Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Oomingmak was today's destination. Donna's working on a video project and Mary and I got to not only tag along, but got our brief moment of fame on camera, too.
Something tells me this former employee of the Musk Ox Producers Co-op may be a familiar face.
Susan's photo is the last on the second row, but the map below them all shows where the knitters that create the products are based.
Needless to say, I didn't think to start taking pix till things were winding down, but here Donna is zeroing in on a bag of the raw "fur" that's knitted into the products. The ladies at the store were wonderful!
Smoke-rings are perhaps the most popular product sold. Here a worker demonstrates how they're washed (three times I believe she said before the hit the shelves), then wrung out.....

While drying, products are put on a frame of sorts....
Patterns are exclusive to one area, whether Bethel, Nome, or some village with a name that I can't come close to spelling. She's collecting lots of pins to pin the smoke-ring into place in this shot.
Placing the pins, which are plentiful
Here's a piece already fully pinned to a board. Look how many pins they use to ensure proper shape and no stretching.
After all this, the product is tagged, neatly folded and bagged with an info sheet for customers to take home with them. If you visit Anchorage and haven't checked this place out, it's well worth a visit. Musk ox fur is incredibly soft and lightweight but, oh, so warm!

1 comment:

Sarida said...

Now you've made my spinner's fingers itch. I've always want to try spinning qiviut. It is the finest animal fibre on the entire planet, rivaled only by the rare cameloid of South America, the vicuna. Do they sell the unspun qiviut fibre at the Anchorage store?

This really is a flashback. The Musk Ox cooperative was just being organized when I lived in Anchorage in the early 1970s. That picture of Susan is priceless.
Thanks so much for sharing Alaska with us.

Like a magnetized needle my mind and thoughts keep turning north.
Both memories and recent events keep drawing my dreams back to the far distant lands of snow and ice. Before I left Alaska a young schoolmate, (a boy from a remote village attending high school in the "big city") said to me, "You will return one day, Alaska will call you back." Prehaps he was right...........

See y'all on the trail,

Sarida the Snowless
San Antonio, Texas
South-Paw Dirt (& Asphalt) Musher
1972 Graduate of West Anchorage High School