Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Qiviut sources

In Alaska, there's three farms where one can get qiviut:

Windy Valley Farm, in Palmer;
the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station of the Institute of Arctic Biology, near Fairbanks;
and, of course, the Musk Ox Farm, in Palmer.

Most other qiviut is obtained from wild animals' leavings on shrubbery, or from the pelts of animals killed in subsistence hunts (that's mostly in Canada). I'm not sure about farms in Canada; the research on them in Saskatchewan has dwindled some.


James said...

If you are concerned about sustainably produced qiviut, you must ask your supplier if the fiber is from commercial harvests or if it comes from a farm. Remember, just because your yarn supplier has muskoxen, they yarn they sell may NOT be made from thier own qiviut. There are too few animals in captivity to have a very large volume of qiviut. The only yarn (for retail) that I am aware of that is made from combed animals is from the herd LARS. I don't think they sell anything but their own combed qiviut. I would be very cautious about any other yarn.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Most qiviut comes from Canada, taken from the pelts of animals taken in the annual hunts. With the island populations, there's some serious overpopulation problems (not enough predation), so the hunts are important.

The Musk Ox Farm sells to Oomingmak Cooperative, and I think they sell yarn; Windy Valley also sells qiviut from their animals. I'm not sure if they sell yarn or just the raw fibre. LARS doesn't sell very much.

James said...

Windy Valley only sells fiber from thier animals, all of their yarn
comes form the commercial harvest.

The last time I spoke with Oomingmak co-operative they said that they do not only get fiber from The Muskox Farm, but also from harvested sources. I do not know if they offer yarn from their store.

A bit of a comming above board. We own the second largest private herd of muskoxen in the world. We are trailing John and Dianne Nash with the total number of animals that we have. We haven't yet sold any fiber or yarn from our animal.

I welcome all contacts and inquires of any nature. I can be reached at

Sooziii said...

I have found your blog really interesting. Keep up the good work.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Okay, I'm a little slow, but I've finally connected the dots and now have it: You are that James Meservy of the commercial Canadian muskox farm, of which I'll be writing in Agroborealis for this winter! It is cheery to know that the number of farms is increasing, albeit slowly.