Monday, December 22, 2008

Musky feet

Living up here in the arctic has meant a slight adjustment to my 100 mile fiber loving plans. Though I have a good stash of fleece that I bought while living down south, there isn't a single sheep to be found within a 100 miles. However there are these:

Guess it's kinda hard to tell but those are muskox. There are herds all over the arctic. They provide the most queenly of fleeces. A downy, warm, soft light as air fleece coveted by fibre folk. They also summon a queenly price. Fortunately, I managed to barter with an arctic elf and go my hands on this:

That is qiviut or muskox fleece taken straight off the animal. It's divine. I've been wanting to make DH a pair of qiviut socks for a while and now that I good amount of fleece, I dove right into it.
There is qiviut yarn on the market for $70-$90 and ounce. Almost all of it is laceweight or fingering weight. Great for shawls and toques. Not so great for socks since the fibre is delicate and breaks easily. Qiviut can be carded or plied with other fibres like silk or wool to make it stronger.
I decided to spin it straight from the fleece, uncarded. I spun it with a bit more twist than what I normally would just to give it bit more strength. I spun it with a long draw. I then navajo-plied it for a nice thick yarn.
The downy fibre was a dream to spin. I could feel the warmth of the fibre as I worked with it. The yarn that I ended up with looked overpsun and 'hard' but once I started knitting it up, the qiviut's trademark 'halo' effect appeared and the result was a beautiful fuzzy, soft fabric.
Here's the socks that came about. Beside them is a print of a musk ox from a local artist that DH bought for me.

They are a soft and delicious on the feet as one would imagine. DH is loving them I'm going to experiment with dyeing some next and maybe make myself up a pair of slippers.


Lucie said...

Glad to have you blogging again. Those socks look so warm and cushy. We have been having artic weather here too, and I am starting to make thrummed mittens.

Belizean Beauty - Lady Dylana said...

wow, this looks amazing, I would love to have access to this stuff

Deborah Robson said...

Wow, his feet are going to be warm! That's a good thing.

I have a qiviut gaiter that's great because I can pull it over my mouth and nose and breathe through it--it's so lightweight and thin that I don't have to deal with condensation on the inside but it's really warm.