Quiviut

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I just came back from a little over a week spent in Alaska.  Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous state. Even in the most overcast and rainy days, there is a strange beauty that can’t be replicated anywhere else. I will probably blog more about the trip later.

On this trip I wanted to be able to touch and feel qiviut yarn. Just what is this qiviut, you ask, and why is it hard to find outside of Alaska?

It is the wool from the musk ox, an animal found in the high Arctic, especially in Canada and Greenland.  The Alaskan population had been wiped out in the late 19th-early 20th century but has been recently re-introduced in the area.

A muskox at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, outside Girdwood, Alaska.

Qivuit yarn is stronger and warmer than wool, softer than cashmere.  Items knitted from qivuit, if taken care of properly, can last much longer than wool.  It is, by far, my dream yarn to use.

Of course, that means it is insanely expensive.  A scarf knitted from qiviut can easily cost $300.  A skein of sock yarn, like the one I found below under lock and key in a glass case at the Alaska Wildlife Conversation Center, can cost around $120. That is enough to perhaps knit a pair of gloves or a pair of socks.

Yes, that says $120 for 375 yards of Qiviut sock yarn. The most I spent on yarn is maybe $35.

I manage to find a skein that was not under lock and key and was able to touch it.  *Swoon*  I would love to have it at home to knit with, but knowing me, at that price tag, it would be kept under lock and key in a fireproof safe.

More information:

  • Wikipedia entry on Qiviut yarn.
  • Wikipedia entry on Musk Ox.
  • Musk Ox Farm outside Palmer, Alaska (unfortunately was not able to visit as they already transitioned out of tourism season hours).
  • Oomingmak, a native co-op selling items knitted out of qiviut. They have a store on 6th & H in downtown Anchorage.
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where orphaned and injured native Alaskan animals are cared for. Also serves as an education initiative, and a must visit if you are in the Anchorage or Seward area.

Where to buy qiviut yarn outside of Alaska

Redux Thursday

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Almost two years ago I knitted my first garment, the Camille Cardigan from Knitscene Winter 2012. It was easy, and not as intimidating as one would think, except for trying to figure out the invisible provisional cast-on.  With large needles & bulky yarn, it was a quick knit. A knitted garment done in a month’s time, what a boost to the ego!

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Problem was, it was too big. Like, ridiculously too big. I wear a size large in everything, so surely knitting a large would be the right fit.  NOT.  It stayed hanging in the closet all this time, didn’t even bother to sew on the buttons.

Yesterday, I figure if it was too big back then, it must be HUGE now that I lost 25-30 lbs of weight. I decided I will try it again, starting with the three skeins of leftover yarn and when that is used up, start unraveling the old one & using that yarn. Knit the next size down (which is a significant drop in size).  I’ve even measured myself (except of just assuming) so I know it will be close this time

Bye-bye first garment, hello better-fitting garment (I hope!!!). It would be nice to actually wear it in public.

Yarn: KnitPicks Full Circle Bulky yarn in Hollyhock (a limited edition recycled yarn that is no longer available).

Packing up a purchase

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Last week my mom handsold one of my hats. Yes, I did a little happy dance. It also gave me the opportunity to show you all what they would receive when they order through my Etsy store.

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So, obviously there’s the product with a tag detailing care instructions, a few of my business cards to hand out to others when you (hopefully) rave about my hats, and a postcard with a handwritten thank you note (you have to love that lamb!!!).

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All wrapped up and ready to go in a Priority Mail envelope (if domestic) or a small box (if international).

New product soon – knitted iPhone 5 cozies

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My husband and I probably are one of the few people who don’t use iPhone cases.  We simply really don’t need it, since we are very careful with our electronics.  But sometimes to protect it in our bags, we need a cozy of some kind.  I had sewn the first one a few years back for my husband, but that has started to fray recently.  It couldn’t be hard to knit one up, would it?

