Continuing our series on animal fiber yarns, we’re exploring the next few fibers on the original list; angora, beaver, buffalo, bison and cashmere (ah….the glorious cashmere).
You are more than likely already familiar with angora as it is a very popular yarn primarily due to it’s soft and fluffy quality. Angora yarn is produced from angora rabbits or angora goats however, if from angora goats, it is known as “angora mohair”. (Mohair will be covered in another post).
As with many of the animal fibers, angora is insulating in nature making it toasty warm and a good choice for sweaters, hats, mittens and scarves. It can be found either in it’s natural colors or as a dyed yarn. More often than not, angora is found in a blend because when pure, it is an expensive, luxury yarn.
Angora is also very silky which may make it slippery to knit. If you aren’t accustomed to working with slippery yarn, you might consider using bamboo or wood needles.
Brands/Where to buy? Angora, being as popular as it is, is fairly easy to find. Many of the major brands offer Angora selections including Berrocco, Anny Blatt and Crystal Palace. Having trouble finding Angora at your LYS? You can always go online and find it at WEBs.
Beaver Yarn Yarn made from beaver fur is much less common than many of the animal fibers in fact, most folks aren’t aware that there is such a thing. It is a terrific yarn for felting hats or adding fur embellishments to apparel. It is typically a heavy, worsted weight yarn and especially suitable for hats, caps, mittens, scarves or sweaters.
Brands/Where to Buy Beaver yarn is not at all easy to find however, if it is a yarn that you would like to play with, you can try Fur Yarn. They have beaver fur in two grades, both eyelash, heavy worsted weight yarns in quite a few colors.
Bison and Buffalo Buffalo is another luxury fiber produced from the coat of buffalo. Like many animals the buffalo has both an outer and an undercoat. Yarn made from a mix of the two produce a heavier, coarser yarn than those made from the fine downy undercoat. Insulating and warm, buffalo provides a great yarn for sweaters, mittens, scarves and hats.
Brands/Where to Buy Buffalo yarn is easier to find than beaver by a far stretch but remains quite pricey. If 100% buffalo is too rich for your blood, you can experiment a bit with available blends. Interestingly, a few manufacturers do seem to lump Bison with Buffalo. I found a few Bison blend yarns carrying the name of “Buffalo Gold” for example at WEBs. You can also find Bison at Fibre-Isle .
Cashmere Undoubtedly a luxury fiber with a feel to make your fingers fall in love. Cashmere is produced from the underbelly fine combings and undercoat of the cashmere goat. I doubt there is a knitter alive who hasn’t luxuriated in the heavenly touch of cashmere but if there is and if that is you, treat yourself soon. Find some cashmere at your LYS and give your fingers a treat.
It is insulating, warm, soft and very lightweight. Undoubtedly a luxury fiber, cashmere is ideally suited to shawls, scarves, mittens and sweaters.
Brands/Where to Buy Cashmere yarn (either pure or spun as a blend) is relatively easy to find. Being one of the luxury yarns, it does carry a luxury price tag however, if you are anxious to give it a try, there is an alternate source worthy of consideration; reclaimed cashmere.
You can likely find cashmere as your LYS however, if not, you most certainly can find it at WEBs. Reclaimed cashmere is a bit more challenging to find. I’ve been very lucky to find Elie’s Reclaimed Cashmere but if they don’t ship to a LYS near you, try searching for it on Ravelry. You can occasionally find someone selling it there in small lots.
That’s a wrap for today. I hope you have found something fund and new to try. If so, please do leave a note and let us know what you have tried and share the fun.