Yakkity Yak

Posted on 29. Aug, 2016 by in Men's Fashion

We have two new fall sweaters styles that are made of a yarn that’s a blend of lambswool, yak and cashmere.

When I was working with the yarn spinner, this one caught me a bit off-guard. I knew sort of what they looked like and I remembered something about yak butter tea from a documentary film about a motorcycle ride across Tibet. I wasn’t sure if it was closer to a cow or a goat and I certainly didn’t think of it as having anything to do with sweaters. Now, thanks to Google, I’m quite the authority on the yak, which I’m sure will come in handy at some point.

Yaks are bovines, so they are a relative to cattle. They are mostly domesticated and their meat, milk and butter are dietary staples of Nomadic tribes throughout Mongolia. Apparently, the tribes even saddle and ride them. Hmm.

They have a long coat and the undercoat is very soft. It’s purported to be warmer than wool and softer and more durable than cashmere. My assumption is that the Italian obsession with developing new exotic things to talk about had a lot to do with the yak making its way into the apparel arena. It’s not quite as precious as cashmere, so that’s another incentive.

At Scott Barber, we’ve used yarn from a yearling one-humped camel and outerwear fabric made with beaver fur blended with wool, so it’s not the first strange thing I’ve bitten on.

Yak is a “carded” as opposed to a “worsted” yarn, so it has a softer surface (cashmere is carded and lightweight Merino is usually worsted, if that helps). It really does make a wonderful, luxuriously soft mid-weight sweater. If it raises the awareness and stature of this wooly little cow, then I guess that’s ok, too.

Now, you’re an authority on yaks as well. I hope you enjoy showing off your new knowledge to your friends.

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