I thought I’d tell you a bit more about our mohair/silk laceweight yarn, Eldwick Lace. We’ve had lots of questions about it so it seems sensible to try and answer them. There’s a lot to tell, so I’ve broken it down into common questions so that if you don’t want to read it all you can hopefully find the information you’re looking for. I hope it’s helpful!
What is mohair?
Firstly let me tell you about the fibres. Mohair can take more than one form, which is the same for more fibres. What we use is kid mohair, which comes from the first shearing of Angora goats. This means that is is really soft and fine; nothing like the scratchy stuff we associate the 80s with. It will still be too tickly for some people but most can wear it next to skin. It’s blended with silk, which you can really see in the core strands of yarn - there is a beautiful shine there. Mohair is naturally strong and lustrous due to a long fibre length and having around half the quantity of scales on each fibre compared to wool, so it makes sense to blend it with silk which is also lustrous and strong.
It seems expensive: how much would it cost me to make a garment with?
Kid mohair is a luxury fibre so it is relatively expensive, however the skeins are so endless that they go far enough to make a garment for less than it’d cost in 4ply. It depends what sort of gauge you’re wanting, but if I made a garment using 4mm needles for example, and say it’s about my size (16-18), I’d need about six skeins of DK, costing around £108 (inc VAT). Obviously I love my DK yarns and if that’s what you want then you’re still going to get value for money in terms of yarn quality etc. However if you made the same thing in Eldwick Lace it would use approximately three skeins, costing £60 (inc VAT). That’s about the same as buying 4ply yarn for a garment. If you wanted to push this a bit further you could make something like a Wray cardigan, which would only use two skeins (for my size!) thus costing just £40 (inc VAT). So… laceweight yarn is a really cost effective way to make a beautiful garment, even though it can seem more expensive per skein.
What are the stats of the skeins and how do they compare to other similar yarns?
Our skeins are 50g/420m/459yds.
You will find many hand dyers selling basically the same yarn, which is quite useful as you can blend styles and colours from different suppliers.
Do you remember the Rowan Kidsilk Haze craze from a few years ago - well, 8-10 years ago now I suppose? That’s been quite useful for pattern inspiration for Eldwick Lace, but Kidsilk Haze came in 25g balls, so if you’re looking at patterns for it you simply need half the number of skeins that they say you need. For example.. here's one that I made (which is why it springs to mind) - Honeysuckle.
The nice thing about it having 420m per 50g skein is that it means it matches most 4ply yarns for meterage, and so it will make something like a shawl (let’s say) about the same size as a shawl you’d make in one skein of 4ply (if that makes sense?!).
How does it knit or crochet?
The fabric that you get when you use this yarn is VERY light yet warm. It has a floaty sort of quality, like dandelion fluff in a light breeze. It’s easy enough to work with - you need fairly sharp needles if you’re knitting, we’ve found, and just be aware that it is not terribly easy to unpick or frog, as the mohair fluff sticks to itself. Having said that, if you do need to unpick it don’t panic - it doesn’t damage the yarn - it feels like it will do, but it’s much more resilient than it appears. Don’t be afraid to gently pull two strands apart if the fluff has got them stuck together.
You can see the sort of fabric that this yarn creates in my Polkagris shawl (pic below). That’s knitted on 3.75mm needles, and I have a very average sort of gauge. My tensions always looks very uneven with this yarn, no matter what size needles I use, but I think that’s just one of the quirks of it. Blocking does really help, as always, so if you find your stitches look uneven don’t feel bad - they’ll block out, and the fluff from the mohair will distract from it anyway.
Claire is knitting a (pattern) on 6mm needles, and this is creating the most gloriously soft and light fabric - we can’t stop constantly scrunching it! And yet it’s still going to be warm.. without being sweaty, if you know what I mean?!
What about holding it double with 4ply yarns?
This yarn is particularly brilliant for holding double with other yarns to create a soft fluffy halo on the fabric. Just remember to accommodate the extra thickness with your needle size.
In this shawl I have used it held double with Carlisle Fingering on 4.5mm needles. The fabric is soft and cuddly, with the fingering yarn adding weight and drape. The fluff diffuses the colours in the Carlisle, creating a softer, more watercolour sort of effect.
