The Knitting Journeyman

Gathering Up One Thread At A Time As I Weave This Web Of Mine.....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why Fiber Is A Bad Thing -- At Least For Me

            Oh, it is not what you think.  Really.  I am talking about animal fiber.  Sheep.  Llama.  Alpaca. Rabbit.  Goat.  I am unwilling to spin my dog’s fur…simply because I know where she’s been…although I keep looking at her tail, with its eight inch long hairs, thinking, well…maybe…

            This all started with a trip to my closest local yarn store, the Weaving Dept.
That trip turned me into a fiend, of sorts.  My spinning wheel is set to be delivered this Monday, according to UPS.  (For more details on just what the heck happened, read the story here or here, for a more in-depth look-see.

            I asked, well, I asked everyone I know if they know of a local source for sheep’s wool, or any other wool.  My main enabler and friend, Kerry, lead me to my new friend, Theresa, who raises alpaca.  This week-end, we’ll be picking up some fiber from her…both roving and raw fiber for me to play w for a bit.

            Now, my brain started to SPIN.  I cannot have a great big huge sprawling farm.  At least, not right this second.  Theresa and I started talking about once she and hers are settled (they are in the process of moving) us going take a look at her stock and buy our first alpaca.  A young male.  Just to get our feet wet in the business.  We will board him w her.  Isn’t it nice when plans you’ve had for so many years finally start to come together?  All that alpaca research we did when we were w T, it’s all coming to fruition now.  It’s also well within our means right now.  Between the farming and the real estate, we do have more than a slight chance to break things open in a big way here.

            But, an alpaca in the future is not the same thing as having one right this second.  Nancy #2, at the Barn at the Weaving Dept, made a very fatal mistake while we were there.  Somewhere in that conversation, she asked me something along the lines of have I ever knitted with homespun angora before…and I haven’t … and she told me to just wait, that it is so amazing.  That little seed sat there until I spoke w Theresa, at which point, that seed decided not just to bloom, but to burst forth as a wildly gyrating creature, shaking me to my core. 

            First, I will tell you, after conversing w a friend and w my boyfriend this morning, both of whom picked on me about how things tend to happen BOOM fast w me, that rabbits and I are not unknown to one another.  I will agree, whole-heartedly, that raising angora rabbits never really occurred to me—until yesterday.  Before we left WV, I was heavy into research about owning and caring for a rabbit.  I wanted one as a pet.  Even after we moved here in 2008, I look at several online adoption places to see what they had available.  Ken, our border collie mix, is the main reason I held back—with her philosophy of if it’s smaller than me, it’s a chew toy, it seemed a good idea.  I spent a great deal of time learning about rabbits and thinking about having a rabbit as a pet.

            But, an angora rabbit?  That really hadn’t sounded like a good idea.  Have you seen an angora rabbit?  Most of the time, I can’t guarantee you I will make time for myself, much less something that looks like an oversized tribble.  For some reason, between the alpaca and the spinning wheel and thinking about raising a couple chickens in our backyard this year…before we buy that larger house w more land where we can keep our alpaca and chickens and small horse-sized dogs (our three dogs weigh in from 60-80 pounds, give or take, based on last weighings)…and I have been wanting something…smaller…and I am not a cat person (anymore).  Which is where the whole rabbit as a pet issue popped up years ago anyway…but an angora rabbit…serves as source of fiber (that does not need to be cleaned or carded, but can be spun quite literally right off the little bugger’s butt—although I would not do that, for the sake of the animal)…it serves as a pet –and one that can be cuddled and loved and toted around in a little yappy dog bag, if so I would choose.  And, it would force me to make myself do so many things that I want to do, but keep putting off…like … being at my own house more often…simply because R has vetoed the rabbits at his house…due to the dog issue.  And it gives me an opportunity to re-train Kendall about her chew toy habits—and get her used to me having something small in my arms, a lot, before the babies come…as in, children we haven’t had yet, but will in the distinct future.

            I do have to mention the one site that really set me off on my angora rabbit research and search yesterday.  It was so simple a search.  I was looking for spinning information. And found The Joy of Handspinning.  They have an article –and a huge amount of information—on angora rabbits there.  After that, I was OFF and running…

            So, I set out amongst my trusty friends to find a rabbit breeder locally.  I really didn’t have all that much luck.  A little research online, however, and I learned a great deal.
            The German Angora information Page is a stunning and plentiful resource for angora rabbits, their care, their upkeep, their trials and tribulations…and their breeders.  I contacted one local breeder via this site—sorry—she doesn’t have a website and I won’t give out her email address without permission—it is on the site.  I emailed her yesterday, with my fingers crossed.  I also emailed my dad, who is in WV, and asked him to keep an eye out.  I know he goes to flea markets where there are live animals to be had.  I told him if he found some, I would come pick them up!  That is how very serious I am. 

            When I awoke this morning, I had not one, but two emails from breeders.  The breeder I contacted had forwarded my email on to another breeder, since I was asking about different breeds of angora.  I am very grateful she did this too.  Included was an email address for a third breeder as well.  I am very happy.  I emailed both breeders, but not the third as the second breeder seems to have what I am looking for in terms of breed.  I have asked for two does to be held for me out of a current litter of English angoras.  They are too young to be taken from their mother yet, which gives me time to find a rabbit house for inside and to get all the accoutrements I will need to have them live w us.  I have a request in w the second breeder for when she starts breeding her rabbits this summer.  I was leaning more towards a German angora, but now think I will prefer the French.

            Now, all I have to do is find the indoor rabbit hutch I have wanted for awhile, since I started the research for a pet bunny all that long ago.  Find a shelter.  Find food.  Find accoutrements.  Buy books not just on rabbit care, but on maintaining an angora properly as well.  Oh, this is so much fun.  I will keep you posted as to new developments as they arise.  Once the baby bunnies arrive, there will be pictures, I assure you.

BTW--these are not, so far as I know, angora babies...but they are adorable.