Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 62: Avril Freeman – The Last Frontier, Volunteering, Motherhood, and Qiviut farming

June 30, 2016



Sponsor: Every year there is a special place, on a lake in New Hampshire, where people gather to explore their creativity, healing and community. This place is called Squam. Behind this goodness is one remarkable woman by the name of Elizabeth Duvivier, someone who’s sought out to find her path and enlightenment in this creative world, bringing souls together and taking just as much away from each experience as those who attend. The FALL SQUAM RETREAT is taking place this September, complete with twinkle lights, generous teachers, sweet walks through the woods, vintage cottages, laughter on the dock, some very incredible workshops and ending with a Gather Here Bash pre-fair party and the SQUAM ART FAIR Saturday night. Join classes with incredible fiber folks like Maryanne Moodie, Anne Wood, Arne + Carlos, and Norah Gaughan – also on hand will be Jared Flood, Tif Fussell, Jaime + Amber of Fancy Tiger and so many other lovely spirits. There are still a few spots open so if this has been calling to you there is still time to register and make your travel plans to attend. Visit for full details.

Fiber folk: It’s always inspiring to receive emails from young fiber folks finding their way in this fiber world, hearing their story and being inspired as I continue to on my own fiber journey. Avril Freeman is one such person, having found herself in Alaska working with Muskox and Reindeer at the Large Animal Research Station (LARS). Her involvement in the Fairbanks fiber community spans from collecting Qiviut fiber from the Muskox, helping organize the Fairbanks Fiber Festival and making fiber goods for the Large Animal Research Station’s shop. And with her new adventures in motherhood, she has en exciting future ahead of her. You can find Avril at and on Instagram @avrilcultural.

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Sponsor: Yarn Along the Rockies is a yarn crawl on the front range of Colorado that features 18 shops from Colorado Springs to Boulder. YATR spans 9 days from August 20th – 28th. Yarn Crawl participants can take a Passport Tour of participating yarn shops for a chance to win one of five grand prizes as well as enter to win prize baskets at each store and participating shops will each have a free pattern available for crawlers as well as a free shop pin. If you visit 4 stores or more during the 9 day yarn crawl to get a free commemorative stitch marker. If you’re a Colorado resident or visiting in August, you don’t want to miss this fiber community event. Visit for a printable list of participating shops and more info on this exciting event. And find them on Instagram @yarnalongtherockies.


In Residence: And for those anticipating the start of the new “In Residence” podcast segment, we’ve been receiving some great questions for our residents and decided to leave it open a little longer to collect more feedback from listeners…so the first In Residence segment will air in July! I’m looking forward to it, I hope you are too. 

Giveaway: The winner of last weeks giveaway is April, you’ve won 10 skeins of Acadia yarn in the color Driftwood from The Fibre Company and East London Knit’s Zen Variations collection. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Avril and the Large Animal Research Station and they’re giving away a precious skein of blended Qiviut and Stinging Nettle yarn.


Music by Jónsi.

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  • Reply kezia Tenenbaum June 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I love hearing the voices on these podcasts! I always learn something……

  • Reply Megan Samms June 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    This was such a great episode! I work with qiviut often, spinning it, naturally dyeing and knitting with it. I’m currently spinning a batch to weave with. So, this episode really spoke to my heart. Thanks again Ashley.

  • Reply Danielley June 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Someday I want to spin qiviut! And how I would love to visit a farm like that!

  • Reply Marina June 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Fantastic episode as always!

  • Reply Lois Maassen June 30, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    What fun to listen to! I’m Avril’s mom, and am teary hearing about how much our knitting and sewing engaged her heart and her hands.

  • Reply Claire June 30, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Looking forward to listening. Sounds interesting

  • Reply Diane June 30, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    I always learn so much. Thank you for another great podcast!

  • Reply Kerryellen Willard June 30, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Have been binge listening to past episodes as I am very behind… But loving every minute, looking forward to listening to this one soon!

  • Reply Carol July 1, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Amazing! So much to learn! Thanks!

  • Reply Ady Grafovna July 1, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Amazing episode! Thank you so much!

