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 Talk about yarns reviewed in Knitter's Review
 Zealana Eco Possum Yarn
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Clara
queen bee

USA
4404 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  05:51:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The animal fiber world can be divided into two categories: those harvested from living animals, and those harvested from the skins, pelts, or hides of dead ones. Even though those animals aren't killed for their fibers, the fact remains that the fibers were taken from the animal after it ceased to be... rest of review

I've already started getting some interesting email comments to this week's review of Zealana Eco Possum yarn from folks who aren't registered in the Forums. They gave me permission to share their comments with the group:

You will probably get lots of emails about possums. They were imported from Australia where they have a natural niche in the environment. Their fur is lovely and soft and the animals are extremely cute which I suppose wouldn't help in marketing their fur. You can see those that visit my front porch.

And from another reader:

I just want to reassure all knitters who may have qualms about using 'possum - they are a noxious pest here in NZ. Not only are they responsible for the spread of bovine tuberculosis amongst NZ's dairy herds which also infects those who care for the cows, they also are responsible for stripping the new growth of some of our unique threatened flora.

About the best thing that can be said about the 'possum - apart from the remark that the only good 'possum is a dead one - is that its fur, when combined with some of NZ's beautiful fine merino yarn makes a beautifully soft and warm knitting yarn. One problem is that it does not "wear" well spun on its own but in combination with merino it is gorgeous.

What do you think? Anyone else try Possum fibers yet?

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher

Sharyn
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
418 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  06:15:53 AM  Show Profile Send Sharyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have not tried possum fiber yet, but I'm intrigued. I'm wondering, though, will it felt? I just kept thinking felted mittens as I read you review. Thanks for introducing us to something new!
Sharyn
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Clara
queen bee

USA
4404 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  06:26:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's a great question! I'm thinking if you used the 80% merino / 20% possum you'd get felt but still with that possumy halo. Let me toss a swatch in with a load of laundry tonight and get back to you.

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
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Cheerleader9
Permanent Resident

USA
1563 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  06:34:52 AM  Show Profile Send Cheerleader9 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Possum yarn have a higher resistance to pilling than other natural fibers." I can't really speak to those tests, but my own swatch survived a decent amount of frictionóthe surface growing fuzzier and the halo greateróbefore small clumps began to show. Some weren't even attached to the fabric, while others put up more of a fight and had to be plucked off.

As the halo grew, it looked increasingly...hairy, for lack of a better word.


Clara, this is the only part of the review that would probably keep me from trying it. "Small clumps, unattached, hairy, fight, plucked off" are not words that would send me running to buy!

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheerleader9/]
Barb in AZ

Nothing ventured, Nothing gained.
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truly violet
Permanent Resident

6398 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  07:15:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit truly violet's Homepage Send truly violet a Private Message  Reply with Quote
morning clara
it's been so cold here
i am thinking...if this possum could survive being boot socks
and real working gloves
bring it on

vi
who's duckies have extreme attitude lately
and who is wandering around from woodstove induced lack of sleep
and that is only the beginning.................



none of this will matter in 100 years.......
except I will finally be at my goal weight...vi
http://notashyviolet.blogspot.com/ ~now with goat, sheep, ducks & chickens!
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utcaton
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  07:24:58 AM  Show Profile Send utcaton a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi,
I saw local spun possum yarn at the Hemlock, NY fiber festival and was intrigued. I had no idea of its characteristcs that you described. Two summers ago I caught 2 possum in my garden that were eating my tomatoes. I let them go further in the country, but maybe I could've had some warm yarn??!!
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mmdm
Chatty Knitter

171 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  08:12:59 AM  Show Profile Send mmdm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Possums are a pest in some parts of the US as well. My parent's dog kills about 3 a month and that is inside a small fenced yard. If not for the fence, it would be endless. I have no qualms about the yarn coming from culled animals. I wouldn't use it because possums are so ugly! They've got to have the ugliest fur of any animal I've ever seen. I just couldn't pay good money to wear a sweater made from that, LOL.
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Birdie Mom
Chatty Knitter

USA
104 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  08:25:02 AM  Show Profile Send Birdie Mom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The possum in NZ is very different from what we see "dead by the side of the road" in this country. Linda Cortright did a lengthy article about them in the Fall 2007 issue of Wild Fibers. From my limited experience in NZ, otherwise kind people will happily dispatch a possum any way they can, they are truly a plague on the countryside.

Birdie Mom
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pitstp@bex.net
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  08:58:57 AM  Show Profile Send pitstp@bex.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Having had the good fortune to tour New Zealand this past November as a knitter I was quickly introduced to the Merino/Possum mixture. I absolutely love it! I purchased a few ready made items (sweater & vest) while there, but also brought yarn back with me which I have knit into a beautiful, warm sweater. I have since ordered more of this yarn direct from New Zealand. I can't get enough of it & now have my friends hooked on it. Beautiful country & luscious yarn.
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LoriAngela
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  09:57:06 AM  Show Profile Send LoriAngela a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I bought Naturally's merino and possum fur yarn because it was on clearance and have been happy with my outdoor, cabled shawl for several years. The possum of Australia and New Zealand is nothing like our ugly North American (roadkill) critter. It looks more like a lemur to me. Even cuties can be pests. Why does it have such warm fur if it lives in a warm climate?
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2totangle
Permanent Resident

1212 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  10:04:12 AM  Show Profile Send 2totangle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been wondering about possum fur since seeing it used in Ann Budd's Eyelet Grand Plan Top Down Capelet in Wrap Style. The halo looks very nice in the Wrap Style photos. It hadn't occurred to me that the animals were dead or that they were pests, so I appreciate your review and sharing of emails, Clara.

