Category Archives: New Zealand

WIP Wednesday – Lots of progress this week :)

bath poufThis week was very productive knit and crochet wise. I finished one bath pouf and am almost done with a second one. I am tired of those mesh ones from the store unraveling into a useless wad of nothing.  I used a pattern I found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffy-bath-pouf  Check out  The Stitching Mommy’s website. She posts all kinds of nifty patterns, hints and tips.

The purple one is made out of Ripples – a yarn by Willow (which is really Herrschner’s)  and I am not really that pleased with the yarn . It seems to be too stretchy for this project. There were also 2 separate joins in one of the balls of yarn. This is a pet peeve of mine. If I pay for a new skein or ball of yarn, I don’t want to find knots in the middle of a project. But that is just me.

Since I love this pattern so much, and it works up wonderfully, I am making another one out of the suggested yarn (what a concept LOL) Lily Sugar ,n Cream. I’ll report back after  finish it and use a few times. As a rule, I love this yarn, so I am hoping for good things.

6.23.15 bath pouf

AND I finished and blocked the Possum Yarn Shawl. I love it. SO I’ve included tons of pictures. It isn’t nearly as intricate or fancy as the one Leslie is making for me out of the mink yarn – but I like this plan Jane shawl too.

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Last but not least, I started crocheting a cardigan for myself. It is the Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan by yarnspirations.com. I got the pattern from allfreecrochet.com. The only problem with the pattern is the is no yardage for any size except XS/S. Honestly, I love the pattern and hope that I have enough of the Serendipity Tweed I found in my stash to use. Oh yeah – shopping from my stash now that the closet is clean. Here is my progress – the bodice and sleeves are all worked in one piece. I have 2 rows left before starting the shaping for the sleeves so I am rolling right along.

Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan 6.24.15

No WIP next week – I’m off on an adventure. Keep your fingers crossed that the dogs will behave for my sons. 🙂

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Filed under Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, New Zealand, possum yarn, Ravelry, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday Shawls and Bears

Here’s the thing. I started to use the beautiful yarn I told you about last week. First of all I was wrong, it isn’t silk, it is mink yarn. Because the band was all in Chinese, I couldn’t read it and I’d had it so long I’d forgotten that it was mink! Second of all I wasn’t wrong about not liking to do lace. As a matter of fact I hate lace with lace weight yarn, but I do like lace with sport, fingering or worsted yarn. So I gave Leslie the yarn to make a beautiful shawl for me (her idea and I should have taken her up on the offer immediately instead of waffling around).

But call me stubborn, I still had the itch to make a shawl myself. So I looked through my ample stash and came upon some possum yarn that is fabulously soft and much easier to work with than the mink I handed off to Leslie. In case you are wondering, it is possum, not opossum yarn, made from marsupial possums in New Zealand. I did a post about it when I ordered it, if you want more info check it out here. https://writeknit.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/new-zealand-possum-yarn/

 5.13.15 possum shawl

It is coming along nicely if I do say so myself 🙂

The other project I’ve worked on is NICU bear hats during my lunch hours at work. Because I need to count the increases and stitches on the shawl, I only work on it at home. Below is a work in progress pic of the hats and a completed pic.

5.13.15 bears in progress2           5.13.15 bears complete

This week projects will include the shawl at home, and NICU hats at work. I am not sure if I’ll make more bears. or work on another pattern. Hopefully I’ll have 4 or 5 complete to share next week.

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Filed under baby hats, Knitting, New Zealand, NICU, possum yarn, shawl, WIP Wednesday

New Zealand Possum Yarn!

I saw a sign once that life is too short to use cheap yarn. That doesn’t mean you can’t use bargain priced yarn, just not yarn that feels yucky or doesn’t drape nicely when the scarf, sweater or whatever you are making is complete. Yarn fascinates me. I’ve always been a tactile kind of person, so it stands to reason I like to feel my yarn before I by it. Different weights, different fibers and different processing can all make a difference in yarns. The feel of a nice alpaca or silk blend is heavenly. I’ve used bamboo sock yarn and wool that is soft, scratchy, smooth and lumpy.

Lately, I’ve gone for unusual yarns. At Stitches Midwest I bought some Bison yarn. It is hot pink and black – I imagine the bison would NOT be happy with his fur being turned into these colors, but I loved ’em. I also saw some possum yarn. I dragged my friend back to look at it then we must have gotten distracted by something else, because I ended up not buying it. I was picturing the ugly, rat tailed possums we have in Illinois. They are mean looking critters that have short hair. We actually were trying to figure out how they made a decent yarn out of these overgrown rats.

The next day my friend went back to Stitches, and I decided to text her to pick up that crazy yarn. By the time she got out of class, the vendor wasn’t there. Now I’m obsessed with this weird yarn. So, thanks to the internet, the world of wonky yarn is at my fingertips.

On the contrary – the New Zealand’s possums are actually kind of cute. But New Zealand doesn’t really think they are that cute anymore Apparently in 1837 they were released in the bush to establish a fur industry. There are two breeds, Australian, which have have “rich blue grey fur” and Tasmainian which have “red brown fur”. They have interbreed. Because they are marsupials, not rodents like the American possum, their fur is “hard wearing, silky and plush”.

Possums actively destroying New Zealand's native bush and birds

Unfortunately, they’ve overrun the place. by 1980, 91% of New Zealand was inhabited by them. The Australian possum is a marsupial and a very different species to the American possum, a rodent. The yarn comes from feral animals because it is against New Zealand’s environmental laws to breed or farm them.

Now I am totally obsessed with getting some of this yarn. The website tells us it is not only great yarn, but it is helping their fur industry because the more possums are over running the country and killing off the native species of animals and plants.

The website I found sells Supreme Possum Merino. It as 40% possum fur. The yarn was created from the from the “desire to see a world class quality product made from an ecology ravaging pest”. All Supreme Possum Merino yarn comes from feral animals because it is against New Zealand’s environmental laws to farm or commercially breed possums. The collection of possums is humane and according to Department of Conservation regulations.

The yarn is available in 4 ply, 8 ply and 12 ply. The only light color available is “natural”, but blues, greens, a really pretty burgundy and a darker pink was available. The price wasn’t bad – approx 10.80 US dollars. I don’t know about shipping, because I haven’t ordered any yet – but I’m gonna!

Check out the website, even if you don’t want to get some of the yarn. It just amazes me that yarn can be made out of a “ravaging pest” and be soft and warm.

It makes me wonder what other creatures make soft furry yarn. My stash has that wild bison yarn (I’m going to make some mittens for me, but maybe not until after the first of the year). I have a few balls of yak yarn I found online, don’t know what that will become. There is a wonderful hank of alpaca that I bought because it has the animal’s picture on it that it came from. Alpaca is common, but nice, and this one was cool since I almost feel like I knew the animal it came from.

Maybe the keepers at our local zoo will start collection of lion’s mane that litters their dens. I’d love to use some of the fur from the polar bears or the grizzlies that live there. I’ve seen tufts of fur in their dens, I wonder what they do with it? Do you think our founding mothers used these kinds of fur when spinning yarns? (of course I’m not talking about the lion fur, don’t be silly) If I find out answers to these burning questions, I’ll let you know.

 

(Thanks to http://www.merinopossum.co.nz/why_merino_possum.htm for all the info on the yarn and possum history in New Zealand – and the possum pic). All the zoo animal pics courtesy of my wonderful hubby.

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Filed under Knitting, New Zealand, possum yarn