Possum Wool Manufacturing
In 1992 Woolyarns spun the world’s first possum yarn. Our fibre to yarn engineering processes have been refined over decades of experimentation to produce the highest quality possum yarn for luxury brands and design houses the world over.
WHERE DOES OUR POSSUM WOOL COME FROM?
The brushtail possum fur we source for our premium possum and merino blends, and luxury possum and cashmere blends, comes from a certified New Zealand pest.
The brushtail possum was introduced to New Zealand shores in 1837 and soon became its most damaging pest, destroying native forests and collapsing canopies on both the mainland and offshore islands. The brushtail possum also affects native fauna, attacking the nests of native birds and their young.
Although there has been a great deal of conservation work to reduce the population of the brushtail possum in New Zealand, its numbers are still in the millions.
POSSUM WOOL FIBRE
Possum fur’s fibres are hollow, lightweight and good at retaining warmth. The hollow fibre structure means air can be trapped inside the fibre, creating a barrier between the internal warmth of the garment and the garment wearer, against the external cold.
Independent testing has found that possum fibres are 55% warmer than merino wool and 35% warmer than cashmere fabrics of the same weight and knit structure.
The soft ends of possum fibre make it ideal for knitwear, and less likely to pill than other knits.
Woolyarns’ possum fur manufacturing process is such that we maintain the integrity of the yarn. The natural properties of the wool remain uncompromised throughout the manufacturing process, leaving the possum yarn breathable and water repelling. Our unique finishing process for fabrics containing possum fibre ensures that the soft, light touch of the original fibres is not compromised.
Woolyarns’ top-end suppliers provide us with two grades of possum fur:
- 17-18 micron possum fibre
- 15-16 micron possum down fibre
We stabilise the fibre by blending it with merino wool or cashmere wool to give it the strength and superior warmth and insulation properties it is so well known for.
USES FOR POSSUM WOOL
Possum wool is a unique stabiliser to merino and cashmere wool blends. Combining these other wools with possum wool not only reduces the weight of the end product, but it stabilises the knit or weave, making it less susceptible to wash shrinkage or distortion.
Possum fur is suited to both mid-layer and outer-layer garments and accessories. Possum fur products have an average lifespan of 10-20 years.
POSSUM FIBRE TO YARN ENGINEERING PROCESS
Our fibre is sourced and graded by external experts who sort through the fibre and remove any contaminated fibres. It is then sorted into grades, and baled up for blending.
The possum wool is then scoured and made dye-ready. Using pneumatic transportation our blending unit combines the possum fibre with either merino or cashmere to stabilise the yarn.
The possum yarn is then wound on to cones using our custom built multiple cone winding machines. This system reduced tufting creel wastage to less than 1%.
The ordering to dispatch process takes 6-8 weeks depending on the quality required.
DYEING POSSUM WOOL
Possum is naturally varying shades of grey, brown, and black-brown fur. These natural palettes are often preferred by designers, with their natural palette resisting seasonal trends and ensuring the fibres stay as true to their natural state as possible.
For those preferring a range of colours Woolyarns can also dye possum yarn. Our state of the art Hank dyeing facilities use the best wool dyes and treatments to ensure your custom blended possum wool is the highest quality.
We also offer a full custom colour matching service with 10 day turnaround.
HOW WE SOURCE OUR POSSUM WOOL
Since Woolyarns began manufacturing possum wool we’ve collaborated with farmers and licensed hunters to ensure our possum fibre is ethically sourced. We carefully monitor our chain of supply to ensure the companies we’re in business with are reputable, and their practices are sound. We own part of the supply chain because with good supply practices comes a better quality fibre for yarn manufacturing. We ensure the hunters and trappers we purchase possum wool from adhere to the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
We are also members of the New Zealand Fur Council who work to support the International Fur Trade Federation’s endorsement of the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (TV3 Report).