April 28, 2011

Yak Yarn

Don't know if y'all know much about Yak as a yarn fiber; but I lucked into a bunch of it at Stitches South, and now it's gradually making its way into my Etsy shop.  I am in LOVE with this fiber!  The weight is a light fingering weight, about the weight of the Australian merino that I used for the Traveling Woman Shawl.  It's as beautiful undyed, with its buttery tones, as it is dyed.  This particular yak is 50/50 yak/New Zealand merino, which may make it the warmest combination of fiber in the world! 

You already know how merino is so fabulous for helping to maintain body temperature even when wet, which makes it ideal for sweaters and outerwear and cozy socks.  Well yak, is one of the rarest fibers in the world because only the high quality fiber can only be "harvested" from herds that are grazed in the Himalayas, due to their very climate-specific habitat requirements.  Yak is, as I understand it, the warmest fiber in the world.  After all, it keeps people in the Himalayas warm in nightmarishly cold sub-zero temperatures, right?  So, these two combined, even though it is a light fingering weight, are going to knit up to be some some awesomely warm outerwear garments!  I'm thinking of a pair of gloves to match the Autumn Leaves Beret that I've just started in my Zibeline Knits "Spinster" colorway.  I'm also thinking that this light-weight fiber is going to be, despite its wooly content, a fantastic fiber to knit with in the summer months--not heavy enough to make me uncomfortable while knitting on a shady summer porch.  It's a little scratchy to work with raw--kind of like sari silk can be; but once dyed, it begins to soften.  I dyed a skein in the "Spinster" colorway, and it's already significantly softer and more pliable, and it just got a cold water bath with not detergent.  I think it will be super soft and snuggly once it's been knit up and hand washed. 

There are only a handful of sellers on Etsy who have yak--rather pricey they are, too!  I think I am the only one with the soft and snuggly mix of yak and merino.  Right now, there are some undyed skeins available, and hopefully next week (AP exams start next week, papers need to be graded, and we're doin' the Girl Scout thing all day Saturday, so not going to be too much time for dying this weekend) there will be a few color options to choose from.  You should stop by and check it out. 

In the meantime ... Rocket's second skein of Ella Rae arrived today--shipping only took 2 days?!--so that's going to get finished up next week.  And I made it past the initial ribbing on the beret last night and into the hat pattern.  I guess I make it sound like more progress than it is--really I peered at that chart for two hours and knit maybe 10 rows--52 more to go before the next pattern change for the decreases.  This little number is NOT being knit in the Russian method; though I find myself reverting back to it now that I have been practicing it.  I'm pretty sure that I don't like that new habit much at all--I like my old habits of knitting and don't want to lose them.  I'll post pics as soon as it gets a little bigger and actually looks like something more than a sock for the Jolly Green Giant.  I did, however, get the most gorgeous set of Harmony DPNs in the mail today from Knit Picks, too, for this project.  So, I'm going to knit quickly because I can't wait to try them out!  (The beret begins on one circular and transfers to DPNs when the pattern decreases begin to get hairy.)  Well, off to knit.

Happy knitting to you!


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