September 2006
What is Mohair?

Mohair is the wool of the Angora goat, which originated in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). Mohair is a luxurious fiber, which is soft, resilient, non-flammable, wrinkle and soil resistant, absorbent and easy to dye.

Mohair is similar to Angora, which is the fur of the Angora rabbit. That is why the goat producing Mohair is called Angora goat. According to studies at North Dakota State University, each adult Angora goat is capable of producing 10 to 16 lbs of fleece. The long 100 to 150 mm fleece allows the goats to survive sub-zero temperatures.

Garments made with brushed mohair are fluffy and warm. The problem with knitting/crochet with brushed mohair is that because of its characteristic (being hairy) it is hard to unravel if mistakes happen. So careful planning is required. Knit, purl pattern combinations do not show on mohair. Always use large size needles and hooks. Otherwise, the fabric created would be too dense and stiff. Lace patterns work well on brushed mohair, but you should be comfortable working with lace patterns as unraveling is not an option. On the other hand, as Jackie E-S brought to my attention, there is smooth mohair (mostly blends) available on the market that knits up like regular wool and does not have the brushed mohair problem.

There are three different types of mohair:
  1. Kid Mohair is the first shearing of the young goat. The fiber is very fine and soft.
  2. Goatling is the second shearing of the goat and is also very soft.
  3. Mohair is the fleece of an adult Angora goat. It may be coarser than the kid mohair, but still soft.
Some people find mohair scratchy on their skin. So use mohair only for garments to be worn over other garments. Do not use mohair for babies’ garments, as it is irritating to their skin.

For more information about Angora goats and mohair characteristics check with:

North Dakota State University

Oklahoma State University

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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