Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Stroke of Genius

After the Fall Men’s Knitting Retreat back in September, I staggered home under the weight of one of the most voluptuous goodie bags ever to be seen outside of an Academy Awards gifting suite. Somewhere in the middle, between a handsome book by Brandon Mably and a typically gorgeous skein hand-dyed by the inimitable Rabbitch was a small bundle wrapped in tissue paper.

Inside was a quantity of this:

Supreme Possum Merino

It’s a blend of merino, silk...and possum. Yes, possum. I couldn’t quite believe it, either. In fact, I recoiled, as this

Knit This, Bitch.

is not an image that makes me feel all kinds of cuddly.

The yarn–which is called Supreme Possum Merino–comes from New Zealand and was a gift to the retreat from the guy who replaced Kiri Te Kanawa as my favorite Kiwi. (Sorry, Kiri.) James is the proprietor of the Joy of Yarn Sock Wool Boutique in Greytown, New Zealand, and no slouch when it comes to picking out great fibers.

Still–possum?

But as my dear grandmother once said to me regarding pickled beets, and as I once said to a Marine Corps lieutenant regarding nevermind, how can you know you don’t like it until you try it?

A short swatch later, I was typing a frantic e-mail to James asking about the immediate availability of more, more, more. This stuff, dear kiddies, is like a kiss on the forehead. Buttersoft, cloudlight, gently haloed. Not quite cashmere, not quite qiviut, but also not quite the same cost per ball as a spa vacation. You have got to try it. (And yes, James sells online.)

I got a second color, an ineffable mauve through which the natural shade of the possum still glimmers. And I decided that the original fuchsia and the mauve would, together, make a fantastic pair of striped socks.

Then I got to thinking, which never bodes well for me.

I started thinking about how boring I was about socks when I first started knitting. I wanted them in blue or brown, I wanted them without patterns, and I wanted them to match.

Gradually, the hoodoo of sock knitting jangled my brain, and I started to imagine what fun it would be to make colorful socks, so I made a pair in lime green. Then I thought a pair of colorful, mismatched socks would be just the ticket, so I knit a pair from a self-striping ball.

And the suckers matched perfectly.

I tried it again. Different self-striping yarn, different pattern, advised by an expert to start the second pair in a different part of the color repeat.

And again, the socks matched perfectly, except for the heels. Heels don’t count.

Here, with two yarns, I could at last control the color changes with an iron fist and force the socks to mismatch. In fact, why not make them mirror images of each other? And call them–Lewis Carroll dork that I am–Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum?

And in what book do the frères Tweedle appear? Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

And what is the central motif of Through the Looking Glass? A chess game.

And how many colors in a chess board? Two!

And how many colors of yarn had I to work with? Two!!

Eureka!!!

Chess board socks!!!! With the colors reversed!!!!!

!!!!!!

If you are not quite so confirmed a dingbat as I, you have already spotted the flaw in this vision. If you are, pray allow me to offer this demonstration.

Dee

Dum

Duh

I'm striping them. It's only been two months, and I'm almost three inches past the cuff on sock number one. Hooray for me.

Yammertime

I recently had the great pleasure of talking with Lara over at Crafty Living and the Math4Knitters Podcast, and the episode (number five) is now up if you’d care to have a listen. I promise she’s not nearly so frightening as you would expect someone to be who has put the word “Math” in the name of her Podcast.

In the Shop

Newly in stock: gift enclosure cards and signed prints. New designs are in the pipeline, too. Many thanks for all the positive feedback!

Knittin' to the Oldies

I've just had a curious snowdrift of messages asking whether I'm finished posting about that little stack of vintage patterns that came my way. Heavens, no. But after the parade of toilet dollies I thought we might all need a wee breather, and perhaps a drink.

88 comments:

nikki p said...