I have also swatched with Eldwick Lace held double with Nateby 4ply on 4mm needles, so what you get there is the softness and fluff of the mohair against a pretty sparkly background. Again, the fluff diffuses the sparkles so it’s a more gentle effect. The smaller needle size has created a more dense fabric - it’s more of a cardigan sort of feel to my mind.
Here are the gauge stats that I got using Eldwick Lace held double with Carlisle Fingering: 14sts x 30 rows in stocking stitch after blocking (I think I just didn't block this as hard row-wise as the Nateby swatch)
Here are the gauge stats that I got using Eldwick Lace held double with Nateby 4ply: 18sts x 27 rows in stocking stitch after blocking.
What about holding it double with another 2ply laceweight yarn?
I also worked a few swatches of Eldwick Lace held double with Askham Lace, as I was very curious about this mix. Askham Lace is a gorgeously soft blend of baby alpaca and silk, so it has its own gentle soft fluffy halo, and I thought that alongside with the soft fluff of the mohair that would be pretty amazing. Unsurprisingly… it is!!
If you look closely you can see that holding the two yarns double means that you get a gorgeous marled effect with the colours, then you get the colour of the fluff diffusing that.
I tried it on 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm needles, so I’ve got a 3mm needles swatch with a nice, fairly dense fabric that you could wear in winter - I fancy fingerless mitts in it, or a cardigan/sweater.
The 4mm needle swatch is a nice in-between fabric - it’s light (well, they’re all light to be honest, just in different factors!), but still dense enough to feel like a between-seasons item. (Note: the above swatch was done using Askham Lace in Apricot Tulip and Eldwick Lace in Daffodil.. the next two used Eldwick Lace in Campanula - you can see how much difference it makes to the overall colour!)
The 5mm needle swatch is a different kettle of fish - this is much more open and lacy, extremely light and floaty, and to my mind it’s very summery. I’d wear it in something like a nice waterfall cardigan on a summer evening.
Here are the gauge stats that I got using Eldwick Lace held double with Askham Lace:
3mm needles - 26sts x 35 rows in stocking stitch after blocking
4mm needles - 16sts x 26 rows in stocking stitch after blocking
5mm needles - 14sts x 22 rows in stocking stitch after blocking
Obviously this will vary for each knitter but it should give you a rough idea of what to expect.
How should I choose colours to use together when using with other yarns?
This really depends on the effect you want to achieve. There are several examples throughout this blog post. Towards the top is the Laverton shawl which uses Carlisle Fingering in Little Owl, Nateby 4ply in Whispering Grass and Eldwick Lace in Silver Birch.
The above picture shows the same base colour of Askham Lace (Apricot Tulip) used with Eldwick Lace in Daffodil (top square) and Campanula (larger two squares) showing how the overall colour can be altered using the halo of a contrasting colour.
The below picture also shows the same base colour, this time Carlisle Fingering in Calamondin. The stripes are created using different colourways of Eldwick Lace. From top to bottom the colourways are Linen, Starling and Pennine Mist. Using different colours of Eldwick Lace allows you to soften a brighter colour by using a lighter shade, as seen at the top, or produce exciting marled effects by using darker and variegated colourways as seen in the other two stripes.
Another beautiful effect can be achieved using Eldwick Lace with thicker yarn, as seen in my version of the Self Care Cowl by Louise Tilbrook using Pendle Chunky in Wild Raspberry and Eldwick Lace in Silver Birch.
What would I make with Eldwick Lace?
As with most yarns I think you could make just about anything with Eldwick Lace, from accessories to garments. I suppose socks are the only questionable item, although you could make socks with Eldwick Lace held double with a sock yarn for some soft fluffy socks (anyone else wanting to try that now?!)!
For summer items this yarn is ever so useful, as it’s light (as I keep saying - it really, really is though) yet warm, and is scrunches up really small in a pocket, bag, or suitcase. You can do that, then pull it out and it’ll spring back into shape even it’s a really beautiful dressy shawl as it doesn’t really wrinkle up.
You can create some gorgeous transitional things with it, as it looks just as great with a summer dress as with long sleeves and jeans.
For a really cosy, warm, winter piece though you can also use this yarn doubled up with anything else - I’ve talked about 4ply and laceweight, but it’d work just as well doubled up with DK, aran, and even chunky - can you imagine this held double with Whitfell Chunky (it’s 100% baby alpaca)?!?
Have you got any further questions about Eldwick Lace or did you find this helpful? Let me know in the comments!
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