Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This is about 14 ounces of qiviut plied with wool from the North, and it's all mine. It would retail at about $75 an ounce or so (read on to see why) -- and if you read my blog last week, you know that I paid $30 for all of this. :)

Qiviut is a beautifully soft fibre which comes from the 'underbelly' coats of the Arctic musk oxen. Qiviut does not felt when exposed to water and temperature changes, unlike wool, and it is lightweight, strong, insulating, and reportedly eight times warmer than wool.

Pure qiviut can be worn right next to the skin because of its extreme softness, but because it doesn't hold its shape well,it is often blended with other fibres -- cashmere or wools -- in order to knit with it.

Musk ox roam the Arctic in herds ranging in size between ten and 200, and a single musk ox sheds between five to seven pounds of fibre a year. Musk oxen have existed since the Pleistocene era and can be found in Alaska, Russia, Sweden, and Norway.
The qiviut is collected from the land in the spring as they shed it in large 'sheets'.

More recently, there are a few northern farms that raise musk ox, and the qiviut is collected by combing in the spring as they shed it. Musk ox are never sheared, as the coats take a long time to grow back, and shearing would expose the animals to the winter elements. Most qiviut collectives support native peoples, and the majority of their earnings are returned to the village of origin for improvements.

Qiviut has been used by the Inuit and other Arctic peoples for centuries because of all of its practical qualities - it keeps the wearer warm while wicking moisture away from the body. It makes light, lofty scarves and shawls, and it is often spun very fine to make lacy yet insulating over garments.

I have no idea yet what I'll do with mine ... but I don't care. It can just sit here and look all qiviuty.


Esther V. said...

I remember someone bringing a bought scarf to our knitting group at "3-squares downstairs" made from this 'stuff' that was picked off fences where the animals scratched themselves...the scarf ALONE was $80.00. It was brought to our group in a plastic bag!!
and NOW we know why.... could sell shares!

Grace said...

lucky you!!!

wendy said...

how do you grammatically classify " quiviety"? love it.