Yak to Yarn

Yaks on the shore of Namtso lake in Tibet

Rocking Yak goes to great lengths to bring you the very best yak down fibre on the market. From yak to yarn, learn how we make our Traditional Series hand-spun yarn.

Our yak down fibre comes from Western China’s Tibetan Plateau which averages twelve thousand feet (about 3,600 meters) in altitude. Yaks at these altitudes produce the very best down fibre the market has to offer. The fibre is gathered by Tibetan nomads as the animals shed their undercoat in the spring months. A local factory buys the raw down from these Tibetan yak herders. The factory uses expensive machines to clean, card and separate the yak down fibres so the yarn is completely de-haired.

We purchase the very best yak down that this factory produces to ensure the softest product possible. With an average micron count of 15-18, the yak down we use is as soft and fine as cashmere but much more rare. When the down arrives in the Tibetan area where we work, we separate it into smaller bags and distribute it to the Tibetan villages we are currently working in.

The women in these villages spend the winter months spinning the down into yarn. To spin the yarn, they use a drop spindle. This creates a yarn that is unique in its inconsistent “thick and thin” pattern, something that is characteristic of hand-spun yarns. All of the spinning is done in the women’s homes. This allows them to stay with their families and live a more traditional Tibetan lifestyle in the villages rather than move to the bigger towns to look for work.  When the spinning is done, the yarn is collected, checked, washed, and balled by hand into sellable balls. The yarn is then ready to sell to customers locally and around the world.

The Tibetan women we work with take care to spin the yak down fibre into a luxurious yarn with the quality demanded by Western markets.

Our hand-spun yak down yarn is available in bulky, medium, and light weights and comes in natural brown, natural grey, cream (or dye-your-own), and a selection of naturally-dyed colours.

We will always strive to bring you the very best yarn possible. That is our guarantee.