Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Qiviut

Source: Wikimedia Commons
I think Q is always one of the hardest letters in the A-Z Challenge, so I was happy when I learned about qiviut.

Qiviut is the Inuit word for the wool of musk oxen, and it is most commonly used for hats and scarves. The wool is softer than cashmere and doesn't shrink in water, so it's not surprising that it's very expensive! A qiviut scarf can sell for more than $300.

Unlike sheep, the musk oxen aren't sheared, which seems like a good thing considering how big the animals are. Instead, the oxen shed the wool and it is gathered during the molting season.

Source: Wikimedia Common
The production and sale of qiviut items has long provided a stable income for the Inuit people in the northern regions of Alaska.

I have to admit that I'd love to have a qiviut scarf, as I'm sure they are really cozy, but I'm  not about to shell out $300 for one. It simply doesn't get that cold here in Cincinnati.

My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in Fairbanks and the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book.


  1. Three hundred dollars? Whoa! Maybe you could just buy your own oxen?

  2. That's expensive. Great Q word though. Thank you for sharing I learned something new. :)

  3. Ha! I like what Alex said. :)

    Good "q" word!

  4. Great topic for Q. I've never heard of qivuit, so thanks for teaching me something this Friday morning. I certainly wouldn't pay $300 for a scarf, but if it comes from those musk oxen, I can see how it would be brilliantly warm. Wonder what it feels like?

  5. What I love about A - Z is that I've learned so much, and it's not over yet. I'm in Columbus, not far from you, and I could've done with one of those scarves this winter. -Belinda.

  6. I love all types of wool, and I have never heard of this before. Sounds luscious... I want one! Scarf, sweater, gloves, all of the above. LOL.

    Like you said EXPENSIVE, when I get my first six figure contract, I will get a whole set... LOL. I have a LONG, LONG, WAIT... Guess I will have to settle for normal wools.... sighs...

  7. Qiviut are cute mammoth beasts. I could've used one of those scarf's a few days this past winter...

  8. Very interesting "Q" word. I'd like to touch that fur to see how it feels.

  9. How interesting... but $300 for a scarf.. ah, no lol

  10. Very interesting. It's amazing what animals gift us with (here it's their fur).

  11. What an unusual "Q" word! They do look warm and cozy.


  12. I wouldn't mind having one of those. Some silk scarves can cost that much. But LOL, my favorite scarf is the Griffindor scarf my daughter bought me for Christmas a few years ago:)

  13. @Alex, LOL, I didn't think of that but very true.

    @Summer, it was fun for me to learn something new too. :)

    @Madeline, thanks!

    @Tim, that's what I wondered, I'd love to be able to reach into that basket in the pic and feel it.

    @Belinda, oh, it's nice to meet you! I lived in Columbus for about 6 years and my brother lives there now. I heard you had a nasty winter!

    @Michael, LOL, I bet you won't have to wait that long. :)

    @Cathrina, aren't they cute? I thought so too. :)

    @Michael, me too.

    @SK, yeah, I wouldn't be paying that much either.

    @DG, I totally agree.

    @Julie, don't they? I'd love to have one.

    @Gwen, oh, how fun. I'd love to have a Griffindor scarf! :)

  14. I agree with Alex - you could buy your own Muskox . . . maybe. Our local zoo has a small herd of Muskox, and they are currently shedding in huge clumps. I'm not sure what the zoo does with the fur, but I know they let them do it naturally.
    I didn't know that their fur was so expensive . . . or that it could be used to make scarves. (I should have known, but I didn't)

  15. I not only didn't know about qiviut wool, I didn't even know there were musk ox in Alaska. I love the picture - those musk ox look very cute and fuzzy! :-)

  16. I've never seen a Qiviut in my life but I kind of like them. Maybe for pets. Are they dwarf friendly?

  17. That much for a scarf?! Yikes. Though it would be cool. Or warm, rather. :)

  18. That is so cool. I know nothing about musk oxen and had no idea they even used wool from them. I can't believe a scarf is near $300- wow. I bet it is very warm. :) Fun, fun facts.

  19. Ah but how do we pronounce it?? It is beautiful, and I'm sure a necessity living in AK!

  20. that's a Q word to remember next time I play a word game.

  21. Those are some cool creatures indeed!

  22. @Tyrean, oh, that's interesting, I wonder if the zoo sells it or uses it somehow?

    @Lexa, I thought the same thing. :)

    @Al, it's my understanding they love dwarfs. :D

    @Christine, isn't that crazy?

    @Rebecca, yeah, I can't imagine ever paying that much. Or anywhere close to it LOL.

    @Pk, I have no clue how to pronounce it LOL.

    @Sheena-kay, true!

    @Susan, wouldn't it be great for Scrabble?

    @MJ, I agree! :)

  23. I'm mulling over how to pronounce this and where I can find the $300 for a winter scarf.

  24. I would be happy to send you bushels of blue heeler and border collie 'wool' that you could have woven into a beautiful scarf. I'll even pay shipping :)

  25. @Lee, if you figure out how to pronounce it let me know. :)

    @Carol, LOL, I already have too much poodle/spaniel fur, I didn't think of that but I'm sure it would make a lovely scarf. :D

  26. It does look rather warm. For that kind of price, it better be.

    I finished Polar Night last night and really enjoyed it. I'll get a review up for you soon. I'll miss reading it tonight. :)

  27. I started laughing when confronted by the line of musk oxen staring at me!
    How handy that they shed. I suppose it would be a good deal if you wore it all the time...for years... Or buy yourself an oxen and let it shed your own wool to knit? :)

  28. @Mary, oh, thanks! I'm so glad you liked it and I appreciate the review!

    @Laura, that pic made me laugh too, I loved it LOL. My big problem with getting my own oxen would be that I can't knit. Although I guess that might not be the biggest problem LOL.

  29. Julie,

    Do they use the Qiviut for other things other than hair?

  30. How so very interesting. Now you're going to have me looking out for a Qiviut scarf just so I can feel it! No - I'm not one to spend that much on a scarf... well on clothing period.

    Great posts. Those qiviuts are darling. Writer’s Mark

  31. That picture does not make me want to buy a scarf of that stuff :)

  32. That picture does not make me want to buy a scarf of that stuff :)

  33. $300 for a scarf? Yikes! That's gotta be a mighty fine scarf!

  34. Great post. I love all things wool and love fleeces. Collecting it only when they moult is great. Looks like you've had a fab AtoZ.

  35. They look like they need all that fur.

  36. Q is a hard letter, but you pulled it off with an interesting post.

  37. Oh I'd hate to come across one of those in the street!

    $300?! That's like, my rent for one month. But it would be cool to have a scarf like that :)

  38. I've never ever heard of this word!
    And that's quite a costly item. I'd be frightened to wear it. Don't want to ruin a $300 shawl (after you convert it to my currency you'll understand)
    I'd rather shiver... LOL

    Writer In Transit

  39. @Regina, I'm not sure, all I read about was that they use it for scarves and hats, etc. It didn't sound like there was any other use.

    @Nancy, that's what I think, I'd like to touch it but that's where it would end LOL.

    @Alex, LOL, aww, I love the pic of the oxen. :D

    @Lynda, yeah LOL, I can't really imagine a scarf worth that.

    @Lynne, thanks! It's nice to meet you. :)

    @Gwen, I agree. They must just grow more when they molt.

    @Medeia, thank!

    @Samantha, LOL, I would stay out of their way if I came across one.

    @Michelle, LOL, that would be me too. I'd be afraid to wear it because I'd no doubt spill something on it the very first time.


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