What is possum wool?
Possum wool is produced only in New Zealand. It is a natural fibre coming from the fur of the New Zealand Possum. It is mixed with merino and other fibres as it is too soft and short to spin it on its own.
Possums, whilst endangered in Australia, are a pest in New Zealand. Being a non-native species they have no natural predators and their numbers are getting out of control. They cause problems by preying on other wildlife including the endangered Kiwi bird and damaging plant life. Every year, the New Zealand government spends around NZ$50 million culling this animal because they are a danger to the environment. This fibre comes only from animals which had to be culled. Money made by selling possum fur is invested into programs to sustain the unique environment in New Zealand.
What are the special qualities of possum yarns?
Due to the cooler climate New Zealand possum developed a fur coat which is considerable thicker and more luxurious than the Australian ancestor. The fibres of Possum’s fur are hollow. There is only one other animal on the planet with an hollow fur fibre: the Polar Bear. Both animals need to control heat, but in different environments. The Polar Bear uses its hollow fibre to keep the heat, the Australian possum uses it to defend from the heat. So possum fibre is very light, super soft and temperature resistant, which means you feel cool in warm weather and feel warm in cold. It dries quickly after becoming wet. These attributes make possum garments suitable for all weather conditions. Possum yarns don’t pill and are especially anti-allergic because of their extremely fine hairs.
Does possum yarn shed hair?
Possum yarns tend to shed a little of the fibre, this is a problem that is found with most short fibre yarns. It tends to be more apparent prior to washing the product and we always suggest all garments are washed after knitting to let the fibres bloom, this also traps some of the fiber into the garment and stops a lot of the shedding.