About knitting with Mohair February 6, 2012 – Posted in: Mondays with Mona

If you had asked me a while ago, I would have said that I don’t like knitting with Mohair. I think I might have found the reason I said that, and so if you ask me now I will say ‘no, I don’t mind it at all!’

I am knitting a whole cardigan with Rowan Kid Silk Haze on 3.25 mm needles and at this time I am enjoying it. When I started out, that was not so. There are a few things that make knitting enjoyable for me, starting with the yarn I chose in a colour I love, having the right needles to work with and a pattern that is well written and easy to follow.  After all, knitting is not supposed to be a chore but a pleasure.

Going from there I swatched to see with which size I would be getting correct gauge, and knowing me I was pretty sure I would have to go down one or two sizes since I am a loose knitter. Not terribly loose, but knitting Continental style makes a difference, as it is usually looser than throwing. I found the right needle (INOX – now Prym – the matte coloured ones with the black cables that are discontinued, I love them!) and started knitting. Did I mention that I love knitting with metal needles? That’s what I usually go for. Addis are another favourite, I started buying them in the 90’s in Germany. Anyways, I’m knitting along and it seems fine, though I’m not impressed with my tension. I’m having a terrible time getting even tension, which is usually not the case.

Yes, it is a bit fuzzy (pun intended) but believe me when I tell you the tension did not impress me at all.

You know that saying “Do as I say not as I do?” I should apply that to myself more. What happened a couple of times was that I did not knit the stitch on the needles but into the stitch below. Which is easily fixable, unless you work with Mohair. Attention: Slippery needles! At one point I even dropped a stitch and realized only 3 cm later. This is not unheard of, it happens once in a while. Attention: Slippery needles!  Not wanting to rip the mohair I fixed it by laddering the stitch up. When you do that with ‘normal’ wool it is usually not a big problem, you just make it work by re-distributing the yarn along the stitch a bit and it is fine. Not so with Mohair which sticks and is generally uncooperative.

This went on for about 20 cm, until I tossed my project aside for a break which might have lasted two months  because I couldn’t stand it anymore. Attention: Slippery needles! I really did not want to pick it up. Until last week when I decided I had to do something about it because I want that sweater!

Thinking about it and wondering what to change I realized that this time around the needles I usually love to work with were not working at all. All I can say to that: D’oh! When talking to customers in the store I usually recommend Bamboo needles when they want to work with Cotton, Silk, MOHAIR etc. for the first time, because it makes the tension easier to control since it is less slippery. I did something I usually frown upon and won’t do again soon: I switched in the middle of my project to, gasp, Bamboo needles and I love them in combination with the Mohair! (Turns out in this case my gauge is fine, usually it is a bit different from when I use metal.)

Happy Mohair knitting, indeed. If you cannot tell the difference, I for sure can!

I can only state that with knitting it is the same as with many other crafts: To be able to work satisfyingly you need to have the right tools – and sometimes that means leaving our comfort zone and trying something else, or new. Having fixed my problem the sweater is growing steadily if a bit slower due to the less slippery needles, but my tension is much more even and I haven’t dropped a stitch since.

– Mona