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Kanat Anarbaev, Kyrgyzstan manager; Sy Belohlavek, June Cashmere founder

Picture by Omur Omurbekov

The coming together of June Cashmere represents the vision and contributions of a wide range of individuals from the USA, Europe, and Kyrgyzstan. What is our motivation? We share a commitment to giving Kyrgyz cashmere an honored identity among the world’s finest fibers. We aspire to achieve excellence as a company in a way that positions us to leverage our business resources towards elevating the well-being of those whose natural resources make the whole endeavor possible, namely the Kyrgyz nomadic shepherds. It is our goal that June Cashmere becomes a sustainable engine to help catalyze the realization of the best of the social and economic potential of the Kyrgyz people. Front Cover Picture by Jared Heveron


Picture by Kirby Hsu

Unlocking a Kyrgyz Treasure

There is a wedding tradition among the Kyrgyz people in which the family treasure chest is filled with gifts and passed on to the daughter when she marries, to be opened upon arrival at her new home. The journey and process of creating June Cashmere has often felt like the ritual of preparing a hidden treasure to be unveiled and shared with the broader world at the proper time. That time has come, and we invite you into our story and the experience of June Cashmere yarns. 1


Picture by Kirby Hsu

From the Source Halfway between the East and the West, along the legendary Silk Road, lays a land of majestic mountains and nomadic shepherd communities called Kyrgyzstan. Daily life in this remote and relatively untouched region of the world is not for the faint of heart. The Kyrgyz people have mastered the ability to live off the land, seamlessly transitioning with their livestock from low valleys to high mountain pastures in rhythm with the changing seasons. 2


Picture by Grace E. Jones

Picture by Jared Heveron

Picture by Jared Heveron

The fiber for June Cashmere's 100% cashmere yarns is collected directly from these Kyrgyz shepherds. June, the Kyrgyz word for animal fiber, is a vital resource and an essential element of their nomadic lifestyle. From the felted woolen rugs under their feet to the clothes on their backs, june is an indelible part of the Kyrgyz culture and way of life. 3


Pictures by Ariel Waldman

The Origins of Cashmere

It is one of life’s beautiful ironies that the harshest, most formidable environments produce the world’s softest natural fibers. The strength and toughness of the proudly independent nomadic Kyrgyz shepherds gives them the fortitude to endure long winters at altitudes of 10,000 feet. It is during this season that their goats grow the delicate undercoat, known as cashmere, a lifeprotecting fiber that serves as insulation against the wind, the snow, and the long cold nights. 4


Picture by Ariel Waldman

Picture by Grace E. Jones

In addition to cashmere goats, luxury fiber-producing yak and camel are an inherent part of the Kyrgyz landscape. 5


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A Kyrgyz shepherd station at the base of the 23,000-foot Peak Lenin


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Picture by Jared Heveron


Picture by Ilya Tarasov

Picture by Omur Omurbekov

Picture by Grace E. Jones

Only the Best

It wasn't until 2008 that researchers found that the indigenous goat breed of southern Kyrgyzstan has the potential to produce world-class cashmere. But in order for the Kyrgyz people to unlock the latent value of their precious fiber, education was required, both for quality recognition and grading as well as improved fiber collection techniques. Specifically they needed to be retrained to comb their goats instead of shearing them in order to make the most of the delicate fiber and the length of its staple. American entrepreneur Sy Belohlavek first bought cashmere in 2013 with an eye toward offering Kyrgyz cashmere to the North American hand knitting and yarn market. Everyone involved is proud to have achieved this goal with the 2016 launch of June Cashmere. 8


Picture by Sy Belohlavek

Picture by Sy Belohlavek

Picture by Kirby Hsu

To ensure that every shepherd receives the full value of their fiber and to guarantee the quality of the cashmere that is purchased for June Cashmere, our team in Kyrgyzstan travels out to the Kyrgyz villages and purchases directly from individual households. Because it is a vertical business and by cutting out the middle man June Cashmere enables shepherds to get up to 30-35% higher prices for their quality fiber than they received in the past. 9


The journey from raw fiber to luxury yarn:

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Combed in Kyrgyzstan Picture by Sy Belohlavek

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Scoured in Belgium

3

Picture by Jared Heveron

Dehaired in England

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Picture by Jared Heveron

Spun in Great Britain

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Picture by Jared Heveron

Organically Dyed in Maine

10 Picture by Jess Heath


4 5

3

2

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DK Weight:

· 50 gram skein · 21 sts = 4" US needle 6 · 150 yards/skein

Picture by Jess Heath

Lace Weight:

· 50 gram skein · 30 sts = 4" US needle 1 · 308 yards/skein Picture by Jess Heath 12


Picture by Kirby Hsu

Having heard the story of June Cashmere, may you be inspired to take this heritage product that has been cultivated by the Kyrgyz people and fashion your own hand-crafted treasure. In the following pages enjoy a look at the beautiful patterns we have had made with our very own 100% Kyrgyz cashmere, June Cashmere yarns! 13


Picture by Gale Zucker

~ Now and Forever Poncho ~

Versatile and lightweight, a cashmere poncho is the perfect trans-seasonal accessory for city, country or travel wearing. Knit using a loose gauge and 3 skeins of Lace, you'll want to make it in a couple of colors! 14

