Aunt Cecelia’s Mohair: The Knit Goes On

CeceliaNoteSeveral years ago, a co-worker told me that her husband’s elderly Great Aunt Cecelia died. Such news does not often make it into my workplace. Cecelia’s  yarn and other related knitting what-nots were en route to Michigan. My co-worker once had knitting aspirations. But a busy work life and I assume motherhoodedness and many other interests deflected her from the sedentary craft of knitting. Then there was the matter of a certain boring yellow garter stitch scarf. Anyway. Would I like to have Ceclia’s  yarn? ” Yes.” All payment was refused.

And so I was gifted with Cecelia’s boxes of mohair. Mass quantities of 100% Italian kid mohair. The softest mohair on the planet, spun from young goats. My co-worker gave me so much mohair, all neatly packed in fifteen or so clean original cartons, that I went to Home Depot and purchased a special plastic caddy of drawers to store the balls in. There was pink, orange, dark green, light green, varigated green, black, hot pink, gold, aqua. Bon-bon complete with the original ballbands. Lady Myra, all tagged, as if they’d just been plucked from my local yarn shop. I would open the drawers and marvel at the permanence of things. Serious knitters  plan for what will happen to their stash when they die. Should it go to a Senior Center? A knitting relative? Their knitting guild? I immediately  felt a responsibility to do right by all that mohair. Then, in one of the crochet booklets that I received and looked at last because I don’t crochet, I found a carbon copy of this typed note.

Cecelia knew she was up to her eyeballs in mohair. She knew her stash enhancement had gotten out of hand. I figure she  stashed mass quantities of mohair in the 1960’s when “Italian Knits” were all the rage. They were oversized, bulky, warm, itchy sweaters.  But we all looked beautiful in them. Everyone wanted one. Mine was powder blue. By 1977 no one wanted mohair sweaters anymore. You had to wear long sleeve shirts under them and the little mohairs still managed to tickle your daylights out. By 1977, Cecelia might even have admitted to herself that knitting with mohair is not as much fun as knitting with yarn that behaves itself. With mohair, you knit in a cloud of fuzz. If you make a mistake, it’s almost impossible to rip back because all that clingy fuzz impedes progress and obscures the individual stitches. I bet Cecelia knew the mohair trick of putting your knitting in the freezer for a few hours because it’s easier to frog (“rippit, rippit”) when the yarn is very, very cold.

Somehow, knowing that Cecelia had already decided to sell her mohair to a stranger lessened my obligation to it. I made lots of scarfs, including for our office’s charity auction. I knitted clothes for bears donated to shelters.  I added it to felted bags. I made koala ear tufts out of it. I knitted a black shawl that made me look so goofy I had to give it away to the first person who said she  liked it. And yes, I gave some of the mohair to other knitters.

I have about 15 balls left in assorted colors. Mittens are the current mohair stash-busting project. These are knitted with two strands of Bon-Bon.

vintagemittens2I plan on leaving a few balls unknit.  When I kick my bucket, Cecelia’s yarn can find a new good home, mixed in with my stash.

bonbongreen bonbonorange
ladymyraset