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Stressed-out con­sumers want to indulge in afford­able lux­ur­ies and seek ways to reward them­selves” — one of the 17 Trends from Faith Popcorn’s Brain­Re­serve.

What does this quote and a 70-plus-year-old busi­ness in Naenae have in com­mon? Just pick up a ball of Zeal­ana Air yarn and you will under­stand that pure lux­ury can come in a small package.

Wool­yarns Lim­ited on East­ern Hutt Road are now pro­du­cing knit­ting yarns for the very top end of the mar­ket and con­sider them­selves ‘yarn engin­eers’. Most is expor­ted, but a num­ber of loc­al shops do stock some of the range, includ­ing Nancy’s Embroid­ery in Wel­ling­ton and the Yarn Stu­dio online.

Zeal­ana Air is a mix­ture of cashmere, mul­berry silk and brush­tail pos­sum down, and has excep­tion­al thermal prop­er­ties due to the hol­low nature of the pos­sum fibre. There are three dif­fer­ent yarns: Air Lace, for a light, lacy scarf or wrap; Air Chunky, for a very soft, light ver­sion of the cur­rent bulky knit­ted look, glor­i­ous for that warm cowl you will live in all winter; and the new­est addi­tion to the range, Air Marle, which twists togeth­er three dif­fer­ent-col­oured strands of Air Lace yarn to cre­ate a multi-toned double knit yarn.

I recently had a week away from the shop, and took a ball of each of the Air Marle col­ours we have. I set myself the chal­lenge to design some­thing spe­cial that uses just one ball. The res­ult was a soft cowl, that to quote one of my staff “feels like a kit­ten snuggled in”, and some long fin­ger­less gloves that provide warmth without weight. The pat­terns for these are free with the pur­chase of the yarn, but as a taster here is the pat­tern for the cowl.



Cowl copy


Air Marle Cowl



1 × 50g ball Zeal­ana Air Marle

Pair of 5mm needles (if you wish, you can knit this on double-poin­ted needles or a cir­cu­lar needle)



k = knit, p = purl, psso = pass slipped stitch over, rem = remain­ing, sl = slip a stitch, st(s) = stitch(es), st st = stock­ing stitch, tbs = through back of stitch, tog = togeth­er, yo = wrap yarn over right needle


To make

Cast on 92 sts and knit 1 row.

Row 2: k1, *k2, yo, **k1, yo, repeat from ** four more times, k2, repeat from * until 1 st rem, k1.

Row 3: Purl.

Row 4: k1, *sl 1, k1, psso, k11, k2 tog, repeat from * until 1 st rem, k1.

Row 5: p1, p2 tog, p9, p2 tog tbs, repeat from * until 1 st rem, k1.

Row 6: k1, *sl 1, k1, psso, k7, k2 tog, repeat from * until 1 st rem, k1.

Row 7: Purl.

Repeat rows 2–7 twice.

St st for 20 rows.

Start­ing with a k row, st st for 3 rows.

Cast off.


To fin­ish

Sew in ends, then join into a loop.


Yes, the balls are expens­ive at $25 for the Air Lace and $59 for the Air Chunky and Air Marle… but go on, indulge your­self with some­thing spe­cial. You will not be able to buy sim­il­ar items in the same lux­ury fibres for less than twice the price and, of course, you get the pleas­ure of mak­ing some­thing beautiful.


Notes for photo: Arna Horne, a Nancy’s staff mem­ber, mod­el­ling cowl and fin­ger­less gloves.