery cotton yarn.
I also think, like other Cascade Yarns, that Sierra is a great value, with crazy yardage (191 yards) and a high quality yarn for a very reasonable (about $8!) price.
Obviously, the test is going to be in the wearing. I went with the suggested Sierra hoping that the wool content will keep this sweater from growing. After some wear and washing, I'll post an update.
Pattern Mods: I swapped out an uncomfortable, ill-fitting funnel neck for a classic roll neck. I knit one round of purl around the neck and knit about 2" of stockinette.
Lessons learned: I learned how to do nice ribbing one project too late. I am really stuck on how much nicer this sweater could have looked if I learned to rib in the combined style just a little sooner.
Also, Mr S does not like a funnel neck, no matter how many times we try, no matter what needle we choose or how high/low it hits him. Nor does he like anything that might qualify as a "mock turtleneck." He prefers a classic roll. Or a crew neck.
We'll just have to see if he actually wears this sweater. He promises he will.