This is the cowl that Lucy knitted that won first place in the Yak Fiber Arts competition and the National Western Stock Show
I learned a lot about yak fiber at the Western Stock Show last week. Did you know the following:
• Yak fiber can be as fine cashmere or quiviut or alpaca?
• Yak fiber can have a micron count of as low as 18, which is considered to be at the low end of the spectrum for fineness in a fiber bearing animal?
• Yak fiber is collected not by shearing but by combing?
• In addition to being very soft and fine, yak fiber is durable, water resistant and unlike sheep wool, has very little “grease” content?
• The finest fiber that can be harvested from a yak is a soft down that the animals grow in the winter months to keep them warm and shed when it starts to get warmer?
• Besides the soft down of the yak, these animals also have a courser fiber that can be harvested to make lead ropes, bracelets, saddle blankets, rugs, reins, halters cinches and cat and dog beds?
• How rare USA raised and harvested yak wool is?
• Some of our best designers in the USA are using yak down in their garments?
• Yak fiber is 10 to 15% warmer than merino wool?
• Yak fiber is breathable, absorbs moisture and odor, and lets moisture out?
• Yak fiber is resistant to static electricity?
• Yaks produce three kinds of fiber? (The downy undercoat is about 15 microns in diameter. The mid coat is 20 to 50 microns in diameter. The outer skirt fiber is about 80 microns in diameter.)
• We sell raw fiber at Mesa View Yak Ranch?
• We sell hand knitted cowls, caps, and scarves made of yak fiber at Mesa View Yak Ranch?
I have been knitting before the fire on these cold wintry nights and enjoying the softness of yak down. My favorite piece is a cap of a blend of yak, alpaca and wool that has a double thickness everywhere except over the ears where the cap is four thicknesses. This is a soft and very warm cap. The fiber arts judge said, “Beautiful! Wonderfully warm hat (wish I had it yesterday!).”
Lucy and I returned Monday from a visit to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. We were able to ‘yak’ with other yak ranchers, attend seminars regarding yak care, fiber harvesting, and yak confirmation. At the annual IYAK banquet we heard a very interesting talk on mapping yak DNA sequences and another presentation on yaks in Europe. We were also able to talk at length with a vender at the Show who is an expert on tanning hides and producing various articles using hides from animals. More on this later when we try to make some interesting articles from an imperfect hide that we have. We also made some good contacts for selling some of our top-of-the-line breeding stock. Lucy’s entry in the fiber arts contest won first place – hurrah. We will post more on that later.