February Pop-Up Shop! mYak Tibetan Fibers

We are very excited to announce our 2020 Pop-Up Shop series! Each month, we will be featuring an indie yarn dyer or company, showcasing their yarn, and highlighting perfect patterns to go with them! We'll also share an interview with the owners and designers here on the blog.

For the month of February, we are bringing on a delicious selection of yarn from mYak Tibetan Fibers! mYak is run by Paola and Andrea in Biellese, Italy, and they source their fiber directly from the Tibetan plateau! They are committed to sustainability and supporting the nomadic yak herding community in Tibet. These luxury yarns are some of the softest we have ever felt, and we are really excited to bring them on!

Paola and Andrea
Keep scrolling for a short interview with Paola!

How did mYak start?
Baby yaks
mYak was born from a common passion for Tibetan culture and its people that Andrea – a veterinarian and fiber expert based in Italy - and I share.  We know the nomadic herders of the Tibetan Plateau very well. We have been living and working with them for more than twenty years. By now we have become a bit nomadic, too. We have learned to appreciate their traditions, to respect what they love and believe in. We shared the life and habits of the nomadic herders for so many years together and Andrea keeps going back every few months.  We loved the land, filled with vistas of herds and baby yaks. We stroked them and we discovered how soft their undercoat is. And we told ourselves: We must share this with the most passionate lovers of prestigious yarns and textiles so that this world on the plateau can continue to thrive and sustain itself. 
Hence, we created a cooperative with local nomadic communities herding yaks and Tibetan cashmere goats. Recently we added the wool of the ancient breed of Tibetan sheep. We agreed upon a sustainable production chain, fully respectful of the traditions of these lands, of its people, and of the animals from which the raw material is collected. We decided to handcraft the yarns in Italy, in the Biellese area, a region renowned for excellence in the sector. What we’re doing together is more than simply purchasing some fiber. Together we are trying to contribute towards the future of a nomadic population that represents one of the most ancient in the world. This is mYak. Born in Tibet, crafted in Italy. 

Where do you find your inspiration for colors?

For our Baby Yak, we obtain three natural shades of down color (chocolate, desert, and oatmeal). We made the conscious choice of non-depigmenting our fiber to maintain its natural beauty but also to respect the environment. Our palette evokes the five elements of nature with a soothing set of earthy heathers mixed with saturated jewel tones and rich, dark neutrals. For all of our yarn, I get inspiration from the rich Tibetan iconography, from contemporary artwork created by some of my Tibetan artist friends as well from the natural landscape of the Plateau. 

Tibetan Farmers working with mYak

Is there any particular color that has special meaning to you?
Each color has a meaning and I try to create a palette that goes very well together, even if I love strong contrasts. But it is no secret that since my little girl was born I began to love many shades of pink - mauve in addition to my all-time favorite yellow and rust, so Dusty Pink and Mustard in our Baby Yak line as well as Botton D’oro, Peony and Cannella are my current favorites. 

Would you describe how you feel when you see a garment made from your yarn?

Andrea and I come from a completely different background and we literally stumbled upon the knitting world, so seeing how people love our yarns is wonderful, but even more important to us is seeing people understand and appreciate the story behind it, and following our journey. It makes us incredibly proud and gives us the strength to keep going. We love seeing how our yarns are transformed in the hands of talented designers and knitters. Our mYak is able to bring together people from all over the world. 

What's the craziest place you've ever knit or crocheted?

Not many people know this, but I just start knitting again only a few years ago after a long, long break. I travel and move around a lot so knitting time is often difficult to find, but last summer I finally took a vacation with my family on the beautiful island of Lampedusa in Sicily and one day, after a perilous descent, I found myself knitting perched on a big rock overlooking the sea with an amazing view and the sound of the waves crashing below me. At that moment I felt I was finally relaxing and letting everything go. 

Shawl made with mYak's rich color palette

Are you as excited as we are? Browse through our selection of mYak yarns here!

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