05 July 2007

Wherein a myth is tested

I decided to use some black laceweight mohair for the Mystery Stole (which I have yet to start, btw, because I don't have the right beads in my stash and because I was too busy yesterday relaxing - I like that word - to be bothered with it). The only problem was that I had already started another shawl with it. It was languishing because I had already knit that particular shawl (the stunning Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding) several times and it was difficult to convince myself that either any of my friends or I needed another one.

Perhaps, if you knit or crochet with mohair, you have heard as I have that freezing said mohair will make it easier to rip out? Time for a test!

First the freezing: since I couldn't get to it for some time, the shawl spent a few days in our freezer. When it emerged, I began to rip:

The first few rows ripped out fairly easily and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. That was a big mistake! Obviously, I had angered the Mohair Gods with my plucky attitude, and they immediately decided to mess with me. I began to run into giant knots at the end of rows. But I carried on with the steadfast refusal to give in to my mohair. I was determined to win rip it out successfully! After some time, I was at this point:

...and, in the end, I had the main ball of mohair and two other smaller bits which I will save until the end of the stole, in hopes that I can avoid using them at all.

What did I learn? That freezing does nothing except make you feel like you have taken steps to ease your mohair frustrations. On the other hand, I do now have a few tips on ripping mohair. First and foremost, when you rip, place the piece on a table or other flat surface and hold it down with one hand right below the stitches to be ripped. Then, with the other hand, pull the stitches straight out away from the hand holding the knitting. Don't ever rip side to side. (serious knots will occur!) And don't get in a hurry! Take it slowly. If you come to balls of fuzz, pick them out with a straight pin until you can tell the difference between the ball of fuzz and the actual yarn strand.

So now to figure out the beads. I may have to take a little trip to the bead store. (oh no!) :)

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Blogger Melanie said...

I admire your perseverance - ravelling mohair takes oodles of patience.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Marina said...

Thanks for being the "guinea pig"! You know, that's mostly the way I rip Shetland but I do it quickly and decisively ;-)

1:15 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Rosemary- I feel your pain. I literally fought my Spider Web Shawl- it's not worth it.
Although I love KSH, after my shawl is finished, I'll stick to my favorite shetland.
Makes life easier.

Ooooh- the bead store!

1:58 PM  
Blogger Cookie said...

You don't have the right beads?


I am shocked, but I do admire your strength of spirit with that frog job.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Tiny Tyrant said...

Oh how I feel your pain Rosemary.

Alchemy's mohair blend (Haiku - I think) gave me absolute fits, hence the reason it is current stuffed in a ziploc and shoved in a SKUBB since I cannot bear to look at it.

I signed up for MS#3 but I doubt I'll be able to actually start it any time soon.

I'll live vicariously through you guys. :-)

3:15 PM  
Blogger Yarnhog said...

Dude. I love yarn (obviously), but I think I'd just toss it and buy another ball.

3:22 PM  
Blogger NH Knitting Mama said...

Wow, I think it would be painful to rip out lace. So much work involved in knitting it (I have some pathetic fear of knitting lace!)

4:21 PM  
Blogger The_Add_Knitter said...

I make a point of avoiding mohair b/c I always feel like it's in my mouth and up my nose when I knit with it!;)

Nice intrepid frogging btw!

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Charm said...

Ouch! I'd never heard of the freezer theory for mohair. Interesting, but I could feel your pain!

5:10 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Glad to know about the freezing. Also glad to know that mohair is for the advanced knitter of which I am not. Can't wait to see the beads work. My LYS is having a workshop on beads and knitting—probably I am not using the correct technical term—It is very tempting. It is a beautiful shawl.

6:24 PM  
Blogger lv2knit said...

Live and learn! Mohair is fabulous but its own master!

Is everyone knitting the Mystery Shawl but moi? I'm kind of "shawled out" though :(

7:02 PM  
Anonymous jeanee said...

Perhaps the true utility of the freezer is to prepare the ice bags that will be used later to soothe a possible post-frogging-mohair-headache :)

9:32 PM  
Anonymous junieann said...

I too admire your perserverance.

An old time knitter, (friend here in town), told me that she sprinkled a wee bit of baby powder on her mohair projects when she had to frog. Supposedly made the stuff slicker and it untangled better. I guess you have to be careful of yarn slipping off your needles.

I never tried it. Ran out of baby powder YEARS ago;)

Seemed very weird to me, but if you have a small bit of tangle and some baby powder left, maybe you could try it and let us know. Oh, she said the powder shakes out of the mohair, and then wet blocking in cool water takes out the rest.

I never had guts enough to try it.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous CarolineF said...

Here is my solution to the mohair problem: Don't knit with it. Ewww.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Thanks for the info on ripping mohair - I had heard that too about freezing it but hadn't tried it. I usually avoid really fine mohair like KSH, but sometimes I get sucked into the Brooks Farm Primero mohair thing, and that seems to be a little bit easier to rip.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Running by.... said...

Thanks for the tip! I'm knitting a simple lace scarf with kid merino (first time using lace weight). I'm sure I would've ripped the conventional way if it wasn't for you.

I signed up for the MS3 group---but I feel I'm a good year away from trying anything that ambitious. It helps to know that I can see yours and Barbara's WIPs first hand!

8:19 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Okay, I totally hear you on wanting to use the mohair you have for MS3 rather than the DFS you'd already started. But - aarrg! - having knit all those diamonds with the baby mohair (a challenge unto itself) only to rip it all out (bigger challenge) is seriously painful. Nonetheless, I admire your yarn economy and determination. You're a stronger woman than I. And I'm sort of satisfied to hear freezing doesn't really help. I've never tried it, but suspected as much. Too bad, though, that there isn't some sort of magic wand to make ripping mohair easier.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Sheila E said...

Thanks for the pointers...if I ever get so brave as to try knitting...not only with mohair as thin as that...but lace with mohair...I will need these pointers!
Your tenacity is amazing!
Beautiful colorway!!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I signed up for the Mystery Shawl, also, but haven't chosen a yarn. Perhaps mohair? My LYS would have that, I'm sure... Anyway, good job persevering! I hate to lose to yarn, also... You have to let it know who's in control =)

10:57 AM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

Freezing is helpful, the only problem is, mohair laceweight totally thaws in what, maybe 30 seconds max? Me, I put one arm across the whole row (hoping it's short enough for that) and hold it firmly down while carefully, gently tugging the yarn out with the other. As you figured out. Even successfully frogged, the mohair still has a tendency to look like it just rolled out of bed afterwards, though.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous LisaK said...

You are a better woman than I. I always just figured mohair was permanent past a few stitches.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Marianne said...

I'm sure it will look lovely in this color ! Totally worth the ripping pain ! :-)

1:56 PM  
Blogger vanessa said...

frogging mohair :-(
beads :-)

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Beth S. said...

HATE ripping mohair. Ugh. It's maddening! Sorry you had to do it. :-(

9:28 AM  

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