I just found your blog through Knitty, and in case it makes you feel better, the possums in New Zealand are much cuter and cuddlier (looking) than our standard-beady-eyed-hissing-garbage-stalkers-in-the-night that we have in this here hemisphere. I know this, because before my first trip to NZ a few years back with my boyfriend/now-husband, we discussed what sort of cute fuzzy creatures they had there. He kept saying, "none really, except possums and skinks, but they're really pests." A possum isn't cute and fuzzy! Geez! So then I googled and found the exact same shot that you use here in your blog and he gasped in horror when it appeared before him. "Oh! No those are not cute and fuzzy, they are totally different and horrifying!" (You must imagine all that in a Kiwi accent, of course.)
However, with all that said, the cute and fuzzys are actually horrible, introduced pests that are destroying the natural flora and fauna of NZ. There are possum traps everywhere in a major effort to rid the country of them and it's actually PC to wear fur there, possum fur that is.
Anyhoo, I would love to get my hands on some of that yarn!

Anonymous said...

We had a litter (?) of possums take up residence in our garage, and I had to personally handle 4 of the little monsters. My bare hand, the scruff of their necks. Biggest ICK factor ever, and your photo is exactly the face every one of them gave me, along with a nasty little hiss. They went to someone locally who cares for the odd critters that get rescued.

The EnZed possums may be cuter, but I still can't quite get my head around possum yarn. Looking forward to seeing your striped socks.

Samina said...

At least you realized that there might be a flaw in your reversed-chessboard theory. There are a few people I know that would never get there. So, will you stripe them with thin & thick stripes & then invert the thick/thin ratio on the other sock?

kerrylinnet said...

Dum Dee Dum Duh!
Who knew possum was the ultimate luxury yarn?

Edy said...

Mismatched socks are all the rage among pre-teen and teenage girls here in New York...But they are TOTALLY mismatched! If you are striping one sock, then checkerboard its mate; or one has narrow stripes and its mate as very wide stripes. The kids mismatch with different colors, but personally I think they should remain somewhat similar in color family at least.
BTW, that yarn sounds absolutely yummy!

=Tamar said...

I'm sure you've seen SockLady's Monstersocks. She uses more than two colors, but for your next excursion something might be done with Fairisle or with traditional Turkish patterning.

sue said...

There is a knit shop in Downer's Grove, IL, that has started carrying the possum yarn. It's called Knitche and is a really nice shop.

Anonymous said...

The possum in NZ is different than the opossum of North America.
Possums were introduced to NZ, and have since become a huge problem for the ecosystem. So, people are trapping them and an added benefit of killing the harmful animal is that they can make some money by using its fur for yarn. :)

Hope this doesn't sound know-it-all, I just thought you'd like to know!

knithound brooklyn said...

Oh. Yea. I see the flaw.
But I am such a dork I had to look. TWICE.

That said, great timing on the Alice in Wonderland what with Tim Burton's new film coming out any day...
Now you have motivation to finish them so you can wear them proudly to the movies!!

M-H said...

I've seen hats and gloves made with yarn that included possum in the gift shop of Te Papa, the NZ national museum, where they were referred to as 'Kiwi Mink'.

Lynn said...

Any day on which you post, is by definition a good day. I am home, recovering from respiratory issues, and was feeling a little sorry for myself. Ordinarily I love math, but I have coughed out most of my brain cells today, so I had to wait for your Dum Dee Duh visuals. Thank you for the endorphin boost. (That possum is priceless, and I suspect that's the expression my lungs would have right about now, if they had a face.) I think I'm sufficiently fortified to get back to turning the heel on the sock-in-progress.

Linda S said...

Have you tried knitting both socks on 2 circular needles? I have never knit socks before, and I love it. That whole second sock syndrome never has a chance. I've taken classes on cuff down and toe up. I love the idea of being able to use all of my yarn. I say idea because I usually wimp out and bind off sooner than I have to for fear of somehow running out.

TinkingBell said...

Australian brush tail possums are a very cute marsupial with a pouch, Unfortunately, while they are cute in Australia, they are dreadful in NZ
Try having a look here: http://images.google.com.au/images?q=brushtail+possum+picture&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=IBxqS_yGG4_0sgOZnaSBBQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQsAQwAA

a much cuter animal altogether, and the fur is hollow and holds warmth like you wouldn't believe and is as soft as clouds and baby cheeks
there is a beautiful sock yarn, but you can also buy possum sock (which I wouldn't use for socks) from Cherry Tree Hill

S said...

