Mohair-Need I Say Mo’?

I crack myself up.  People who know me will vouch for that.  I frequently make a dumb joke, like today’s title, and then laugh so loudly the neighbors can hear it.  When I moved into my last mountain house, my neighbor heard me laugh and came out of her house and across the street to talk to me and my dad.  The first thing she said was that she knew the new people had moved in because she heard the laugh.  My ex-husband is a master of puns.  You can guess how we have warped my daughter’s sense of humor.  She knows that she is the world’s funniest person.  When the three of us are together, it’s not unusual for someone to come across a restaurant to ask what we’re up to and comment that we are having entirely too much fun.

I also lie.  You may remember that I bragged about having willpower, then started the mohair creation in the middle of the night.  I needed an excuse, the diminished capacity defense.  But I also said that our decisions in the middle of the night might not be wise.  This is to say that after two days I decided I didn’t want the wrap to just be a long, plain rectangle with vertically striped patterning.  I wanted a shaped capelet with the pattern wrapping around in long swooshes of colour, and I wanted to break up some of the front with eyelets formed by yarnovers.
Okay, hold up a minute.  Had to get up and slip on my Crocs quickly and dance with Ellen Degeneres.  She has not taped a show that I didn’t love.  If I can’t get up and dance I dance sitting down.  (I learned chair-dancing from Bill Cosby.)   The Crocs are the most wonderful shoes my sore feet have ever worn.  I can bear to put my feet on the floor with their squishy cushioning.  This is my dog, Lucy, watching me dance.
Back to mohair.  I took the old piece off the needles and unraveled it with difficulty.  Mohair that is spun with the little curliques does not like being pulled apart, no matter how loosely you knit it.  When I finished I had a pile of pathetic yarn, rather ragged looking, and I knew I’d have to start fresh with the yarn in the ball to do my capelet.  Dayna made a fantastic suggestion.  She said to go ahead and knit the ragged yarn and make a small felted piece.  Those small felted pieces (things the sizes of a swatch, 4×4 inches and larger) can always be used for potholders or coasters, or folded in half and stitched up for coin purses or iPod holders or cell phone cases.  You can cut out smaller pieces and paste them onto collages or use them to decorate your bigger knitted accessories…endless possibilities.  Thanks, Dayna, you saved a big handful of beautifully-coloured yarn from being trashed.
For the capelet, I’m using Knitpicks Options circular needles size 5.  (Remember me, the loose knitter?  You may want to go to a size 6 if you knit tightly.  But still try to keep from choking up on the mohair too much.  You can tear it up dragging it through very tightly knit stitches.)  Any length from 20 inches up is fine.  I’m using a 32 inch because that’s the first cable I took out of the case.  I cast on 90 stitches for the neck edge.  I made one knit row, then started increasing 10 stitches every other row:
  • Row 1:  Knit.
  • Row 2: Knit 3, (yarn over, knit 9) repeat 9 times, then yarn over and knit to end of row.
  • Row 3:  Knit.
  • Row 4:  Knit 3, (yarn over, knit 10) repeat 9 times, then yarn over and knit to end of row.
  • Row 5:  Knit.
  • Row 6:  Knit 3 (yarn over, knit 11) repeat 9 times, then yarn over and knit to end of row.
  • Row 7: Knit.
  • Row 8:  Knit 3 (yarn over, knit 12) repeat 9 times, then yarn over and knit to end of row.
  • Row 9:  Knit, placing 1 yarn over any place you desire in the row.  (131 stitches)

So far you have started at the neck and used the yarnover stitches to increase gradually so that the capelet flares to accommodate shoulders.  At this point you want to knit until the total piece measures about 4 inches.  During this phase of the knitting, I wanted to have a random eyelet pattern around the front edges of the capelet.  I made yarn overs at the beginning and end of the row, not really counting how many or choosing any specific pattern to put them in, but always making sure to follow the yarnover with a k2tog so that the total number of stitches didn’t change.  I also made sure that I had at least 3 knit stitches at the beginning and end of the row, so that there is an effective band down the front of the capelet.  That means if you want an eyelet close to the end of the row, you might have to make your knit 2 together, then the yarnover, then knit 3 to end the row. 

Okay, now we’re at a total length of 4 inches, and we want to add a little more width, give the capelet some flare.  At the beginning and end of the row, work in 7 more yarnovers on each side.  You could, for instance, make a row like this:

Knit 3, yarn over, knit 2, (yarn over, knit 1) 3 times, yo, k2,yo,k1,yo,knit until you have 15 stitches left, then (yo,k1)4 times, yo, k2, yo, k3,yo, knit to end of row.  Now you have a total of 145 stitches.  Don’t count.  There’s nothing we’re going to do in this capelet that can’t be done just as well with 143 or 146 stitches.  Not only am I a loose knitter, I do not obsess about the details unless they are crucial. After the increases, keep knitting.  Add some (yo, k2tog) if you like, but not so many that your piece looks like swiss cheese.  Remember, this is a lightweight capelet that is designed to keep you covered and a little warmer.  We’ll pick up at this point when I have knit some more.  Don’t worry that your piece currently looks like it will only wrap around a 3 year-old.  Blocking is going to really stretch it out and make it cover the wider you.  Not that you are very wide.  But if you happen to be a bit larger than a runway model, this will fit.  You will block it to the size you want. mohaircapeletb.jpg

One more note before I peace-out.  One of my nephews is the same age as Dayna, and he is also a college sophomore.  He is leaving the country today for Kenya where he will live for the next month and help out in a medical clinic.  He is a very directed, hard-working, talented young man, and I admire his resolve in taking on this volunteer task in a difficult new environment.  We talked yesterday.  I wish him Godspeed and a great experience. Peace!


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