Mohair sweaters are prevalent in the Fall Collections for 2014. It is a luxury fiber, with a lustrous sheen, that is durable, lightweight, and warm. However, its prized qualities can make it a challenge to knit with, particularly for beginners. Understanding its properties, and learning some tips can help anyone to knit with this fiber.
Mohair is a fuzzy fiber shorn from the Angora goat, not to be confused with angora from rabbits. Kid mohair is the hair from the first two shearings of young goats. The fiber size increases with the age of the goat; a young goat yields fine, silky, soft fiber, and an older goat has thick, coarse fiber. Mohair is often blended with wool, cashmere, alpaca, silk or a synthetic to help the fibers cling together.
A yarn strand of mohair consists of a core thread with a fuzzy halo of fibers emerging from it, so it tends to stick together. It is warm because the fuzziness of the yarn fills spaces in the garment to trap air. Simple designs are best to show off the halo effect. Intricate designs won’t show up well. It also looks fabulous knit with a loose gauge creating open, airy patterns like lace.
Mohair is difficult to knit evenly, so I use metal needles. Knit slowly, and pay attention to the formation of your stitches. When you go into the stitch to knit it, go through the center of the stitch, and not into the fluffy “cloud”. The long fibers will entangle as you knit, making it difficult to rip apart. An advantage is the fuzziness hides your mistakes.
So take a plunge this fall, and start with a simple scarf or shawl. I think I’m going to knit myself a simple sweater by Debbie Bliss from her Fall/Winter 2014 knitting magazine (Issue 13).