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Tips to Make Wonderful Handspun Angora Yarn

On November 20, 2010, in Spinning, by tina

So soft warm and fluffy that is the best way I can describe the wool the angora rabbits can produce.  Each of the different angora breeds have their own unique and wonderful qualities.  In the USA their are 4 breeds recognized by the ARBA for showing- English, Satin, French, & Giant.  Their is also the German angora which is another breed raised in North America and supported by IAGARB club.  Spinning 100% angora can be more challenging because of the wool being more slippery compared to sheep wool.  I highly recommend giving it a try the  yarn that is created  is so wonderful to the touch.  It doesn’t matter how it looks if its lumpy & bumpy or thick or thin, these can be novelty yarns that are fun to create with.  Give angora a try you may be very surprised at what you can spin up with it.

Some tips to spin 100% angora yarn:

1. You can choose to spin the fiber straight from the bunny. The rabbit fiber is generally clean – has  little if any vegetable matter  and no lanolin in their wool. The wool can be sheared, combed, or plucked (only the breeds that molt naturally for plucking -ex. French) from the rabbit.

2. Others prefer to card the fiber after removing it from the rabbit and before spinning. Cotton carders work better for this with the teeth being closer together.  Carding sometimes is preferred because it makes drafting the fiber as you spin easier and the yarn is more even.

3. Getting the wheel ready to spin. First to spin a fine fiber the wheel should be set up using  a higher whorl, this way it adds more twist into the yarn which angora needs to hold together. If the strand your spinning keeps falling apart it needs more twist to hold it together.

4. Next have the brake band on the wheel with a loose tension which barely takes up the fiber onto the bobbin. You will probably have to play with it to get the right feel as you spin. If the strand takes up on to the bobbin more quickly then you can draft it, it needs to be loosened a little more. Some wheels the tension is very sensitive -use small turns and test to see what works for the take up. Start slow and pedal, stop and check the yarn to see how the twist is occasionally and if its holding together for you.  As you work with it and feel more comfortable it will become easier

5. You can choose to use the single strand yarn for a project or make a second ( even 3rd strand) to ply together.  Two ply is nice it adds a little extra strength to the yarn and knits up beautiful for many projects. To do 2 ply you will need 2 strands of spun angora. If you spun S singles then you will want to ply Z the opposite way or vice versa. Place the two spools of spun yarn on your lazy kate or I even have used 2 small boxes side by side when I didn’t have one. Take each strand and attach it to the leader string on the bobbin thats on the wheel.  Using the same method of having to adjust the brake band slowly start peddling the wheel the opposite way the singles were spun. The 2 strands will start twisting together. I found when I first started plying it helped to count how many times I pushed on the peddle to twist the yarn together and then count how many to let the yarn be taken up onto the spool. It will become a rhythm after awhile and you may not need to count.

6. After doing a few yards of plying stop and check the yarn. Look it over well where plyed to see if it lays the way you like. You may have to keep adjusting the tension on the brake band until you get the look of the yarn you like. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect its a learning experience, the more you play with it the easier it becomes. As the bobbin becomes fuller the brake band with need to be tightened a little to get the yarn to take up. Do just a little bit at a time.

7. After the yarn is all spun and plyed it needs to be set. Having 2 bowls-  fill one with very hot water (as hot as your hand can take) add a little soap. The second put very cold water in. Place the yarn in the hot water and plunge it up and down several times- its ok to get rough. Then after doing that  squeeze out the hot water and put the yarn in the ice cold water, plunge it up and down. Do this several times.  As rough as this seems it sets the yarn. Repeat this a couple times.

8. After the washing you can spin out the water in the washer. Just use the spin cycle. For the last step- take the yarn out of the washer and whack it several times on the counter. Turn the yarn and do both ends. This helps the yarn bloom. Then hang to dry completely and your yarn will be ready to knit.

Handspinning angora can be a challenge but with patience can be learned. The reward is that wonderful finished yarn you made yourself  to create that soft and fluffy hat or pair of mittens to keep you warm in the winter.

 

Caring for your Angora Rabbit

On November 7, 2010, in Rabbit Care, by ktwpadmin

Caring For An Angora:

This touches on the basics of what you should provide for your new rabbit. What is shared is what has worked for us. We are not licensed veterinarians. If you have any questions a veterinarian should be the first choice for advise.

Cages:
We found the 30 x 36 cage to work well for us.  We use stackable cages with trays from Klubertanz. They come with the plastic trays which we have found to be easy to keep cleaner. Hanging cages are a good choice, cleaning is done quicker with this type by just raking up. If you rather make your own cages, many rabbit supply companies carry the wire and tools needed.
If keeping your rabbit outside they need to have protection from weather elements such as rain, extreme heat and cold. Predators can be another threat.  Personally for us our biggest problem has been dogs, some as neighbors pets and others just roaming loose. Raccoons, fox and other wildlife can also be a problem. We use a small pole barn to house our rabbits, placing on it a secure homemade door (on the order of a screen door) which is wired with chicken wire so air can ventilate through. Keep in mind when deciding on a area -cages need to be placed where the rabbit will be protected.
If keeping your rabbit inside their are some very nice cages you can buy at pet stores for the house rabbit. Rabbits can be trained to use litter boxes to keep cleaning easier. Indoor bunnies must be supervised when let out to wander around the home, they  could bite on cords or chew furniture. Other household pets should also be watched around the rabbit too.

