Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Mohair and Fair Isle - Oh How I Love You

I've always been a huge fan of mohair. It began when my mom made me a beautiful cabled cardigan when I was a little girl. You can see Julia wearing that sweater here. She was so tiny and so sweet and holding her favorite kitty Zoe Sophia.

When I began working for Classic Elite, their main yarn was La Gran Mohair. It was spun in the mill that was just outside my office door. It began as a looped boucle mohair and then was brushed on a giant carding machine, 80 ends at a time, to become La Gran. La Gran is still around, although it is now sourced from overseas. It is a gorgeous fluffy mohair yarn with a core of wool and nylon. La Gran takes dye incredibly and the result is a lustrous yarn which is great for quick knits. 

The other day I received the CEY web letter only to see a sweater that looked really familiar. I'm not sure if I designed it but I know I had a hand in it somewhere because I was the Creative Director at that point. Love the lacy drop stitch re-sized for the current silhouette. The pattern is free as a PDF Download and you can find it on Ravelry here. The lovely model is Mackenzie, daughter of Susan Mills, the CEY Design Director. I remember when Mackenzie was born on Valentine's Day 18 years ago! 

Check out the current colors of La Gran Mohair here.  Gorgeous. I hope I can make Julia a La Gran sweater soon because she loves my old Parisian Brown La Gran cardigan that I still wear that is over 20 years old.

It is my LOVE of mohair and all fine fibers that led me to design Color By Kristin, my 50% wool, 25% alpaca, 25% mohair yarn which is distributed by Classic Elite Yarns.  This blend is so luxurious. Trouble is ----- it doesn't really look spectacular in the skein put-up. It looks rather ordinary. But try knitting with it and you will be hooked. First of all - it is the color that grabs you. And then the way the yarn glides over the needles. The alpaca adds a beautiful softness and drape to the yarn. The mohair adds a gorgeous sheen. The wool adds stability to tame down some of the exotic qualities of the alpaca and mohair (i.e. stretchiness and lack of shape keeping qualities). 
Color By Kristin is of course, my current favorite yarn. Maybe your yarn shop carries it? Perhaps you can talk someone into gifting it to you! Amazing colors and so nice to knit. All of the patterns In my PDF Download Collection are made of this yarn. 

Here's another new Color By Kristin design called Basilica. This is in the new Cathedral Book published by Classic Elite Yarns.

I designed this sweater with beginning Fair-Islers in mind. (Thanks Meg of CEY for the tip that even some very proficient knitters are still afraid of Fair Isle.) The colorwork is done at the edges of the sweater where there is no shaping. It doesn't take long to work the colorful bands and then it is all smooth sailing with solid stockinette stitch. Here's a back view.

The edges are worked in my favorite Reverse Stockinette Stitch Ridges. I love how they curl backwards into the fabric. You could change the colors up easily. I used Deep Forest 3212, Julia's Pink 3289, Sunflower 3250, Rock Henna 3255, and Coleus 3260 for my version.

There are plenty of other incredibly gorgeous Fair Isle Designs in the Cathedral Book just published by CEY. Most of them are designed by the incredibly talented Susan Mills, the current Creative Director at CEY and Mom to Mackenzie. Check it out here

I know it is gift knitting season and you probably aren't thinking about learning Fair Isle at the moment. If you want to combine learning Fair Isle with a Christmas Stocking, check out my Kristin's Creative Christmas Stocking Collection. Here's one of the pretty designs - a Christmas tree border with a circle motif. Here it is plain, without embroidery. 

Here it is with the Fair Isle border decorated with simple embroidery stitches.

All part of my PDF Download - 6 designs, 4 sizes for $12. Check it out here and order on my website. Or order through Ravelry here. You do not need to be a Ravelry member.

Happy Fair Isle and gift knitting everyone!


ellen kirkendall said...

You've almost got me. I want to try a fair isle project in 2014, and if your yarn has all that color AND mohair I may have to commit to one. I love knitting with alpaca and mohair. Such a pleasure to feel running through my fingers.

mn_bird said...

If I was stranded on an island and could only knit with one yarn the rest of my life, it would be your yarn. I also tell as many knitters as I can. It is a joy to work with!

Robin Allen said...

Gorgeous design! I remember when I was afraid to try Fair Isle. Now, I can't get enough of it. It's nowhere near as hard as it looks.

Willow said...

I bought the Christmas stocking patterns two years ago and have knitted a different one for each of the eleven people in my family. Everyone chose a favorite style and personal colors. Best patterns for stockings I've ever used.

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