While summer may not be the best time to work with qiviut—it is the warmest fiber on the planet after all—it is the perfect time to readabout it. And nobody has done qiviut more justice than Donna Druchunas in this award-winning book.
Druchunas leaves no stone unturned in her quest to find out everything there is to know about qiviut and the cultural knitting traditions surrounding it. She begins with the story of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers’ Co-operative and the Native Alaskan women who own and operate it, taking us to several regions and showing the traditional lace pattern from each area. We meet the mythical musk ox and learn just how much work has gone into developing the qiviut yarn you see today.
Then she puts knitting needles back in our hands and teaches us how to knit lace, from choosing needles and casting on to reading charts to working the basic lace stitches. You have three swatch lessons, and then a tutorial on blocking your qiviut project to perfection.
Here’s where I should start yelling, “But wait, that’s not all—it also comes with a free set of Ginsu knives!” Because in addition to the wonderful history, geography, and culture lesson, Druchunas next presents 20 of her own original designs inspired by the culture and art of the Yup’ik and Inupiat people. They range in skill from relative beginner to advanced knitter, and all are of a reasonable size (which is good because qiviut also happens to be one of the most expensive fibers on the planet). And after showing you her patterns for things like scarves, hats, wrist warmers, and so on, she finally gives you helpful information on how to create your own design.
It comes as no surprise that this book won the Bronze Medal in the Independent Publisher Award contest at this year’s Book Expo America.