Lightweight and oh, so soft, 100 per cent qiviut is wonderful to knit with. Not to mention warm; it’s eight times warmer than sheep’s wool. I have knit with qiviut before, blended with Merino wool and silk, but this was a new experience. What you see here is undyed qiviut, so 100 per cent natural colour as well.
Qiviut is musk oxen fleece, and it feels more like cashmere than anything else. Most musk oxen live in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland but they were recently reintroduced to Alaska, where they’re farmed. I came across this video from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, showing how qiviut is harvested in a farming environment. Shedding takes place naturally on the tundra but here the qiviut is combed out in a synchronous shed that looks like a blanket.
Some sources for qiviut yarn:
- Belfast Mini Mills, Belfast, Prince Edward Island
- Cottage Craft Angora, Adstock, Quebec
- Folknits, Whitehorse, Yukon
- Qiviuk, Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta (I have a ball of Qiviuk qiviut waiting for the perfect project, thanks Jane!)