  • Reply Joan Foster July 1, 2016 at 7:44 am

    So proud of you Avril. What an interesting journey you have been on. I learned so much listening to your interview. Would love to meet Hazel when you are back in Michigan. It’s funny because in my head you will always be that little girl ice skating with my girls and swimming in the pond :).

  • Reply dorinalouise July 1, 2016 at 10:44 am

    great great podcast ashley. it’s very important that women have choices and can act on those choices. women are important in the home and outside the home. we need to be outspoken and present in both places. thanks for these interviews!

  • Reply Arianne July 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Stinging nettle yarn? I’d love to get my hands on some.

  • Reply Johanna Giesbrecht July 1, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Wow, what a fun journey! Good luck with your move and your journey of motherhood 😀

  • Reply Lisa July 1, 2016 at 11:26 am

    What a great episode…I love the focus on the daily joy of motherhood.

  • Reply Kristina July 1, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Great episode! Having grown up in Michigan, I especially enjoyed that connection and wish Avril and family well as they head back to the mitten!

  • Reply Pauline Dixon July 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Fabulous episode thank you. I love how articulate you and your interviewees are – how you all share what is close to your heart and the struggles to find a way that celebrates family and work. I am constantly inspired and encouraged, a gift at the end of a busy working week.

  • Reply Catrina July 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I’ve followed LARS for years, it was a pleasure to listen to Avril’s story this episode! Thank you. 🙂

  • Reply Julia July 1, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I enjoyed hearing about the musk ox, I didn’t realize they were being farmed as such. Thanks!

  • Reply Julia July 1, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for another great episode!

    Juliaknit on Ravelry

  • Reply Lesley July 1, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I haven’t listened to this episode yet as I am still waiting for elements of my environment to align for this particular activity. Anyways, I cant let this opportunity of owning some qiviut to play with pass. I wish myself lots of luck.

  • Reply Rain July 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    OMG! Musk Ox! They are my fave! Even if they didn’t produce such luscious fiber! Thank you for the giveaway and another wonderful podcast!!

  • Reply Kristin July 2, 2016 at 5:08 am

    New fiber to me! Thanks for the episode.

  • Reply Kris Buddendorff July 2, 2016 at 5:10 am

    I am inspired by this episode. I have been wanting to visit a local alpaca farm and learn to spin. I know now I have to do that. I have been trying to find some qivuit for the past couple of years. Would love to knit with it!

  • Reply Kathy July 2, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Thanks again for bringing us another wonderful fiber story. I’d love to pop in with Avril in five years and see where she goes!

  • Reply Joanne July 2, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Great interview. Good luck to Avril for her move & future fiber adventures.

  • Reply Tiffany Hantelmann July 2, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    I would love to play with some qiviut, I will definitely be purchasing some in the future regardless!

  • Reply Katrina July 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve never knit with Qiviut, but my hands are just begging for it now!

  • Reply Rebecca July 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Great interview and story! I love hearing the winding paths that people take in the fiber world! I first heard of qiviut when talking to an ornithologist who had spent time studying birds in the arctic and brought some qiviut back for his mother to knit with. Would love to learn what it feels like!

  • Reply Charlei Scott July 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I’m fascinated by qiviut and the measure of warmth of fibers. What a precious fiber. Probably be a long time til I can get my hands on any of that!

  • Reply Jenny July 2, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    These podcasts are just so perfect for the commute to work–thank you for sharing a little bit about Avril’s story. Qiviut fiber sounds intriguing…now I’m going to have to expand my stash!

  • Reply Janet July 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Wow! I just found you and can’t wait tI catch up on all the episodes. What a great way to start with Qiviut!

  • Reply Lori July 2, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I love listening to your podcast! I love hearing people’s fiber journey and how they are living try to themselves. It would be so cool to knit some quivit from Alaska!

  • Reply Ruby July 2, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I didn’t even know this was possible! What an amazing story.

  • Reply Susan July 2, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    I work at a textile museum and always include a discussion about different types of fibres and their characteristics during our school programs. Qiviut is a fibre we usually talk about, so it was great to hear more about the process of harvesting the fibres. Would love the opportunity to work with the qiviut/nettle yarn.

  • Reply Bowen gibson July 2, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I always thought reindeer and caribou were the same thing. Thanks for another great episode.

