Wednesday, 10 February 2010


I did it. I spun Qiviut.

I'm thinking this will not make a practical backyard pet.

The undercoat fiber of the arctic musk ox is short, downy, super soft and incredibly warm. Musk Ox are the only large mammals who spend the winter above the arctic circle, so I'm pretty confident in its ability to stay warm. Spinning it was a challenge- it had teeny tiny staple length and it was very slippery. It needed a lot of twist or it would fall apart, but too much and it would turn into wire and snap. It let you know exactly when it was done. I didn't have to draft at all- the fibers just slid from my hands and on to the bobbin somehow.

The fiber:
spindles 032

This was a birthday gift from a dear, dear friend. June seemed a bit sticky to try this, but it was a perfect mid-winter pick me up.

The single:
spindles 033

It took me no time to spin up two bobbins. Like I said, this stuff just flies out of your hand. It took me a while to get started, but once I got my tension correct it was just peachy. Can I just take this chance to sing songs of praise about the Majacraft Gem? As much as I love my Kromski Minstrel, the Gem works so much better than any other wheel I've spun on when it comes to fine downy fibers. It's super-sensitive to treadling and tension, which is exactly what you want when spinning a fiber like this.

The 2ply yarn:
spindles 061

This was taken before I set the twist in a warm bath and a good thwack. It's much more even and full now, but it's so dark and stormy today that I'm not getting good enough light to do this justice. I was pleasantly surprised while I was plying this, as I was unsure if I would end up with the singles coming apart. Thankfully, it only happened twice. I'll take that as a sign that my spinning is improving!

I ended up with 280 yards of laceweight 2-ply out of 2 oz. Qiviut blooms like a muthah once it's knitted up and worn a couple times. The bloom traps more air and makes the garment even warmer. There are a lot of traditional Inuit lace patterns specific to qiviut- most of them are delicate scarves, hats and cowls. While not a traditional lace pattern, I like this Smokering.


  1. Your blogs are extraordinarily entertaining, regardless of the fact that I don't knit, weave, spin, nor do I profess to know anything about it! Your descriptive, entertaining writing style actually makes it all sensible in spite of my lack of knowledge; Lovely, lovely, lovely, and those muskox look adorable!