Chapter: Innovation

WWII Bison-wool Mat, Scarf, 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 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 well nor did it take dyes well. Bison wool may not have been a success, but it does demonstrate the ingenuity of Manitobans during difficult times.