Give a hoot – Qiviut

alaska2018It’s pronounced kiv – ee – oot like give a hoot, and it is softer. lighter and warmer than cashmere.  This fiber comes from the under hair of 600-900 lb musk ox which are gently combed every day during the summer.  How would you like that job?

We visited friends in Alaska last week, and I was pretty excited to find out that there was a musk ox farm nearby.  I was also excited to see that they have mountains in their backyard (see photo above), but that’s another story.  See, the last time we were in Alaska we saw musk ox, but were not able to do a tour because tourist season had not started yet.  Instead I contented myself with buying some of the precious qiviut fiber and yarn.  Eight years later, I’ve been too afraid to knit or spin this amazing fiber because it’s “too good,” for just any pattern and my somewhat amateur spinning skills.

But really?  It’s just knitting.  I can do that.

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This is what $300 qiviut looks like!

Ok, maybe I won’t buy $300 qiviut to knit with…. after all I can handspin my own, thank you very much. But I did buy a 2 oz skein of qiviut/cashmere/alpaca with generous yardage.

Now the tricky part is determining a pattern to knit.

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Traditional qiviut patterns

Traditionally, the native people knit lace patterns specific to their area.  The book, Arctic Lace, talks about this more in depth.  Honestly, I do not know much more than this, so I would encourage you to read Arctic Lace and look into it on your own if you’re interested.  This display at the musk ox farm was really interesting to me.  I’m fairly confident that I could chart the lace patterns on this display, especially the one from the Seward area as that was one of the areas we visited on our trip.  I also found this Alaskan Moose scarf which, though not traditional, cracks me up.  So the question of the day is, what do I knit?  I have 2 skeins of qiviut from my 2 trips.  One a natural color, one a forest green…. both have generous yardage.

 

We visited this musk ox farm in Palmer, AK.  And just because I know some people will be wondering, the musk ox are only raised for their fiber.  They live until a ripe old age and are not used for meat.

Hi! How’s it going?

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So there I was, plugging away at the Area Voices blog when all of a sudden, (*Bang, Boom! Crash!) I was told I needed to migrate my blog onto a new site because Area Voices was to be no more.

So here we are, chilling and knitting on the new site.  I sure hope you’ll follow me here.  Just click the “Follow” button over on the right and you’ll get a handy dandy little email every time I post.

See you soon!

Thank you!

Stay On Baby Bootie
Stay On Baby Bootie

Life’s Stash:

Thank you for your comments!  I loved hearing from every one of you.  It was amazing to watch comments come in from people that I know, people that I haven’t met yet, and those that I haven’t heard from in a very long time.  All I can say is WOW.  Thank you.

Keep those comments coming please!

What I’m Knitting:

I’m still working on the Stay On Baby Booties in lime green for a family member.  I’m almost done with the 2nd bootie, now all I have to do is the dreaded I-cord tie.  I-cord isn’t difficult, it’s just booooring.  I might cheat on this one and do a long cast on, then cast off rather than making I-cord.

I’m also continuing to knit on the sock.  I’ve turned the heal and it’s zipping along the foot.  It’s mindless, comfort food knitting right now.

What I’m Not Knitting:

There’s been no real changes on this.  I do need to get back to my sweater.  I’ve been fantasizing about starting another sweater, so I know I had better buckle down and get this one done before I completely forget about it.

I also was thinking about how nice it would be to have a finished Lettuce Pullover in my wardrobe this winter.  Maybe I should pull that out of knitting hibernation and work on it a bit.  I’m embarrassed to say that this never made it into my Ravelry Project page. I know I took photos of it… hmmmm….

Happy Knitting to All and to All a Good Night
Happy Knitting to All and to All a Good Night

Part of me says that I should leave the Lettuce Pullover until May during the Stash Dash because it has such a big yardage.  Part of me says that’s stacking the deck.  And do I really want a sweater on my lap during May, June and July?

Regardless, I need to whittle down some of my unfinished projects.

But there are so many fun new knits to knit!

Loose Ends:

Speaking of, I just saw that Craftsy has some free patterns today.  One is the Stockinette Haruni which is a particular favorite and has been on my “Must Knit” list for some time.  You can sign up for their emails or find the pattern here.

