Saturday, May 23, 2009

Qiviuk: Working with Rare Fibres

2009 Maiwa Textile Symposium
Workshop
Instructor Marcelina Charri, Maria Lima, Fernando Alvarez

Marcelina Charri and Maria Lima join us from the Andean highlands to explain the secrets of working with rare fibres. The workshop will cover carding, spinning, plying, and the creation of blends. Each blend has its own character. Some are best made during the carding stage while others need to be plyed. Students will work with qiviuk (the downy undercoat of musk ox), silk, alpaca, cashmere, and fine merino.

In addition to yarn creation, students will pick up specialized assistance in knitting with these fibres. Together with Fernando Alvarez (owner of Qiviuk Boutique), Marcelina and Maria have worked for years to solve the technical challenges of creating rare fibre yarns that can be successfully used in knitting. Short of going to Peru (and catching Fernando when he is not in the Arctic), this is the only opportunity to study with this group.

Why work with these fibres when they are expensive and challenging? The answer is simple: because they behave in a way that nothing else does. A qiviuk sweater will be one-third the weight of the same pattern in cashmere. It is like knitted air. Working with rare fibres rewards patience as a relationship develops between the fibre and the person. The personality of both shine in the final creation.

Prerequisites: experience spinning on the wheel and basic knitting skills. Each student will be required to bring their own spinning wheel for the class.
Fernando will also give a lecture on Friday October 23.

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