Chapter: Innovation

WWII bison wool mat, scarf, and mittens

"Bison aren't sheepish."
WWII Bison wool mat, woven scarf & knit mittens - experiments with bison wool Bison-wool Mat, scarf & Mittens


Faced with a shortage of sheep's wool caused by World War Two, – members of the Craft Guild of Manitoba stepped up to help. Their idea was to determine if bison wool could be used as a replacement.

The wool was acquired from a fence at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. The wool was and brought home to be cleaned and spun. The bison wool was  then used to make a mat, scarf and pair of mittens.

Unfortunately, it was determined that bison wool was not a good substitute for sheep's wool; it didn't spin or take dyes well. Bison wool may not have been a success, but it does demonstrate the ingenuity of Manitobans during difficult times.