Yakety Yak!

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:

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 end products.

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 by Barbara G. Walker (Pittsville, Wisconsin: Schoolhouse Press, 1998), page 293.

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.)

Rows 1-5: Knit.
Row 6 (WS): P1, *yo, p3, sl 2, p1, p2sso, p3, yo, p1; rep from *.
Row 7: K2, *yo, k2, sl 2, k1, p2sso, k2, yo, k3; rep from *, end last repeat k2.
Row 8: P3, *yo, p1, sl 2, p1, p2sso, p1, yo, p5; rep from *, end last repeat p3.
Row 9: K4, *yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, k7; rep from *, end last repeat k4.
Row 10: P2, *k2, p3; rep from *, end last repeat p2.
Row 11: K1, *yo, ssk, p1, yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, p1, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from *.
Row 12: P3, *k1, p3, k1, p5; rep from *, end last repeat p3.
Row 13: K2, *yo, ssk, yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, k2tog, yo, k3; rep from *, end last repeat k2.
Row 14: P2, *k1, p5, k1, p3; rep from *, end last repeat p2.
Row 15: K2, *p1, k1, yo, sl 2, k1, p2sso, yo, k1, p1, k3; rep from *, end last repeat k2.
Row 16: 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!


Yakety Yak

A few enewsletters ago, I gave tips for finding small bonus projects in the Fall issue of Interweave Crochet. One of the projects was doing the first few rounds of the Leaf Peeper Hats and turning them into coasters.

Well, the time has come to give away these crocheted gifts for friends and I'm in the wrapping process. Here they are:

I tied four coasters together with fancy ribbon yarn and a little tag with a picture of The Coasters, then wrapped them in tissue paper. Contrasting twine and a wee bead ornament finishes it off.

For those of you who missed this enewsletter, first go over and sign up on the right there, so you don't miss any more tips. Then do this: Do the first four rounds of a Leaf Peeper Hat, then work a round of reverse single crochet around the edge. The edging reverses the curve of the hat top to cup slightly, so it hugs the glass a little. I used some Noro from my stash, with Lamb's Pride Bulky around the edge.

Happy crocheting!


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