Dear Franklin,

I was raised on the mantra that the only good possum is a dead possum and when I first heard of possum yarn, I, too, was completely and utterly creeped out.

Then I discovered that the down-under possum is a completely different critter and actually kind of cute. Cuter than the beady-eyed-rat-tailed-pointy-nosed -stiff-furred critters we have in our neck of the woods.

One of these days I will have to try some possum yarn to see if I can truly overcome my initial misconceptions about it.

Love,
Sherilyn in TX

hokgardner said...

My mother gave me a skein of wool that includes possum, and I haven't been able to get past the squick factor to start knitting with it yet. So it's hanging out in my stash until I get over myself.

sgt_majorette said...

Lewis Carroll was a matematician. The sheep with all the knitting needles...

Ta, possums!

Rox said...

I bought two balls of that same possum yarn at Shepherd's Harvest this past spring, in a deep purple, thinking I would make a hat or something from it. Too precious to waste on someone other than myself.

Anonymous said...

Liz

Ooo Ooo Ooo, now I want to make one sock with big checks and one sock with small checks.

Lori said...

Different type of possum, and a voracious pest. They actually pay bounties on them. However they make extremely hard wearing socks. The Kiwi knitters I met told me that they use the yarn for the socks that their farmer husbands wear in their work boots. And that they wear like iron.

Anonymous said...

I have such fun reading all your posts, even if it is about a creepy little critter like that. I spend way too much time when I visit--going back and rereading old posts and finding new ones I haven't read yet. Don't ever stop!

Caro said...

Possum yarn is awesome. People should google New Zealand Possum before saying things like 'eww!' and 'Gross' like 15 year olds.

They are pests in NZ as they have no predator so why not use the fur?

Whining Procrastinator said...

I love it when you do something I would've done. Are you sure we weren't separated at birth?

k2 said...

When you get tired of knitting with all that commercial possum/merino yarn you do know that you can buy possum/merino fiber to spin yourself, right? It's not even terribly expensive.

There is at least one U.S.-based vendor that I'm aware of.

pencraftco said...

I have two possum/merino sweaters (Merino Snug) and they are the most amazing of all sweaters in the world. Wash beautifully, don't get saggy around the wrists when I forget and push the sleeves up, never pill, warm, light, soft, I can go on and on and on. I will definitely look up your new favorite Kiwi's yarn!!!!

pamade said...

I found a baby possum in my garage that had found the bag of cat food. When it saw me, it froze and we locked eyes for a second and then it did a "Get me outta here!" gallop but all that happened was it ran in place for a few seconds until it finally got traction and flew out of the garage. It was only about 8 inches long, minus the tail and just as cute as a bug. I do realize the big ones are not as cute. ;)

gwet said...

I can confirm that Australian possums are extremely cute and not vicious or snarling. They are a protected species. Unfortuately they invaded NZ where they have no natural predators and are in plague proportions so "culling" them for fur is OK. http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/wildlife/living_with_wildlife/brushtail_possums.html

Joan said...

So, do you like pickled beets? Thanks for making me laugh yet again!

ISABELLA said...

my daughter brought back some possum fur garments from a trip to NZ its very soft,

its nice to see that Dolores is reading!

Barb B. said...

Take a look in your mail box for a free offer (not limited either)

I just a pair of gloves our of Possum with merino. I stopped knitting because I ran out of yarn. Wonderful stuff! and warm.

Anonymous said...

My son went to NZ a couple of years ago and returned with 2 skeins of a merino/possum blend in a beautiful steel blue. It was truly and unexpectedly lovely to knit with. Mine became a scarf that is a warm cuddle around my neck when I don't think about its not so adorable origins. Applause to the person who came up with such a creative use for an ugly pest.

Judy in Indiana said...

I am allergic to many, many things found in nature, including some animals. I wish I had thought to ask when my allergy testing was being done "And could you please check to see if I am allergic to possum? I have some yarn I'd like to kit into something wearable." I can safely wager that the allergy doc had not heard that one before.

nosenabook said...