  • Reply Olivia Coy Wilkins July 2, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you for another wonderful episode! I am very curious what qiviut feels like! I have learned about the fiber during a science lesson with my son, and I didn’t even think about using it for fiber arts. I will have to start looking for some.
    Thank you again!

  • Reply Cynthia July 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Really enjoy your podcasts! Clear, informative, just the right amount of discussion and good questions. Qiviut is such an amazing fiber. I’ve never felt anything so soft and light and warm. Interesting to hear about Avril’s journey.

  • Reply HeiM July 3, 2016 at 3:56 am

    Very interesting. Thank you for this episode.

  • Reply Heather g July 3, 2016 at 4:58 am

    Lovely episode!! I look forward to this podcast so much. Thank you!

  • Reply Rose Young July 3, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I just love your podcast! It’s by far my favorite! Thanks for all your hard work! And thanks for the many prize give aways!

  • Reply Jenny H July 3, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Another inspirational episode! Thank you for putting this and all of the others episodes together. Listening to these journeys are life-changing for me. They have definitely made me think of my own journey and what I am doing. As always, I look forward to your next podcast.

  • Reply Tera July 3, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Best of luck to Avril in her journey!

  • Reply Inês July 3, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Loved the episode!

  • Reply Nicole July 3, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I loved hearing about another Michigander coming home. Best wishes to Avril and family in their upcoming move.

  • Reply Cristin July 3, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    So interesting, as always!

  • Reply Hannah July 3, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    What a lovely interview! I hope someday to experience knitting with Qiviut. I really enjoyed hearing Avril’s perspective and best wishes to her and her family.

  • Reply Julie July 3, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Super interesting! I’d love to ry that yarn!

  • Reply Sindy P July 4, 2016 at 2:22 am

    You just keep ’em coming, those interesting episodes! LOVE

  • Reply Kathy July 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing another great interview with us. Best wishes to Avril as she moves forward.

  • Reply Shari (irishpogue on IG) July 5, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I’ve often wondered about these beasties! Thanks

  • Reply Lynda Thompson July 5, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Another wonderful episode, what an interesting woman Avril is. And the baby noises just made it for me.

  • Reply Doreen MacL July 5, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Thank you again for another interesting episode. The giveaway skein of yarn sounds intriguing too-quiviut and stinging nettle?! The spinner in me is very curious. Love your podcast!

  • Reply Kim July 6, 2016 at 6:27 am

    wow, quiviut, how exciting!

  • Reply Barb July 6, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Love hearing about interesting people’s fiber stories.

  • Reply Elizabeth July 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    these interviews are always amazing, soothing and inspired!

  • Reply Maggie July 6, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I love this! How unique and interesting.

  • Reply Tina Ottolino July 6, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Such an interesting episode and lovely photography. I also have dreams of farm life but living out in the desert southwest, the only animals I can successfully sustain are lizards, tortoises, and the occasional snake, non of which are fiber bearing.

  • Reply Angela Digmann July 6, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Yay Yarn Along the Rockies! I tried it for the first time last year and had a great time. Fun podcast too!

  • Reply Eve Hammond July 7, 2016 at 3:38 am

    This was so interesting, I have never seen muskox in the fur and I would so love to make a trip up to the Alaskan frontier just to see them. Great episode, I want to learn MORE!

  • Reply Susan July 7, 2016 at 4:27 am

    Love your podcast and look forward to each new episode!

  • Reply Michele July 7, 2016 at 8:33 am

    What a fascinating story! It would be great to hear a follow up in one year after the move back to Michigan.

  • Reply Angell July 7, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Thank you for this podcast, especially the section about motherhood!

  • Reply Yasmin July 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Great to learn about another fiber! I couldn’t agree more on the thoughts shared about motherhood and life!

  • Reply Judy July 7, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Another great podcast. It’s encouraging that the younger generation is realizing that the women’s movement was actually all about choice, not that all women should work, but that you have the opportunity to do whatever makes you happy – work on a career, stay home or do a combination of both however it works for your family (and that goes for men, too).

  • Reply Stephanie July 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Lovely! This was such an inspirational episode, as I’m also at a crossroad where I’m weighing career vs. home life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Dee July 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I LOVE the baby musk oxen photo. Awww…… Another great podcast.