Feed/Hay:

A good quality feed is important in having a healthy rabbit with beautiful wool. Check the milling date on the bag to see if its less then 6 months old. Our choice is a higher protein feed, we found this has worked well for our rabbits.  The adult rabbits are usually fed about 1 cup a day, and babies are fed free choice to around 4-6 months. We check rabbits on a regular basis and adjust feed if needed.
For our rabbits grass hay is always fed free choice everyday. It helps aid in preventing wool block and they enjoy it. Once or twice a week we may give a treat -some choices may be apple slices, broccoli, or carrots.

Grooming/Shearing:
Most of our Germans and hybrids have required little grooming. For our rabbits most brushing between shearings is done around the cheek and neck area, and around the bottom and feet. The heavily wooled angoras are given a cheek (face) and cheek (bottom) which is clipping the area short with scissors midway between shearing times. Then around every 3 months the bunny is given a complete shearing. We have found after an overall shearing they become more active, enjoying having more freedom for movement.

Wool Block:

By following the 3 month shearing schedule in our rabbitry we have had little problem with wool block.  A good way to tell the health of the rabbit is to check the dropping. A healthy rabbit will have large round, moist droppings with no wool attached like string. If dropping become small and dry looking, sometimes looking like a string of pearl the rabbit is showing signs of wool block. The first thing we do is shear the rabbit. By removing the wool they cannot ingest more if they groom. Increasing the fiber is next. Pellets are removed and replace with birdseed or oats. We give them lots of hay (and straw too) free choice. We like to give them fresh greens that are available or broccoli (seems to be a favorite) along with the hay. This usually works pretty well for us and gets them back on track. Pellets will be slowly introduced back in after seeing droppings return back to normal size. If their is any questions or concerns a vet should be your first place to seek advise. If a rabbit stops eating and has no dropping, seek a vet quickly the life of the rabbit is at risk.

 

Sales Policy

On November 7, 2010, in Rabbits for Sale, by tina

Due to having some problems,  I was forced to come up with a sales policy.

Sales Policy- Updated Oct. 2015– Please read through before contacting us for a rabbit

By placing a deposit down on a rabbit or purchasing in full a rabbit you are agreeing to the terms of this sales policy:

Check our for sale page as I try to update it on a regular basis. When inquiring for a  German angora rabbit or German hybrid angora rabbit I will let you know what I have at the present time and upcoming litters. I no longer will keep a waiting list for when litters are weaned and ready due to many not responding back or changing their minds. If you are interested in a rabbit – I will give you a time frame when they will be ready and it will be up to you to get back with me if you are  interested in buying a rabbit. Our rabbits are part of our family and I only breed to keep lines ongoing. Since I cannot keep every one I will offer a few for sale.

To the best of our knowledge I will only sell healthy rabbits.  I will not be responsible for the health of the rabbit once it leaves here. I do my  best to check the rabbit over well before it leaves here, but it is the responsibility of the buyer to check the rabbit before it leaves here. Their are too many other factors to take into consideration that are beyond my control once the rabbit leaves. If the rabbit has a health problem due to a genetic inheritance (buck teeth as example) – after being examined and in writing by a licensed veterinarian, then and only for a genetic health issue will I issue a refund for the cost of the rabbit only. I will not be responsible for any veterinarian bills, it is the responsibility of the buyer.

I cannot guarantee the rabbit for breeding or the amount of wool it can produce.  I cannot predict what nature will do.

A  25% deposit will hold a rabbit of choice for a buyer, otherwise it is still considered for sale until it is paid for and picked up.
Deposits are non-refundable unless we cancel the sale, this is the only time we will refund a deposit. If you cancel the sale or do not pick up the rabbit in the agreed upon time frame, usually 2 weeks, you forfeit your deposit and the rabbit will go back up for sale.

For the Deposit only- I accept cash, check (must have waiting time to clear for this way). I accept paypal.

RABBIT MUST BE PAID IN FULL WHEN PICKED UP — CASH ONLY at pickup time.

I do not ship rabbits.

 

Support

On November 7, 2010, in Rabbits for Sale, by tina

We offer support to anyone when taking home your new angora bunny. I know sometimes questions can come up after getting the rabbit home and settled in to their new place. We will do our best to answer your angora bunny questions and if we do not have the answer try to refer you to somewhere that may.

Feel free to call us at (517) 618-1936 or contact us via our contact form

 

Previously Available

On November 6, 2010, in Rabbits for Sale, by ktwpadmin

Here are some of our previously available rabbits