How many of you know what Qiviug (singular) or Qiviut (plural) is? Show of hands. Without looking it up on the Internet, mind you!
If you’d asked me before we moved to New Hampshire, I would have had no clue. And if were asked that question and I were not a knitter, I wouldn’t know, either. But because I am a New Hampshire knitter, I know that Qiviut refers to wool gathered from the soft inner layer of the muskox’s coat.
Qiviut is soft and warm, and unlike wool, it doesn’t shrink in water. However, yarn made with qiviut is awfully expensive. Why? I’m not sure, but I’d say because would YOU want to look at the fellow above and say, “Just hold still now, I’m going to comb out your fur”?
What do I mean by expensive? Let’s say $110 for a 218-yard skein of 100% Qiviut yarn. Since the price for a similar length of, let’s say 100% alpaca (my favorite knitting fiber) would run about $25, you can see it’s more than eight times the price.
Thus, qiviut is often mixed with other fibers to bring down the cost (and of course to achieve different effects when knitting). For instance, yarn with a 50% qiviut and 50% merino wool content per 218-yard skein runs about $85; whereas yarn with an 80% merino, 15% qiviut,and 5% silk content goes for $40 per 218-yard skein..
I’ve never knitted with qiviut yarn. I just can’t bring myself to spend so much on yarn when I know good and well I’ll never wear what I make with it, for fear of damaging such an expensive item! But if any of you have tried it, I’d love to know what you think.
And even if you don’t knit, you can always use “qiviut” in your Scrabble games. :-D