Thursday, January 31, 2013

Splurge with Exotic Qiviut Fiber!

Muskox
How would you like it if you were named after a bad smell?  Well that, unfortunately, is how the muskox got its name.  The males emit a nasty musk odor during mating season, hence the name muskox.

Muskox wool, however, does not smell - and is the most luxurious fiber on earth!  The muskox coat is a mix of black, gray and brown with long guard hairs that almost reach the ground.  You don't want coarse guard hairs ... it's the soft undercoat called qiviut (pronounced kee-vee-ute) that feels like butter in your hands.  Qiviut is eight times warmer than sheep's wool and retains its warmth even when wet.  Qiviut is the Eskimo word for "undercoat" - and who knows more about warm fiber than an Eskimo! 

Pure Qiviut in Brooks Blue
But it is more than just a warm fiber.  Qiviut is finer than cashmere, hypoallergenic and will not shrink.  It's also very durable, and a qiviut garment can last for generations. A luxurious fiber for those not shy about spending money on fabulous yarns, it also makes a wonderful gift!

Each spring the muskox naturally sheds its undercoat and domesticated animals are combed by hand to collect the glorious fiber.  Each animal produces from four to six pounds of qiviut - that's not much!  (By comparison a sheep, which is much smaller, produces about eight pounds of wool a year.)  After washing and combing the qiviut, you have about three pounds of usable fiber.        

Bluebell Rib Qiviut Scarf
Today most muskox run wild and many are protected in nature preserves, but some have been domesticated and are raised for their wool, milk and meat.  FiberWild! carries qiviut from Wind Valley Muskox, a small family farm in Colorado.  The Wind Valley yarn is a super-soft lace weight and is dyed in blue, plum, forest, and teal.  We have several one skein projects, including the Bluebell Rib Scarf.  The simple pattern allows the beauty of the yarn to take center stage! 

You deserve it - you've been good!  Splurge on exotic qiviut yarn and be the envy of all your friends.

Happy Knitting!     Amy


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