Knitting at Norlha
In the old days, women spun, wove and sewed all their clothes and those of their family. They spun and wove sheep wool into blankets to dry cheese, into bags to store their possessions in or into strips to decorate the border of their sheep skin chubas. They spun and wove yak wool into long strips of fabric for their tents, replacing a section every year, so that within twelve years, the tent would have been entirely recycled. They felted sheep wool into mats, treated the raw sheepskin to make it soft and pliable and then sewed it into chubas for the whole family. They also made boots and hats, all with materials they collected from their immediate environment.
Then the market exploded and with cash, they could buy an immense variety of goods; cloth by the meter, readymade shirts, pants,children’s clothes and shoes.Women discovered knits and sweaters, and the fact that they could buy all kinds of fibers to knit themselves. Then they began to knit; in the home, on the go, while herding, on a trip to town. They knitted caps, socks, sweaters and pants.
When Norlha opened over ten years ago, we found that most women were great knitters; we bought a supply of knitting needles of all sizes and brought in an expert who taught them how to knit with consistence. Now they knit our baby collection, our hats, mittens, hand and leg warmers. Yak wool is extremely soft and lends itself beautifully to the creative talents of our designers and a growing market of precious fiber lovers.