OMG I bought YARN!

Probably many knitters find that it is hard to be rational about yarn. Very hard. As I’ve mentioned here before, I try – sometimes unsuccessfully – not to buy anything without having a specific project in mind. This strategy, however, has not been good enough to prevent me from accumulating a good size stash.  Firstly, there is yarn left over from previous projects. Secondly, there is yarn from projects that didn’t go so well, or that I (temporarily) lost interest in. Thirdly, there is the yarn I had to buy, because it was discounted, and I had been planning to use it for a specific project anyway, which by the way, I might not be able to tackle until a few years from now…

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Despite my efforts, stray yarn balls also manage to make their way to my shelves. To some extant this happens thanks to online shops offering free shipping over a certain value order, and, of course, buying that one extra ball of yarn makes much more sense than paying however much for airmail, right?  In addition, as part of a condition other knitters probably recognize, I find yarn balls and yarn skeins to be the prettiest things. I could stare at them for ages. Sometimes I just have to buy them, no matter what.

Sales, of course, are probably one, if not the most important, driver of consumerism. And that is what happened last weekend. More than just your average sale in fact. With my two newbie knitter friends, we found out about a factory yarn sale to be held in a nearby neighbourhood. I didn’t put much thought into what a factory sale might be in the world of wool, we just decided to check it out after our morning swim.  As we arrived, it didn’t take long to put two and two together and realize that the sale was in fact done by the local Woolyarns mill/factory I’d known to produce the Zealana luxury yarns.


Once we walked through the door, we found a scene, which slightly reminded me of my second-hand clothes shopping, back when I was at university: women, mostly older than us, expertly scrutinizing everything, with an amazing ability of swiftly making sense of what’s in their hands and deciding what they needed. We, on the contrary, found ourselves completely helpless, surrounded by large cones of mostly unlabeled yarn. Why was it that I expected to find a layout of your usual LYS with balls and skeins neatly arranged on shelves? What weight? What composition? Never mind gauge, yardage…. The aforementioned ladies ,of course, seemed to be able to acquire all this information via a gentle touch and twist of the wool. What everything seemed to be was insanely cheap. Not many colour choices, but what was labeled as 1 kg possum blend* cost 25-35 NZ dollars – normally the price of one or two 50 g yarn balls. Smaller cones of unlabeled yarn were sold for one dollar only. It was hard to be rational. And even harder to know what we wanted.

So, very unrationally, I ended up with a medium size cone of fingering weight (?) violet possum blend, what I suspect to be possum blended with wool and perhaps cotton, and a bigger scone of fingering weight (?) black-gray possum blend(?), a one dollar cone of natural wool (by the looks), two big hanks of felted yarn, which for five dollars each I was more than hesitant to leave behind, and a bag containing ten small balls(!) of what was labeled as possum-cashmere-silk blend. These latter ones I decided to identify as the expensive as gold Zealana Air.  Fact is, I have no idea what will become of any of this, which makes me feel incredibly guilty, and, to be fair, excited.

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*While for outsiders it might seem odd and or cruel to produce yarn out of possum down, it is common practice in New Zealand, and it serves a good cause. Non-native brushtail possum was introduced here in the 19th century, and due to the lack of natural predators, the population has grown out of control. As a consequence, this furry creature currently poses an actual threat to New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. Furthermore, possum blend yarns are known to be light weight, warm, incredibly soft and less inclined to pill.

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:


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.


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.



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…