This down is indeed unique. The Khopyor goats are regularly combed, not cut. Combed down is sorted by length with spinning and knitting to follow. Russian mittens, socks and other small things are made from short down while shawls, scarfs and other large things - from long one. The Khopyor goat down is extremely soft and delicate to the touch, very warm, fluffy and fantastically durable.
Handicrafts made of this down never prick, never form pellets.
Moreover, they get more and more downy with time and serve several decades.
It's striking but the Khopyor strain is a strict endemic one (i.e. live nowhere else), its habitat is a 40x300 km band along the Khopyor river with its center at the town Uryupinsk, the ancient capital of the Khopyor division of Vsevelikoe Voysko Donskoe. Every attempt to export the goats for acclimatization elsewhere has failed, the animals got ill and died.
Probably, this is due to the virgin nature miraculously remained in the Khopyor valley. There are no big cities on the Khopyor river, so there are no industrial enterprises, no weirs to partition the river, and the natural life of it has been preserved with annual floods and flood plains. The ancient Khopyor national park is situated near, where so rare animals as beaver, desman, and aurochs can be met. It is no mere chance that Uryupinsk is a synonym of godforsaken places in the Russian language. Now, in view of modern environmental problems, it's rather a compliment.
The purity of nature has transferred its medicinal force to the goats. Lately their down has been shown to induce circular magnetic fields with pronounced medicinal properties. Handicrafts made from the Khopyor goat down treat joints' disorders, cold, radiculite, and other illnesses.
The Khopyor goat down possesses relaxational properties as well. If you come home after a stressing work day, lie, cover yourself with a downy plaid, and shut your eyes, then in quarter an hour later you may well come to yourself full of strength and ready to new events. The vivifying energy of these agreeable home animals restores your own stocks.
Only recently, handicrafts were knitted for home use only with the remaining down to be sold to the Orenburg region, where famous Orenburg shawls were produced. Gradually, the old handicraft traditions have restored, and now the major fraction of local raw material is converted into ready articles there. Moreover, knitting from goat down has become a principal way of earning for the Khopyor cossacks. The Khopyor goat's great services to the man are recognized officially, a statue has been erected at Uryupinsk.
The masteresses of village Michailovskaya (Uryupinsk district) are most famous with their handicrafts. These handicrafts have been regularly presented at the John Campbell's folk school festivals in the USA where they enjoy permanent and deserved success. The dwellers of the southern states as well as Canadians and Northerners readily purchase Michailovskaya handicrafts with pleasure. Many of them visit the festival every year and demonstrate their mittens and scarfs bought many years ago and become even more fluffy. A kind of unintentional advertising. Please note that houses in the southern states are not heated, and warm and light things from the Khopyor goat down are to the point in the winter.
Americans like these articles not only for their practicalness and longevity but also for a wonderful combination of manual labour and animal element, Cossacks' soul and wild field, Russian river and steppe wind.
None of the above can be sensed in machine-made articles!
Among the masteresses of village Michailovskaya, Ms Tatiana M. Kol'chinskaya is distinguished by her creative works. She does not mere follow the old traditions but tries to develop them. Her handicrafts feature refinement, design richness, and rare resourcefulness. A capable combination of Cossack traditions and the author's elegant fantasy creates samples of marvelous fascination which no strict critic or connoisseur could resist to.
by Michael Romanov
Now you can order exclusive manual-work products from curative down of Khopyorian goats! МThe craftswomen from the Mikhaylovskaya stanitsa will knit shawls, tippets, semishawls, 3-cornered scarfs, scarfs, Russian mittens, plaids and much more exclusively for you!
Select and order any product ! The prices are quite good for everyone!