Miss Allen’s Compendium
Most of those who know me know about my obession for mohair. And
why not? To me, mohair is the perfect yarn: soft, light, warm, with
the glowing perfection of saturated color as the final touch. Mohair
fiber and the way it’s spun – the yarn is composed of
a core strand with the mohair spun into/around it -- is what gives
mohair yarns their “fluff factor” and keeps them lofty
during knitting. But this technical detail doesn’t figure
into my fuzzy-wuzzy love: Like most knitters, it’s the way
yarn FEELS that matters to me, and mohair is the ultimate “feels
yummy!!” for me.
Many knitters don’t like to knit with mohair as they think
it’s “too hard to knit with” or “it’s
too hard to rip out” or the complaint I love, “it’s
toooooo scratchy!” Let me address the first of those problems
Too hard to knit with? Pshaw! Mohair is not too hard to knit with
– it requires, like any other yarn, the proper pattern, GAUGE,
and needle size. Amazingly, most mohair requires anything from a
size 9 needle up to a 15. You want a light, open fabric that is
not too tightly knit – the mohair fibers of the yarn will
fill in the gaps between any stitches, which makes it a forgiving
yarn for beginning knitters. This means a gauge between 3.5 to 4.5
stitches/inch. Yes, you have seen mohair sweaters knitted more tightly,
but frankly, I find those pieces suitable for January in the Adirondacks!
Too hard to rip out? Having ripped many a mohair piece out in my
day, I say again, Pshaw! It will require some patience, quiet time,
and good lighting (good daylight, with a contrasting surface under
your mohair to save your eyesight!), but it can be done. The main
thing is to keep the yarn nearly horizontal with your knitted piece
as you GENTLY pull it out – you cannot yank your stitches
out vertically like you do with a smooth yarn. In addition, you
may find that mohair fibers will interlock between your core strands.
This is where the judicious use of small, very pointy scissors comes
in handy. Just clip the interlocked fibers, NOT the core strand,
and continue on. Another handy tip is to stuff the offending piece
in the freezer in a bag for a few days and then undo it. I have
not found a scientific reason why this works, but it does help,
and you now have a new place to store any unauthorized stash you
may have lurking about…
Tooooo Scratchy? PSHAW AND PFOOEY! Mohair is just like any other
yarn: you have to find the kind that suits YOU. If one brand of
mohair is too scratchy for you, keep looking! It depends on the
processing and the addition of other fibers to the mohair yarn.
You may prefer a blend of less mohair and more wool or silk or vice
versa. If you are truly dermatologically challenged, kid mohair
is the softest of all, and rivals cashmere for delicacy and thinness
of fibers. Remember, mohair is perfect for OUTER garments. Its warmth
and lightness will serve you well over your regular clothing this
fall and winter, no matter if it’s knitted into a shawl, sweater,
vest, scarf, hat, or mittens.
So Gentle Knitters, there are no reasons for NOT knitting with
mohair. May I add that after months of my unrelenting whining, Gail
has finally gotten enough mohair into the shop to make even me happy!
Thick and thin, solids and space-dyed, I find myself with a rainbow
of mohair to choose from, which means that YOU have lots of mohair
to choose from as well! Ask us for help chosing yarns and patterns
for your first, or newest mohair knitting or crochet projects!