Monday, January 23, 2012

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...

Holiday Wrap Up

Writing about the holidays now is a little like going to an extended relative's house in January and having another Christmas... fun but it feels a little odd.

We'll just get caught up quick and move on. To possum yarn. No seriously. Really, this time for real.

We had a great trip to visit the grandparents and aunties and uncles... Little E made out like a bandit with books, toys, and more outfits than one little girl probably really needs. Her favorite part of the trip was smiling at all of the new faces, and being the center of attention for about two weeks.

 She sported reindeer horns (a longstanding tradition in my family)

 Helped make press cookies (she REALLY liked the jars of sprinkles)

 Was introduced to a special gift from Grandma - Badger Annie!

 Met her cousin for the first time and celebrated New Year's Eve in a snazzy outfit.

 Cheered on the Packers (Her daddy actually went to the game in Green Bay... brrr!)

 And had fun watching the Badgers in the Rose Bowl... despite the loss.

Returning to our little house under a hill in MA was a little dreary - only mommy and daddy and the kitties to play with! We'll be trying to spice life up in the near future by attending some classes - yoga? Dance? We'll see.

Ok, the holidays are caught up.
Next: Cozy Give Away! Possum Yarn! Other fun things! Not quite as many baby photos!