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.
|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. :-)
Happy Fiber Arts Friday.