katherinelynn_04 & Sarah Bear
Congratulations! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to collect your prizes.
I've been admiring this giveaway sponsor's yarn for a long time. I was enticed by the thought of a luxury fiber that is as soft as cashmere. Welcome Bijou Basin Ranch to our blog this giveaway!
BBR specializes in yak yarn and fiber (aren't they cute?!), and let me just confirm that this yarn is truly as soft as they say it is!! And, not only is it soft, but it's so sturdy and great to knit with. I'm not sure I can put into words how lovely this stuff is, but more on that later... check out the fun interview I did with BBR:
1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
We are a small yarn manufacturing company that specializes in fine quality yak fibers and yarns. We raise registered full blooded yaks that have superior glossy coats which are harvested annually. We also supplement the fiber we harvest from our yaks by buying quality yak fiber from other yak ranchers across the country and abroad. Our yak fiber is then processed into yarn at various mills across the country or abroad and sold under the Bijou Spun label.
2. I would love to hear more about the yak fiber that you use to make your yarn and what makes it so special.
Yaks have a dual coat consisting of a long coarse guard hair and a short, soft, downy undercoat. We have very strict policies about removing as much of the guard hair as possible. This results in a bit more loss of the undercoat during processing but the results are amazingly soft and luxurious. With a diameter of 14 to 18 microns yak down is rated as soft as cashmere. Additionally, yak fiber has a very short staple length which results in superior stitch definition when knitted.
3. I had a chance to work with one of your yarns recently (Bijou Spun Bijou Bliss) and I truly enjoyed every minute of it. It was amazingly soft, and the color and texture of the yarn was so beautiful and rustic! Can you talk a little bit about the different yarns and colors that you offer?
We currently have several yarns available. A lace weight yarn available in the natural brown color and a 70/30 Yak/Merino blend called "Himalayan Trail" available in natural brown & natural cream. Our "Bijou Bliss", the yarn you mentioned, is a 50/50 Yak/Cormo blend which comes in natural cream and brown as well as 13 other colors. Our sock yarn is called "Tibetan Dream" and is a 85/15 Yak/nylon blend available in the natural cream & brown as well as 5 variegated colors. And our "Lhasa Wilderness" a 75/25 Yak/bamboo blend, is available in the natural colors, the 13 semi solid colors and the 5 variegated colors. Lhasa Wilderness is by far our most popular yarn as the yarn takes the colors great and the yarn is a dream to knit with!
4. How did you originally get into the yarn business and what is like to run a yarn brand like yours?
A few years ago my wife and I were looking for an agriculture based business to do an "early retirement" into. At the time I was working as a veterinary technician for an equine vet and while on a ranch call I came across some yaks. I looked into the species, found that no one was doing a serious business with yak fiber and the next thing you know, here we are! So far this has been a very interesting, fun and exciting business to run. It is a lot of work with a lot of hours to put in between running the ranch, and the day to day business as well as traveling to all of the shows, be are constantly learning new things, meeting new people and generally having a lot of fun.
5. What will be next for you? Do you have new yarns or colorways in the works that you can share with us?
Without giving away any "corporate secrets" I can tell you that new colors are always on our mind. In fact we have started working on some already. Also new yarn blends. With the success of some of our more exotic "Limited Edition " blends such as "Gobi", a 75/25 Yak & Camel yarn, you can expect to see more high end exotic fibers coming into our line.
6. Can you tell me a bit about your yarn colors?
All of our yarn is available in the two natural colors that come from the yaks, which are brown and cream. In addition to those we have 13 hand-dyed semi-solid colors that are dyed for us by the wonderful people at Lorna's Laces! They also hand dye the 5 different variegated colors for us as well.
7. You mentioned that you raise yaks, what is that like?
It's a lot of work, and there are times, especially when you are out in a major snowstorm feeding them, when you say to yourself "What was I thinking?!?" but then there are times, like when the new crop of calves are born in the spring, that you think, "Oh,yeah, this is why we do this.". Overall the yaks are quite friendly and smart and are pretty easy to tend to. But they can be a lot of work as there is always something that needs to be done.
8. When did you learn to knit and who taught you?
It's actually kind of funny, but neither my wife or I can knit or crochet! The joke around here is that I deal with what goes in the front of the yak and what comes out the back, and what is wrapped around them is my wife's problem. But once it is spun, it's up to the knitter's do do something creative!
9. And last but not least, if you were enjoying a favorite drink while reading my blog, what would it be?
A decaf, Venti, 2 pump, skinny vanilla latte! I am seriously addicted to these since I went to vet tech school, and they are sooooo goooood!
Thank you so much Bijou Basin Ranch for visiting YOTH and being our gracious sponsor this giveaway! Before I announce what the wonderful folks at BBR have sent over for you followers to have a chance to win, I want to show you the fantastic project I knitted out of one skein of the Bijou Spun Bijou Bliss. Meet my hybrid Basic Gloves/Podster Gloves that I knitted up for my hubby...
Patterns: Basic Gloves & Podster Gloves (both free patterns may I add)
Designers: Harry Wells & Glenna C.
Yarn: Bijou Spun Bijou Bliss
Colorway: Natural Brown
My Rav project page here
Modeled by: Hubby (who needs a manicure badly!!)
I merged the two patterns together (more details on my project page), and unfortunately, along the way I had a few issues. I ended up having to rip out my work quite a few times and even after all that ripping and re-knitting, the yarn stayed as beautiful as ever. I really was impressed by the quality and luxury of this yarn. I plan on knitting a sweater out of the Natural Brown colorway in the very near future... would it be rude to gift myself a box of gorgeous yak yarn for Christmas?! I can just put a secret admirer gift tag on it, right!
Another thing I wanted to mention about this yarn, is how versatile the gauge is on the Bijou Bliss. It's listed on Ravelry as a sport weight, which is the gauge I knitted this yarn at, but I can defintely see this yarn being knit in the DK/light worsted range as well. I actually purchased two skeins of this lovely yarn and am planning to knit the other skein into a Helm hat (another ridiculously awesome pattern by Stephen West). The pattern calls for 170 yds of DK weight and I have a little over 150 yds and a husband with a small head. You know me... I like to live life on the knitting edge. I'm planning to knit the hat a needle size or two smaller than the pattern calls for. I'll let you know how it all turns out. Worst case scenerio: the hat will get frogged and the Bijou Bliss will still look as good as ever!
Now onto what you're really here to see! This giveaway's yarn goodness! Check out this beautiful bundle of yarn BBR has sent over:
One follower has the chance to win ALL three skeins of Bijou Spun Bijou Bliss and a copy of the Pretty in Pink Knit Shawlette pattern. This kit includes enough yarn and the pattern to knit yourself one of these luxurious shawlettes.
I would like you to do the following if you would like to be entered into this week's giveaway:
1. Read over the rules if you have not done so already.
2. Leave a comment on this blog post by the end of Sunday, 11/20/11. BBR would like to ask if any of the followers have used their yarns either in a project of their own or at one of their yarn tastings that they set up at various shows?
I'll randomly pick the winners in 2 weeks and post the results along with the new giveaway, so be sure to check back. Good luck everyone.