Reservations 877·97·CRAFT  (877·972·7238)

7-Day ~ Musk Ox & Glaciers (May 2012)

Holland America Line

Start Date:


May 27, 2012


End Date:


June 3, 2012

Musk Ox & Glaciers (May 2012) ~ Knitting Cruises Description

Come join Craft Cruises on our most popular knitting trip - Musk Ox & Glaciers! Join fellow knitters along with knitting expert Beth Brown-Reinsel and Donna Druchunas, author of "Arctic Lace - A book of patterns and stories of native Alaska knitters" on this Alaskan knitting adventure.

This is the best way to experience Alaska. Flying to Anchorage enables you to explore the interior, meet some of the friendliest locals on earth and experience the magnificence of this great land. This custom designed cruisetour allows you to explore Alaska's most beautiful scenic areas, learn about musk ox and cruise to some of Alaska's quaintest ports of call. You will meet friendly local knitters and fiber producers along the way, learn about the qiviut industry. Qiviut is the fluffy and warm undercoat of Musk Ox. This luxury fiber is spun and knit into intricate hand knit items of all sorts.

Our Alaska adventure begins in Anchorage where we'll offer an optional 4-5 night fiber tour and visit to Denali National Park. A knitting trip to Alaska would not be complete without learning more about Qiviut and the role it plays in Inuit culture. Nor would it be complete without the inspiration of Alaska's most dramatic landscape, Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park.

Visiting the Oomingmak Cooperative and the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer will give greater insight into an indigenous culture making a better world for themselves through fiber arts. The Alaskan knitters of rural coastal villages are knitting beautiful one-of-a-kind garments out of luxurious Qiviut. This luxury fiber is the undercoat of the arctic Muskox which lives in the tundra regions of the arctic. The undercoat of the Muskox and is prized for its softness, warmth and loft. It is eight times softer than wool and does not shrink or felt.

Meeting the local Alaskan knitters, visiting Denali and the Musk Ox Farm combined with cruising during the spring eagle migration along with these two wonderful instructors will make this an Alaskan knitting cruise to remember.

Musk Ox & Denali Pre-Cruise Tour Highlights - May 23-27, 2012:

  • Pre-Cruise Tour Price from $1,035 per person double occupancy.

  • 2 Nights in Anchorage for yarn shopping and visiting the Oomingmak Co-operative. The Alaskan co-operative Oomingmak has been bringing exquisite Qiviut items to visitors as a unique northern gift since 1969. Qiviut the downy-soft underwool from the Arctic musk ox, is shed naturally each year during the spring months. Eight times warmer than wool and extraordinarily lightweight, Qiviut is one of the finest natural fibers known to man. The Co-Operative is owned by approximately 250 Native Alaskan women from remote coastal villages of Alaska who knit each item by hand. Each village has a signature pattern derived from traditional aspects of village life and the Eskimo culture; they may come from an ancient artifact or a beadwork design. All items sold at Oomingmak are 100% Qiviut and in the natural color. The caps and scarves made by the knitters are as comfortable to wear on cool days in a warm climate as they are in chilly weather. Unlike wool, Qiviut is not scratchy and will not shrink in any temperature of water. It can be hand-washed in any mild detergent and will last for many years.

  • A full day Musk Ox Adventure! Aboard our private motor coach we'll visit the Musk Ox Museum and Farm and shop for fiber and hand made souvenirs made by local designers and knitters.

  • The word "qiviut" in the Inuit language (The northern Eskimo) means the underwool of the Musk Ox. The Musk Ox is called Oomingmak in the Inuit language and means the bearded one. Many different small companies who have used this fiber as part of their business name have trademarked the word "Qiveut". While spellings may vary (qiviut, kiviuk, qiviuk, qiviute, and the trademarked name, Qiveut) it is pronounced kiv-ee-ute and is one of the most luxurious fibers on earth.The Musk Ox are from northern regions, such as Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and a few in Russia. There are five small Musk Ox farms around the world, two in Alaska, one each in Canada, Montana and Norway. This 800 pound hairy buffalo-looking animal once roamed the Arctic regions of the world and was almost hunted to extinction by the 1800's. The Musk Ox is actually a member of the goat family.

