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.