One Devastating Fire

180373cf8432143ba3d109There was a devastating fire that affected the “Old Town” district of Shangri-La, China late last week.  I wanted to share this story with you, because The Rocking Yak calls Shangri-La home.

You can read more about it on The Rocking Yak’s blog.  While you’re there, make sure to follow the blog.  It’s the best way to stay up-to-date with what is happening at The Rocking Yak!

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Yak Milk Soap

011510_M__06835.1353287610.1280.1280  Yak milk is high in fat which is needed for survival through the harsh Himalayan winters.  It is this yak milk that is used to make Yak Butter tea, and is a staple to the Tibetans’ diet.

Some of our friends on the Tibetan plateau have started using this fatty milk, along with local herbs and minerals to make handmade soap!  The result is a rich, and moisturizing bar of soap.  No synthetic ingredients are used in the production of the soap, making it a true natural soap that can be used for washing wool.

The Tibetan cooperative makes the soap in small batches using the cold process method.  Once ready, each bar is cut by hand and packaged for sale.

You can purchase some in the shop!

To learn about AmdoCraft watch the video below and visit their website.

 

Yak Milk Soap

011510_M__06835.1353287610.1280.1280  Yak milk is high in fat which is needed for survival through the harsh Himalayan winters.  It is this yak milk that is used to make Yak Butter tea, and is a staple to the Tibetans’ diet.
Some of our friends on the Tibetan plateau have started using this fatty milk, along with local herbs and minerals to make handmade soap!  The result is a rich, and moisturizing bar of soap.  No synthetic ingredients are used in the production of the soap, making it a true natural soap that can be used for washing wool.

The Tibetan cooperative makes the soap in small batches using the cold process method.  Once ready, each bar is cut by hand and packaged for sale.

You can purchase some in the shop!

To learn about AmdoCraft watch the video below and visit their website.

 

Tibetan Jewel Dream Catcher

Tibetan Jewel CollageThe lands of Tibet hold a special place in my heart, that inspire much of my work. This dream catcher is no exception. The silks remind me of the prayer flags found among the Himalayan foothills, and the metal bangle and amber bead reminds me of the traditional adornments the Tibetan women wear to the horse festivals.

For those who are interested, this dream catcher is available in my shop!

How can you not want to follow this climb?

This is a group of Arab climbers who are working to raise 1 million dollars for Nepali education projects. Check out their website and get to know the climbers. They will be pushing for the summit in just 1 week!

I wonder how these climbers will feel after the climb?

Saffron Orange & Maroon Red

When that first spark ignited in my heart for the people of Tibet, I found that, to me, their culture was synonymous with saffron orange and maroon red. For the most part, this is because these are the colors that the monks wear.
Monks-Robe

The traditional robes worn by today’s Tibetan monks originated 2,500 years ago.  Monks of that time, would scavenge cloth that had been discarded for reasons such as, being chewed by mice or oxen, being soiled by childbirth or menstruation, or being used to shroud a dead body. This cloth would be cleaned and any salvageable areas would be cut out and sewn together.

iStock_saffronA dye would be made by boiling the bark of trees, plant juices, leaves, fruit and flower juices along with the roots and tubers of plants over a long period of time. The maroon color of the outer robes that we see used today became the traditional color of Tibetan monks because at the time it was the cheapest dye to produce.  The inner robes are usually a bright saffron orange. Often, spices and heartwood from a jackfruit tree would be used  to achieve this color.

saffron yarn & fabric
Do you have certain colors that you automatically relate to a certain place?

Wild Fibers Magazine

mag stack

My mail carrier brought me an unexpected box today!  I love it when that happens.  When, I opened it, I found this stack of magazines setting inside.  I had been looking for the spring issue of Wild Fibers Magazine to arrive for a few days now, but I was not expecting a box of these magazines.

You see, Linda over at Wild Fibers Magazine chose to write a feature length story about The Rocking Yak in this spring issue. I have anxiously been waiting for months now for the story to be written & published.  I am so excited about this.

article

It was well worth the wait.  The article is FANTASTIC! Linda has this way of being in a moment.  She has the ability to take in everything. The sights, the sounds, the smells. Then, when she sits down to write about it, she is able to put flesh & bones into her writing & the story comes to life.

article pg

I have been working with Bret on this project for 6 years now, having never set foot in China. Linda was able to pull stories out of the field & give me glimpses into the very heart & soul of this company that I love so much. It’s a gift that she gave to me.

If you have even an ounce of appreciation for the fibers of this world ( If you are reading this blog you probably do!), and have never read any of these magazines, you need to.
This is such a fantastic magazine, often being called, “The National Geographic of Fibers.” It is an extraordinary blend of photography, culture, environment and FIBER!
“The mission of Wild Fibers Magazine is to understand the role natural fibers have played in developing cultures and supporting communities throughout the world. We are as devoted to the people who spin, weave, and create “magic” with fiber, as we are to the farmers, nomads, and shepherds who have tended these endearing creatures from the start.
Wild Fibers travels to places that have yet to be rubber-stamped by the trappings of the modern world.  We sleep in yurts. We comb camels. We spin cashmere. And most of all, we learn about a way of life that is held together by one very long, long thread.
 But it’s not all yak butter tea and pup tents. With the voracious march of synthetic fibers, we stay connected to new initiatives including Prince Charles’ Campaign for Wool and Discover Natural Fibers – an international coalition of fiber producers and processors dedicated to preserving the importance of natural fibers on the planet. 

 Readers love Wild Fibers not only because they discover the world in ways they had never imagined, but because they have such wild fun in doing it!” ~ Wild Fiber Magazine

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Tibetan Fairisle

This summer when Bret was in the U.S. he brought me a teaser of the new colored yarns that The Rocking Yak is producing for 2013.  They are fabulous!  The green yarn has been dyed with local plants found on the mountains in the region that we work in, while indigo was used in dying the blue.  I knew right away that I wanted to knit up something special for myself with the new yarns.  I rarely knit for myself.  Isn’t that how it always is with knitters.  Anyway, as the weather began to get cooler, I started looking around Ravelry to find something to knit.  I found this free fairisle hat pattern which inspired me to create a hat with my own design.  I wanted the hat to have a Tibetan design. Here is some of the colorwork I’m working on.  This is a sample swatch that I’m knitting up as I work out the designs.

>>>> a busy time of year

Here in Indiana the autumn leaves are changing as the air turns cooler and the days grow shorter.  Preparations are being made for the colder months.  Handmade gifts are cast onto knitting needles, menus are being planned, and travel arrangements are being made.  As much as I love this time of year, and everything that comes with it, this year I find that I long to be in another place on the other side of the planet.

The Rocking Yak is moving into a busy season.  The villagers are coming in from working the fields.  The yak fiber is being purchased & delivered to our precious spinners.  The mountain sides are being combed for natural dye materials, and soon days will be spent dying, washing, and balling yarn.  It is a lot of work for the few living and working on the Tibetan Plateau and I wish I was among them.