top of page


One of the things that excited me the most when I started knitting was all the different fibers to choose from.

Throughout the years, I’ve tried knitting with many different fibers, but one that stands out to me is yak. When I came across yak yarn at my local yarn store, I had to try it out. It was love at first stitch.

What is a yak?

Yaks are long-haired bovines native to the Tibetan plateau, the Himalayan region, and parts of Mongolia and Central Asia. They enjoy cold temperatures and are well adapted to higher altitudes. Although most yaks are domesticated, there are still some wild yaks in Tibet. Domestic yaks are used to produce yarn for commercial purposes.

A small herd of yaks crossing a hanging bridge with their herder in the back.

What makes yak yarn so special?

Nomads have been using the fiber from yaks for over a thousand years. There are three types of fiber found on a yak.

  • The outer layer is very coarse and is used by nomads to make tents.

  • The mid-type is naturally strong but not strong enough to be used to make things like tents or ropes.

  • The last type of fiber is down fiber. Only this soft undercoat is used in making clothing.

Every year, herders brush out the down fiber before shearing the yak for the rest of its wool.

Four skeins of different colored yak yarn on a white background.
mYak Baby Yak Medium | © Jaime Morese

An adult yak only produces between 300 and 700 grams of down a year, which is why yak yarn is considered a luxury yarn.

Yak yarn is usually around 16–20 microns. A micron is the measurement of the diameter of a wool fiber. For comparison, cashmere is between 14 and 21 microns.

Yak yarn is a very warm yet light and breathable fiber. It’s 30% warmer than wool. One thing that makes people love yak fiber is that it feels as luxurious as cashmere or alpaca, but it doesn’t pill.

What can you knit with yak yarn?

Due to it being such a warm wool, you might not want to use yak yarn for summer tops and accessories. That said, if you’re looking for a soft and warm sweater for the colder months, yak would be perfect. It also makes wonderfully luxurious accessories like shawls and cowls.

There are lots of different fibers out there that you can try!

If you’re interested in learning about other fibers, take a look at our article on vicuña, the most expensive fiber in the world.


Commenting has been turned off.

Thanks for subscribing!



bottom of page