After I finish the baby booties, I am going to toss the stash around to find 440 yds of sock weight yarn.  Correction, I know I have 440 yds, it’s finding the right 440 yd skein that I’m going to do.  Maybe this is the time that I hold true to my New Year’s Resolution and find a particularly special skein of yarn.

Awkward Silence

I like to call myself the Comic Relief.

Hi.

I like you.

I think you’re probably pretty funny.

Yes, I mean you.  The one that’s staring at this from the other side of their computer screen.  No, don’t take that literally, I don’t mean the back side of the computer.  I mean that you take the time to read what I write.

I think you’ve got a really good sense of humor.  You read what I write anyway and I think you keep coming back.  Which implies a certain sense of humor.

You’re still there, right?  I haven’t scared you off?

So this is awkward, but could you maybe please leave me a message and let me know you’re actually there?  Just go down to the bottom of this post (or any post) and click on the button that says “0 Comments.”  You might have to type in your name, but you could probably leave a fake name and I would never really know.  Unless your name is “Bob TheMinion,” then I’ll assume it’s my 8 year old leaving me a comment.  Leave whatever comment you want.  You don’t have to tell me that I’m funny or not funny.  Talk to me about knitting.

Tell me that you’re listening.

Ok, now that the awkwardness is over, I’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

What I’m Knitting

I finished the 2nd gray cowl last week and gave it to the recipient in time for a decent size snowstorm.  By decent, we got about 4 inches during the day and another dusting with blowing snow that night.  So not a huge storm by any stretch of the imagination but enough to make driving sort of crummy.

I cast on a sock during a road trip last weekend.  Socks really are the comfort food of knitting for me.  I hate to say it, but these are white and gray – with little flecks of color.  It’s sort of a vanilla sock pattern with a variation of my very own.  More about that later.

In direct contrast to the whole lot of gray that I have been knitting, I also cast on a pair of Stay On Baby Booties in lime green for a new baby on my husband’s side of the family.  These are my go to pattern for babies feet.  The pattern is in Knitting for Baby.  Lots of these little shoes have been made and they really do stay on baby’s feet.

What I’m Not Knitting

  • The sweater… for no real reason except I guess I want to knit on something that feels like progress is being made.
  • The hat for Addie…. again for no real reason.  I’d better pick it up again soon since it’s really almost done.

Knots & Tangles

Not knots or tangles this week.  But then again, there probably hasn’t been enough knitting to run into any problems.  I just finished up a big project at work, so hopefully I’ll have the bandwidth left at night to knit more.

Loose Ends

I had somewhat of a wild hair last week and started checking out knitting retreats and gatherings.  I haven’t been to any knitting classes in some time.  I looked into one in Madison, WI but decided that the cost of the hotel room I would need for 2 nights plus the registration fee made it more than I was willing to spend.  Then I remembered Yarnover.  Yarnover is hosted by the Minnesota Knitters Guild and is only about 45 minutes away from my in-laws house.  A day long class with Franklin Habit was open!  (I’ve met him before, but I go slightly fan girl in the presence of funny knitting bloggers)  Since the hubby works the weekend of Yarnover, I arranged to stay with my in-laws and have the kids hang out there for the day.  Problem solved!  Knitting enabled.  The list of vendors is pretty amazing, so I’ll have to save my pennies.

Now I should probably tell my husband about this plan…. Right?  I should tell him?

Black Hole of Knitting

Life’s Stash:

I’ve entered the black hole of all my knitting projects.  That point where you just keep knitting but it feels like you’re not getting anywhere.

All that knitting must be getting magically unknit while you’re not looking.  Like little elves come in during the night and just rip out a few rows.

This might be because I have too many projects on the needles.  It might be a symptom of many early bedtimes.  Then again, I’m not going to totally rule out the little elves.  I just wish they’d fold a load of laundry while they were in the house!!  Or maybe weave in a few ends.

What I’m Knitting:

A hat for Addie – more on that below.

A cowl – still the same cowl I was knitting before.  See?!  I told you there were elves afoot.  I do need to figure out the pattern for the second cowl I’m making.  It needs to be fairly tightly knit as I want it to be really warm for winter activities.

The sweater – yep still moving like a turtle on this one too.  I drug this all the way to the Twin Cities for a conference last week and didn’t touch it.  I might have over packed my knitting bag.  My co-workers joked that I packed like I was staying for an entire week rather than just 2 days and 1 night.

