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Aug 11 11 11:47 AM

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Micro-sheep!  Just thought I'd share a picture of "Neo".  His mom is "Trinity" and his dad is "Morpheus" and he is "The One" so what else could he be named?  His official name is "Hillside's Neo" but we will just call him "Neo".  

He's eight weeks old today and starting later this week we will be having a bunny sale and selling a lot of his siblings although he's the only fawn colored one.  The rest are blacks, blues, agoutis and white.

These guys are even cuter now, they seem to go up a cuteness level every day when they are this age.  When they are adults they look like balls of fluff with a nose hiding at one end if they aren't sheared..  However the fiber makes the most luscious yarn so the ones around here get sheared three or four times a year.  They seem to enjoy it, though, after a haircut they get bouncy.

Extreme Snuggle Bunnies!  There are some starting at $50 each for a pet quality bunny with no pedigree going up to $100 each depending on color and conformation.  The fiber from these little bundles of cuteness sells for $6 to $10 an ounce depending on length and quality.  They make between four to ten ounces of fiber three to four times a year, depending on the density of the individual bunny's wool.

There is also now someone at the farmer's market who will sell hand spun yarn and unspun fiber for a 25% commission so there is a place to sell the fiber after it is produced without having to mail it somewhere.  We are trying to start a small fiber industry on the islands since these English Angora "Micro-sheep" can turn ti leaves and guinea grass into some of the most premium and luxurious fiber on the planet.  There is also a spinning group who meets with the quilting group on Wednesday mornings in Honokaa so we can teach you how to make a drop spindle and spin the bunny wool with it.

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#3 [url]

Aug 12 11 1:55 PM

Ooopers!  Somehow I counted the weeks on the calendar wrong!  Neo is only six weeks old, not eight!  He will get cuter and his wool will grow a lot longer, too.  The other litter of bunnies (there are two right now) is the one going on eight weeks old.  It's hard to keep track sometimes.

You'd be amazed at how many folks inquire about angora underwear, Buffers!  Maybe I should knit some up.  Mostly the plan is to sell the fiber as yarn instead of as knitted items since knitting adds hours to the preparation time.  There is a bit of "value added" in knitting the yarn, but when figured out on a per hour basis spinning fiber into yarn is more profitable than knitting yarn into items.

I've been knitting a scarf lately and had I been spinning instead of knitting, there would be a half dozen or more skeins of yarn to sell instead of merely one scarf.  Especially since I may keep the scarf for myself, oh wellos!  However, using the handspun yarn to knit with does give me insight on how to improve the spinning so it's all good.

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#4 [url]

Aug 12 11 6:46 PM

Oh man, i want one sooo bad.

Chooks, a neighbor of mine just purchased half of the 'Na'alehu Alpaca Farm' herd. He's looking for spinners & I'm curious how an alpaca/angora blend would work.  I am considering doing a high-end natural fiber set of scarves this Xmas.  Do you have prices for your spun wool (you can send it to me PM if you do).  I'm looking for very light colors that I can hand dye. I think I need 40 yards per scarf.


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#5 [url]

Aug 13 11 1:41 AM

An alpaca/angora blend would probably be nice, although I usually just spin 100% angora since it is soo ungawdly soft that way and gets a great "halo" on it.  The trouble with mixing fibers is getting the carder to do it.  With the angora, it gets lightly hand carded a bit and then it's ready to spin.  If you had a drum carder, then mixing wools would be easier.  I want to get one sometime soon, but all the ones I've seen have been in the hundreds of dollars.

Is the fellow who bought the alpacas finding very many spinners?  I've been finding more people who want to spin than people with spinning wheels, at least on this part of the island.  At some point I'd like to start making spinning wheels but we are still up to our eyeballs in moving house and it will be awhile before the wood shop gets set up.  There is a fellow in Volcano who is trying to get a spinning wheel since all he has at the moment is a drop spindle and it takes forever to spin with just a drop spindle.  How is the person with the alpacas paying people to spin?  Per skein or by the hour or are there other arrangements?

With the natural fiber, I've been going with the "pure and natural no chemicals, no dyes" route.  Saves having to dye the angora wool and it comes in nice pastel shades of gray, more or less.  White too, although I don't have much of that spun up at the moment.  Especially since I'm knitting a scarf for myself out of the white.

At the moment, I have two skeins of angora yarn, one is a warm gray from Dozer and one is a darker gray from Trinity.  The one from Dozer is 2.5 ounces, about 9 wraps per inch (thickness gauge) and approximately eighty yards.  The skein from Trinity is 1.5 ounces, approx. 9 wraps per inch and about 48 yards more or less.  They are both 100% angora, hand raised and hand spun with no chemical dyes added.  Each skein is from one individual bunny, too.  Angora yarn goes for $20 an ounce if you get it directly from me or the folks who sell it for me add in either 25% or 30% so it would be either $24 or $26 per ounce from one of them.  So the Dozer skein is $50 and the Trinity skein is $30 if you get them from me versus $60/$65 and $36/$39.  I probably have about four ounces left to spin, then I'll have to get more wool from the bunnies.  Wool production is still quite low since there aren't that many bunnies out there.  I've also already sold the majority of the angora yarn already from the last wool gathering.

There is a merino sheep's fleece out soaking, but it will be about two weeks before that will be ready to spin.  It's a nice soft fiber - not as soft as angora, of course, but still soft enough to wear near your face or neck.  That will wash up to an off white and sheeps wool is only $10 an ounce once it's spun up.  Or $12 or $13 per ounce if you get it from the folks I sell it to.

I do have a "fiber" bunny available.  Her ears are just totally impossible so she will be sold as a "wooler" without a pedigree.  She's only $45 if you'd prefer to spin your own yarn.  She's actually a "black" although the camera shows her as more of a gray with some brown.  Angora wool is a pastel shade by the time it's ready to harvest no matter what color the rabbit is.  A "black" rabbit will only have a black nose and the rest of the bunny will be some shade of gray but the rabbit color is determined by the nose so it will be considered a "black" bunny anyway.  This is the "wooler", she is just about seven weeks old when the picture was taken and that was just a couple days ago.

So far she is the only "wooler" out of this batch of bunnies, the rest are $75 - $80 or so and about half of them already have homes, I just don't know which bunny goes to which person yet.

Here's some of the yarn made up into a scarf.  You can almost see the halo on the yarn, it's hard to show how soft the stuff is in merely a picture.

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