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!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Adding to the "Herd"

I thought you might enjoy seeing something besides rabbits for a change. I love to knit; that's no secret. So when Muriel asked if I wanted to knit a baby blanket for her new grandson, well I didn't hesitate. And when she threw in a few Jersey Woolys to sweeten the deal, I was all over it. Muriel loves sheep so the pattern to pick was obvious. This baby blanket, has mostly white sheep,

and one black sheep.
And it was finished in plenty of time before baby William arrived. Maybe it wasn't in plenty of time, but at least a couple of hours before he arrived!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Count 'em...1, 2, 3

The California State Convention was this past weekend in Turlock, CA. I was looking forward to the show because 1) I hadn't attended a show for a few weeks; 2) I wasn't judging so could show as many rabbits as I wanted; 3) Kendall was coming too. [Note: I love judging but it just sounded so relaxing to only show, rather than juggle multiple activities. Isn't it funny that I thought a rabbit show would be "relaxing"?]

The show was just as much fun as I imagined for all the above reasons and three more. Kendall and I won BOB American Fuzzy Lop with AK's Noah, a solid senior buck. I won BOB Jersey Wooly with Brian's Zane, a broken otter buck, and Kendall won BOB Thrianta (a first for her) with Kendall's Ruby, a junior doe. In addition, we also won BOSB Fuzzy and Thrianta, and sold the BOSB Jersey Wooly to its new owner who showed her!

On Sunday a double all breed show was held and there were about 50 Fuzzy Lops, a great showing! We had loads of our good friends there including Marian S, Tausha and Christina, Anita R, Gail M, Bob and Kelley T. In the first show Sunday, Marian S won BOB with her lovely solid junior doe and in the second show, Kendall and I won BOB with another solid senior buck.

What a good weekend. Boy am I tired!