Friday, March 15, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Spinning Qiviut

I had several questions on last week's post about Qiviut.

Qiviut is the down from a Muskox which ranges north of the Arctic Circle.

The animals are rare... from The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: there are only 3 farms that raise Muskox in Alaska and Alberta, Canada and some wild herds also in live in Alaska, Canada and Greenland.  The fiber sheds off in one sheet rather than smaller clumps.  One Muskox produces between 5 and 8 pounds of Qiviut per year.  The staple is between 0.5 and 6 inches with a diameter ranging between 11 and 19 microns.

File:Ovibos moschatus qtl3.jpg
Image from Wikipedia

Qiviut products can be acquired through Oomingmak, a Native Alaskan Cooperative.  I also found some on Etsy, but not much.  As my friend who (jokingly) suggested I make a Qiviut liner for my Donegal Wool Hat says, "Cashmere is an economy fiber when compared to Qiviut."

As it happens, I have a tiny bit (1/4 ounce) of roving in my stash.  This came from the Estes Park Wool Market a couple of years ago and was part of a spinning sampler that had some other wonderful, rare fibers in it.

All I can really say is, "Wow!"

It is so fine and so soft and I am carefully spinning it into a thread.

I told a friend... "Remember your first experience touching camel and how amazing that was?  Well, now that you know that, touching Qiviut for the first time is the exact same experience."

I have no firm idea of what this will become other than a two-ply yarn.  I may just skein it and pet it.  :-)


MarmePurl said...

Fascinating. The Beast. It's fiber. And the thought of petting Skein.

Its_Lily said...

Oh, look at you! We ask and you give. Very sweet of you to take us along. You know, it would be really nice if you would pass that around so we can all pet it at least once. *grins*

Vivian said...

Can you imagine that? The softest yarn comes from that beast of an animal. I have a skein of qiviut yarn in my stash (220 yards fingering weight), and I have no idea what to do with it other than letting it sit there and pet it occasionally.

Claire Davenport said...

I absolutely love the fact that something so big and tough and (frankly) grumpy-looking can make such a fabulous yarn. Never seen/touched qiviut, don't think my life will be complete now until I have some in the stash to pet.

Melissa said... look lovely. I haven't taken the plunge yet....are you being an enabler?

Kathryn Ray said...

Why yes, yes I am. ;-)

Cathy said...

Wow! Thank you so much for the info on Qiviut, the fibre looks so interesting, would love to see your spun yarn!

Jocelyn said...

qiviut in my stash, why of course...alas there it will stay, one day. spin away and enjoy, it looks dreamy.

Voie de Vie said...

And it's also supposed to be super warm (given where the animal naturally hangs out). It looks great being spun. I'll look forward to seeing the final skein.

I just gifted some camel to another spinning friend - I couldn't believe how soft *that* was. :)

WonderWhyGal said...

Your bobbin is looking great and I love the FB updates too.

I still have my camel in time out...along with the buffalo. I'm not very good a spinning short fibers.

I am loving yours.

AllyB said...

Your "thread" is impressive. I have a bit of camel around here somewhere. When I'm finished with what I'm currently working on I'll have to give it a spin. You're doing a great job on that singles.