The Magic of Giselle

Vogue Knitting's Magic of Mohair contest is in full swing! Vogue Knitting is holding a design competition this fall for all aspiring designers and design students. The rules are simple: submit a handknitted women's fashion garment in yarn that is at least 25% mohair and you could win! Prizes vary from gift cards and knitting supplies to the GRAND PRIZE, an all-inclusive weeklong trip to South Africa sponsored by Mohair South Africa to learn firsthand about the mohair industry, including a tour of a working mohair farm and processing center near Port Elizabeth! Also, the winner's design will be featured in a future issue of VK and will be displayed at the VKLive event this winter in New York.

With such extravagant prizes in the balance, we thought we'd give out some mohair ideas for you budding designers to get your creative juices flowing.

The objection I hear most often about mohair is, "It's scratchy." While I've felt my share of scratchy mohair, it's important to understand why some may be scratchy and some soft enough to keep next to your skin. Have you ever seen the term "kid mohair"? Mohair varies in softness depending on the age of the animal: the younger the goat, the softer the hair.

When I picked up the ball of Giselle to swatch for this post, I was mesmerized not only by its jewel-like color, but also by its softness. I rubbed it between my hands and then, curious, against my face and neck. It's a blend of 66% kid mohair (hence the softness), 23% wool, and 11% nylon; the nylon acting as a binder, holding in all the beautiful fluff that's particular to the fiber. When looking closely at my peacock-blue ball of yarn, I noticed the thin nylon ply holding it together and was delighted to see that it's green! The contrasting nylon binder adds dimension to the already brilliant, prismatic color.

Giselle is a "bulky" yarn, the recommended needle size is a US8, though the yarn itself feels quite thin. Why the beefy needle size? Because Giselle is meant to be knit as a soft, airy fabric, with plenty of space between the stitches. Last week was hot, hot, hot and I knit my swatch with my ceiling fan on--the strands are so light I had to wrangle them out of the air beside me.

I love Giselle in stockinette stitch and delicate, ladylike lace and eyelets. I swatched it here in a horseshoe eyelet pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and I have to admit, I couldn't get a good picture of it to save my life...I hope this one shows off the pattern and the beautiful haze.

See it in our Fall collection on our website and get inspired by our Heavenly and Weekend booklets! Stay tuned for a La Gran post tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

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