Zealana yarn reviews, and an unexpected break

Hello! As we’re now thoroughly into winter, I’ve been dreaming up knitting projects to keep me warm. I just finished an interim hat from scraps, which hopefully I will blog when I block it.* Next up is a jumper.

Six balls of Zealana Kauri Fingering Weight, a heathered grey fine yarn.

After the success of knitting with Zealana Rimu, a beautifully soft 60% merino, 40% possum blend (more on possum yarn here), I decided to try for another Zealana yarn. I chose Zealana Kauri based largely on the gorgeous grey colourway. It’s a lightweight 4ply yarn, a blend of 60% merino, 30% possum and 10% silk. Soft, smooth and crisp with a furry halo and a bit of natural wonkiness when knitted up, Kauri is a unique yarn and one that would make for some magical finished items.

A ball of Zealana Kauri, showcasing its twist. Shade K13 Ashen.
So pretty!

Unfortunately, my wrists did not like Kauri as much as I did. In my quest to find a sheeny silk-merino blend, I’d forgotten that silk has an incredibly high tensile strength, one that the wrist and arm bears when knitting with it. After some choice swear words, I managed to exchange the Kauri for another Zealana yarn, Heron.

10 balls of Zealana Heron in Raisin, a dark brown yarn with some other colour running through it.
Sorry about the plastic bag, this was just a quick shot for my Ravelry stash.

Heron is a simpler 80% merino, 20% possum blend. It’s described as “singles plied with binder”, which is accurate – it’s two singles bonded together, which come apart when washed (so darn in your ends before blocking!). I’m surprised, and impressed by how Zealana managed to make two yarns with a similar composition (Heron and Rimu) completely different from each other. Rimu is softer and fluffier, with a thick drape. Heron, their “workhorse”, has a more varied texture, with a bit more springiness and a subtle halo when blocked. It seems thinner and less stiff, despite being labelled as a worsted while Rimu is a DK.

A promo picture of a medium brown-burgundy skein of Zealana Heron yarn.
The product image, from Zealana Yarns. Different to the actual product, no?

I just adore the colourway I chose. It’s called “Raisin”, and from the product image I was expecting a medium burgundy brown. Instead, what I got is a symphony of Autumnal colour: shifting greens, yellows and burnt red/oranges on a darker brown base. The colours brought out vary depending on the light, and it’s more reminiscent of a lush, dark forest coming into Autumn than a raisin! It’s not what I expected, but is gorgeous nonetheless.

A knitted swatch of Zealana Heron yarn, stitches are even and yarn has a soft halo. it is brown with colours of orange, yellow and green showing through. The loose yarn at the sides has untwisted in the wash.
My blocked swatch. Notice how the bonded singles separate after a wash.


Basic Design No. 8: Seamless Saddle Shoulder, with diagram of this design, a sweater with

Figure 64. Top view of seamless saddle shoulder ready for casting on underarm stitches. Left and right shoulders are worked separately, with front and back picked up and worked down from them.
From Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top.

I began planning and knitting up a top-down, saddle shoulder jumper as per the instructions in Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top. The saddles are in garter stitch, with the rest of the jumper in stockinette to allow the yarn to speak for itself.

A knitted swatch of Zealana Heron yarn, stitches are even and yarn has a soft halo. it is brown with colours of orange, yellow and green showing through. The loose yarn at the sides has untwisted in the wash.

I had gotten as far as the back shoulders, until one cursed day when I was chopping pumpkin for soup. It was hard on the hands, I thought, but didn’t think much more about it – until later, when my right wrist was so weak and in so much pain, that I couldn’t even think about picking up the knitting needles. As I’d incurred a similar injury in August last year and it eventually got better by itself, I figured all I needed was a brief rest period. Can you hear my body laughing at me right now?

A pumpkin with a Halloween face carved into it.
The demonic vegetable in question. Nah, it was just a Kent pumpkin.

The next week, I injured my wrist further trying to cut – wait for it – a slice of cheese. Suddenly, not only was my wrist and hand screaming in pain, but it would not do what I wanted it to. It just flopped by my side, ignoring my requests for it to move. I couldn’t carry a bread plate or cup of tea, let alone actually perform any tasks with it.

My hand therapist tells me I have tendonitis, and the treatment is largely time and rest (with splinting and taping). Given I’ve had it for 10 months, it’s considered chronic, and now that I’m largely relying on my left (non dominant) hand, symptoms are starting to appear in that wrist too. So there will be no more knitting or sewing for me in the foreseeable future. Combined with the fact that I’m tapping away on my keyboard at a snails pace with my left hand, that means my posts here may be far and few between.

A cat furiously types on a computer keyboard.
I wish this was me.

