What better souvenir from Alaska than some muskox wool? None that I can think of. OK, well maybe tons of salmon and halibut. Since I haven’t been able to catch any fish at all while I have been here, I will happily take some qivuit.
Qiviut, (sometimes spelled “qivuet”, “qiviuk”, “qiveut”, “qiviuq”, “kiviuk” or “qiviute’, and pronounced kiv-ee-yut) is an Inuit word commonly used to indicate the wool of the omingmak (the Inuit word for muskox meaning “the animal with skin like a beard.”). They say that it is stronger and about eight times warmer than sheep’s wool, and softer than cashmere wool. As I am a fiber neophyte, I don’t know how much truth is in that statement, but it sure sounds good to me. The musk ox is a holdover from the ice age that can function in -40°C with high winds and blowing snow, so its probably true. The wool is most often used to knit lacy hats, scarves and smoke rings. I plan on using it to make me some light weight gloves, because my hands are always very cold. I wont be using it any time soon though. It is really pricey stuff, and I don’t want to have to frog it.
I purchased this treasure from the UofAF L.A.R.S last month. While I was there, I picked my mother up a skein as a birthday present. She is an avid crocheter. However, she is going to try her hand at knitting a scarf with her skein. I believe its been a few decades since she has picked up any knitting needles. It should be a fun relearning experience for her.
Next time I visit Alaska, I hope that I will have learned to spin. I would love to pick up some raw qiviut and spin it.