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What is Musk Ox Yarn? + 20 Qiviut Yarn Patterns

Learn the best use for your precious skeins of musk ox wool.

Updated September 22, 2020
What is Musk Ox Yarn

"Qiviut" is a funny word to say, and even funnier to read. You wouldn't think from first glance at your yarn label that it's referring to the muskox, or, more specifically, its soft undercoat. Since muskoxen are native to the Arctic, it shouldn't take much convincing for you to believe in just how warm musk ox yarn is. However, this insanely warm yarn is difficult to find, as only two places in the US commercially produce qiviut yarn, and they're (unsurprisingly) both based in Alaska.

Since muskoxen only shed their undercoat for a brief period of time as warmer weather strikes, it's something of a yarn delicacy, and boy, will you be paying for that. It may be one of the most expensive kinds of yarn you'll ever come across, comparable to (and often more expensive than) cashmere yarn. However, with this luxury fiber, you'll be buying unbelievable warmth and softness, and knit up heirlooms to pass down for generations.

No yarn fiber is without its drawbacks. Qiviut yarn is not especially wind-resistant, and therefore won't be terribly warming or insulating in breezy conditions. While it doesn't felt or shrink, it isn't terribly elastic and can pill, so it's better suited to drapey projects that won't get stretched out too much (save your workhorse projects for plain old sheep's wool).

Qiviut Scarf Patterns

I can't think of a better use for musk ox yarn than scarves. As scarves and other neck accessories exist to keep you warm, you'll find that they're best suited to qiviut yarn because the warmth of the fiber is simply unparalleled. For qiviut yarn, we recommend more simple yarn patterns, as the stitches may lose their definition with extended wear.

Qiviut Sweater and Tops Patterns

What good would a yarn fiber be if you couldn't knit a sweater out of it? Despite being a bit more hard-wearing than accessories, you can still absolutely knit a gorgeous sweater or top out of qiviut yarn (in fact, it's so soft and lovely, it would be a shame not to at least once in your knitting career). Just be sure to be gentle with the finished object and maybe only whip it out for special occasions.

Qiviut Shawl Patterns

Shawls are an excellent use for qiviut yarn because they can still look beautiful using simple stitchwork, and while they rest on you to keep your shoulders warm, you won't get all the same rubbing and felting you'll experience with more workhorse patterns, like sweaters. We think these shawl patterns are a perfect use for your qiviut yarn.

Up Next:

What to Knit With Cashmere Yarn

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