Possum tales: A sense of Touch

A while ago, I started a series reviewing possum yarn.   Today, I pick up the thread and  cover Touch Yarn’s possum yarn.

My Touch sample is the grey coloured yarn in the photo, although funnily enough, the colours you see here are pretty much all possum colours you can get from Touch (black, charcoal, cranberry and natural).  It’s a limited colour palate compared to the other New Zealand possum yarn brands in the market.  Touch also does one-off batches of hand-dyed possum. 

With its 10% nylon content, this yarn has a slightly smoother texture than other possum yarns.   I found it to be a light sport weight, between 4 ply and 8 ply.  Touch Yarns recommends a 3.75mm needle for a stocking stitch tension, which is about right, although I think you could also happily knit with it in 3.5mm needles.

It’s a lovely yarn to knit.  The yarn threads through the fingers very smoothly, creating a light, lofty fabric with even tension.  Blended into the yarn quite tightly, the possum fur does not shed as you knit, which can happen (minimally) in some other brands. It’s one of the less ‘fluffy’ of the possum yarns, with a texture that’s similar to cashmere.  I imagine this would suit people who do not like their yarns to have too much ‘halo’.

Despite the fact that the yarn is obviously good quality, and worthy of knitting, this yarn is not a personal favourite. 

I’m afraid that my perception of this yarn is somewhat clouded by my unhappy experience in attempting to ball it.  I hope that this is an unusual circumstance, and would love to hear from readers who have knitted this yarn too. 

This is what I ended up with on my swift before I gave up in frustration:

I have not had this issue with any other yarn! 

While I’m showing it to you, I shall tell you a very nice story about this swift.  I was shopping in one of Wellington’s local yarn stores one day, and Frances (sourkraut on Ravelry), (who hand-turns very beautiful wooden spindles which she sells on Etsy, linked to here) was there too.  We were talking about balling yarn, and I mentioned how I really ought to get a swift as I was sure it would make my balling experience more efficient.  And Frances offered me her old one!  Wasn’t that sweet? 

So now, I’m the proud owner of a lovely homemade swift.  It does its job wonderfully, and I can now ball yarn a lot faster than I used to. 

Anyway, back to the yarn.  One day, a lovely friend came for coffee and a knit.  Here I have to say that this friend is slightly perverted.  She happily pounced on the yarn (serving a time-out sentence in a corner to contemplate its bad behaviour), and sacrificed the next two hours of knitting time patiently teasing out the knots and balling it up while I looked on incredulously (and gratefully). 

I don’t have this issue with Touch’s other non-fluffy yarns that in hanks.  It’s just the possum and the angora blend hanks that I’ve found to be extremely frustrating to ball.  Perhaps they should ball this yarn and not present it in hanks. Or maybe it’s just me.

So what shall I do with my yarn?  If I had the stomach (and finances) to ball more of it, I think it would make a lovely lightweight winter cardigan or pullover that would be perfect for wearing to the office.  But in my case, I believe a nice pair of gloves, or perhaps a scarf, is headed my way.

Touch Yarns possum:

Content:  60% wool, 30% possum, 10% nylon
Weight/Length:  100g, 459yd/420m
Yarn weight:  sport
WPI:  approx 14
Needle size: 3.25mm – 3.75mm (US 3 to 5)
Tension/Gauge: approx 24 stitches to 10cm (4in) on 3.75mm needles 
Presentation:  hanks

5 thoughts on “Possum tales: A sense of Touch

  1. I find it amazing that it made such a mess. We have balled up hundreds of skiens more homemade than commercial but have found the commercial ones more difficult than home ones. Mainly because we have used the niddy noddy to makes them and put a good amount of ties round so when washed they don’t go messy.

  2. I had a similar experience recently with Touch machine washable 4ply wool and Touch 50/50 mohair wool 4ply, messy skeins on the swift and the yarn kept breaking. My skein of the wool became 4 balls and the mohair/wool 8 balls due to the yarns breaking. A couple of hours was spent doing what should not have taken all that long. Not a good add for Touch Yarns.

  3. I’ve had problems balling Touch Yarns too – must be something about them!
    I haven’t used 3.75 or smaller with this yarn, have made two garments using 4mm needles, both with texture. One is with the plain and one the hand painted. The finished garments are warm, but plan to try using a smaller needle the next time I knit with it after reading your post. I do have a stash of the hand painted because I couldn’t resist the fabulous colours, only now don’t know what to use them for. Now looking for cardigan and sweater patterns to suit

  4. I’ve recently finished a hat and gloves using Touch Possum – no problems at all with balling it up from the swift. Have they changed the yarn recently ? Mine was merino and possum only and bought about 18 months ago.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! 🙂 I got my hank in about July/August this year (can’t remember the exact month). I know the yarn used to be merino/possum only, so I had to double-check the label to make sure I wasn’t seeing things when I wrote this review. They must have recently changed the composition. I’m glad you didn’t have any issues with balling it. It is a lovely yarn.

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