Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mohair

Mohair, to those familiar with it, conjures up a vision of a yarn or garment that is VERY fuzzy. But most people I talk to don't know where it comes from.

Mohair is goat hair, specifically from the Angora goat. Angora goats originated in Turkey, but can now be found all over the world, raised for their luxurious locks. Their hair is curly and silky and the softness and fineness of the hair decreases with age. Thus, kid mohair is the most desirable for use in garment yarns being the fineness and softest. The coarser hair of older animals is more suitable for use in bags and outerwear. As is the case with other animal fibers used for garments, it has insulating and moisture wicking properties.

Angora goats are sheared, without harm to the animal, twice a year. The fleece is cleaned of the natural body oils, dirt, and debris, then carded and combed to align the hairs for spinning into yarn.

Despite its softness, some people with sensitive skin find it irritating. So if you are gifting a mohair scarf or sweater, try to keep that in mind. Using a blend, as I did in my Switchback Scarf, can help to reduce the ticklishness while still keeping the luster and sheen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Switchback Scarf

I have a new pattern available for sale on Ravelry. It's called Switchback Scarf.
$4.00



Inspired by the switchback roads of the Rocky Mountains the raised zig zag pattern of this scarf makes it an elegant accessory to any outfit. The yarn has warmth for chilly days as well as shimmer and color variation that adds visual depth.

Yarn: Any sport-weight yarn, approximately 400 yards. Model shown using Collezione S. Charles Filati d’Italia Ritratto 28% Mohair, 53% Viscose, 10% Nylon, 9% Polyester (1.75/198 yds), color Lime.
For Spinners: 20 WPI (wraps per inch)
Supplies: Size F/3.75 mm crochet hook and a yarn needle.
Finished Dimensions: Approximately 5 1/2” (14 cm) wide x 65” (165 cm ) long.

It's also available on 

Craftsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Egyptian Cotton

"Egyptian Cotton" is a term that holds mystic value for people when discussing towels, bed linens, and even clothing. But what is it? What makes it so special?

Egyptian cotton is a long staple fiber from Egypt and perhaps a good way to introduce it is to first tell you what it isn't.

Most cotton that we encounter on a daily basis is a short staple cotton. What that means is that the actual fiber itself is fairly short and doesn't have a lot of strength or durability. Most short cotton doesn't have an immediate absorption rate either. If you spill liquid on it, there is a moment when it sits beaded up on the surface before finally sinking in.

Egyptian cotton, having a long staple fiber, has more strength and durability than the everyday cotton we're used to. In yarn and fabric form, it will last much longer than conventional cotton and while initially it feels harder/less soft it actually gets softer and cozier every time it's laundered. In addition, it has a superior absorption rate.

Mercerized is another term that gets thrown around in connection with cotton. Mercerization is a process that is intended to improve the luster of the yarn and, on Egyptian cotton, reduce the fuzz we generally associate with cotton. A bonus side affect is that it also improves the absorption rate. While that's great for toweling off after your shower, it also means you get more intense colors. Mercerized cotton absorbs dye better than unmercerized so you get less fading and deeper, richer hues.

So when you use mercerized Egyptian cotton, as I have in my Ocean Waves scarf, you get a durable accessory that will get softer with use while maintaining a dressier upscale look.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ocean Waves Scarf

I have my first pattern available for sale on Ravelry!  It's called Ocean Waves Scarf.
$4.00 

 

The triangular motifs on this scarf are worked back and forth on top of each other, creating an angled pattern with overlapping pierced scallops along the edges. 

Yarn: Any worsted-weight yarn, approximately 410 yards. Model shown in Classic Elite Provence, 100% Mercerized Egyptian Cotton (100 g/205 yds per skein), color Slate Blue.
For Spinners: 14 WPI (wraps per inch)
Supplies: G-6 (4 mm) crochet hook and a yarn needle.
Finished Dimensions: Approximately 6" (15 cm) wide by 48" (122 cm) long. Length may be adjusted by adding or omitting Main Motifs. 

It's also available on 

Craftsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.