15 February 2011

arctic gold round my neck

arctic gold aka qiviut or muskox fiber, spun up into fine, very soft and very warm yarn. most qiviut is fingering weight yarn yet can be knit into lace and retain its warmth. when i first moved to alaska it cost $70 for a 50g skein. these days it goes for $90 as more people (and tourists) have learned about it and demand has gone up. a couple years ago i scored a reduced price skein at our local group's destash. it's actually a 50/50 blend of silk and qiviut that costs less than pure qiviut. if you know how expensive silk is, that might put it into perspective.

anyway, the silk adds drape, sheen and, well, silkiness to the qiviut. it felt wonderful to knit with and literally kept my fingers warm while i was knitting! small projects are common with qiviut, to make use of every last inch of yarn. i went with a neckwarmer as scarves have never been a hit with me. my neck does get cold, of course, so hopefully this neckwarmer will do the job.
qiviut neckwarmer
the pattern uses a sideways version of feather and fan, which we all know i'm a sucker for. it's a free pattern meant for qiviut, although a different brand with more yardage than what i had. i made some adjustments to the pattern to accommodate the difference in yardage, which turned out to be unnecessary, and so i can tell you on good authority that qiviut/silk frogs very well and can be reused with no problems. in the end, i followed the pattern as written (gasp!) with fewer repeats and ended with just enough yarn to weave in my ends.

the feather and fan was fun to knit, no surprise there. the neckwarmer pools into a cuddle of silky warmth on my neck. since the folds hide the pattern, and the inside shows, i may end up wearing it inside out, just to see if anyone notices.
qiviut cowl: done!
i've worn it indoors and outdoors a few times, but have yet to try the -20F/-30C half hour walk test. due to the drape, it doesn't really cover my whole neck and it won't stay hooked over my nose, so i don't know if it will work the whole winter. it definitely can be worn in a chilly house or for extra coziness. i'm glad to finally put the qiviut to use. now it won't stare at me from the shelf and my neck will be warmer!

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