I don't know. Reversing a checkerboard pattern *could* be a cautious foray into the world of mismatched socks, if the squares are large enough. Say, four around the ankle. Sill, I'm sure switching to stripes was wise.

My early information about opossums was mostly how they "play dead" as a survival trait and have pouches to carry their young.
I had no idea how much they look like rats until recently.

If the fur spins, then who cares if they have a cute and cuddly side?

Virginia said...

I wanna try possum. Well, NZ possum yarn anyway. :)

Theresa I said...

Strangely enough I was talking with a friend in Australia who told me that there is possum in cat food that is made in New Zealand. The possums in NZ are actually Australian possums that some fool took to NZ where they have no natural predators.
the yarn looks yummy.

Seanna Lea said...

Wow. Your possum photo could strike fear in the hearts of people everywhere. It's only a short vat of pea soup away from an exorcist face!

Anonymous said...

I like making mismatched socks with self-striping yarn, using the yarn from the inside of the cake for one, and from the outside of the cake for the other. Then you have the patterning going in different directions. Pretty fun looking socks!
I've thought about buying some possum yarn, but couldn't quite get over what it was.

Anonymous said...

while perhaps not the cuddliest creatures, opossums are much cleaner than the other animals that fill the same niche (e.g., rats). and WAY less scary to have sneaking into your house than raccoons.

Wool Free and Lovin' Knit said...

The story could only be funnier if you'd actually knit your alternating checkerboard socks before realizing that they would still, in fact, match. Thanks for the laugh tweedle dum!

Anonymous said...

Today is my lucky day; I have found your blog, and I am DELIGHTED!

Your command of the English language, your subtle humor, and your zest for knitting will keep this retired English teacher coming back to be enlightened as well as entertained.

Thank you for your efforts, and KUDOS TO YOU, SIR!

Geek Knitter said...

Just what I needed... an excuse to buy more yarn.

I thank you, as does the bank which holds my Visa.

Laura47 said...

I'm actually wearing on my feet as I read your post today a pair of my favorite socks knitted from that very same mauve possum yarn purchased from your friend James in New Zealand. Yes, he ships, and the exchange rate was definitely in my favor when I bought the yarn!

The socks are insanely soft and comfy. They don't shed, they don't pill, and they wear like iron. I've washed mine at least a dozen times now and they get softer with each washing. I highly recommend Supreme Possum yarn, it's absolutely fabulous!

Brenda said...

I was gifted with possum yarn scarf and mitts from dear friends in NZ and heartily endorse your assessment. Pure bliss.

Peg said...

I bought (shock) possum gloves in Auckland, NZ, last Fall (June) in a wonderful Maori-esque pattern. Wonderful. Bought possum yarn also. Haven't knit it yet. But every place we went in the North Island sold possum sweaters, scarfs, etc., because the animals are such pests.

toni in florida said...

Gorgeous yarn! Can't wait to see your new socks. As for (non-American) possum yarn, I'd love to try it. It could well become a new addiction.

Anonymous said...

You got to talk with Lara? Isn't she just one of the nicest people to visit with?!?! She used to live here and was a part of our knitting group and we miss her very much. ~off to listen to the podcast~ P.S. I have some of the NZ possum yarn and love working with it and the soft brown halo it gets.
Mary E. in Sioux Falls

aunty-del said...

As others have said, Australian and NZ possums are quite different and a lot cuter than the American ones. They're so different that, when I first saw a pic of an American one, I couldn't believe that scary-looking thing even had the same name.

Apparently they're a pest in NZ but, when I was growing up in the outer suburbs of Sydney Australia, they would cautiously visit at night and take apples left out for them. But if they cross your roof while travelling from tree to tree, they sound like they're wearing size 15 boots!

aunty-del said...

As others have said, Australian and NZ possums are quite different and a lot cuter than the American ones. They're so different that, when I first saw a pic of an American one, I couldn't believe that scary-looking thing even had the same name.

