Cashmere and yak wool from Nepal
2015-04-07 - We just got back from Nepal where we met the artisans responsible for our popular cashmere pashminas and exclusive yak wool scarves and stoles. Visiting the weavers is always something special. It’s inspiring to meet talented crafts people all over the world all specialised in different weaving techniques.
In Nepal Counting Flowers works with Mahila Utthan Pashmina Udhyog, a Fairtrade weaving group in Kathmandu. The artisans working with this group excel in the production of cashmere pashminas and yak wool stoles.
I visited Nepal with board member Melanie. When we were with the artisans, Ramila and Prakash were so friendly to explain the way of working of the weavers (we don’t speak Nepali and most of the artisans weren’t comfortable speaking English). Ramila is working for the local Fairtrade organisation Sana Hastakala and Prakash is working with the weaving group.
Part of the artisans, Ramila, Prakash, Melanie and Elike
They told us that the artisans buy both cashmere and yak wool from a supplier in Mongolia because the amount of wool available in Nepal is limited. Spinning, dyeing and weaving is being done at the workshop of the artisans in Kathmandu.
We bought an extraordinary collection pashminas. So far we have been selling lovely soft cashmere pashminas of regular thickness. In May we will add lightweight (90 grams) and super lightweight (50 grams) pashminas. These delicate shawls are hand woven from the thinnest and softest quality cashmere. Pure beauty and a must-have this summer.
We ordered a collection of beautiful lightweight cashmere shawls that are being woven at this moment. Elike with Ramila and Rojina
Furthermore we discussed the possibilities using yak wool. Yak wool is a highly exclusive and hence expensive wool. In Nepal you can find bright coloured yak wool shawls at any corner, making it look like an ordinary product. However these shawls are not genuine yak wool shawls but made from a mix of acrylic and sheep wool.
Genuine yak wool is almost only available in dark brown and black, the original colours of the animal. If you want to dye the wool you’ll have to find, even more exclusive, grey yak wool.
By combining yak wool with, for instance, raw silk the artisans add colour to the shawls. We saw (and ordered on the spot) beautiful pieces in black/bright blue and brown/light pink. We are very curious to learn what you will think of them!
Elike van Sluis