Chinook Winds Bison Yarn and Fiber
ALL ACROSS AMERICA are American artisans. Working with metal, wood, and the most useful of all, textiles. Inspired by the Serpent. Or was it Eve? Wanting to accessorize with the apple, no doubt.
Amazing, the progress humanity has made in the last 2.6 million years. Global economies have introduced unlimited variety of materials to the practicing. About a years ago we visited the subject of the hand-woven watch cap, featuring Chinook Winds Bison Yarn and Fiber. This popular Montana supplier produced bison yarn knitted for me into a perfect sub-zero watch cap.
This time, Heather, the fabulous Iowan artisan renown for custom woven headgear, reached clear around the globe to return with a perfect cashmere yarn. This particular product is sourced from the western area of Inner Mongolia. A combination of very cold nights and hot days, coupled with living in a pristine, pollution-free, high altitude environment produce amazing cashmere goats with feathery soft down is how MinkYarn explains the quality. Indiana Jones got nothing on Heather!
And from Heather, herself: The cashmere used in your hat is a laceweight which refers to the thickness. Knitting it single stranded would have been much more time-consuming on tiny needles and would have produced a thinner fabric. Instead, I separated each of the two skeins in half and knit the four strands held together as if they were one. This resulted in a thicker, warmer, more durable product. Using a single rib for the brim gives a greater ability to stretch, and using a waffle-type stitch for the crown adds texture and warmth. (Think of the texture on the fabric for thermal wear, or long underwear.)
Quality isn’t cheap. But you’ll get exactly what you want. If you take care of it, you’ll enjoy the product for years and years. Hats by Heather. Special order only.
Chinook Winds harvests fiber from bison, or buffalo as they are commonly called, then blends the fiber with varying amounts of alpaca and/or wool.
All fibers come from animals raised on South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming ranches. The fibers are processed at regional and US owned mills. Once the yarn comes back from the mill, it is sold in its own beautiful natural colors or kettle-dyed and handpainted in deep rich tones.
Why am I so excited?
Because Heather had some extra time, bottled up on her farm in Iowa, during this famously cold winter. And I asked, very nicely, if she’s knit me an extra warm watch cap with extra special yarn. AND IT’S DONE !!!!!
It’s 70% Rambouillet which is one of the softest wools with high crimp for warmth and bounce, 25% bison which is strong, light, warm, and soft with a micron count comparable to good cashmere, and 5% Suri which is strong, light, warm, and soft. There are two types of alpacas, and Suri makes up only about 10% of the total population. – Heather
Hats by Heather of Iowa. From $55 to $225 delivered. This example cost $125.