American Buffalo Products

A Tale of Beauty and the Beast
By Dina McNair, Vail Valley and Mountain Horizons Magazines, 2001

Meet Ruth Huffman, a pioneer woman for the 21st century, a woman whose curiosity and vision led to the creation of a new industry, who looked beneath the beastly and wild image associated with bison.

Huffman uses fleece found under the coarse outer hair of the American buffalo that she spins into yarn. The result? American Buffalo Knits by Ruth Huffman Design.

Imagine buffalo cashmere: it may sound like a fantasy, but it isn't. For Huffman, the soft undercoat of the bison offered an untapped opportunity to produce luxury knit sports wear, accessories and comfort accessories for the home.

Huffman, a Dallas native, has made a name for herself as the "Buffalo Gal." She deals in both wholesale and direct marketing. Despite using fleece from an animal usually associated with the Wild West, her work is traditional. Her designs are contemporary with an elegant, classic look. Only the rich, chocolate brown color reveals their origin.

Ruth Huffman's beret and scarf are knitted from 100 percent American buffalo down. Scarf measures 11"x65" and can be ordered with or without fringe. Unisex.

"These natural fibers produce a look and feel that exceeds anything that I imagined before my research," says Huffman.

This soft, yet strong, American buffalo fiber is a de-haired product from which the coarse hairs have been removed from the soft down, leaving a light, insulating and warm product. The buffalo hair is acquired either by gathering tufts that have been shed or by shaving.
Huffman produces a sturdy yet supple yarn for her knits using a mixture of the animal's longer hair and the soft fleece that grows closest to the skin. The result is comparable to the quality of cashmere, yet warmer and fluffier. These qualities enable Huffman to produce products that are both beautiful and durable.

"This bison adventure has been very exciting. The more I learned about this animal and its by-products, which can be some of the softest and most exotic items found anywhere on Earth, the more I grew to love the bison and realize what a magnificent American classic we have."
Thundering back from near extinction, there are now nearly 300,000 American buffalo grazing private and public lands. Indian legend says that a white female buffalo would be born bringing in a new age of peace, understanding and prosperity. In honor of the prophecy of white buffalo, Huffman's poncho and throw pillow bear its image.

Most buffalo pelts are used for leather, with the hair traditionally wasted. Prior to Huffman's direction, buffalo hair was dissolved or burned off to prepare the hides for sale. What was once a waste product of the buffalo meat business is now the foundation of the new industry.
This is a tale of old world meets new, a story deeply rooted in the Old West, but applicable to life in today's city landscapes. These are stylish urban wraps with all the comfort and luxury a prairie girl could ever dream of. The luxurious knits spun from the wild, untamed buffalo are a true tale of beauty and the beast.

  The Spirit of America