Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Angora Goat

Musk Ox

Which cuddly creature above do you think is producing $300+ per ounce fiber, as we speak?  (Or rather, as I write and you read.) If you said the fluffy goat, you are w r o n g.  Either of the other two is correct.  Yes, they are! 

How could this be?  Well, as a matter of honest, first-hand experience, I don’t know. It’s not that I haven’t tried to find out either.  However, the sad truth is I’ve never actually put my eager little hands on Qiviut (pronounced “kiv-ee-ute” from the lovely  Musk Ox, called Oomingmak by native Alaskans, nor have I felt Vicuna wool.

I even went as far as helping a young man journey into the wild country of Alaska to meet with a knitter there and get me some fiber.  He returned fiberless, with some story about it not being the right “season”.  Does Alaska even have seasons?  I mean … it’s Alaska for goodness sake!

Anyway, people who have actually felt the stuff are entirely ga-ga about it.  The claims are, qiviut is softer than cashmere and eight times warmer than sheep’s wool.  An ounce produces about 300 yards of very fine yarn (fingering weight), whereas the humbled Cashmere goat, pictured above and more familiar, produces about 200 yards of similarly weighted yarn per ounce.   Two-hundred yards would make a 6-foot scarf to give you some idea of what the yardage means.  In the case of qivuit, two-hundred yards would wrap around that precious neck of yours, and cuddle you like you've never been cuddled before!  At least I think it would—as I said, I've never had the privilege.

Vicunas are a camelid, related to Llama, Alpaca, and Guanaco.  Vicunas live high in the Andes, and provide heavenly fibers that sell for about $300 per ounce.  They have a wonderful Cinderella-story history.  (See link below for more info.)  I am drooling to get some fiber from either a Vicuna or a Musk Ox.  Well, I’m salivating anyway.

Here are a few  links to purchase  these luxurious fibers.  That is, “if they’re in season”.

Bijou Basin Ranch primarily raises YAK (similar to Musk Ox), and refers to their unspun yak down, sold for $12.00 per ounce as “clouds”.  What a great word-picture!  I may just purchase a cloud or two for myself!  
Here is an informative article about bison, which are often called buffalo and are very closely related.    Buffalo fiber is much less expensive, but not quite as luxurious.  It looks like a promising companion to cashmere and mohair though.  Buffalo, Yak, and Musk Ox certainly look related, but it seems those who endure the worst temperature and conditions produce the loveliest fiber.   No pain, no gain.  Guess it goes for the ol’ Oomingmak too.

VICUNA:  has Natural colored Vicuna Yarn (said to be the world’s softest fiber)  for $300. Per 214 yard ball. (The ball’s weight was not listed.)

Ravenwood offers domestic cashmere for $35.00 an ounce (200 yards)

Article thoroughly reviewing Ravenwood’s Cashmere by Clara Parkes.

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