NZ wool: A first guilty encounter

One thing most people know about New Zealand is that there are lots of sheep. According to popular belief, there are 20 sheep per person in the country. Although recent statistics lay this myth to rest, they reveal a still remarkable 6 to 1 sheep-people ratio. Not that I’d ever looked this up prior to writing this post, but I did have a pretty clear idea before moving here that yarn would not be one of my worries.

The one thing holding me back from total indulgence in NZ wool was my conscience.  Truth be told, I arrived here with way too many unfinished projects and way too much stash… I’m almost ashamed to admit that one of the boxes I sent over contained nothing else but my precious yarn. I mean, who could just leave behind their invaluable hoard of wool? What would become of all those orphaned skeins? The cost of mailing a parcel full of yarn to our home-to-be just made me feel ever more guilty. ‘No more buying yarn’ – I thought.

But than again, how difficult is that? I just couldn’t avoid scouting some of the LYS. Plus, I had this plan of making some highly useful and most needed things for our home (irony intended), such as a knitting basket. And to do that I needed yarn – a ‘well organized’ knitter I am almost all yarn in my stash is allocated to concrete projects. So what else could I do, but succumb to some yarn shopping, and – of course – end up buying not only that absolutely necessary.

What I found was that there is an abundance of local yarn brands to explore, however, at this particular moment I was just looking for an affordable option that  would suit my needs, nothing fancy. Somehow I settled for a brand called Skeinz, kind of a random pick out of the big unknown. According to their web site, Skeinz is a retail brand directly related to an originally family owned NZ spinning mill. They offer a wide range of different yarn qualities, as well as Naked Skeinz, i.e. undyed, unbleached yarn suitable for home dying. My pick consisted of the following three yarn qualities:

Southlander

This is the yarn I chose for what is to become the knitting basket, which will hopefully sit nicely next to the couch in our lounge one day. It is advertised as a having been designed to provide a classic kiwi homespun look and feel. At a very good price point – 14NZD for 200g hank – this is a rustic and sturdy looking yarn, just what I needed. It is DK weight though, so I’ve started my basket holding three strands together. The colourways of my choice are Oatmeal and Misty Rose Bracken, which both look simply gorgeous.

The yarn feels somewhat rough against the skin, although it definitely becomes softer with blocking.With the truly amazing colourways and natural look, I wouldn’t mind giving it a chance as a sweater or a cardigan. Especially I’d be really keen to find out how it worked for others and how hard wearing it is, as there is almost no opinions to be found on Ravelry.

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Heritage Silver Lining

This yarn is truly eye-catching. Once I saw it in person I couldn’t resist getting some for myself. It also seems to have an exotic-sounding story to it. Heritage Silver Lining is made out of the very fine fleece of isolated flocks of Merino sheep which, having been cut off from larger Merino populations due to geography, have evolved into sub breeds in their own right. In sum, the fleece comes from remote corners of the South-Pacific, highly romantic and irresistible enough?

The yarn sure is the softest wool I’ve ever seen. The  varying natural shades of fleece are blended together in a way that they produce a beautiful heathered shade in the different colourways. In one word, it is beautiful. I picked Clearview Blue and Clifton Stone for a Karusellen Hat, which had been on my knitting wishlist for a while.

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Burlesque

Two skeins of this yarn are the main source the my feelings of guilt as I don’t know what I’m to knit of them yet. This yarn is single-ply merino and tussah silk blend. The silk gives itthe yarn a nice sheen, and it is soft and lofty, so much so that the only thing I imagine it doing is hug my neck in the form of a cosy cowl. My two skeins are in the Blaurot colourway, and may in the future be combined with Golden Harvest… will see…

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