  • Reply Catherine July 7, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    After listening to this episode, I started researching yarns from animals other than sheep and alpaca, etc, and it’s opened up a whole new world! Who knew about all these different alpaca breeds and oxen fibers? I’m so excited. Thanks for a great episode!

  • Reply Shannan Jackson July 7, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Great episode! She’s a really inspiring example for young fiber artists. I wish her the best!

  • Reply Cindy July 7, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    This was a fascinating story. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Annie Wenstrup July 8, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Great episode! UAF is my school and I love visiting LARS. It was so neat to hear Avril’s story. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Karen M July 8, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Just found the podcast and can’t wait to catch up. I enjoyed this episode very much. Thank you

  • Reply Rian July 8, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Can’t wait to listen!!

  • Reply Kerry July 9, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    What a wonderful human story as well as the journey of learning with fibre. Thanks for the podcast.

  • Reply michelle July 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    It was great to hear about the qiviut. I’d never heard about it before going to the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic this year–Cottage Craft Angora, in Quebec, were there and I got to look at and feel it. Unbelievably soft to feel.

  • Reply Patricia July 10, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, Avril! Definitely one of my favorite episodes. Combining animal research with your fiber passions for a career sounds like such a dream! I had just been looking up ways to volunteer with wildlife organizations in my area before I listened to this, so it definitely upped my drive!

  • Reply Michaela Hitchcock July 10, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I’m new to this podcast but so glad I found it!! I lived in Alaska and went to UAF…I am an environmental educator, like Avril and have a love of agriculture, self-sustainability and fiber!! It’s so neat to hear her story and a little about her journey. It was awesome for the first episode I heard to be one I related to on so many levels, and to be so inspiring!! I can’t wait to listen to more!!

  • Reply Jennifer dewey July 10, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you for another inspiring story!!!

  • Reply Sarah Devantier July 11, 2016 at 12:11 am

    wow, what a fascinating life Avril has had so far, and she’s really just begun! Thank you so much for sharing her story <3

  • Reply Cathy July 11, 2016 at 1:24 am

    We don’t have this yarn in Oz!

  • Reply Chris July 11, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Neat episode, I am intrigued to learn more about this fiber!

  • Reply Jennifer Lee July 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    This is my first comment as I wanted to get “caught up” but now I need to figure out how to get older episodes. How cool it was to learn about Quivut but every episode is a new adventure. Thank you for being here for all of us!

  • Reply Allie July 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Great episode! Would love to try out some Qiviut.

  • Reply Cathy B July 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Beautiful color! I would so like to be the lucky winner!

  • Reply Nancy July 12, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Just recently started listening. Great stories!

  • Reply Rachel July 15, 2016 at 5:20 am

    What a lovely episode!! I love the way you conduct interviews, Ashley. It’s like listening to a conversation between friends. Thanks again!

  • Reply Grace July 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I had never heard of Qiviut before! Super fun to learn about new fibers!

  • Reply Robbin July 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    This was a great episode and so inspirational for young women wanting to follow their dream.

  • Reply Jayne Kellogg July 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    What a beautiful and inspiring young woman. As a fellow Michigander “Welcome Home Avril”

  • Reply Victoria July 16, 2016 at 9:03 am

    What is the Jonsi song that the Podcast music if from? I know someone must have asked before..thanks

  • Reply Kathy July 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks, as always, Ashley, for this inspiring episode. I applaud Avril’s decisions and wish her the best as she settles into Motherhood and Familyhood in Michigan.

  • Reply Donna Jefferis July 16, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Another lovely episode. Always interesting and inspiring.

  • Reply irene Marks July 17, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    What a wonderful episode. I loved hearing part of Avril’s story, and yours too. Thank you!

  • Reply Beverly Tandjung July 17, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story .

  • Reply asteride July 18, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Love to listen to your stories and to get to know the wonderful women behind them

  • Reply Shelley July 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Amazing stories of amazing people. I always learn so much.

  • Reply Laurel Gervitz July 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Loved listening to Avril’s story and wish her the best with her upcoming move.

  • Reply Dayna Smith July 20, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Really fun to get a glimpse of life in Alaska and hearing Avril’s story.

  • Reply Woolful Podcast | lars qiviut supply August 18, 2016 at 10:50 am

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