Mohair-silk yarn is known for the fuzzy, hazy quality it brings to knitting projects (one of the most popular, Rowan's Kidsilk Haze, even has "haze" in the name for emphasis!). So it's not a fiber I would naturally think of to use in lace knitting projects, which need to be crisp enough to see all the eyelets.
After reading Alison Crowther-Smith's book Lacy Knits: 20 Delicate Projects in Soft, Luxurious Mohair-Silk Yarns I'm still not convinced this is a good choice. But Crowther-Smith, the author of Silky Little Knits, which uses the same types of yarn, is rather addicted to this kind of yarn and tries hard to make it work in these patterns. Some of them are successful, some less so.
About the Book
- Pages: 120
- Format: paperback with flaps
- Number of patterns: the title says 20 but I counted 26
- Skill level: nine patterns are rated easy, three are "easy to intermediate," nine are for intermediate knitters and one is rated as "challenging"
- Sizing: there are only three garments that have sizes and each offers three or four options
- Illustrations: 100 color photographs
- Knitting lessons: an eight-page techniques section covers yarn overs, cast ons, knitting in the round and knitting with beads
- Publication date: April 2011
Lacy Knits includes patterns for knit flowers, pillows, a top, a couple of shrugs and lots of wraps and shawls, all but one of which includes lace (the exception is a pillow covered with bobbles).
Some of the projects show off the ethereal qualities of both the lace and the yarn well, such as the two-color Chevron Wrap; the Wonder Scarf, which again uses two colors and a sort of floral lace pattern; and the Boudoir Shrug, pictured on the cover, with ruffled cuffs, eyelets on the sleeves and a zig-zag pattern on the back.
These patterns have in common that they're all worked in the mohair-silk yarn alone and with a single strand of yarn. It's when other fibers are added or the yarn is held doubled that the lacy quality starts to fade and is sometimes completely obscured.
The Beth Cowl, for instance, is a pretty, voluminous wrapper, but it looks like regular ribbing, not lace. And then there are projects like the Shimmer Stole, a pretty wrap with a background of fuzzy Stockinette with a lattice of shimmery yarn on top, which doesn't look like anything I'd call lace and, in fact, doesn't have a single yarn over in it.
The Hilda Circular Shawl is the one big challenging project in the book, and it is a beauty, with a center piece worked in short rows and sewn into a circle,with a complex border that has work for the knitter on both sides of the piece. Honestly I can't imagine working lace of this complexity in a yarn that's such a pain to rip out should you make a mistake, but if that's something you're willing to take on it is a beautiful project.
Another project I like is the Sunday Night Mittens, one of the projects that combines two yarns successfully while still showing off the lace sections.
Lacy Knits is a pretty book with lots of romantic patterns inside, sure to thrill the lover of mohair-silk yarn. If you haven't worked with this kind of yarn before, even if you're a somewhat skilled knitter, I'd start with an easy project because the yarn can be a little temperamental in my experience.
Still, you'll be rewarded with a beautiful work of knitting once you learn the yarn's secrets, though you might wondering in the end why you went to all the trouble of knitting lace when you can't really see it behind the halo.