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A skein of Mohana
Mohana once knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Schachenmayr Mohana

First Impressions
You don't see cotton and wool blends that often. The two fibers are an unusual pair, vegetable and animal. Those few cotton/wool blends I know of are usually blended together right from the start and spun in a smooth, traditional manner.

With its mottled texture, heathered colors, and cotton, mohair, merino, and polyamid content, Mohana threw me for a loop. Was it a winter or summer yarn? More cotton than wool, or vice-versa? Bulky or lightweight?

Knitting Up
Cotton, mohair, and polyamid are generally smooth, inelastic fibers. True to form, Mohana is not stretchy, which leaves very little room to fudge your gauge after the fact. On a positive note, the yarn's slubby texture will conceal any uneven stitches.

Still, it's best to make sure your swatch tension is as close to your real-life tension as possible before you even begin, and adjust needles if necessary.

Rather than being blended together into one cohesive material, the different fibers are brought together at the spinning stage. Two strands of an extremely strong binder thread hold the mix together with almost battleship-like firmness.

Mohana is available in a small range of colors, each of which is composed of white fibers spun together with the colored ones. All the colors err on the heathered, earthy side.

Unlike many other multitextured yarns I've tried, Mohana knit up without any snags or noticeable problems. The yarn has no elasticity, so I switched to birch needles for a tighter grip. I made speedy progress.

Blocking / Washing
As soon as they emerged from their bath, the swatches relaxed and flattened into the type of fluid, breezy fabric you'd expect in a summer garment. The original bounce and elasticity had been significantly reduced.

Yet the fibers bloomed, giving the swatches a distinct halo usually reserved for the more wintry merinos and mohairs.

Once the swatches were blocked and dry, I assessed the damage: My swatch gauge had expanded from 4.5 stitches to 4 stitches per inch, an expansion of approximately 12 percent. Keep this in mind as you plan the sizing of any Mohana garment.

Wearing
Mohana doesn't necessarily feel like wool, yet it doesn't necessarily feel like cotton. It resides in that strange no-yarn's land, with a soft hand, featherlight weight, and engaging visual texture that can't be immediately placed in any specific fiber camp.

The cotton and polyamid make it ideal for, say, a homesick Vermont native currently residing in Florida. The untrained eye will see a cuddly winter sweater, while the wearer can endure warmer temperatures without discomfort.

Even the happiest of fiber blends can come apart when the going gets rough, but not so with Mohana. Initial signs of wear came in the form of tiny white popcorn-like pills that were only visible up close.

The swatches got fuzzier and slightly rumpled with wear, but the yarn's slubby and multicolored nature otherwise concealed any serious signs of degradation.

Conclusion
You'll need 10 skeins of Mohana for a medium-sized women's pullover, which translates into $80. That's not bad for a yarn with Italian heritage, complex texture, beautiful drape, and upscale kid mohair and merino fibers.

But I'd be more likely to use it for a winter scarf -- or, to be totally indulgent, an afghan -- where I wanted wintry fluff and softness that wouldn't overwhelm my internal thermostat.

On a sweater, the yarn will stretch with wear and need to be washed and reblocked somewhat regularly. But on a scarf or blanket, you can just relax and let nature take its course.

 
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