Wool and sheep

One of the first things I was able to do was buy yarn. I sort of knew, that it probably wouldn’t be the easiest thing to buy the best Merino in NZ. Export baby! That is where the best goes.

These are two Merino Possum yarns I bought the first day in Auckland. Yes, everyone is pushing Merino-Possum. This isn’t the American possum. It’s an Australian import. It is a pest, so they have figured out how to trap and use the pelts. Or just the hair. It is too short to spin on it’s own, so they add it to merino. It is a very nice soft yarn, but – I don’t think the possum adds anything other than being a soft filler. Oh and yes, they do kill the possums. They are pest – think of them as furry rats.

I had been knitting up a shawl from my friend Diane’s yarn. It started with a pattern and then I just knitted on my own. It was becoming to long and narrow. So no, there isn’t a pattern. I am very pleased with the shape and size of this. I wore it the rest of the trip. I am slowly renewing my shawl collection, many of the old ones are falling out of use – either fraying and getting moth eaten or simply old. This is what happens, nothing lasts forever and it allows me to simply make new ones.

The blue grey will become a sweater, as soon as I finished the first shawl, I cast on the grey for another shawl. This is Idina by Irina Anikeeva. Its a free pattern, google her and sign up for her newsletter. Of course it knits up quickly in the beginning.

I found this yarn in Wellington. It is sock yarn, it does have some acrylic. What made me buy it is the story. The wool is from NZ, it is spun in Turkey, it is named Gallipoli… I will have a post on WWI and NZ. This is part of the story. I have visited Gallipoli, it has a very sad history in WWI. So this touched my heart, Anzac (Australian and NZ troops fighting in what would become Turkey), fighting far from home in a useless battle. The poppy has become the symbol of WWI. So one of these days I will have socks, the wool came from NZ and the yarn was spun in Turkey, then returned to be sold in NZ.

Just like here, many yarn shops are closing. So imagine my surprise to find this yarn in a gift shop cafe that was open on Christmas Day. The shop was super busy, run by Chinese. This and New Years day are probably their Black Friday. I just took a picture, didn’t buy anything here. Although, there was pure merino.

We visited Mt. Nicholas Station (NZ word for ranch). That will get it’s own post, but guess what I found here???

Pure merino from a station that I visited! I saw some of the sheep, I saw the operation of how a sheep business runs. The owner must knit! She sends what they could consider the least valuable wool to the mill in NZ and back comes yarn! I am sooo happy! There will be hats for me and Joel and who knows what else. I didn’t buy a sweaters’ worth cuz I had no idea what sweater. (I brought the pattern of a sweater with me, but I had already bought the yarn in Auckland for that) In this case I wanted all the colors they had available. This purchase just thrills me!

On to a small town called Hokitika, they are best know for their jade. I found the yarn store. They had similar yarns to what I had already seen, but they also have sock knitting machines!

This is an old one which is still operational. No surprise, you take care of these machines and they work.

They sell new machines as well. I’ve heard of people who are buying them and making socks, much quicker than it will take me to knit up Gallipoli.

This basket with bear and booties was in that shop. Makes me want to knit up some more bears.

Back home, spent an afternoon with my knitting group, I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m more than halfway done with the lace portion. My friend Irene started this pattern before me. She didn’t have hours on a bus with beautiful scenery going by, so yes, I am ahead of her.


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