Last modified on
April 25, 2015
100% YAK WOOL and Natural Blends
Pasture of Yaks Near Lhasa, Tibet (Xizang, China)
Photo © Irene & Mr. Sheep Co.
Yaks' habitat is the Himalayas (Nepal), China, and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. They are well adapted to the harsh mountains with their thick coats, great lung capacity, and ability to move skillfully over rough terrain. Yaks can easily tolerate temperatures of -40C. Even their blood cells are designed for high elevations.
There are both wild and domestic yaks. The Yak has been domesticated to plough fields and pull loads, because it is a sure-footed climber (at a weight of 2000 lbs!). When traveling on snow in single file, they carefully step on footprints left by the lead yak. Yaks are also used for their milk, fiber, and meat. Yak milk can be processed into cheese and butter. Butter is an ingredient in Tibetans' "butter tea" and is also used in lamps.
The yak fiber is very fine in diameter (between 15 and 17 mm) that place it in the same class of the luxury guanaco, vicuña and qiviut. Each yak produces about 100 g of down fibre per year. The yak fiber comes in a few natural colours: white (the most valuable), fawn, dark grey, and dark brown. The yak's down is harvested by combing or pulling the fibres during the spring moulting period. Yak's fiber is spun and woven into various, very soft and ultra warm fiber products.
China (Qinhai, Sichuan and Gansu provinces) is the major producer of the commercialised down hair.
Taming Tibet, Wild Fibers Magazine Winter 2010 » " In terms of fiber, these endearing shaggy creatures that easily weight several hundred pounds produce roughly one pound of wooly undercoat a year called yak-kulu, meaning yak cashmere. In fact, when it is carefully processed it can be worn next to the skin. With growing concern about the environmental impact of cashmere goats, fashion designers are now looking to hit the catwalk with yak wool couture instead…"
From our experience: Notwithstanding the aggressive nature of the yak itself, Yak fiber and yarn are one of the softest on the planet. Also, yaks are great singers and love to make frequent, very vocal grunts!
Photo Gallery: Yak Herders of Ladakh, India » on ArcticPhoto.com © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography / ArcticPhoto
TIBETAN YAK, Tibet (Xizang, China).
Photography © Irene & Mr. Sheep Co.
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