Thursday, October 12, 2006

Q is for Spin that Quiviut!

For Laura!

The Quiviut I'm spinning for her; the spin has begun!

Ala Turtlegirl, one of my favorite bloggers, I'm trying something new....Flickr! So, these little pics on them and you get the big pic for even more detail! I've had it with the unpredictability of the blogger photo hosting.


Quiviut is the down of the Arctic Musk Ox. Said to be one of the finest, softest, and warmest fibers in the world; it is definitely the lightest. It's also not cheap, and this stuff is per oz, the most pricey stuff I've spun to date!


Of course, when Laura asked if I'd spin it, I said yes. It might be the only time I ever spin quiviut, and I love trying new fibers. Wild Fibers magazine has a really nice article on quiviut if you're interested in learning more about the musk ox.


So, thus far what have I learned about spinning the quiviut? (Can you tell I love the word quiviut? Quiviut, quiviut, quiviut! I love saying it...)

1) When you buy raw quiviut fiber it takes a lot of work to get it to the spinable stage. This involves no combing or carding, but lots of dehairing (pulling out the guard hair and medium-coarse hairs) and pulling out bits of vegetable matter and chaff that are stuck in the fiber.

2) Once it's cleaned and dehaired, it's already fluffed nicely and you can spin it right away.

3) The fiber staple length of the down is short. About an inch to and inch and a half. It is also VERY fine (as to be expected). This means, it needs A LOT of twist to hold it together.

4) It is best spun slowly so you can concentrate, but on a high ratio. Short draw. You definitely need to be drafting only an inch or so at a time. And slowly and carefully.

5) The goal for me with this is fine yarn with as much yardage as possible. SO, I'm spinning slow, but with a high twist ratio, and a fairly slow take up on the bobbin. This way I can draft carefully and then hold the yarn for an extra second or so before letting it wind onto the bobbin thereby getting more twist into the single.

6) It IS soft! Even on the bobbin, I can feel the softness. Ah.


At 8:40 AM, Blogger Laura said...

It looks AMAZING! I can't believe that it's handspun. I'm so happy that I asked you to spin it.


At 8:48 AM, Anonymous LaBean said...

YAY for new fibers!! See, now I'm even more anxious to get a wheel so I can practice slower drafting!! (does that make sense?)

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Valerie said...

Sounds like a pain to spin, but the results look like they're worth it! Great job!

At 9:33 AM, Blogger AndreaR said...

I like it! Nice job. I'll be curious to see the end result and then the end result of whatever Turtlegirl does with it.

You're going to have to start balancing spinning time with snow time soon, aren't you? It's getting cold here in N. ID; I imagine it's similiar in 4 Corners.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Bezzie said...

Turtlegirl is right. Flickr's the way to go.

Gorgeous qiviut!!! Something about that New Mexican sun you always capture in your yarn/fiber pics just makes it all look that much more pretty.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous rose said...

It's so fine and tiny. It must be such a treat to spin.

How many wpi are you getting now?

Way to go- snagging 2 fleeces at the festival!

At 12:43 PM, Blogger spinndiva said...

droooooool quivit!!!!

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

It's lovely. Will you ply it or leave it as singles?

I bought some yak down last summer in NH and I can't even begin to figure out how I could spin it. All the bits seem to short and they don't want to get together and make yarn. Maybe I need to card it in with something else that has a little more stick-to-it-iveness.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Zonda said...

Wow!! That is gorgeous! Thanks for explaining what it is!! Nice spinnig there! :)

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Lazuli said...

Wow, that's incredibly fine! I'm so impressed by the skills of the spinners!

I've found Flickr to be so much more hospitable than blogger for photos, let me tell you.

At 4:46 AM, Blogger aija said...


PS, I'm SO glad you're using flickr... I love watching your spinning but can't see pics hosted by blogger when I read thru bloglines-- a nice surprise!

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous dan said...

Just wanted to say, great start to the quiviut... and to encourage you to keep on keeping on -- with concentration on getting as much yardage as possible. You are going to be so happy with your amazing yarn!


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