Massak by Alice Twain


November 2013
Bulky (7 wpi) ?
13 stitches = 4 inches
in Pattern stitch
7.0 mm
153 - 175 yards (140 - 160 m)
One size
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Nachaqs are a type of cowls-hoods produced buy the Oomingmak cooperative (, owned by a group of nearly 300 Alaskan women who knit items like these out of precious quiviut yarn. The history and work of the Oomingmak cooperative is the subject of Donna Drunchunas’s Arctic Lace book, and that’s where I got the inspiration for the cowl. Instead of superfine quiviut I chose to knit my cowl out of a chunky and very lofty alpaca yarn. The bottom border is worked in an easy garter eyelet stitch that also Drunchunas used on some of her patterns, while the chevron lace stitch is unvented by me (downward chevrons, often stacked, are a pretty common female symbol in many native cultures). The lace includes a number of stitches knitted through the back loop, an unusual addition that helps make the design crisper and more de- fined. All of Drunchunas lace patterns in the book use it; I chose to adopt it, though, not secondly because in a lace pattern worked on such large needles is bound to create some loss of definition. The cowl is finished by working a seamed hem, which creates a nice thick and stretchy border to en- close your face or neck with. The pattern is provided with a short tutorial on how to work the seamed hem, but if you prefer you can just repeat the starting border and bind off. The name Massak means “soft snow”, and this cowl is certainly soft.