Friday, November 22, 2013

Fiber arts students get hands on with qiviut

Students from Effie Kokrine Charter School got to handle raw qiviut during a presentation Nov. 22
by Assistant Professor Jan Rowell.

The fiber arts students learned from Rowell what qiviut is, where it comes from and the current state of the industry. "I hope they gained some appreciation of the uniqueness of the fiber; it's a very tactile thing," Rowell said.

A student from Effie Kokrine Charter School examines raw qiviut.

She explained milling, carding and custom processing. Sources of qiviut in Alaska are limited to one private muskox farm in Palmer and the research unit at UAF's Large Animal Research Station. LARS hosted the seminar, and students could look out the classroom windows and see muskoxen.

The high school's agriculture teacher, Avril Wiers, said, "We've been looking at different fibers and creating a periodic table of fibers. It's important to understand the process of sheep, goat, rabbit, muskox to sweater process." The students are raising angora rabbits.

At Effie Kokrine, fiber arts is part of the school's FFA program.

Jan Rowell explains the qualities of qiviut.    

A student pulls guard hairs away from the qiviut.
Students enjoyed the softness of the fiber.

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