Knitting With Mohair

My tub of mohair. I had fun visiting with it again before I snapped the photo.

I have a tub of mohair yarn, and most of it was given to me by people who “hate” mohair. Hate mohair? Does . . . not . . . compute . . .

I’ll admit that it can sometimes be itchy around the neck, but that’s a small price to pay for all of the glory that is mohair yarn. I love it because it’s soft, warm, fluffy, lustrous, beautiful, and did I mention warm? It can also be run with other fibers, which I do a lot. One of my favorite knitted jackets is a worsted wool run with a silk-blend mohair. It’s so warm and wonderfully soft.

I love mohair sweaters knit up at a large gauge, which makes it open and airy, but still warm because of the fuzziness that fills in the gaps left by using large needles.

Interweave Knits editor Eunny Jang did a segment on KDTV all about mohair. Here’s some information about this misunderstood fiber:

—Mohair is the hair of the angora goat , and the younger the goat is, the finer the fiber is (so, “kid mohair” is very fine soft).
—This silk like fabric has a wonderful halo, or fuzziness, when it’s knit up.
—The lightweight but warm fibers create a beautiful drape effect for knitting projects.
—Unfortunately the fibers are difficult to knit evenly; Eunny suggests blunt tipped needles so that when you go into the stitch to knit it, you go into the center of the stitch and not into part of the mohair “cloud.”

Here’s Eunny to tell you more!

I agree with Eunny that mohair can be hard to rip out. But, I have to say I ripped out a whole sweater’s worth and it is possible. A friend gave me an almost completely finished sweater because she decided that she didn’t like the color. She said “If you want to rip it out, you can have it.” A challenge was presented and achieved!

I did rip it out, and at some points I had to literally rip! It was through this process that I learned that mohair is so much stronger than it seems. When I was ripping out the sweater, there were many times I had to grip two pieces of yarn and tear the mohair fibers apart.

I found that as long as I held the yarn near the tangle, the mohair came apart without breaking. And it looks just fine to me! Before I use it again I’ll skein it and steam it to take out the kinks, but I think it’ll knit up again beautifully. (The yarn from the mohair sweater pattern is the purple buclé in the photo above.)

You can learn much more about knitting with different fibers in Knitting Daily TV episode 603, which is now available as an individual download (along with all of series 600 KDTV, and more!) Plus, it’s on sale as part of our StashBuster Sale!


P.S. The sweaters shown in the video are the Spring Twilight Pullover by Faina Goberstein from the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits and the Grace Cowlneck by Pam Allen, from Interweave Knits Weekend, 2009.

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