Friday, May 26, 2017

Some Most Precious Tibetan Yarn

I forgot to post some photos from the Upper Mustang in Nepal that made the trip very memorable. First, let me say that I almost never buy stuff on my trips – I have little space or use for memorabilia, I don’t have a well-developed taste or identity attached to “things,” and when I die, it’s just more crap that someone else has to deal with (as if my body won’t be enough of an issue). But as a knitter I have to buy yarn, and for me, like many other fibermaniacs, it’s an uncontrollable obsession. During one of our 15-mile hiking days, we came to a tiny little town in the bleak, yet stark and gorgeous landscape where our guide Lhakpa said we were stopping for lunch. On maps it’s called Syangboche.

A lady was sitting at this loom, and I nearly let out a squeal.

But before I could talk to her, she saw us and ran across the street into this building, where we would eventually have our lunch. On the sign, the town’s name is Shangmochen, which probably means that the true Tibetan pronunciation (on the sign) was a bit garbled by the Nepali transcription (on the maps).

She was the proprietor of a hotel, cook in the kitchen, and weaver of wool. I snapped a few photos of her work before we entered.
This is where we sat to have lunch, which turned out to be a very typical arrangement and design for the restaurants along our trip.

On our return south we had lunch here again, and I asked about buying some of her yarn. She said no – she needed all she had to continue to the color pattern of her tapestry. But after finishing making lunch for the other international trekkers and bikers who had stopped by, she would look at her stash.

She showed me the beginnings of her work in progress – she cards then spins the wool herself, and she told me about the plants she uses to dye it. I was floored – she makes this stuff herself from beginning to end, and she’s probably even related to the shepherd who takes care of the flock.

Her name is Chiring Phuti Gurung, and here she is holding the very heavy ball (1/4 kilo!) of yarn I bought from her for about $20. I haven’t decided what I’ll make from it, but it’s so fine I’ll probably have to double it up and probably knit some gloves.


  1. Nice score! If it's too fine, try Najavo plying while knitting.

    1. Thanks Lisa, but that looks like it requires a spinning wheel or other gizmo and some refined technical skills. If it's too fine, I'll send it to YOU to have me ply it!