I do have some unblogged makes I want to share with you, so I’ll try to get them photographed and (somehow!) written up at some point. Feel free to join me on Instagram which is much easier for me to use right now, I’m @siobhansimper.

I am honestly stunned by how debilitating such a common injury can be. I had naively assumed tennis elbow was, well, a sore elbow! Not a painful, tired forearm, swollen hand and wrist, and an inability to grip anything. I’m devastated that I can’t knit, sew or type, which are basically the only things I could do up to this point. I certainly have a lot of sympathy for those who experience long-term wrist issues.

So if you need me, I’ll be awkwardly typing on my phone with my left hand, and sitting around watching a lot of YouTube videos!

A GIF from The Simpsons. Homer Simpsons hovers over a computer, which reads,


More reading:



*In about 12 months time.

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

25 thoughts on “Zealana yarn reviews, and an unexpected break”

  1. The wool is beautiful. I’d never heard about possum yarn. I’m so sorry to hear about your injury. It must be a real blow. Hope your recovery does not take too long. It must be incredibly frustrating. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just another voice commiserating over injuries. I was talking to my office mate last week about how she has two slipped discs in her back (very ouch!) and how we had heard of that before but assumed because we had heard of it it mustn’t be too bad. The reason we had heard of those kinds of injuries (like tennis elbow) is because they are bad! I hope you heal up soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So sorry to hear about your injuries. That really sucks. I don’t know if you’ve looked at voice dictation software for minimising typing, but it could be worth a look. There’s probably some good free stuff out there now. Not having use of hands is incredibly disabling. I wish you fast healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried the voice dictation on my computer before with varying success. The problem is I don’t usually have the energy to talk at all, let alone project/dictate.


  4. I’m so sorry! I’ve had tendinitis in my right elbow for years. I had given up on it ever healing and hardly used my right hand when I decided to consult with one more physical therapist and this last one has helped me a great deal. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to ply music again, but at least I can sew and do a lot of other things now. I hope you recover soon.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t mind. I think the main thing that made the difference about this physical therapist is that he has many different ways of treating and is constantly tailoring my treatment to me. For me, needling, and cupping were very helpful, and he uses a massager and something that seems like the edge of scissors to break up scar tissue. By the time I found him it had been at least four years after the injury and I had gone through treatment with three different physical therapists, an acupuncturist and a chiropractor so I had a lot of scar tissue. At home he has me ice every night, and after my home exercises, or anytime I feel I need it. Before exercises I use heat and a car buffer (it works much like his expensive massager) he recommended. I also sometimes have cupped at home.

        I also use a bamboo self-warming sleeve I bought on amazon. It seems to lessen the pain. I don’t use it much now.

        I too have chronic health issues—fibromyalgia, CFC/me, sjogrens, food and other allergies and sensitivities—and I do feel like the persistence of the tendinitis is related, for me.

        I’m happy to share more information anytime. I hope your wrist recovers much more quickly and completely than my elbow.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for sharing, that is very helpful. You can’t really overstate the importance of someone who is willing to tailor their practices to suit each patient. I wondered if it was related to my overall health, too, as it seems quite out of the blue.


  5. Oh ouch, but yes, never underestimate how debilitating such things can be! Rest up and I do hope things heal soon so you can get back to doing things normally (which is pretty much everything really because your wrist is pretty useful!) ♥
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You know what they say, why have one illness when you can collext them all…wait, they don’t say that! UGH. It’s seriously this cascade of – you have got to be kidding me’s. My hands are very weak and painful too. I was told last year I have osteoarthritis in them. Just putting on compression stockings sent them into an all out several month rage. Hoping beyond all hopes that it clears up and you can resume what you love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, that is so true! You can’t just have one thing go wrong, can you. I’m sorry to hear you suffer from weak and painful hands, that must make your watercolours hard some days. Thank you and I hope the same for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny you mention that, I just do a little at a time but holding the watercolor book with my left hand sometimes pops the joints out and I have to stretch my hand out so they all go back together. Now that I’m writing that it sounds creepy! 😬 The things we begin to just accept as normal.🙃

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hope this doesn’t sound patronising, but have you been assessed for a hypermobility spectrum disorder? That experience of joints popping out sounds characteristic of one, and they go hand in hand with ME & POTS.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. That was interesting, thanks Janet. I know many women who have developed/had exacerbated autoimmune diseases as a response to pregnancy, I wonder how the hypothesis responds to those incidences.


      1. Pregnancy exacerbated: Maybe some women have hyper aggressive immune systems? or maybe the article’s hypothesis is faulty.

        Hypothesis of article: I might try birth control pills for a year, based on: “Or scientists could study the differences between mammals in the wild and zoo animals, which are sometimes on birth control, to determine whether they have differences in their autoimmune function.”

        Liked by 1 person

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