|The Yak: An unlikely source of beautiful yarn.
When I think yak, I think yuck. Honestly, the yak is not an animal that I'd picture myself thinking is cute and cuddly, like the alpaca or a little lamb. But after reading Carol Huebscher Rhoades' article about the yak in the Winter 2011 issue of Spin-Off
magazine, and seeing the yarns that yak fur results in, I think I've changed my tune.
Here's an excerpt from Carol's article:Yak
by Carol Huebscher Rhoades
If you happen to live in the Himalayan mountain region and need an all-around
useful animal, the yak is ideal. Domesticated yaks are used for hauling and
transportation and provide meat, milk, and a wide range of fibers for various
Their horns, bones, hides, and dung are also used. The only
drawback seems to be that they are not often in a cheerful mood (or so I've
been told by a few Tibetans). Yaks were domesticated many thousands of years
ago, and wild yaks are now endangered. Yaks are in the same genus, Bos
as cattle. Wild yaks, Bos mutus
, are large (males weigh up to 2,200
pounds and can be 6½ to 7 feet tall at the shoulder). Bos grunniens
, domesticated yaks, are smaller: males weight 750 to 1,300 pounds, and females
average only 500 to 600 pounds.
Yaks produce fibers that range from very fine to very coarse. Outercoat fibers
can measure from 4½ to over 15 inches long. They protect the animal from the
elements and are spun for ropes, cords, and very durable rugs. Mixed in with
the outer- and undercoats are intermediate fibers in a range of fibers in a
range of diameters and lengths. These fibers are useful for sturdy clothing. —from Spin-Off magazine
||Reprinted with permission from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns
Barbara G. Walker (Pittsville, Wisconsin: Schoolhouse Press, 1998), page
One of the swatches that accompany Carol's article is the Lotus Pattern, a beautiful lace stitch, knitted with Bijou Basin's Bijou Spun. I've felt this yarn and it's super soft—and beautiful.
I thought you might like to try the Lotus lace pattern, so here it is:
The Lotus Pattern
The Lotus pattern is a multiple of 10 + 1 stitches. The author, Carol Rhoades, made the swatch that you see in the photo by casting on 35 sts for 3 repeats plus 2 garter edge sts at each side. (Note that edge sts are not included in the pattern.)
Row 6 (WS):
P1, *yo, p3, sl 2, p1, p2sso, p3, yo, p1; rep from *.
K2, *yo, k2, sl 2, k1, p2sso, k2, yo, k3; rep from *, end last
P3, *yo, p1, sl 2, p1, p2sso, p1, yo, p5; rep from *, end last
K4, *yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, k7; rep from *, end last repeat k4.
P2, *k2, p3; rep from *, end last repeat p2.
K1, *yo, ssk, p1, yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, p1, k2tog, yo, k1;
rep from *.
P3, *k1, p3, k1, p5; rep from *, end last repeat p3.
K2, *yo, ssk, yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, k2tog, yo, k3; rep from
*, end last repeat k2.
P2, *k1, p5, k1, p3; rep from *, end last repeat p2.
K2, *p1, k1, yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, k1, p1, k3; rep from *,
end last repeat k2.
Work as for Row 14.
Repeat Rows 1-16.
Get yourself some yak yarn if you can find it, and knit a Lotus Lace scarf or shawl—or any knitted accessory! It'll be so beautiful. And if you don't already subscribe to Spin-Off, give it a try