Apparently they're a pest in NZ but, when I was growing up in the outer suburbs of Sydney Australia, they would cautiously visit at night and take apples left out for them. But if they cross your roof while travelling from tree to tree, they sound like they're wearing size 15 boots!

Cassia said...

Long ago (before I became a knitter) I bought a pair of socks that were machine knit. They were wicked cheap, I bought one pair and I will wear them until my big toe sticks out. At any rate, they were called "Oppo-socks". I won't name the megaultrasuperstore that I bought them from for so cheap, but I will say that while the socks were of the same color scheme, one is striped and the other? Has fish on it. Just tossing that out there...and if someone else has by chance mentioned these to you, well shame on me for not reading all of your comments before I posted.

Rosi G. said...

dude. hate to burst your bubble. them things match perfectly.

FiberQat said...

You want mismatched socks? Knit checks on one and stripes on the other for the feet, then switch the motif on the legs. They will match sort of in an Alice way then.

Rana said...

Hey, now, American opossums can be cute, too!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56809170@N00/144655011

Emily said...

Oh, Franklin, I am so in awe of your brilliance that I was greatly comforted to see that you had mentally wandered into the same "duh" landscape in which I keep finding myself (the checkerboard). You're obviously a very occasional visitor; I seem to have a second home here.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am even Dummer. I think the socks would be very subtly different. One would be able to see at the heel and where the shoe meets the sock that they are reverse checkerboards when you are looking at both feet at once.
If the fashion is for fish on one foot and stripes on the other, then the difference is not enough, obviously.

Oh, and on the 'possom issue, any living creature looks visious when it is attacked. The Victorians considered themselves brave for shooting vicious panda bears, for crying out loud. My experience with 'possoms is limited to Pogo. He was terribly cute.

Looking forward to your missmatched socks.

Leah

Chris said...

Better yet, why not one sock checked and one striped. You couldn't miss the mis-match at any distance.

Anonymous said...

Hey dude, you're funny! (You probably already knew that.) Found my way here courtesy of the Yarn Harlot. I'll be back... Love, Carolyn in NH

samoofish said...

My friend brought back a skein of possum for me from NZ last year. I had the same vision of possums. Ick! I've been debating what to do with it. Now I know that socks might be a possibility.

Diane said...

You could still do checks and have them mismatched. On one sock, pick a color that will be purled on the right side. On the other, the opposite color will be purled. There you go...mismatched a little bit.

Tania said...

Frankln, as an Aussie gal, I beseech you to post a pic of an Aussie possum... big, soft, brown eyes, fluffy fur, cute twitchy nose...

Yes, they ARE a pest in NZ, and I applaud the efforts being made there to make them into 'useful' products. My favourite product so far? Nipple warmers. Yup. Little discs of soft fur to tuck into your top to keep your most sensitive extremities nice and toasty.

Looking forward to seeing your socks!

Anonymous said...

When I first started spinning, we spinners enjoyed the fact that no animal was destroyed, in order to get our spinning fiber. Our fiber, and yarn, were truly renewable. Louet tried to introduce fox fiber. Their supplier almost convinced Louet that the fox fiber was humanely gathered, via brushing and combing fox meant for coats. Once people discovered the truth, fox spinning fiber seems to have disappeared.
Enter the cute, huge eyed, nocturnal NZ possum. Now it's okay to kill the animal, that's going to provide the spinning fiber.
I have a skein of the fox fiber, purchased long long ago. I honestly did try to spin it, even after I found out how it was actually harvested. My fingers curled up. My wheel wouldn't turn. I gave up.
I really hope the same thing happens with the NZ possums.

geogrrl said...

I always need a drink after looking at toilet doilies.

I'm just grateful you didn't trot out the ones that look like crazed poodles.

Jo said...

A difference that MAKES no difference IS no different!

Half way through that, I could see where you were going and was saying "But, but, but..."

Glad you came to your senses!

My brother, who is loved by animals everywhere, had an injured possum for a while (until it was well), and unless you're mean to them, they don't look like that. They can be quite friendly, unless you try to take the soap they're eating away from them. Don't ask me why possums love to eat soap, but it can't possibly be good for them.

