La Gran, la grande dame of Classic Elite

Clickety Clack
Station Master

La Gran is one of the original yarns produced by Classic Elite, and is our signature yarn. With mohair gaining popularity this fall and Vogue Knitting's huge Magic of Mohair contest linked to VKLive in New York this winter, we thought we'd take a look at this warm, versatile and stylish fiber. But first, a history lesson...

La Gran Intarsia Pillow
La Gran 456 Mittens
Though we no longer produce yarn on site in Lowell, Classic Elite got its start as a yarn mill, manufacturing many of the yarns right here in Massachusetts. Ernest Chew started working in the mills at the tender age of 13 in 1925. After 20 years in a mill in Rhode Island, he was offered a partnership in Warley Worsted Mills, the predecessor to Lowell Worsted Mills, Classic Elite's manufacturing division. As the legend goes, he decided that to build his profits, he had to make a yarn that his competitors couldn't duplicate. Thus, brushed mohair was born, what was then considered a specialty or novelty yarn.

Fair Isle Pillow
Chew designed and built special equipment for brushing the mohair, eschewing any patents to keep the process proprietary. The yarn, La Gran, was first sold in 1982, and was a runaway hit. Early 80's sweaters were often oversized and dramatic, and what is more perfect for creating drama than mohair?

Rio de Janeiro Jacket
Holly Golightly Sweater

Uma in Intarsia!
Nowadays, one is not as likely to see oversize Intarsia sweaters in mohair (though Irina Shabayeva's work in the latest Vogue Knitting is proof positive that colorwork techniques are stunning in mohair) but there are many reasons mohair remains one of the fiber world's most popular choices. Mohair, which comes from angora goats, is durable, strong, and takes dye brilliantly. It also has a subtle luster that is stunning in a knit garment. Classic Elite currently produces 46 colors of La Gran, a rainbow of shades ranging from muted and ladylike to brilliant and jewel-toned. Its versatility is clear in our Fall booklet #9123, Depot, a pattern from which, Boxcar, is available for instant download through Patternfish.


What will you craft in mohair this fall?

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