Friday, 29 January 2010

Angora rabbits

I had a comment from Sunny about the rabbits, so I will post a little about them. The only difference between Angora and short haired rabbit care is obviously the brushing, but Angoras are either bedded on wire floors to keep their fleeces clean for showing, or on shavings with straw on top which I prefer. I feed them on Burgess pellets, I have always fed my rabbits on muesli type feeds, but I was getting a lot of waste, now there is none. They need a good diet in order to produce the best quality wool.

They need to be brushed at least once a week , twice when they are in full moult. You can also clip or pluck them to get wool for spinning. I mostly just brush them. The back and sides are the best, longest areas of wool, the undersides can be contaminated with waste or shavings and other vegetable material. I don't like clipping them as their skin is so fine and thin it is too easy to cut them by mistake, and although they heal up very quickly it distresses me when I do it. Plucking may sound painful, but you only do it when they are moulting and you tug gently all over the wool and it comes out in handfuls.

The brushed, plucked or clipped wool is then carded before blending with other fibres. Angora is very fine and warm, on it's own it is only suitable for garments for Artic conditions. It needs to be blended with other fine fibres like Merino wool or silk in order to decrease the heat retention properties of the yarn. The fibre is very soft and slippery to spin, I haven't mastered it yet.

Haven't posted for nearly a year

Well, I have been very lax in posting, so I will give you a quick resume of what I have been doing for the last year. I didn't make the two chunky sweaters in the end, I still have them to do. I have made several for my Grandaughter, a green crochet sleeveless top for me, a dark blue crochet shawl which is now on display in a craft workshop window in London and a peach 4 ply knitted sleeveless pullover.

I have been spinning a little, but the hand carding affected the arthritis in my hands badly, so I have been given a drum carder for Christmas and I have been carding like mad, Hebridean, Jacobs Fleece and North Ronaldsay so far. Once I have a load carded I will spin it all and make something.

I have just finished tiling our lounge floor (ceramic tiles) and it looks really good, but it made my hands and shoulders very sore and painful. I went on a virtually raw food diet during the Summer and it improved my arthritis greatly, but over Christmas I lapsed and ate things I shouldn't. Basically I have cut out anything containing wheat, sugar or other processed foods. So my hands got bad again. They are just recovering, nearly a month later. I want to use the Hebridean fleece (dark brown) to spin some chunky wool and crochet it with a giant crochet hook into rugs for the lounge which I will felt so I will be able to machine wash them.

I have just started quilting again. I did hand quilting many years ago and nothing since, but my eldest daughter taught a quilting beginners class last week, I pieced 2 ninepatch cushion tops to go in the lounge, black flowered with plain cream. I also tried out free motion quilting on my daughters vintage Necchi Supernova and really enjoyed it, so I will be setting up one of my treadles to practice some more before I quilt the cushions. I have to make a long overdue quilt for my Grandaughter, just waiting for the size and deciding what pattern to use. I also have some hand pieced squares left over from hand quilting which I might finish quilting on the machine.

The turbo charger on Our Renault Megane blew up 2 days ago and it is very expensive to fix so we only have Phil's trike as transport or the Post Bus. So, I need to knit 2 balaclavas, 2 neck warmers and 2 sets of knee warmers to keep us warm on the trike. all on the knitting machine for speed. I will use the Singer Chunky I think as I have some dark purple coned wool in quantity.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Haven't posted for nearly a year

Well, I have been very lax about posting on my blog, so I will give you an update.

During the last year I have been making a lot of hand crafted cold process soap with my daughter. This goes on sale in an interiors shop in London.

I have made several sweaters for my grandaughter, finished the red brushed sideways sweater with navy cuffs and ribs, crocheted a sleeveless top in green. I am making an Aran sweater in pale yellow Sirdar Denim Sport Aran, using an old Studley patten which I have had for years and never used.

I have done a bit more spinning, but the hand carding was bad for the arthritis in my hands so I didn't do a lot. I got a drum carder for Christmas so have been carding a lot and doing some more spinning. I intend to card a complete Hebridean fleece which is very dark brown. Then I want to spin some chunky wool and crochet some rugs with a giant crochet hook, then felt them so they are thick and warm.

My arthritis got a lot better because I cut out wheat and sugar entirely and went onto a virtually raw food diet during the Summer. It's not so good at the moment because I ate a lot of rubbish over the Christmas period. They are just getting better now. It didn't help that I have just tiled our lounge floor with ceramic tiles. This made my hands, arms and shoulders really bad, but the floor is mostly done and I am very pleased with it. Much easier to clean than carpet.

I have just started quilting again after many years. I used to hand quilt, went to classes for 6 months. Now I have started machine quilting. I have tried free motion quilting on my daughters old Necchi Supernova and it was easy. Now I have to find one of my machines which will work well, hopefully one of my treadles. I helped my daughter out with her quilting course for beginners and pieced a couple of new cushions for the lounge. I will free motion quilt these when I have sorted out a machine