Can't wait to see the socks!

Stephen said...

That yarn is beyond magical. I was hesitant at first, but made a hat out of my one ball the day I made my first swatch.

My Mister lost said hat for a period of 48 hours and was about to be cut off from all knitted gifts for all eternity because that yarn is so precious. I dream of making a sweater one day.

Devon said...

When I was in New Zealand I sent possum yarn home to my knitting friends because it was so luscious. I forgot to keep some for myself! Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make another trip back. Darn. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Franklin

I have only 5 words to say to you
Cherry Tree Hill

Possum Sock

At discontinuedbrandnameyarns, there is at least one color that is totally male friendly (Java).
margieinmaryland

PS
Love the colors of your socks

Sara in WI said...

You are just too funny, Franklin....thanks for making me smile today...

Stitch Sista said...

Best of all, it never pills! NEVER! I'm glad you are having the possum experience ;)...I love the stuff myself.

Susan (and SmokeyBlue in spirit) said...

You are so funny and delightful. I too just discovered really mismatched socks. I call it Second Sock Syndrome Solved. My version is to use the same yarn but a completely different pattern, thereby eliminating my too short attention span.

BTW I am also writing as per the Yarn Harlot's instructions encouraging and applauding your volunteer efforts on behalf of all us Olympic Knitters.

namaste,
Susan

Franklin said...

Hi, smaytch. Disagreeing with my point of view is fine - I have no problem with that. Insulting my readers (and me) under the guise of taking what you consider to be a moral high road is not. I've only deleted one comment in the years I've been blogging. Now yours makes two. Keep a civil tone or go elsewhere. Thank you.

Caprifool said...

"Men’s Knitting Retreat" Woah! I only know one male knitter. Me! You guy's have so much more going on. Jelous now! *pout*

Suzy said...

I love the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum sock posting!! It made me laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair!

Jo said...

Thanks again for such a great post.

I chose to get comments to this post emailed to me when I commented earlier, so I saw the comment you removed.

I've run into this attitude once or twice before, and as a spinner and knitter, I feel it's my responsibility to educate people who are appalled by their own ignorance.

I felt this so strongly, and was so disturbed by the comment that I had to write a blog post about it, which can be read here: http://jam2day.blogspot.com/2010/02/ignorance-and-possum-fur.html

I still find it hard to imagine that someone would think that brushing an animals fur or shearing them would cause that kind of harm, and it makes me wonder if they ever brush their hair. Possibly, the first comment was what confused her.

Feel free to remove this comment if you don't want it on your blog. I just don't want someone going away thinking that knitters are responsible for killing animals.

smaych said...

Hey Franklin, thanks for responding to my comment. If you'd like to email me you can reach me at pets@pawshereedinburgh.co.uk or through my animal rescue's website www.pawshereedinburgh.co.uk

I'm sorry you felt that my comment offended you - I tried very hard to word it in a way that didn't insult anyone and merely, as you say, stated my own personal POV - how I would feel. I'd love to know what point you felt was insulting rather than disagreeing. I would very much like to discuss this point with you, but I get the message loud and clear that you don't want to do this on your blog, which is why I've given you my email address (above).

Thanks,

Rachel Plummer

Miss Sandra said...

okay, who relieved the possum of his fiber or is the question how? Do you brush/comb the critter? Wait 'til it sheds?

Karen said...

Possum Rules. Tinycat used to try to steal the ball every time I knit with Possum. It must have still had some animal smell because she didn't steal any other yarn. She would carry it around like it was her baby.

Anonymous said...

American opossum = dumb as rocks, but I think they're sort of sweet. Had a roommate who had a pet possum once. Very bitey, but entertaining, gentleman.

Terry said...

I have to put in a good word for the humble possum. They are "crepuscular" animals, meaning they are active mostly at dawn and/or dusk. That's why you don't see them much (I'm talking about the North American variety; I know nothing about the NZ ones) and they would much rather you never see them at all. They are an ancient line, hardly changed at all over millions of years. As someone else pointed out, pretty much anything looks scary (if it can) when it's scared itself. They have a fascinating reproductive biology, and they fill their own natural nitche in the world, which is a heck of a lot more than you can say about some people (like, politicians for example). I never knew you know knit with possum wool, and I now hope to be able to do so someday!

