Every spring the heavily fleeced muskox
must get rid of their extra fur so they don't over-heat.
As they pass through the willows and underbrush,
the branches act as combs
pulling out the loose, soft undercoat,
known as qiviut (kiv--ee--ut).
The loose qiviut looks like fuzzy furballs on the branches and it is oh, so soft.
People walk across the tundra collecting it for spinning.
A friend of mine also cards muskox hides to collect the precious fur.
Since spinning is not her favorite hobby,
she sends it all to a spinner who works it into the weight she wants,
and returns the delicate yarn.
Qiviut is warm and doesn't felt.
It is softer than any wool, doesn't itch, but is very fragile.
Traditionally qiviut was used to make beautiful lace knitted scarves,
also called Smoke Rings,
that could be
pulled up over the head and nose if it was too cold outside.
The natural color of qiviut is various shades of brownish-grey.
Newer artists are now dyeing the yarn to add color variation,
but traditional knitters don't.
My friend is an adventurer--she even climbed Denali,
and retired teacher.
She uses natural and commercial dyes to change the color
of her yarns.
Sometimes she mixes qiviut with other yarns such as wool for strength.
The hats below are mixed yarns,
but the sweater base is pure qiviut.
It almost melts in your hands!
This is about an ounce of dyed qiviut.
When I was at work on evening she brought me this beautiful
It was so hard to stop petting the hat's softness!
Her son and The Flyer Son have been long-time friends
so she made it for me to take to Miss Sweetness.
It was perfect.....