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.
When our friend Jenny went to the Estes Wool Market last month, she found a local yarn dyer who she knew we would love to meet. She and Jonathan became fast friends, and it was due in large part to his irresistible charm. (He is as friendly and approachable as you could imagine).
His work is indeed something very special and we are thrilled to be carrying a beautiful selection of two of his yarns. The first is his Simple Sock yarn. These brilliant skeins are made from a blend of 75% Superwash Corriedale and 25% Nylon for strength and shine. His selection of Corriedale wool means that these skeins have a surprisingly soft hand and wonderful drape with the strength to stand up to hard wear. Each 100 gram skein includes 390 yards and knits up beautifully on US 1-3 needles.
We also have an equally mouthwatering selection of MJ Yarns’ Rustic Fingering. This yarn is created with 100% Blue Faced Leicester wool. This incredible fiber is surprisingly soft and has a silk-like sheen. These skeins glimmer with reflective light. It is a gorgeous two ply yarn with a loose twist giving it a hand spun appearance. Each 100 gram skein includes 450 yards and also knits up beautifully on US 1-3 needles.
Jonathan will be stopping by the shop again very soon with a special delivery of a third MJ Yarn that we can’t wait to get our hands on: his Opulent Fingering. This yarn is made with our favorite blend of machine washable merino, cashmere and nylon. The merino and cashmere make it a yarn you can’t help but love. The nylon adds just enough strength to make sure your hard earned project will last.
You may decide as we have, that these yarns calls out to become gorgeous shawls. Julie has plans to kit up something special that will combine Jonathan’s incredible yarns with Stephen West’s impeccable patterns. We’ll be able to share more details later this month, so keep your eyes peeled.
We’ll keep you apprised of all the new MJ Yarn developments on our Facebook page to make sure that you don’t miss any of the fun.
When the Wool People Vol. 7 collection was published earlier this spring, Kate requested to make a shop sample of Natsumi, a boat-necked, dolman-sleeve pullover designed by Kazekobo.
In spite of her excitement about the project, she was a bit intimidated at the thought of a sweater knit with fingering weight yarn on size 3 needles. So she took a bit of a detour to help get started. Instead of diving directly into the Natsumi project, she finished up a hibernating sweater project that had been on the needles for more than 2 years (!).
Kate realized that by finishing this project she could accomplish two goals: she could finally wrap up a beautiful sweater that could become a summer wardrobe staple, and prove to herself that her idea that Natsumi was too much work was all in her head.
Kate finished her little Featherweight Cardigan designed by Hannah Fettig and it is on its way to the shop this week. She used three and a half skeins of Isager Alpaca 2 and US 2 and US 3 needles. She chose to embellish her sweater with a twisted rib created by knitting and purling those rib stitches through the back loop for an extra crisp stitch definition. This sweater pattern is beautifully written to accommodate all kinds of variations, and we hope that you take a look at it the next time you visit.
As soon as she got her Featherweight blocking, Kate cast on for Natsumi and is loving every stitch!
She is using two strands of Shibui Pebble held together throughout. This pattern is an interesting one as the construction starts at one side seam, and works sideways across the front and back of the sweater simultaneously.
She told us that managing her four strands of yarn requires some concentration to avoid snarls. That means that this is one project that doesn’t travel easily. That having been said, Kate can’t keep her hands off this project and has been stitching as often as she can!
She has almost completed the body of the sweater which just leaves the sleeves, a bit of side seaming and a ribbed hem on the bottom. At the rate she is going, this sweater should be in the shop for you to try on before the end of the month. And she thought a project on size 3 needles could never be finished!?
We hope that you’ll use this summer to try something new, cast on for something a bit intimidating, or prove to yourself that you can knit something that you imagined was beyond your skills. We are here to help, and would love to support your ambitions. Let us know how we can help you grow a bit this summer!
You may remember that we filled the shop last September with gorgeous samples from the pages of Botanical Knits. We were inspired by the new arrival of Fiber Co.’s Canopy Worsted to the shop.
We have exciting news for you: Alana Dakos has published a sequel! And we will be getting copies in the shop any day now.
We think that you’ll love the designs included in this Second Botanical Knits as much as the first. We sure do.
Let us know which patterns catch your fancy, so that we can find yarn suggestions that will look beautiful and feel wonderful to the touch. We all know that the experience of knitting the project should be just as much fun as wearing it or giving it as a very special gift. We can’t wait to help you get started.