At fiber festivals and in most of my fiber-related groups I have heard, at least once and usually more than once, “Ewww. I can’t wear mohair. It’s too scratchy.” With me, you might have well as thrown down a gauntlet because I’m about to challenge your perceptions about mohair! The first thing I’m going to tell you is, “No, you can’t wear BAD mohair. BAD mohair is too scratchy and is best used to make rug yarn!”
Next, I’m going to take you over to the mohair section of my booth and make you run your hands through my mohair curls. I usually have both white and naturally colored curls on hand, and they are all SOFT.
Then, I’m going to but a bump of carded 100% mohair in your hands to hold. You are going to be AMAZED. It is wonderfully soft. You will also be surprised, and you’ll probably tell me that you’ve never felt mohair like THIS.
Finally, I’m going to hand you a mohair blend that I particularly like, 60% wool and 40% mohair. I’m going to show you how much shinier it is than wool alone, and explain why you DO want to work with mohair blends.
In the meantime, until I can put my mohair into your hands, I invite you to read the following information about mohair from the Tall Grass Farm website. Come see me. I’ll show you what GOOD mohair is really all about!
Why Mohair Called the Diamond Fiber —
Mohair is one of the most versatile textile fibers. Its characteristics are similar to wool, except that it does not have the scales that can irritate the skin. Mohair has several unique properties that are not found in any other animal fiber
- Insulating capacity – mohair’s hollow fibers do not conduct heat; like wool, mohair provides good insulation, even when wet.
- Durability – mohair can be twisted and bent without damage to the fiber; it is the most durable animal fiber.
- Comfort – the smooth fibers of mohair do not irritate the skin, even for people who are sensitive to wool.
- Strength – mohair is stronger than steel of the same diameter.
- Shrink resistance – because its smooth fibers do not felt, mohair fabrics shrink much less than wool.
- Elasticity – mohair is very elastic; it can be stretched up to 30%, and will spring back to shape; mohair garments resist wrinkling, stretching, or sagging.
- Moisture transfer – mohair easily absorbs and releases moisture, moving perspiration away from the skin; it is comfortable to wear in cold and hot weather.
- Luster – one of mohair’s most important qualities is its ability to take dye and to display brilliant colors that resist fading by time or hard wear.
- Lightweight – mohair’s smooth fibers can be made into fabrics that have a cooling effect; it is ideal for summer garments.
- Non-flammability – mohair will not burn unless it is exposed to a direct flame.
About our mohair and mohair/wool products . . .The word mohair is derived from the Arabic meaning “choice” or “select.” Mohair is a strong, lustrous fiber that makes an ideal yarn and fabric. It drapes well and resists wrinkling or shrinking. It is stronger and warmer than wool, keeping heat in during cold weather and is a barrier against hot summer temperatures. Mohair isn’t “itchy” because it doesn’t have scales like wool. It accepts dye with an exuberance that is unparalleled. Natural colored mohair has variations of shades that are exceptionally beautiful. Mohair can be blended with other fibers to take advantage of the best qualities of each. Wool and mohair blends have luster and strength from mohair (depending on the amount of mohair in the blend), and bounce and body from wool.
Raw mohair is easy to wash because it doesn’t felt like wool. I do a rinse in really hot water to get most of the dirt and grease out then let it sit in a sink of hot water to which I have added a liberal amount of Joy dish detergent. I move it around a bit, then a final rinse in hot water, put the fiber in a large mesh laundry bag, toss it in the washer and spin the water out. Voila! Clean mohair. (I have tried washing it in the mesh bags sitting in the washer, not agitating and I haven’t been satisfied with the results.)
Mohair is easy to spin. Because it is a smooth fiber, it drafts beautifully. First clip kid mohair can be a little challenging because it is so fine.