Early French explorers called them “les boeufs,” meaning oxen or beeves (plural for beef – and a new word for me). The non-French-speaking settlers later changed (or butchered, the French would undoubtedly say), the pronunciation to “la buff.” (I imagine French speakers cringing as they read this.) After a few more name changes, we got “buffalo.” (Pic source)
The bison has some similarities to the musk oxen: They are not domesticated animals, and they are very large. The bison bull will weigh about 2,000 pounds (907 kg), and the bison cow around 1,100 pounds (499 kg).
According to Blue Castle Fiber Arts, “There are five distinct types of fiber on the bison, but the most prized is the soft undercoat or down.” Not surprisingly, the microns vary: from 12 to 29 for downy hair and 21 to 110 for guard hair. The stable is short; it is only one-inch. The yarn made from bison down is, like qiviut, shrinkfast.
According to The Buffalo Wool Co., the yarn: has a solid core with a micron count of about 15 (but this would be for the down, not guard hair): its crimp creates thousands of insulating air pockets; is hypoallergenic, gets softer with wear; will halo; has a moisture regain of about 30% (thus is moisture wicking); and can be machine washed and dried.
I have never knit with bison yarn (though my birthday IS coming up). Have you?!