Thursday, August 18, 2011

Possum Fiber for Hand Spinning from New Zealand

New Zealand Possum 
The New Zealand Brushtail Possum is an introduced species that sadly has decimated our native forests and wildlife. It is viewed as a pest here in New Zealand and efforts are being made to control it.Efforts to control the possum have seen the use of traps, poison baits and shooting. This has helped keep numbers down and under control. The possum , though cute  attacks the nest of native birds , destroying eggs. Our national symbol of  New Zealand , The Kiwi has especially been a victim of the possum devastation.

Nocturanl tree dwelling possum in New Zealand

The American Opossum is a very different species from the New Zealand possum
 The New Zealand Possum is sometimes mistaken with the American Opossum - though as can be seen from the pictures above hey are both very different species.

The fur from the New Zealand possum is now a very sought after fiber, reknown for its softness and warmth. It is currently being made into suits washed and softened with greenstone ( ponamu ) and also into luxury wraps , socks , clothing and shawls. Even possum yarn is a delight to use.

For the home spinner , possum fiber is wonderful blended with other longer haired fibers like merino or corredale. I use my possum fiber carded on hand carders with merino and spin it directly. I was the yarn later on. I love the softness and wonderful halo that the resulting fiber has...Here the possum garments we make are tested out on the hills and in all kinds of weather as we do our work on the farm. We have never been let down by its warmth and its wonderful light weight.

We are delighted to offer 1 oz lots of this rare and hard to find red /rust possum fiber from New Zealand . This fiber is in its natural colour and has not been dyed. The fur varies from a golden red to a orange rust colour with brown black and gray flecks. This is not the usual gray, brown or black fur we normally get . We only have limited amounts .

We also sell the regular fiber in 100gm lots or in 1 oz lots . We have shipped all around the world.

Red Possum Fiber from our farm.

Beautiful soft clean possum fiber spins into a soft yarn with a wonderful halo effect.

The possum fur is a soft , dense and wonderfully light fiber. The fur has a hollow shaft ( like the mink ) which helps it retain heat exceptionlly well.It is said to keep its warmth when wet and even in freezing temperatures.

Our Possum fiber is sought locally from our farm . We try to ensure it is clean and free from vegatative matter. It is sold as a raw and unwashed fiber.It is not difficult to wash - but you can see for yourself the quality of the fiber without it being masked with "cleaning " products.
This wonderful fiber is known as the cashmere of New Zealand for its wonderful warmth and softness

We have heard/ read comments on sites that the possum fiber smells . This has never been our experience.
This fiber does not smell if it is gathered freshly , stored well and taken from an animal that is in good condition. We have sold to buyers around the world and have had no complaints of bad smells or stinks. Buyer Beware- if your possum fiber smells badly.- the animal may have been killed with poison and then its fur gathered at a later date.

As a spinner , I use it blended with merino fiber from our farm. It becomes a wonderfully luxurious yarn with beautiful flecks of brown , black and mocca.
I use my possum fiber directly into my blended batts and spin away...
The wonderful hollow fiber of possum fur is one of the reasons that is is lightweight and so warm

****Our Possum fiber is brought direct to you without any middle man/person mark up...its comes from our farm direct to you.We also ensure that the fur we collect has been gathered without the use of poisons- that is our promise to you.***

Here is some feedback from our US buyer Battyrubble

"Hi Tammy, the fiber is great! Before blending it, it has to be hand carded first, its sooooo fine that the fibers clump.
Right now I'm trying different combinations, and then do some spinning and knitting samples"


"I cant wait to spin with it. its going to make some gorgeous scarves. And let people know that hand carding really does the trick in making easy to drum card and blend it with other longer fibers. "


"Absolutely fantastic transaction! Great stuff to work with, I'm blending it with silk and cashmere for a great big sweater."

You can follow us on our Facebook page at Mystic Hills Ngaroma!! We would love to have you join us!

Please contact us if you would like   to know more about this wonderful fiber.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anime Teddy Bears

Nutmeg the Bear

 I started making teddy bears in 2002 as a university student living in Adelaide. I attended my first teddy bear show in the town hall and was blown away by the bears I saw. Here were unique artist bears lovingly handcrafted by artist who were themselves bear lovers.

I spent the day there taking with talented artist who hared with me their crafts and the finer points of bear making....from what good mohair feels like to how to tell a well made bear. I left with a kit to make my own bear and a little flyer for the Adelaide Bear and Dolls Club. Both became a wonderful source of joy and friendship in my years living in Australia.

Poppy The Anime Bear

At the bear club I met these creative fun and funny folk who loved their bears and took bear making seriously. Many of them helped me in my quest to make my own bears. I will always be grateful for the kindness and generosity of the club members who shared and taught me skills.

Twig and Poco freshly made!

My first bear from that kit-Albert was completely hand sewn - with eyes that were off level.but I thought he was wonderful. I wanted to make more. I combed charity shops for old coats an anything that could make a good bear. Flea markets were also a good source for old boot buttons that could be used for eyes. I made friends with staff in the curtain department of big stores who would sell me off cuts and sample books to help me make bears. I made large ones and minatures. There was never enough money to buy good mohair fabric to make them - as a student at I used what I had. I was delighted when friends of mine started to ask to buy my bears....I sold them to friends, staff of the university and even my university doctor.

Poco excaping into the trees!

Work life after university slowed down  by bear making as I put all my energy in my work. It was not such a happy time but I continued to put my energy into chasing the dollar and climbing the imaginary ladder to no where. I longed to use my time to create and do what I had a passion for.

Nutmeg waving Hello!

With the support of my partner Greg and inspiration from our beautiful farm - I have began to make bears again this time full time and with more creative expression. I now design my own bears and source my own fur fabric. I have fallen in love with the Anime style of bears with their large heads and off kilter eyes....Bear making is now part of our work here at Mystic Hills Ngaroma and I am proud that we have bears that are sought after and have gone to live all over the world...

You can see our bears at our website on