Thursday, January 2, 2014

Knitting With Mink

On a recent trip to a yarn shop in Rockville, Maryland I found the most beautiful jewel colored yarn hanging from the display rack. I was immediately drawn to the deep amethyst and removed a hank from the rack. The yarn was incredibly soft and 100% mink, rivaling cashmere. The hank had good yardage (300 meters) and was priced about the same as Merino wool. The purpose of the visit to this yarn shop was to buy wool as a gift for Brittany and possibly some sock yarn for myself, not to buy luxury yarn. The yarn was so soft and beautiful that I couldn't put it back on the rack. I knew I would later regret not buying it, especially since I have always ascribed to the French principle that "luxury in one's life is a requirement".

The yarn when knit is very soft and drapey. After knitting several swatches the yarn seemed to work best with a sturdy knit/purl combination pattern. I chose the Little Boxes pattern from The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook by Melissa Leapman. Also the soft, drapey quality of the yarn made it a good choice for a scarf.

The yarn is a deep, rich purple. I lightened the photo to show the stitch detail.

Mink yarn is produced from the soft under coat of the Mink. The animals are brushed to obtain the fur which is then spun into yarn. When the Mink starts to shed it's under coat the animal is brushed to remove the excess fur. Sort of like brushing the family dog. Mink, unlike dogs, are not pleasant animals so I pity the poor person that has to brush them. The fact that someone was willing to brush these nasty animals to produce yarn makes me appreciate the luxury all that much more.

Directions for Mink Scarf:

The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook-An Essential Collection of 300 Designer Stitches & Techniques by Melissa Leapman: Little Boxes pattern

Lotus Yarns Mimi-100 % Mink Yarn Color # 18;one hank (300 meters)

Size 3 Knitting Needles- I am using Knit Picks Karbonz Interchangeable needles

Cast on 41 sts (39 sts plus 2 sts) using the long tail cast on. Knit according to patterns directions. Since I am designing the scarf and have no previous experience with the yarn I don't know the final length of the scarf.