Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How the world goes round

I hate to throw away useful stuff. Like Fuzzy Lop wool that comes off during grooming. Of course the trick is--figure out what it is useful for! One day while knitting I realized how much I liked angora yarn. Where do you think that comes from? Rabbits, duh! And I have a whole barn full of them, molting all over the cage wire. Now if I could just get them to molt into a bag. Well that didn't happen; the bunnies still molt everywhere rather than in a neat pile. But I started collecting the wool. My friends started collecting the wool and soon I was spinning wool int yarn and knitting it into useful items, like gloves and scarves. Bingo! I turned something I once threw away into a valuable product. (see http://www.etsy.com/shop/JustASoftie).

So just a short step down this line of crazy talk was the purchase of a drum carder. This is a simple machine used to process the wool before spinning. A carder helps fluff out the wool and blend with different fibers, like sheep wool or alpaca. Or the carder is used to mix colors of fiber, making a different color in the final wool, than the original.

Below is my new Fancy Kitty Kitten Carder (http://www.fancy-kitty.com/carders1.html). The carder is being loaded with two different colors of dyed Fuzzy Lop wool (dying will have to wait for a later post!). You should be able to see both fushia and purple fiber.

The handle of the carder is slowly cranked and the fiber is picked up by the small licker drum and deposited on the larger drum shown here. Pretty, isn't ?

Here is a shot of the small licker drum feeding fiber on to the larger drum.

When finished with the process, the end result is a batt. The one shown below has about 10% natural Fuzzy Lop wool for the fluff factor, mixed with suri alpaca (white), bamboo (blue) and merino wool (pink). The batt itself is gorgeous and hand spinners love to work with these materials.

This batt spun up into a pretty small skein of yarn too, that has a nice "angora" halo and a very soft feel. Don't try to tell me that Fuzzy Lops aren't useful! Well gotta go groom my bunnies--to keep them looking great and to collect wool for spinning!

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