Julie has found a deliciously soft new yarn that is part of an environmental movement protecting New Zealand forests. It does this by offering a valuable use for Brushtail Possum fiber.
Since its introduction to New Zealand by fur traders in the late 19th century, the non-native brushtail possum population exploded. In the mid 1980′s there were an estimated 16-20 possum for every human in New Zealand. This is primarily because of the lack of natural predators that would normally maintain an ecological balance. In neighboring Australia, where natural predators abound, brushtail possum populations are so low that it has been designated a protected species.
In 24 hours it is estimated that the brushtail possum population consumes 21,000 metric tons of vegetation in New Zealand forests. Zealana is committed to the responsible management of the brushtail possum in New Zealand, and when you choose their luxury yarns, you are choosing to be a part of their sustainability story.
Choosing to work with these yarns is not difficult. Possum fiber has wonderful characteristics that make it very appealing. Due to the hollow nature of the fiber, it has exceptional thermal properties. It is estimated to be 55% warmer than 100% merino wool and 35% warmer than 100% cashmere.
It naturally resists felting, and when blended with super washed fiber, it is machine washable. The 50 gram skeins of DK weight Zealana Performa Rimu (shown above) contain 140 yards of 60% fine New Zealand Merino and 40% brushtail Possum. Pattern ideas on Ravelry number in the hundreds for this yarn. Can you imagine a more luxurious choice for a tiny hand knit sweater for a baby? The Gramps Cardigan designed by Kate Oates is a great example.
These beautiful skeins are Zealana’s lace weight Air. These 25 gram skeins contain 191 yds of a 40% cashmere, 40% brushtail possum down, and 20% mulberry silk blend. It has been specially designed to be as soft as cashmere, and resist the pilling typical of yarns of such buttery softness. This will ensure that your luxurious hand knits will have a long life, making it a terrific choice for heirloom projects or gifts.
We love the selection of pattern ideas that can be found on Ravelry for this lace yarn. The Light as AIR fingerless gloves designed by Nathalie O’Shea look as though they would make ideal holiday gifts.
We hope that you can visit us soon and get a chance to feel the wonderful softness of these skeins. They are irresistable. And when you are helping to save the beautiful New Zealand ecosystem by knitting with this yarn, why not indulge?
Knitting stitches people together. We have loved to see the thriving community that has been built around our project tables in the shop on Tuesday evenings; and the connections that grow from there. We have found that our classes bring crafters together. And the various charity and knit bombing projects that we have helped coordinate have also created bonds in our community.
We now have an opportunity to support a larger community. Last week, we received our first shipment from Reywa Fibers.
These downy soft skeins of Embrace Yarn are 100% Tibetan Yak Down, in three colors: Barley, Cloud and Dancing Yak! Each skein of this DK weight yarn contains 210 yards/95 grams.
Yak fiber is very special, sharing many of the characteristics of alpaca, qivuit, cashmere and fine merino wool. Some of the highlights include: luxurious softness, superior warmth, naturally hypo-allergenic properties, excellent for wearing next to sensitive skin, extreme breathability and insulating properties, and natural water resistance.
© Reywa Fibers
“Beyond the incredible natural properties of yak, Reywa Fiber’s 100% Tibetan Yak Down yarns come with an extraordinary story of community and environmental transformation. Their roots are in non-profit work on the Tibetan Plateau, and profits from the sale of their yarns is reinvested directly in educational sponsorship for children of impoverished families, and in grasslands restoration initiatives to reverse the process of desertification that threatens the traditional grazing-lands of the Tibetans’ herds.
Reywa means hope. Know that when you purchase Reywa yarns, you are helping to provide hope for a Tibetan student—and their family—for a future free of poverty.”
We at My Sister Knits are thrilled to play a small part in supporting families half a world away. This yarn offers all of us a chance to extend the supportive reach of our knitting circle while doing what we love to do: create beautiful hand knits with fiber that is a pleasure to work with.
We think that you’ll fall in love with these skeins as much as the mission of Reywa Fibers. There is a generous selection of pattern ideas that could be knit up with this yarn on Ravelry for you to choose from. We hope that you’ll find a favorite and come to the shop to see our beautiful skeins.
Theresa and Kate have both been knitting with Shibui Pebble and can’t say enough about it. This light fingering yarn creates a deliciously soft and comforting fabric when knit with two strands held double.
Kate just pulled this version of Natsumi off the blocking boards.
This beautiful boxy cabled pull over is knit side to side and Kate just loved working on the project. The yarn was a pleasure to knit with, and the finished sweater is going to be one of her favorites this fall.
Pebble has been created with a blend of three favorite fibers: cashmere, fine merino, and recycled silk. This blend creates a tweedy effect. Separate plies of each fiber retain their distinctive characteristics, but blend into a beautifully cohesive yarn flecked with complex tonal colors.
And one of our favorite designers must be in love with it as well, because Julie Hoover released a new collection of four patterns this week that are all designed to be knit up with this lovely yarn. We encourage you to take a closer look at Hart, Cohle, Lange, and Leigh.
We have an eye-catching selection of Shibui Pebble in stock at the shop in sweater quantities for you to choose from.
Even Molly is excited about it! Do you have a pattern in mind for this beautiful yarn?
Julie Conway has been busy. She dropped off a couple of samples this week, and we thought that you would enjoy a look at our favorite. This is Adrift, designed by Carol Feller.
“For those cool evenings this soft, airy, elegant draped cardigan will keep you warm and stylish. Knit from the top down, this cardigan has long front panels which are designed to either hang down forming a cascading front or be pinned across the front like a shawl.”
Julie C. modified the pattern slightly by lengthening the sleeves. Even with that additional yardage, she completed the project with just 3 skeins of Anzula’s Milky Way, using US5 needles.
This extraordinary yarn contains a blend of 80% Milk Protein and 20% Superwash Merino. We think that this gorgeous sample beautifully illustrates the incredible drape and show-stopping flow that the Milk Protein provides for this yarn. It’s fun when a pattern and yarn are so beautifully matched.
As you can see, we have a gorgeous selection of skeins in stock. Which color would you choose?
When Julie went to TNNA this spring, she was able to get her hands on the Fibre Co.’s newest addition to their yarn collection: Knightsbridge. This luscious worsted weight blend of 65% baby llama, 25% merino, and 10% silk is in production this summer and will be officially released in September.
In conjunction with the launch of this lovely new yarn, the Kelbourne Woolen designers have created a collection of 15 new patterns for sweaters and accessories that make the most of these skeins. Knowing how passionate we are about creating shop samples that can give you a clear sense of how our yarns perform, Courtney and Kimberly offered to send us a few skeins to play with along with a couple of patterns from the new collection.
This means that as soon as our order arrives, you’ll be able to see knit samples from the collection right alongside the new yarn and patterns. We can’t wait!
Kate received a little care package from the shop yesterday that held eight skeins of the Winesteeple colorway. It is a rich heathered color that has hints of chocolate brown and a deep plum.
She has elected to work on Browen, a bottom-up v-neck pullover designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge.
She cast on without delay. These skeins are so deliciously soft it would be a crime not to knit with them. The stitches just fly along the needle. This fiber blend is as silky as it is soft, and even the dark color reflects light with a beautiful luster.
The Knightsbridge yarn and the pattern collection to accompany it will be in the shop after Labor Day. We look forward to inviting you to the shop to see the new collection. In the meantime, you may want to visit our current selection of Fiber Co. yarns and Kelbourne Woolen samples. You will become as avid a fan as we are.