· Yarn amount: Three skeins of lace · Level of difficulty: Beginner · Designed by: Lisa Hoffman


Picture by Jess Heath

~ Cascade Shawl ~

This luxurious shawl is knit from the top down, using a garter tab cast-on and two geometric lace motifs. Knit in DK-weight yarn that blooms beautifully when blocked, this would make a great intro-to-lace project. 15

· Yarn amount: Three skeins of DK · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Kirsten Kapur


Picture by Grace E. Jones

~ His or Her Scarf ~

The handsome diamond pattern on this unisex scarf compliments the texture of the Kyrgyz cashmere yarn. The simple knit-and-purl repeat makes the His or Her Scarf a good introduction to textured knitting. 16

· Yarn amount: Three skeins of DK · Level of difficulty: Beginner · Designed by: Kirsten Kapur


Picture by Jess Heath

~ Embrace Cowl ~

Knit from the bottom up on circular needles, the delicate lace pattern forms a funnel that narrows at the top for cozy wearing. The luxurious cashmere yarn becomes so soft after it is washed and blocked, you will want to wear it every day. 17

· Yarn amount: One skein of lace · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Rosemary Hill


Picture by Grace E. Jones

~ Cabled Cowl ~

Dense cables stand out beautifully in natural Kyrgyz cashmere yarn on this Cabled Cowl. Worked on circular needles, the vine-y cables form into a luscious textural fabric that feels good around the neck and looks amazing. 18

· Yarn amount: Three skeins of DK · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Tanis Gray


Picture by Jess Heath

~ All Seasons Slouchy Hat ~

This stylish hat is worked in the round from brim to crown. A turned hem adds stability to the brim while short-rows enhance the slouch, giving a light, warm, incredibly soft hat that fits in your pocket. 19

· Yarn amount: One skein of lace · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Elizabeth Elliot


Picture by Jess Heath

~ Journey Mitts ~

With their bold cable design, these chic cashmere fingerless mitts will be your go-to gloves for any weather. And they make great gift knitting. 20

· Yarn amount: One skein of DK · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Kristin Eksuzian


Picture by Jess Heath

~ Rainfall Scarf ~

Inspired by the gentle rains of spring in the mountains, the light-as-a-feather Rainfall Knit on the diagonal at loose gauge, with optional fringe. 21

· Yarn amount: Two skeins of lace · Level of difficulty: Beginner · Designed by: Kristin Eksuzian


Picture by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

~ Vines Hooded Scarf ~

The piece is stitched seamlessly using a contemporary take on traditional crochet stitches for a stunning accessory that is beautiful to behold and delicate to wear. 22

· Yarn amount: Two skeins of lace · Level of difficulty: Experienced · Designed by: Shannon & Jason Mullet-Bowlsby


Picture by Gale Zucker

~ Lattice Mitts ~

Wear them to keep hands cozy on chilly mornings, or simply add a stylish pop of color to any outfit. The Lattice Mitts knit up quickly in one skein of June Cashmere DK. 23

· Yarn amount: One skein of DK · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Mary Lou Egan


Picture by Gale Zucker

~ Tumbling Blocks Shawl ~

Wrap yourself in luxurious Kyrgyz cashmere! The Tumbling Blocks Shawl, shown here in Scarlet, takes three skeins of June Cashmere Lace — and we offer variations for one- and two-skein scarf versions. 24

· Yarn amount: One, two, or three skeins of lace · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Lisa Hoffman


Picture by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

~ Strata Cowl ~

Men and women alike will love wearing the Strata Cowl with its deceptively simple crochet design that provides structure for the cowl while remaining soft and drapey. 25

· Yarn amount: One skein of lace · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Shannon & Jason Mullet-Bowlsby


Picture by Jess Heath

~ Infinite Lace Scarf ~

This pretty infinity scarf is worked flat lengthwise, and grafted together to join in the round. The simple lace pattern can be worked from chart or the written directions. 26

· Yarn amount: One skein of lace · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Mary Lou Egan


Pictures by Gale Zucker

~ Three-in-Two Hats ~

Pick your two favorite shades of June Cashmere Lace and knit all three hats – Bobble, Ribby and Marl Stripe. They are all fun to knit, and add style to your look all year long. 27

· Yarn amount: Two skeins of lace · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Mari Lynn Patrick


Picture by Jess Heath

~ Byway Shawl ~

Worn as a shawl or wrapped around you as a cozy scarf, this graphic piece is fun to knit, using intarsia technique for tidy color changes defined with a simple yarn-over border. 28

· Yarn amount: Three skeins of DK · Level of difficulty: Intermediate · Designed by: Kirsten Kapur


Picture by Jess Heath

Collecting our premium cashmere from small family farms in the mountain communities of Kyrgyzstan, then on to the artisan mills in Great Britain where our fiber is expertly spun, and making its final stop for dyeing in Maine -- our yarn takes a truly unique trip around the world to obtain its unique warmth, beauty, and luxurious feel.

Back Cover Picture by Gale Zucker


June Cashmere  

The story of June Cashmere, from shepherd to skein.

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