So I hope we'll have a little compassion for another of nature's creatures, just trying to get by in the big, harsh world, 'k?

geogrrl said...

Um, I think that what's getting lost here is that Franklin was MAKING A JOKE.

I don't think the honour/character/trustworthiness/qualifications for sainthood of the American Opossum needs to be defended here.

gardenknitter4 said...

Has anyone made this small distinction between the North America animal and the one in NZ? The one that is native to North America is called the Opposum, and the one in NZ is called the Possum. Someone at a LYS pointed that out to me once.

Niki and Morgan said...

I have a hat and scarf that my sister brought back from NZ for me, in a deep red. Every year I get excited to pull them out and wear them again, the most soft yarn around, yet so warm!

Momcat said...

A. Possums are not cute , nor are they friendly. I once tried to rescue on which had been hit by a car. It hissed at me horribly and glared at me with THAT face.
B. the VA definition of an opossum -a flat animal who lives in the road.
C. I've been to NZ, bought possum gloves (so soft) and eaten possum pot pie (not bad). They are indeed an introduced species there and are a great threat to wild and domesticated creatures alike.

Anonymous said...

Knock it off with the possum dissing, please. They eat garden pests (rodents, snakes, snails, etc), and they are one of the few animals naturally immune to rabies. (Thought to be due to their low body temperature.)

We've had possums in our yard two summers running, and I welcome them. I'd far rather see them around than the cats who spray on our sunporch glass or the raccoons who ripped up our garage roof and tore the lid off the locking garbage can (which I had to clean up in the rain) or the gray squirrels who behead the tulips every spring.

Just because an animal is "cute" does not mean it's benevolent.

Franklin, you of all people should know better than to go with conventional wisdom.

Gillian said...

Possums are actually native to Australia. Here they are a protected species which means that I can't frighten away the ones that get inside my roof and clomp up and down with their boots on at dawn and dusk.
They were introduced to NZ where they have become pests as they have no predators and they compete with native wildlife there. This means that the lucky NZ'ers can have possum pies and possum yarn, which they then export back to AUS where I have bought some for socks.
BTW AUS possums are very cute to look at. See more info here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Possum

boobookittyfug said...

Long time no post. Possums. I care for a colony of feral cats in South Shore. One day last fall I went to check one of my shelters, opened the roof, and patted what I thought was a large Siamese cat sleeping in the straw of the upper story. Imagine my surprise when that head came around and showed me all 50 teeth in that enormous jaw.

"Pardon me, ma'am."

Closed the lid and tiptoed away very quickly.

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Anonymous said...

It seems that a post was removed that drew attention to the source of this particular fibre - possibly because outside on the Australia-New Zealand region, people don't know much about these animals. Possum fibre is not combed or sheared. It's from dead animals - Here's a selection of the traps used for possums: http://www.pestcontrolresearch.co.nz/traps.htm.
Possums (introduced from Australia) are destroying habitat in New Zealand and many people consider harvesting the by-products of trapping and hunting as sound environmentalism, but if people have qualms about lethal harvesting or have religious/ethical reasons to avoid products of dead animals, they won't want to use possum.
Is the trapping humane? Is it Ok to use fibre from trapped animals? Why does being "cute" make any difference ? Is it Ok if the animals have lovely and soft fibre? Is it OK if the animals are pests?

Many people couldn't care less about these issues, but if they do care, let's not keep it a secret.

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NZ Possum Merino said...

Wow a lot of discussion on the Possum! We sell Possum fur clothing and there is always a lot of debate around the origin of the products. We are of the view that farming them would definitely not be OK, but as they are currently being exterminated as an introduced pest that is destroying NZ's native forests and kills and competes for food with our native birds that it is OK. I have seen tha yarn and it is an amazing product with a totally unique feel and warming ability. Enjoy the socks!