On a farm, being cute is not enough. Each creature needs to earn their keep and that includes the cute bunnies. My youngest buns are finding this out this week. We have enjoyed our latest babies, watching them grow from little tiny hairless newborns to bouncing balls of fluff, each with distinctive personalities. Now it is harvest time. In other words, time for their first haircut. They have grown long angora locks. Along the way, I have been getting the little ones used to grooming by periodically combing them, keeping matts and tangles at bay. I love handling them, getting to know each one.
Steely Dan is a beautiful blue guy and has as pleasing calm personality. He is curious and explores everything. And he enjoys affection. His fiber is incredible, long and luscious with perfect amount of guard hair. Chocolate Chip is our, yes you guessed it, a chocolate guy. He is my shy one. While he does enjoy a scratch on the head, he is not the first to the door of his hutch to get one. At the moment he is overshadowed by hutch mate Steely Dan, but he is often seen grooming his buddy and smuggling up with him. He is our littlest guy, but makes up for it by growing lots of fluff in such a nice taupe color with a shimmer of reddish guard hair. Finally, Mr Sebastian. He is a lilac guy with the most adorable face. He is quite full of himself and eager for attention. And loves to explore. Although part of that exploring is tasting. He is known to nibble my shirt during grooming sessions. His fiber is a pinky grey, one of my faves.
I started with Sebastian. I comb him out removing a few tangles and loosening up his fiber. I want to start with gentle plucking, lifting out loose fiber. Many babies don’t like plucking at first. And Sebastian really didn’t. That is ok. In time I like to pluck most of the Fiber, as that is the best quality. But today, using scissors is fine. At first Sebastian was a bit wiggly. Once I knew plucking was not an option, I began clipping away during moments of stillness. I use an elbow to hug the bunny close and to try and settle the guy. I remove little matts behind the ears and around the hind quarters. I save the prime stuff along the back, dropping locks into a grocery bag hanging nearby. Well Sebastian had some nice moments of calm, only interrupted by clear attempts to take flying leaps off of the platform. None of my other bunnies have tried outright escape. And with such deceptiveness. He did not seem uncomfortable. But then all of a sudden, just leap. I had to be ready for these little explosions of bunny springs. Not easy with pointy scissors. I managed to complete my task anyway and had a nice bag of fluff as reward. And the little guy will be much cooler for the summer weeks remaining.
And what happens to the fluff? I am in the process of handspinning yarn for kits. I love 100% angora yarn when spun properly with quality fiber. Unlike most commercial angora yarn where short fibers are mixed in resulting in shedding, I use long fibers and firm spinning to produce a nicer yarn that has the traditional halo without the shedding. I like to design little projects for my Etsy farm shop.
I have a beaded Victorian collar pattern and have just finished designing a little lace fingerless glove pattern with beads. So I am in the process of spinning yarn for this kit. And Sebastian’ s fluff will be part of the yarn.
The kit will be in the shop soon. So Sebastian and the other bunnies do their part in providing their fluff for the most wonderful yarn, and not to mention for blending with other fiber for batts for spinning. I love raising these guys and their fluff make lots of spinners and knitters happy.