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You say qiviut, I say qiviuq…

It may not look like much, but this is Some Special Yarn.

The company I work for just gave each employee a Christmas gift, and the group who put this together personalized them according to each person’s interests. One of our staff has recently been working in Whitehorse, Yukon, and so my gift is a skein of Qiviuq (also spelled qiviut, but as far as I can tell both spellings are pronounced kiv-ee-yut)…. yarn made from the soft, wooly undercoat of muskox, straight from the Yukon.

Qiviuq is pulled or combed from muskox in the spring when they shed. It is stronger and ten times warmer than sheep’s wool, softer than cashmere, and, unlike wool, can be washed in any temperature of water without shrinking.

This little skein (it’s about 4″ long) is just 25 grams, 180 metres, and cost…… drum roll…… $70.00!! I was given the choice of this as my gift or something else, but decided since I can’t imagine ever buying this yarn, it’s a good opportunity to get some and see what the fuss is about. I’ve read reviews by knitters who absolutely love it, and apparently even when it’s knitted into something very open and lacy, it’s so warm it can’t really be worn in anything other than really cold weather.  Makes sense…. it’s the muskox’s amazing coat that allows it to function normally in temperatures as low as -40c.

Qiviuq  can be dyed in various colours, but this reduces the softness. I’m happy that mine is the natural colour of a muskox though, it’s what I would have chosen anyway. Can’t wait to make this into something warm and toasty for myself!