Pro

– is soft and smooth

– is durable

– is 8 times warmer than wool

– is hypoallergenic and does not irritate skin

– takes dyes well

– does not shrink or felt

– is odorless

– is light weight

– is an insulating fiber and breathable, therefore comfortable in any climate

– is non shrinkable, non felting and non iching

Cons

– is susceptible to insect damage

– does not hold up well under friction

Advice

Quivit is a really rare fiber. If you really need this material, make sure the qiviut fiber you want to use is certified organic and is fairtrade. Work with suppliers that are transparent, ethical and adhere to the strictest animal welfare standards. Muskox farming is a sustainable agricultural system that has worked well for places like Alaska. The qiviut harvested may be small and expensive compared to other wool types, but it is well worth the cost for its great qualities.

Qiviut

Qiviut is a natural protein fiber. Its wool fiber is obtained from the muskox. “Qiviut” is the Yupik word for “down” or “underwool”. Although native to Alaska, the muskoxen have spread to the arctic region of Canada and Greenland. For a long time, qiviut was only available to those truly in need of the fiber and was therefore commercially unattainable. Most commercially available qiviut comes from Canada and is obtained from the pelts of muskoxen after hunts. In Alaska qiviut is obtained from farmed animals or gathered from the wild during the molt.

The muskox is an Arctic animal who survived the Ice Age. After being overhunted during the 1800s and going nearly extinct, the muskoxen were reintroduced to Alaska in a domesticized setting in the mid 1900s. Although the muskoxen population is not overflowing, they are tagged as a ‘least concern’ species with stable population growth. The law protects herds of muskoxen in Alaska, Norway, and Siberia.

Qiviut is obtained after the muskox sheds in the spring in a highly synchronous manner. The qiviut life from the animal over a brief period of approximately 2 weeks like a thick blanket. In areas where the muskox roams free, qiviut can be found on the ground or in bushes. Qiviut compares favorably with cashmere and vicuña since it is extremely warm, fine, soft and does not itch but it is extremely rare. An adult muskox can produce up to 3 kg worth of qiviut a year.

Poor farming practices can result in excessive amounts of manure and other toxins entering the soil, causing contaminated waterways.

Untreated qiviut fiber is completely compostable. Things like dye, toxic chemicals, blended fibers and trims can hinder compostability.