Many people amongst my circle of aquaintances have their own fiber flock. In my spinning guild, there are people who raise alpacas, llamas, Shetlands, Icelandics, CVMs, and I may be missing a few breeds of beasties. So it's not like I can't find really great handspinning fleece - southern Vermont is filthy with it.
Me, I have no large fiberish critters. But I do have a goodly herd of these:
There ought to be laws against this horrifying level of cuteness.
She, or perhaps he - it's sometimes hard to tell the boys from the girls at this young age - is a lilac tort German hybrid angora, about two months old. I have lots of these beasts. Lots. My adult female bun surprised me with a litter and now the place is crawling with baby buns. They're like tribbles. (Do we all remember tribbles? For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, it's probably the most famous, and funniest, Star Trek episode ever. A classic of the genre.)
Here's another one, a black tort. Girl, I think. Or not. If it gets any sweeter we'll all be in diabetic shock.
Slowly, I was accumulating enough angora from my adult buns to spin into my own version of a Bohus. Been working on that for six months now, and figured it would take at least another half year, maybe more, to accumulate the necessary number of ounces. Suddenly I find myself in possession of enough buns to open a yarn factory. When these guys get big, I will be awash in angora. Which is not a terrible problem to have, I guess ;-)
Yet another one. I can't tolerate such cuteness so early in the morning.
Some of them will be staying here, some will be going to Rhinebeck to hopefully find new homes. I find myself slightly over-bunned at the moment
The particulars, for rabbit wonks: The litter is high-percentage German hybrid. I have two chocolate torts, a fawn, a lilac tort, a black tort, a cream and two whites. Not all will be going to Rhinebeck - I haven't made the final decision on whom to keep yet. Mama bun is a choc. tort, an excellent wooler with very dense, non-matting fiber. Daddy bun is cream, very interesting color genetics, and is a big dude. If you're interested in any of these babies, either contact me directly, or look for Katie of Smith Family Farms, Charlotte, Vermont, at Rhinebeck. She will have these babies with her.One thing about hand-harvested and handspun angora is that it is infinitely superior to commercial angora yarns. Commercial equipment is hard on Angora fiber. The very delicate individual strands break under the stress of the equipment. Generally, once the fiber gets shredded by the equipment, the staple length is only around an inch. Which doesn't leave very much to get caught up in the yarn twist. So, since a lot of it isn't very well secured in the first place, a lot sheds off. It's generally not so bad with blends (Solveig's Bohus yarn, for instance, is fabulous) but that's more a function of there not being so much angora to shed than it is any improvement in the commercial spinning process.
With hand-harvested and handspun fiber, the staple length is more like 2-5 inches. Enough of it gets caught up so that not much sheds. You still get the cloudlike softness, you still get the angora halo - but little or no shedding. Lesson: If you're going to wear pure bunny, make sure it's handspun bun. Or be prepared to buy stock in companies that make those sticky lint-roller things.
So what's a girl to do with so much angora? I amuse myself by contemplating visions of Me as 50s Sweater Girl. You've seen the pictures - Grace Kelly in form-fitting pastel angora, a Glamazon from head to toe.
Unfortunately there are several problems associated with that little snippet of dream, the least of which is that I don't look good in pastels. Let's not even talk about the fact that I haven't had the figure to get away with that for many a year. We need not discuss it. Just leave me to my little fantasies, OK?