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2012 – A Yarn Odyssey Part 3 November 29, 2012

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet, Knitting, Yarncraft.

Part 1 here

So, how thin is it? This thin:

I know yarn. Yarn is a friend of mine. You, sir, are no yarn.

Yeah. It’s half the thickness of the sock yarn I had used before and I already had problems with that. Nevertheless I put it on my smallest needles and gave it the ol’ college try. No go. I could barely cast on correctly much less work with this thread. Aside from hardly even being able to see the damn thing, it had a nasty habit of sticking to itself. Yes, there is the trick of using double yarn to make a thicker strand to work with, but this would cut my yardage in half. 400 yards sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. Particularly when dealing with thread. Even doubled up it’s still next to nothing. I told Mom my skills were simply not up to the challenge of qiviut just yet. I put it aside and brooded.

I worked on projects here and there, tried other thin yarns to kind of “work up” to the Real Deal. The problem still was even if I could knit it like regular yarn, there still wasn’t really enough of it to make anything substantial. I could buy more but I was already 400 bucks into this mess and I was reluctant to throw more money at it. Then I thought “well, since this is lace weight yarn, why not make something light and lacy?” Perfect! So I go looking up lace shawls and the like. Oh man there are some drop dead gorgeous designs out there. I figure I can practice with not-quite lace weight yarns, learn the techniques and pattern and then try the qiviut. I’m…not great at reading abbreviated knitting instructions but I can usually follow along if I go very slowly. I looked at lace knitting pattern instructions. I might as well have been trying to read Sanskrit. Some patterns helpfully provide a visual diagram of the pattern. Blue prints to building a B2 Stealth Bomber would have made better sense to me. This was clearly beyond my now obviously very feeble skills. It would take years of dedicated study to get to the required level. Then it was that I finally understood: I had a Nemesis. Nay, an ARCH-nemesis!

Actually 10% muskox hair, 90% evil.

Oh yeah, it has another spelling with a “k” at the end instead of a “t”. Never trust anything that has more than one spelling. This…nasty thread had defeated me at every turn. My failures preyed on my mind. I’m not used to being so completely thwarted like this. Qiviut(k) was now the White Whale to my Ahab. It was the KHAAAAAAN! to my Kirk! The Balrog of Morgoth to my Gandalf! The…well you get the picture. But all the same I was greatly disheartened. I actually started to lose interest in knitting, frankly. I tried some other patterns, more advanced techniques. Mom loved one of the scarves in the store they keep as a pattern example of entrelac. They taught a class on how to do it and I took it. I was quickly lost. I could do basic things but beyond that seemed out of my grasp. I put my needles away and started playing World of Warcraft instead. You know you can make stuff in WoW right? And there ain’t no stinkin’ qiviut(k) in Azeroth.

To be continued…



1. 2012 – A Yarn Odyssey Part 2 « The Center of the Anomaly - November 29, 2012

[…] To be continued… […]

2. 2012 – A Yarn Odyssey Part 5 « The Center of the Anomaly - November 30, 2012

[…] Part 1 here […]

3. Idebenone - December 3, 2012

Nancy Bender of MOCO Yarns and The Musk Ox Company in Montana, with 12 years experience raising musk oxen for their fiber, explains the exceptional qualities of MOCO Yarns Qiviut: “Musk ox qiviut (kiv-ee-ute), is one of the finest and warmest fibers on earth. The musk ox have adapted their extraordinary undercoat to protect them since prehistoric times. Their down-like under-hair is eight times warmer than wool by weight and finer than cashmere. Each spring the musk ox sheds this two-part coat and it is harvested by separating the down from the long guard hairs. The harshness and remoteness of the Arctic limits the amount of qiviut available. Small amounts are supplied by domesticated herds but limited worldwide supplies make it one of the most sought after and treasured of all natural luxury fibers. Qiviut fiber is so fine that if you laid 1,950 of them side by side, they would barely cover an inch. The pattern of scales on the surface of qiviut fibers is smooth and even. This characteristic gives it resistance to felting, scratching, and shrinking. As a down fiber, it lacks high durability, but it is remarkably strong, and even compares favorably to wool in tensile strength. A little goes a long way and a scarf can be fashioned with only one ounce of fine yarn. With this in mind, the appearance of musk ox qiviut garments improves with washing, giving it more loft, softness, and warmth. Hand washing is recommended in warm water using mild shampoo. Allow the garment to soak for 10 minutes, then gently squeeze the water through a few times. Rinse with the same method and roll in a towel, squeezing the water out. Lay flat on a dry towel or on a non-metal screen and gently shape.” These exquisite qiviut yarns are painstakingly manufactured to the highest of standards and will provide lasting heirlooms for you and your loved ones.

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