But I hate having to seam up the edges.  I wanted to make one with a seamless edge, beginning to end.  First attempt, I started to just knit in the round, then, duh, I realized I still needed to seam up the bottom, or the phone will slide through and *boom* on the floor.

Back to the drawing board. Think, think, think. Eureka! Start it like I would make a sock from the toe up!  Off to work I go.

iphone 5 cozy - horizontal option

iphone 5 cozy – horizontal option

The image above was my first result, knitted for myself. I like the horizontal orientation, however it is initially harder to start. The technique I used to start the cozy (for the knitters out there, “Judy’s Magic Cast-On“) isn’t easy with that many stitches. Also, I saw that while making the flap, I needed to make a small change so that it looks a bit smoother.

iPhone 5 cozy - vertical option

iPhone 5 cozy – vertical option

Took all those lessons, and knitted up the second iPhone cozy, for my husband. This was much easier to get started and I’ve managed to make a cleaner edge on the flap.  Surprising even the buttons were easy to sew on (I hate handsewing).  This, I’ve decided, will be my predominate style to stock my Etsy store, and I’m in the process of knitting up the first one for the store.

Running

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Since the beginning of the new year I started to keep myself busy. Back in January my husband and I joined the gym.  It was a way to get out and do something during those dreadful, cold, snowy days filled with polar vortexes and the like.  Once it thawed out we started running in 5K races. The past few months I started to really keep track of what I eat and dropped about 10 lbs so far.  I’ve been cooking more at home and even making most of my lunches during the week.  I’ve even *gasp*  weaned myself off of caffeine! So many changes in my life and they are actually sticking.

The holidays are coming up and the temptation is there to partake in the deliciousness of the season.  A peppermint mocha from Starbucks is calling my name.  Cookies. Pumpkin pies. It means either I torture myself with the smells, or I need to workout harder.

Luckily for the holiday season the nearby running store is hosting group runs twice a week to help us not turn into sloths.  The first one was earlier this week and it was quite fun. Normally if I run outside and it is not race I run alone. Even though I’m quite a shy person, running with a group of others gives me that security that if I end up floppy in the middle of the road there would be someone behind me to hopefully pick me up or call for help.

Running is addicting. And it is something I’ll come back to from time to time here. I just wish I could knit while running like the guy who ran the New York Marathon last week.

Store reopened, exciting things to come

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I’m still here. I think I am anyways. And the Etsy store is reopened for business, just in time for the holidays.

I’ve taken new photos of inventory, taking advantage of the fall colors a few weeks back (the fall colors that are no longer there…ah, the memories).  Two new hats for women were posted as well.

New Product: Snow Bird Slouchy Hat

New Product: Snow Bird Slouchy Hat

New Product: Colorinche Slouchy Hat

New Product: Colorinche Slouchy Hat

I’m happy that in the next few weeks I’ll be getting business cards to promote my store, and the Sell on Etsy card reader, so for anyone local out there wanting to buy these hats but want to save on shipping, I would be able to take credit cards on my phone (a lot like Square). I’m trying to promote myself more now on social media, so follow me on Twitter or Facebook. I’ll also really try hard to blog more!

I’m also feverishly trying to knit up new product, especially kids hats since I am sold out of those. Keep an eye out for those as well.

Have a fantastic day everyone and please take a chance to browse my store.

New Year

 

New year. Somehow when the new year comes around, I get an urge to finish projects I started, get bored with or get excited about other things, put down, where it languishes for a long time. Like this hat:

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Sat around since the beginning of last year till I picked it up again back in December.  Finished it this morning, while netflixing Columbo.

Picked up a scarf I started several years ago after finishing this hat. Will try to finish that sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.

New year. Notice how horrible I am in keeping up with this blog, or my Etsy store? I get pretty lazy at times, so I just let it sit. Or I lack ideas.  Will try to work harder on that this year.  Of course I say that all the time. Maybe it will stick.

Happy slightly belated 2014 everyone.