Suzanne

A few pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2totangle/
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VictoiseC
New Pal

USA
44 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  10:25:52 AM  Show Profile Send VictoiseC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Couldn't help but jump to this link: it's very interesting and goes along with all your facts...

http://www.kcc.org.nz/pests/possum.asp



V.i.c.t.o.i.s.e.
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NancyNo2@aol.com


Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  10:40:57 AM  Show Profile Send NancyNo2@aol.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Way too hairy for me! Was so looking forward to buying yarn when I was in New Zealand last year. They were really pushing the possum. Couldn't do it.
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churchlady
Warming Up

Canada
81 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  10:43:51 AM  Show Profile Send churchlady a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm eager to try some yarn for a pair of mittens or a little scarf/collar thing. I believe 'possums eat eggs and chicks of the endangered kiwi and kakapo (flightless parrot) when they can find them.
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kbnature
New Pal

New Zealand
20 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  11:01:25 AM  Show Profile Send kbnature a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kiora from NZ. I knit with possum/merino yarns quite a bit, and really like the light warmth. You should check out Touch Yarn's hand dyed possum merino, which I use for socks. It comes in great colorways.

No one should have any qualms about the animal rights issue--these are serious pests that destroy native forest and baby birds, they are a blight on our landscape and don't belong here. The Dept. of Conservation drops aerial poison to try to kill them (controversial, but gives you some idea of the extent of the problem), and most farmers shoot or trap them on their properties. It's good someone came up with a positive use for them!

kbnature
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Luann
Permanent Resident

USA
2671 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  11:35:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit Luann's Homepage Send Luann a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Took a wonderful trip to NZ's South Island in 2004 (was it that long ago? Jeez!) and I brought back a bag of merino/possum aran weight yarn. Mr. Luann actually picked it out, thinking it would make a nice fisherman-type sweater for himself. It's been marinating in the stash ever since. The possum is ridiculously soft, though.

Luann


Knit and let knit!
Now with baby musk ox!:
http://www.luannocracy.blogspot.com
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  12:26:07 PM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have no qualms about using fur from dead things, I'm not even againts wearing leather or real furs. I owned a pet chinchilla once and don't think I could bear the thought of making him into a coat, but other things don't bother me. Especially in a situation like this where you know they are a pest. Although after looking at possum pics, I kind of want the whole animal, not just the fur.

My Ravelry
My Flickr
My Facebook
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jinniver
Chatty Knitter

USA
146 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  12:52:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit jinniver's Homepage Send jinniver a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wouldn't have any qualms with knitting with possum yarn from NZ. I don't like the idea of animals being kept and killed solely for their hide/fur, but if it's a byproduct of another function (like providing meat) that's fine with me--and in this case, it's a byproduct of trying to protect the ecosystem of a country. Based on the review, I think I'd stick with darker colors--browns and grays, for example--to minimize the impact of any color difference between the merino and the possum.

ETA: Now that I've taken the poll and read the answer options, I have to add this story...

I was buying groceries several weeks ago, and realized the cashier was staring at my chest. Before I could say something to him about it, he asked, "What does 'A Daily Dose of Fiber' mean?" and indicated my shirt. I was wearing my Ravelry "Daily Dose of Fiber" shirt with the drawings of a sheep, bunny, etc. So I started to explain about yarn fiber, but saw I was losing him, so I just said it was a knitting t-shirt that showed animals we get yarn from.

That's when he picked up the knitting magazine I was getting, held it up to point at the cover picture, and said disapprovingly, "You mean you're going to kill those animals to make this?"

So yes, some people do think that all animal fibers come from animals that have been killed!

Jen (jinniver on Ravelry)
My blog: The Sarah Winchester of Fiber Arts
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Shirley Goodwin
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  1:25:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shirley Goodwin's Homepage Send Shirley Goodwin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am also a New Zealand knitter and can confirm what has been already said - possums are noxious pests in this country and no-one here is concerned about their fur being used; and possum merino wool is a delightful warm yarn. Although there is a slight halo, it's really not that noticeable, and the yarn is pleasant to work with. I'm knitting a jersey with Touch Yarn's hand -dyed possum merino and it'll be great for winter.
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Dracaena
New Pal

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  5:29:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit Dracaena's Homepage Send Dracaena a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am a handspinner/knitter, and some time ago spun a blend of possum and polwarth fleece (both from New Zealand) to make Nancy Bush's "Ene's Scarf" (as published in Scarf Style by Pam Allen. To see pictures of possum, sheep, and scarf, go to http://www.foresthousefiber.com/, click on the Gallery, then Ene's Scarf under the Accessories to wear. On one hand, this made a yarn that was too "fluffy" for lace, but on the other hand, it is a nice, utilitarian, warm small shawl. Great to keep neck and shoulders warm.

Ruth B. Burnham
Forest House Fiberworks
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minh
Permanent Resident and Destasher Extraordinnaire

USA
3463 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2009 :  6:05:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit minh's Homepage Send minh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I bought merino/possum yarn while in NZ, I haven't knitted with it yet but it is amazingly soft.
I've been wearing a merino/possum hat since snow came to New England this winter and let me say that this is the warmest hat I've ever had!! It is soft and hasn't pilled one bit.
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