A few months ago, I purchased some qiviut down at my local yarn store. Qiviut is the down fur from the underbelly of the Arctic Musk Ox. We actually have a musk ox farm nearby and I have seen these lovely beauties in person! Aren’t they precious?
I began spinning it on my gorgeous Lendrum Saxony wheel back in April, but then set it aside for other projects.
Here’s my lovely wheel:
A week or two ago, I decided to finish it. So I did.
I spun this using the long-draw method. I should do a YouTube tutorial on how to do this. It’s not a technique I’d recommend for first-time spinners, but once you have a few spinning sessions under your belt, I’d say give it a whirl! Essentially it involves pulling back a looonnng (about a yard or more) stretch of the fiber and allowing it to twist onto itself, and then feeding it all onto the bobbin at once. It’s rather graceful and peaceful.
Here is a YouTube video I found showing the process:
I love the music along with the video.
Unlike this video, I did not use rolags, but just tuffs pulled off of the down batt.
So this is what the actual fiber looks like before spinning:
I take that and then spin it into a single:
And I continue spinning away…
And then wind the single into a center-pull ball using a ball winder:
Then I pull from the center and from the outside and ply into a double. Essentially this involves just running the yarn back through the spinning wheel, only twisting it in the opposite direction, so instead of a single ply, I have a twisted, 2-ply. It’s sturdier than the single, which can easily break.
Once finished, I remove the yarn from the wheel, wrap it into a skein (also called a hank) and give it a good soak in water:
After about 30 minutes, I gently press the water out of it using a towel and then lightly whack it on a table to shock and full the fibers. I hang it to dry and once dried, it looks like this:
Holy cow! This stuff is beyond amazing.
-Warm. Or rather. HOT. I wrapped the finished yarn around my hand and boy howdy, it’s super warm. This will be perfect when the weather is 40 below or colder. Can’t wait. Or. Actually. I can wait. But the cold weather will come regardless, so I’m choosing to be excited about it.
-Soft. Beyond soft. This is the softest of the softiest softness I’ve ever had the pleasure of feeling. It’s what I imagine a cloud would feel like. So light and fluffy that literally I can barely even feel that I’m holding anything. And once I get it knitted up and it’s wrapped around my neck. Lord have mercy! I will be in heaven.
-Neutral. I could have dyed this, but honestly, I felt it would diminish the natural beauty of the fiber. I have ruined cashmere, camel down, angora, cashgora and other luxury fibers by dyeing them way back when I didn’t know what I was doing. They felted into unspinnable lumps. It was rather a let-down. So rather than risk ruining this fiber in any way, I chose to leave it in its beautiful, neutral grayish brown state. This is normally not a color I’d choose to wear, as I wear mostly blacks and grays and jewel tones, but for qiviut down, I’ll make an exception. And I will love it!
I plan on making the Yarn Harlot’s Pretty Thing.
It’s a lovely little cowl that I think will be just perfect for this qiviut yarn.
In other news, I spent much of the weekend dyeing soybean fiber (soy silk) and 100% silk roving!
I plan on listing that for sale soon in the shop. Hopefully sometime this week.
I also have a ton of soft merino wool roving to dye up and get listed as well, so be on the lookout for that!
Oh, yes, and have I mentioned an enormous amount of luscious, light-fingering weight shimmery wool that is due to arrive in a week or two? I will be up to my ears in dye and yarn and will be listing colors right and left. OHH! So exciting.
I will, of course, keep you updated.
I hope you enjoy your week!
Here’s a quote I read today that you might enjoy:
“Everyone has two choices. We’re either full of love…or full of fear.” -Albert Einstein