Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yarn and more

I finally got my first skein of angora done.  It was a blend of angora and Corriedale wool.  I don't have scales to measure exactly, but I would guess it was roughly 30% to 40% angora to wool.  I used hand cards for this.  I have fine fiber cards, but just used my regular ones, and it worked out fine.  I used the clipped angora, and since there were 3 or 4 lengths of coat in each 'lock,' I thought the shortest pieces would act like second cuts and pop out, but they didn't.  How much it will pill remains to be seen.  It was surprisingly easy to spin - because of the wool, I would imagine - and seemed similar to alpaca in the way it spun up.  I don't have a photo of the skein, but if I take one, I will add it later.  Not much to see at this point, just a light gray skein of yarn, but it is soft!   I could tell just as I held it while spinning, that it will be warm.  I spun it as fine as I could, and I normally spin pretty fine.  I found a lace scarf pattern that is supposed to be good for beginners, and thought I might use it for that.  This first spinning will stay natural gray, I think - plenty of time for dyeing later. 

Shearing vs plucking experiment:  Holly's  (the clipped one)  coat is growing in very, very dense, but at times I think to myself, "but it isn't soft....' (relatively speaking-I'm sure it's just my imagination).  Ivy (plucked) is very silky soft, but her coat has lost a lot of it's density, naturally, since plucking removed 1/4 to 1/3 of her coat, depending on how many she was growing in when her baby coat began to molt.   I haven't decided what to do in the future, but especially since the clipped wool spun up so nicely, and clipping is so easy..........I haven't thought about clipping Ivy down at this point, though.  It's too cold, and I want to see if I can get more length on it.  

Holly and Ivy are still loving their pets and ear rubs, but still hating going in and out of the cage.  I don't know where I would put it, but I may also have to resort to a grooming table.  They are far more interested in exploring and wadding up the towel I have them on, rather than be content to sit still for grooming.   And easing them onto their rump to tip them back enough to get the belly brushed - fu'get about it!!   Holly pulled a naughty one last night!  I had been petting her and touched her toy to move it so I could reach her better, when she growled, lunged and tried to bite me.  She did it twice, so I said NO!, took her toy away, closed the cage and left the room.  Later after she had calmed down, I came back, gave her the toy back and stroked her a while and she was fine.  Everything I am reading says this is hormonal, that pet rabbits should be spayed or neutered, but not to let any vet who is not a rabbit expert touch your bun.  I'm sure my vet is no rabbit expert, and I don't know if I want the expense of that anyway, so - since rabbits are supposed to be able to be trained, to some extent, I'll try to temper the hormones with that.   My bunny girls are funny, sweet when they want to be, but placid - they're not.  (can you say Diva?)

I'm searching for other Angora owners in KY, and think I may have found a couple, but none of them show, which is why they don't join the clubs or show up on member's lists.  Still, it will be fun to meet local rabbit people.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Bunnies Settle In

I realized looking at today's date, that I have not had 'the girls' for a month yet.  It seems a lot longer than that - in a good way.  Everyone is getting along fine, and their personalities are beginning to come out.   They love broccoli stems and hay (I give treats every 2 - 3 days) but don't care for carrots much.  One - I didn't figure out who - pushed her carrot out of the cage a few times, Until I realized she didn't want it.  

Here is a photo of Holly a few days after being sheared:

She seemed very happy to be rid of all that hair, even though I keep the house cool, and the room they are in is cooler still.  She eats and drinks very well - like a piglet.   They both have toys in their cages and if she hears me beginning to get up in the morning she will take her plastic baby keys and scrape them back forth (like a prisoner rattling the bars with a tin cup).  If I don't come and feed her right away, she THUMPS, to get my attention!

This is Ivy, with her half on - half off coat.  I sheared one and I am plucking one to see what the difference might be from a spinning perspective.
She is a little quieter, but is still the naughtier of the two.   I put resting boards in their cages (you can see it in the above photo)  - Holly uses hers to lay on, Ivy pees on hers.  Holly goes in pretty much one spot, making her a good candidate for litter training, but I think the litter box - even special ones for rabbits - take up too much room in the cage, so I probably will leave things as they are.  Ivy goes any and everywhere.

But, Ivy has a special friend.  My only boy kitty (yes, he's neutered), Ciaran, wuuuuuuvs his Ivy:
He grooms her face and ears every time I take her out to groom her, and she seems to love it.  He does the same with Holly, but not as much.

They both HATE being taken out and put in their cages.  Speaking softly, moving slowly,  petting and stroking first, if I make any movement like I am going to pick one of them up .......oh MY!  Growling, lunging, trying to BITE!    SUCH a FUSS!   Once I have them safely and firmly in my arms, it's like ....'oh, this isn't so bad. '  They love being out - and then hate going back in again! 

Any time I open their cage - even if they have been clammoring for food, they will run over to the door, crouch down and put their heads out and close their eyes, waiting for pets and ear rubs, which they would let me do forever, I think.   Sometimes I think about other rabbits - kept outside, no toys, no stimulation, and I'm glad I could give these guys a pet home.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Maybe it's in the genes.

Earlier this year, I began to do some geneological research on my mother's side of the family.  A few of us had done some on Dad's side (from Ohio), but we didn't know much about Mom's Kentucky relatives except a few hints and legends.  What I found was at times fascinating and at others, appalling.  My mother was very proud of being Irish ........but we're not, I found.  Not a drop.  Like many or most of the settlers in this part of the country, we are Scots-Irish, Scots who came to the New World via Ireland.  One of the heartwarming things I found while doing the research was this:

This is Rebecca Witten Graham's spinning wheel.

Rebecca Witten Graham was my 4th Great-Grandmother.  She was born in 1775 in Virginia, married John Graham in 1803, and moved to what is now Floyd County (in present-day Emma) KY in 1805.  She died in 1843.  The wheel was passed down from mother to daughter, and several generations later, with no more daughters to inherit, it is on loan and display in the Samuel May House in Prestonsburg, KY.  

The title of this post notwithstanding, that Rebecca had a spinning wheel is no surprise - everyone had to spin then, or they had no cloth!  But still, I like to think I am carrying on some family heritage when I sit down at my wheel and spin, seven generations later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

new photos

My new header photo is from the day I spent at the KY Horse Park two weeks ago with Michelle and her family.  Aren't they a lovely family!?!   (Mr. Cool trying not to smile.....cracks me up) 

I told Michelle she needed to change the photo of herself on her blog, because she is MUCH prettier in person than her photo would lead you to believe!  

It was a great time and glorious weather to boot!   Michelle did such a good job telling of her time here in Central Kentucky, so I won't attempt to do that again except to say whenever you are ready to come back, we will 'make you very welcome!'