Buy One, Get One, Help Some

This little number has been many months in the making but is the result of much love for the Pangong Craft Center, a solar facility in the High Himalayas of India that gives semi-nomadic women a warm place to add value to the amazing cashmere produced by their hardy goats. 

Today the center gives about 80 women the opportunity to earn money from their spinning and knitting to help pay for their children's education. If it weren't for the center, they would be working on road crews breaking rocks at elevations of 14,000-feet-plus, often with their children in tow. Since the center opened, a year or so ago, it has improved the lives of women and families in this area immeasurably.

I've designed a quick-to-knit, convertible hat/cowl pattern using the remarkable yarn these ladies produce. It is, as they say in the High Himalayas, like yak butter. (OK, they don't say that but hear me out.) While your Land's End cashmere sweater may feel good, this stuff runs <14 microns as it should. It's raised as close to heaven as virtually any place on Earth.

My very patient young model on the left is wearing the version made from this very special yarn and she is rocking it with proper attitude. The model on the right, my very good friend and mother of the model on the left, is wearing a version made from a different yarn, one grown in another place close to my heart, Westcliffe, Colorado. (Natural black, alpaca, people, it doesn't get much better than that--except for nomad-spun cashmere.) 

See how this accessory works? Hatcowlhatcowlhatcowl--at your whim! 

The point of all this is to raise money for the center to fund additional equipment, pay for further training and keep the spinning wheels turning. All proceeds from the purchase of the above pattern on Ravelry will go directly to the Pangong Craft Center.

You can support the center by purchasing the BOGO Hat + Cowl pattern on Ravelry, donating directly to the center or buying some of that amazing cashmere. (It's almost sold out and is intermittently available, so if you're so inspired, make a digital run for it.)

Here's a link to a short film about the center by a talented young filmmaker who grew up in Ladakh. Click on "Perfectly Twisted" to watch. The center was founded by Konchok Stobgais, a resident of Ladakh and Linda Cortright, my editor at Wild Fibers magazine