Got yak?! Many fiber artists and crafters have worked with yak (Bos grunniens for the domesticated yak, Bos mutus for the wild yak). The yak is in the bovine family (so is related to cows) and native to Central Asia. (Pic source)
Yaks, like many of the animals whose fibers we enjoy, have a coarse outer coat (guard hair) covering a soft undercoat (down hair). Yaks naturally shed in the springtime, so if you brush a domesticated yak in the spring you might have your arms full. (Pic source) The fiber’s staple is short (1-1/2 inches/3 cm) and has a good crimp. Depending on the animal’s age, health, diet, environment and whether the outer or inner coat, yak fiber ranges from 14 to 22 microns.
Historically yaks have provided the people who raised them with milk and meat for food, fiber for clothes and ropes and dung for fuel. (The dried dung of bison were also used by the native peoples and European settlers in North America as fuel, who called it “buffalo chips.”
Like many animals, yaks can be raised outside their native home (Tibet). Remember, however, that the fleece produced by animals in warmer climates will differ than the fleece they produce in their native, colder climates.
I bought of a cone of Yaqui – an undyed 2-ply yak yarn (300 y/61 g) – from my favorite yarn store in San Francisco, Artfibers. I am experimenting with stitch design. (It’s my fourth swatch; I keep trying different stitches to find one that works well with the yarn.)
Artfibers had swatches knit out of overdyed Yaqui. It dyed beautifully; the colors were muted and rich. So maybe I will skein some up and overdye … 🙂
Has anyone knit or crocheted with Yaqui in particular or yak in general?