What I’m Not Knitting:

I started the Wheat scarf by Tin Can Knits several weeks ago and just haven’t knit much on it.  It’s a great pattern.  It’s billed as a beginners pattern and I think that’s accurate.  It’s far superior in interest to the garter knit scarves that I made when I was a beginner.  It’s one of those that I could knit while watching a movie and be just fine.

Knots & Tangles:

While this isn’t really a problem yet, it could be.  I started working on Addie’s hat with the intention of using 2 new skeins of stashed yarn.  I worked with the Trekking for awhile and decided that the second yarn I picked out was too close in color value to the Trekking.  Luckily I found a partially used skein in my stash.  This I think was some Pagewood Farms with some cashmere content (I think).  It’s deliciously soft.  Every 5th grade girl needs a super soft lined hat that makes her know that her momma loves her.  So while this yarn is also close in color value to the Trekking, it is really nice.  My concern is that I might just run out of the Pagewood Farms before the hat is finished.  I think I’d better start knitting really fast before I run out!

 

Loose Ends:

I am feeling a distinct lack of color in my knitting right now.  Two gray cowls, 1 gray sweater, 1 hat that isn’t gray but definitely has extremely muted tones.  I think I need to break out of this rut and get some color in my life!  I might just have to pull out one of the red sweaters that I put on hold two winters ago because I had too many red sweaters going at once….

In other news, I found the stash knit down that I was trying to find last time.  It’s call Stash Dash and is run by the Knit Girllls on Ravelry.  The idea is to knit the length of a 5K race with your knitting.  Finishing up UFOs counts, as does spinning.  The Dash starts in May and runs through the beginning of August.  I don’t typically watch the Knit Girllls videocast, (although looking at their Ravelry Group they’ve got good content and I might have to start watching) so I’ll have to keep my eyes open for the start date.

Who’s in?  Would you want to participate in Stash Dash with me?

 

Resolutions

Darkside Cowl

Life’s Stash:

Christmas and New Year’s have gone by in a whirl.  Now it’s on to new projects – both at the office and at home.  Right after Christmas I took some time and rearranged the toy/stash/computer room and rearranged a cabinet in the tv room.  Although most people wouldn’t know the difference to see it, I know it looks much better.  I took some toys and puzzles to school for the after school program and I threw A LOT away.

Next on my list of organizing is probably my stash.  For the most part, I like the system I have going.  However, I think it’s healthy that occasionally I visit with the yarn that I already have.  It keeps me from wanting newer, younger yarn.  It reminds me that I have some really amazing yarn in my stash already.

Which brings me to what I’m very loosely calling a resolution this year.  Typically I don’t do a New Year’s resolution as I generally am very bad at sticking to them.  I slip up, I get mad at myself for not having iron will, and then I throw the whole thing out the window.  I know – it’s stupid to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but that’s the way I’ve done it in the past.  So instead of a resolution, I’m calling it a theme for the year.  Drumroll please……….

“Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion.  Today is special.”

I tend to hoard and save and hold on to things because if the queen or the pope or that super special something comes up then I might just need that ball of yarn.  But guess what?  That most likely isn’t going to happen.  Instead, that super special ball of yarn will get moths.  Or not be a cool color anymore.  So instead I’m going to work hard on enjoying the beautiful yarn that I have.  I’m going to knit it now.  Or at least get started working through some of that amazing stash.  Because I know that I’m not enjoying that yarn when it’s sitting in a drawer.

What I’m Knitting:

I’ve got several projects on the needles right now.

  • Darkside Cowl in some lovely cashmere merino from Three Irish Girls.
  • Stashbuster Hat (from the deep dark stash) for Addie.
  • The shawl collar pullover in Yowza What a Skein

What I’m Not Knitting:

Sweet Baby Cap
  •  2 Sweet Baby Caps for 2 sweet little baby boys.  Both were done with scraps and some yarn from the deep dark stash.  Edited to add:  I am not knitting these only because they are already finished.  I think I need to add a section for finished projects.  🙂

Knots & Tangles:

I have no knitting issues to report this time.  All of my knitting is behaving very well.

Loose Ends:

I’ve noticed that my Ravelry project list on the right hand side of this page was woefully out of date.  I’ve been working to photograph and update some of the projects.  No silly promises about a timeline for this, but I’m working on it.