8 Top Tips for Working with Mohair Yarn.

Lots of different mohair yarns

Mohair Yarn is the Fluffiest!

Over the last couple of years the popularity of mohair yarn has grown monumentally. Creating the very best of halos, it is the ultimate in warm and fluffy yarn.

Yarny projects can be expensive due the mix of fibres used (mohair is angora goat, with a blend of silk), costs can go stratospheric when holding the yarn double. Therefore, spending money on, and using, mohair can take quite the leap of faith, especially when it’s not always the easiest to work with (hello frogging!). But it’s brilliant and totally worth the risk. Soft, warm and fluffy, the comfort levels are to the extreme!

My fave, holding mohair with a non fluffy yarn.

Alternative Yarns to Mohair

Mohair isn’t compatible with everyone. Affordability aside, it can cause allergies and itching, which is no fun at all. Fluffy yarn is fluffy yarn and the tips below apply to yarns that are others fibres too. Over the last few months I’ve tried a few alternatives and you definitely can get the floof without using mohair. Alpaca is great and easily available. The yarns similar to mohair are often brushed alpaca. You can also get brushed acrylic too but I’ve not tried that yet. The options are quite plentiful. Would a blog post about the ones I’ve used be helpful?

Anyway, if you have decided on a fluffy crochet or knitting project then check out these useful tips…

Crocheting with mohair yarn

Fluffy Yarn Top Tips

Frogging Yarn

Let’s start with a painful one because if you make a mistake in your project then frogging (undoing all your beautiful stitches) is a frustrating and sometimes impossible process. If you find that you have to rip back your work, do it slowly. Really really slowly. Never rip/yank/tug. Doing so will tighten the grip of all those flyaway fibres and you will end up with a horrible knot. Or it will break because you’ve pulled too hard. Instead, slowly coax each stitch apart at a snail’s pace. It seems ridiculous but it’s worth being super patient over.

Lace-weight on its own is hardest to undo. Chunky yarn is a bit easier. When held double with a non-fluff yarn, it’s almost tolerable! It’s best done “fresh,” the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that the fibres will felt together.

I’ve heard that putting it in a freezer before frogging helps but I haven’t tried it.

Choose Simple Patterns

This tip helps to avoid any fractious frogging. Complicated stitches are easy to mess up and difficult to undo. The main star of the show when using fluff is the fluff itself, therefore a simple garment or shawl shows off the yarn without any distractions.

Go Up a Hook/Needle Size

With all that crazy halo, stitches can be hard to see. So, for example, try a 5.5mm instead of a 5mm. A larger hook/needle is often required for mohair patterns anyway but do play around to see what you prefer. I found it also creates a nice lacy look too. Plus the flyaway fibres sort of fill in gaps.

Hold the Yarn Double

After trying a few different ways of using mohair and brushed alpaca, I have discovered that this is my favourite way of using it. A gossamer lace-weight held with a merino 4ply or DK produces a beautifully soft fabric that feels super luxurious.

I used this method in the Wheatfields shawl and I love it!

a crochet shawl made with mohair yarn and 4ply merino
The Wheatfields shawl is Austermann lace-weight mohair held with a hand-dyed 4ply merino from Flyy Dyed Yarns.

Use Stitch Markers

If I can get away with not using stitch markers then I will. I am lazy, life is too way short for undoing, moving, and rejoining a stitch marker. Or worse, multiple stitch markers! However, they are really useful for when stitches are hard to see. Use the stitch markers!

Try Budget Yarn First

If cost is an issue, try a cheaper yarn to experiment with (and a smaller project ). If you like it and you’re happy, move on to bigger goals. The Drops brand have both mohair and alpaca yarns that are budget friendly. I recently made hair scrunchies with a yarn from Flying Tiger that was perfect for a cute hair accessory. It was about £2.25 for a ball of 25 grams (the standard sized ball for mohair yarns). I used a scrunchie pattern from Lottie & Albert’s new crochet book.

crochet hair scrunchies made with different types of mohair yarn
Trying different types of fluffy yarn. Going clockwise from the top: Mustard (“curry”) is Drops mohair, the green is chunky kid silk from MYPZ, lilac and peach both Flying Tiger, the Coral is brushed alpaca silk, the teal (“verdigris”) is Rowan Alpaca classic

Buy an Extra Ball of Yarn

If budget allows, it might be useful to buy an extra ball for swatching. When designing, I will buy an extra ball so I have the freedom to work up a few swatches without the fear of using up yarn that will go into the final sample. I can play around with hook sizes and stitch patterns to see what works and what doesn’t before getting stuck into the actual sweater or shawl.

Or, buy one ball first, swatch it and see if you actually want to use it before buying a sweater quantity! It might save a few quid if you learn that it’s a bit too scratchy against your skin.

Try Simpler Stitches

This one is for those of you who might want to design with mohair and is personal preference rather than a hard and fast rule. With a larger hook size than normal the stitches work up looser and drapier. A loose single crochet stitch or perhaps an extended SC look really effective, much more than you might think. By all means, go for different stitches if that’s your aesthetic but the nature of the yarn is that it does the talking and overly intricate stitches confuse things too much. Think small, dainty stitches as opposed to treble heavy. Whatever floats your boat.

And those are some tips I’ve come up with from my adventures of working with mohair yarn. Oh, and alpaca fluff too! I hope you find them useful. Have you got any tips you’ve like to share? Perhaps I’ve missed something that would be super useful to add. Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers. x

I used a chunky mohair from MYPZ to make this version of the Perfect Cardigan.