Qiviut (pronounced "kiv-ee-ute") is the warm, soft under-fur of the
musk ox, the warmest softest wool known. The qiviut we offer here is handknitted
into scarves and caps by the Eskimo women of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers Co-operative.
All Qiviut Woolens
Supply of these marvelous goods became a possibility only when John Teal in
1964 started the Musk Ox Project to bring together re-establishment of the musk
ox in Alaska and relief from abject poverty for the Eskimo in the outlying coastal
villages. A domestic herd of musk oxen was established, from which the qiviut
could be combed each spring for spinning into yarn. Today knitting qiviut is
a culture-friendly source of cash income for the coastal villagers, supplying
a unique product from a growing arctic resource. We at David Morgan are pleased
to be selected as the first of the mail order companies in the lower forty eight
to be able to offer this outstanding product.
Unlike most wools, qiviut is not scratchy and will not shrink in any temperature
of water. Hand wash in any mild detergent and dry flat for years of use and
Musk oxen, circumpolar in distribution during the last ice age, became extinct
in the arctic regions of Russia and Scandinavia, and were exterminated by hunting
in Alaska in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s only scattered populations remained
in the Canadian arctic and in eastern Greenland. The few musk oxen left in Canada
were given protection in 1917.
In 1934 the United States brought a small group of musk oxen to Alaska from
Greenland to form an experimental domestic herd. From this start animals were
released on Nunavik Island as a free-ranging population. This transplant was
very successful, and supplied stock to establish populations elsewhere in Alaska,
Norway, and Russia.
Stocks in Canada have increased, and the range extended with transplanted populations
in Quebec and animals moving in from Alaska. In selected areas the numbers are
sufficient to allow controlled subsistence hunting by the native peoples, helping
them maintain a healthy life and culture. Wool taken from the wild musk oxen
is now able to supplement the wool from the domestic animals in small but potentially
May we also suggest?
Our possum/Merino woolens from Lothlorian Knitwear in New Zealand are also extremely soft yet durable. These unique woolens, like the Qiviut products, will give years of enjoyment.