Possum Yarn

As previously mentioned, our great trip to New Zealand led me to a new yarn discovery.

There is a beastie known as the common brushtail possum. It is a native of Australia but made its way to New Zealand thanks to European Settlers who hoped to use it as a food and fiber source. This did not turn out to be a good idea. Today there are literally millions of possums destroying natural New Zealand habitat and acting as a vector for bovine tuberculosis, thus threatening both the ecosystem and agriculture.

However, Kiwis are nothing if not resourceful. If Australia gives you brushtail possums, make… yarn! Folks now make a living collecting possums and selling their pelts. Incidentally, Wikipedia tells us that possum is a delicacy in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia, where they are known as “Kiwi Bear”. Who knew.

But on to the yarn. New Zealand is of course famous for sheep and their wool. The possum fur is very fine and light, a little like angora but shorter. When mixed with wool the result is a light, very warm yarn with just a hint of natural heathering.

I wanted one of every color. In every weight. Husband pointed out we only had limited suitcase room. I ended up with the following:

I had the vague notion of making myself a hat… but then the fiddlehead mittens I was making on commission inspired me. The pattern was so Kiwi… so my possum yarn is now getting knit into mittens. The yarn is slightly more rough than pure merino wool, but I love the wispy look to the colors. The black pattern is knit with Cascade 220 wool. I also brought home some grey in a slightly lighter weight. I am sad to admit that the baby sweater still on the needles is no longer likely to fit E. We’ll have to find another recipient…

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