Tag Archive | bamboo yarn

Yak Yarn! A review

When I think of fiber for knitting, obviously wool is the first to come to mind. Then silk, alpaca, cotton, nylon, acrylic, bamboo…there are so many options! But I confess that I had never thought about knitting with yak fiber. So when I was given the chance to review the Lhasa Wilderness from Bijou Basin Ranch, and I saw that it’s 75% Tibetan Yak and 25% bamboo, I thought it would be a great way to broaden my horizons, and maybe yours too!

I’d heard of Bijou Basin Ranch before, but never knew that it’s a small family-owned yak ranch in Colorado. I mean…yak? For yarn? Who knew?? Not me, anyway! They have¬†registered, full-blooded Tibetan yaks and they harvest their coats once a year. I had to google “Tibetan yak” to see what they look like, and they are impressive animals!

Anyway, enough about animals: BBR supports other small businesses by using indie dye houses for their yarns. I chose a colorway called Fantasy, dyed by Colorful Eclectic, and I was so excited when my package arrived! It was beautifully put together with several extra goodies, including a mobius scarf pattern, a handy To-Do list, a sticker (which I immediately put on my Ikea knitting cart) and a pretty stitch marker. The presentation made a great first impression. To me, it shows that they really appreciate their customers.

The colors were lighter than I was expecting, based on the photos on the website. I thought the pink would be a darker fuschia; overall it seemed a bit watered down from the colors I saw online. But I know that colors can vary with hand-dyed yarn, and can look different in person than online. Plus, it is still beautiful, and so soft! I don’t know what I was expecting from yak, but it felt very much like a premium cotton, only even softer. It’s very smooth, feels silky running through my fingers. I’m guessing the bamboo is what reminds me of cotton, and the yak provides that delicious silky softness.

img_8040

Though they generously sent me a pattern, I chose a shawl/cowl pattern that I knew I’d wear more often called the Lace Eyelet Cowl. It calls for fingering weight, and while Ravelry lists the Lhasa Wilderness as Sport, it’s definitely a light sport and can be substituted for fingering without much trouble. My 250-yard skein was plenty of yarn and the knitting sailed by without a hitch. The yarn knits a bit like cotton, so it did sometimes split more easily than wool, and there’s less give when you’re working lace like k2tog, but neither hindered my knitting at all. And then it was done, and I washed it and pinned it out, and…BAM. Amazing!¬†

fullsizeoutput_1de4

The lace opened up so beautifully; is it fair to say it bloomed? And you know how cotton and silk yarns have a wonderful drape? This is the same! It lays perfectly, and is nicely lightweight and breathable. Plus, I think it will hold its blocking really well too, so it won’t need much attention as long as I keep it clean.

fullsizeoutput_1de1

In a nutshell, this is wonderful shawl yarn. Though it feels like a strong, durable yarn, I wouldn’t use it for socks or garments because of its similarities to cotton (less stretch) and because it’s hand wash/dry flat. But I would absolutely make more lace shawls, and they have a wide variety of solids, semi-solids and variegated colors to choose from. The $22 price tag is more than reasonable, in my opinion, especially when you can get a gorgeous project from just one skein.

What do you think? Ready to try some yak??

fullsizeoutput_1de0

Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Bijou Basin Ranch, who generously sent me one skein of Lhasa Wilderness (retail value $22) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Bijou Basin cowl

Have I shared my Bijou Basin project yet? I can’t remember, but I’ve made progress in any case so I’ll show that too. This is the pretty pretty yarn I started with:

img_1493

It’s Llahsa Wilderness by Bijou Spun for Bijou Basin Ranch. It’s 250 yards of yak and bamboo and super soft. It’s sport weight but for some reason I thought it was fingering weight, so I picked a pattern for fingering weight, the Lace Eyelet Cowl, and it’s working out just fine.

img_7906

I can’t wait to get it done and blocked; I think the lace is going to open up beautifully!

FO Friday: Arya Shawl

This shawl actually got done last weekend, when I got to stay home and knit all Sunday. (It was marvelous. I highly recommend it.) But I haven’t had the time, light, or energy to get good photos until last night. We got a rare 60-degree day, and I slipped outside after dinner to sneak a few shots. The light was absolutely perfect.

fullsizeoutput_10b1fullsizeoutput_10b2

This is the Arya Shawl and it was wonderful to knit. The repetition never got boring, maybe because it alternated between lace and garter, maybe because the stripes kept it interesting. I loved the way it shifted from one color to the next, too, with slipped stitches similar to the ones in the Rainbow Warrior shawl.

fullsizeoutput_10bb

I reached the end of the increase section quickly, and was concerned that the shawl would be too short. Several of the projects on Ravelry also mentioned that their shawl was a little shorter than they’d expected. Yes, I could have tried to figure out a good way to add length, but instead I measured the width, and it was as wide as it was supposed to be, so I decided to trust the pattern and just keep knitting. I’m glad I did, because it came out a perfect length.

fullsizeoutput_10b4

The yarn is Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop, a 50/50 cotton/bamboo blend, and I love it. I wore it yesterday to work and it was lightweight and very breathable. The only time I got too warm was when I was rushing around, running up and down stairs. It was soft in my hands to knit with, maybe a tiny bit splitty but not annoyingly so, and blocked wonderfully. I think this is going to be a staple in my knit wardrobe!

fullsizeoutput_10b0

The only hard part is deciding which colors to use for my next one!