From Yak to Yarn

Friday, April 29th 2016 was grooming day at the Harriest Kareus Farm. Everyone gathered around to brush and harvest Suzie’s fiber. She was so cooperative that even Isaac and Owen participated in the grooming!


Mala seemed calm and easy during the grooming too.


Chewy, the bull, was a little grumpy about the process, so they built a chute to keep him still enough to groom.


All of the yaks looked more comfortable after the grooming having lost some of their hot winter fleece.


Kate Kareus (Seth’s mom) is truly a fiber expert. She may have had something to do with Seth and Morgan’s choice of animal. She stopped by the studio to check out the yak illustrations. I was delighted to see that she brought some of her fiber tools and shared some of her vast knowledge of fiber and spinning. She is a member of the Wool and Wheel Hand Spinners spinning guild and is active in an online forum for fiber artists called Ravelry. She refers to Ravelry as the “Facebook for Fiber artists.”

Here’s a picture of Kate with yak roving.


Roving is a long, narrow bundle of fiber prepared for spinning. Seth and Morgan send their fiber to Suncrest Orchard Alpacas in Palisade to have their yak fiber processed into roving. Kate explained that yak fiber has a short staple length (length of fiber) which makes it difficult to spin into yarn in its raw form. Having the yak fiber made into roving makes the spinning process much more fluid.

Sheep fiber has a longer staple length and can be easily spun from raw fiber. The fiber in the picture below is from the Diamond B Sheep Farm in Greenwood, Arkansas.


Kate cards, washes and spins many types of fiber. She also hand-dyes her yarn. Check out this beautiful sample of her hand-dyed yarn:


She brought a couple of spindles to demonstrate what spinning on a spindle looks like. This spindle is a “Turkish Spindle.”


Here is a video demonstrating a support spindle:

Kate did not bring her spinning wheel to the studio because a wheel is not as portable as a spindle, but I had her send some pictures to share. This is her “castle” wheel made by Spinolution.

imageimageAnd here it is in action: the experienced Kate spinning one handed and videoing at the same time!


Here is Suzie proudly wearing the hat made from her own fiber.  Kate spun the yarn from roving and knit the hat. And there you have it: yak to roving, roving to yarn, yarn to hat! Thank you for sharing, Kate!


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