  • Qiviut is an extremely rare fiber and is limited in availability and worked only by a few exclusive designers throughout the world. The reason not many people work with qiviut is because it is very expensive to purchase the raw fiber and is very labor intensive. Musk Ox are are raised on farms (although they are not easily domesticated.) and naturally shed their soft undercoat once a year in the spring. The best way to gather the fiber is for the animals to be run through a stall and combed out by hand. Each Musk Ox only yields approximately 5 to 7 pounds of raw fiber per season. When considering the Musk Ox size, it is easy to understand that this large animal can be quite expensive to care for in a farming situation and process of gathering, cleaning, de-hairing and spinning can take up to several years.

  • Qiviut is light-weight and extremely high warmth with a very elegant drape. If someone were to put a touch of qiveut fiber in your hand with your eyes closed you would not feel the fiber touch your hand. It is truly cloud-soft. Qiviut is eight times warmer than wool and is the softest fiber in the world. Plus, it does not shrink or shed and it is hypoallergenic in its natural form. It also does not have memory like wool and therefore requires the addition of a touch of wool or silk/wool for elasticity and strength. It is easy to care for, just hand wash in your favorite gentle shampoo and lay flat to dry. It has a great affinity for dye and can be boiled without shrinking or felting.

  • Luxury Rail journey aboard the luxury domed railcars aboard the McKinley Exporer for the scenic trip from Anchorage to Denali National Park where we will then be transferred to our Denali resort lodge. Overnight Denali McKinley Chalets or similar for two nights in Denali.
    Husky Homestead tour is included so you will enjoy a personal tour of the kennels Iditarod musher Jeff King, winner the 2006 Iditarod Race calls home. This experience will give you an authentic look into Alaska's rural lifestyle. You'll have the opportunity to hold husky puppies, see training in action with a dog-powered carousel, and see the variety of equipment used on the trail such as sleds and arctic survival gear. Bring your camera to get a picture with all the cute puppies. And since husky homespun is so popular

  • Get into the heart of Denali National Park on the Tundra Wilderness Tour. This is the most popular tour in the park. Denali National Park features North America's highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall Mount McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. The park was established as Mount McKinley National Park on Feb. 26, 1917. The original park was designated a wilderness area and incorporated into Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980. It the largest continually protected natural ecosystem in the world. Watch for moose, sheep, caribou and bear and marvel at massive icefields. Land on a glacier to see ice falls, moraines, ice bridges and glacier streams.

  • Spend your morning on a guided Tundra Wilderness tour into Denali National Park and the heart of bear country. On this fully-guided you'll get interpretation from your driver/guide, along with wildlife spotting and spectacular scenery. If the weather cooperates, you'll see Mount McKinley up close. This is a good option if you're looking for more than just a quick taste of the park but don't want to overdo it with the 12-hour tour to Kantishna. I believe those who really want to take the longer tour will be given the option of upgrading upon arrival in Denali. During the early part of the trip, watch for moose: there are some huge bulls that hang out in the taiga forest between headquarters and Savage Campground. Look for caribou anywhere above treeline. But don't be surprised if wildlife is sparse in those early miles it's not unusual to see no animals on this section of road, depending on the time of day and season. The tip of Mount McKinley first comes into view at Mile 9. You'll ride over high mountain passes and usually see Dall sheep on the mountainsides. If you're lucky, you'll spot bears too. It's not uncommon to see wolves from Teklanika on. Watch for bears ambling along the tundra or riverbeds and for Mount McKinley, which will be in and out of view the rest of the trip. The bus goes over Highway Pass and stops at the Toklat River rest area. There, Mount McKinley looms about 40 miles away - a perfect photo opportunity. Then you'll turn around and head for home.

  • May 27 - Private Transfer for group - Denali to Seward with yarn shopping upon our arrival in Seward at A Flyin' Skein.