Heathered Pink Angora Yarn

My friend gave me about 4 oz of grey English Angora fiber to spin that she had been saving from her rabbits. She doesn’t spin, but is an avid knitter, so she was looking forward to knitting with her own fiber.

I hackled the fiber to sort out all the short bits, neps, and hay, and was left with about 1.7 oz of prime fiber. She asked for pink in the batts, so I used 2 different shades of pink Tussah silk, and dyed some merino/silk blend top to layer in the batts.

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2

I spun and 2-plied the batts into about 180 yards.Although I love the softness, I don’t care for Angora’s tendency to bloom and shed, so I spun the singles with a very high twist so that the loose ends have a harder time escaping the yarn.

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5

Thanks for reading!

A surprise litter…

About 3 weeks ago Chloe had 4 adorable kits! Right now they are at the peak of baby cuteness.

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baby french angora rabbit, baby bunnies

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This was an accidental litter of Chloe, (Black Tort) X Andre (Chocolate Tort). (Rabbits are very sneaky!) I think there are 2 males and 2 females, 3 Black Torts and possibly one Blue Tort.

_MG_2570

I am excited to see how the possible Blue Tort develops… I’m tempted to keep her. She is the runt of the litter and is very highly shaded. She is the one farthest to the left in the picture above – you can see how she is shaded compared to her littermate.

This litter will be ready to go to new homes by October 25, but you can reserve one until they are old enough to leave their mother! Contact me, and we can work something out. The babies will be $25 each or $45 for two, with partial pedigree.
Thank you!

Baby Bunny Photo Bomb!

The babies are 2.5 weeks old, and at the peak of cuteness. Enjoy!

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after shoot

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group 2 weeks

This litter’s colors are 3 black and 2 agouti. I will be keeping one of the black ones if it is a doe, but the rest I will be selling, so feel free to leave a comment and reserve a bunny for you!

From Bunny To Yarn

I finished my first real yardage of Angora yarn! I made my first weaving project, a scarf. Here is the yarn- a lot of time and effort has gone into it!
I blended a 75% alpaca to 25% angora mix, from my French Angora buck, Andre. This yarn has taken most of the summer and fall of 2014 to prepare for – I custom made a hackle to blend the fiber on, harvested the fiber from Andre, I waited until the Rhinebeck festival to get the alpaca, I blended, spun, Navajo plied and steamed the yarn, warped the loom, and now I’m finally using it!

Here are pictures of the process.

Andre, the wool producer

french angora rabbit, chocolate tort rabbit, angora rabbit

My custom hackle- here I’m blending the alpaca and angora to spin.
custom made hackle, hand made hackle, fiber hackle, fiber hackle for sale Here is the finished yarn- Navajo plied, roughly 250 yards.

angora yarn, french angora rabbit, rabbit fur, rabbit wool, angora rabbit yarn, hand spun yarnThen I steamed the yarn, warped the loom, and started weaving!

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I finished the scarf with a technique called hemstitching, which ties off the ends of the woven piece and gathers the warp into groups of fringe.

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And here is the finished scarf!

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angora scarf, hand woven, womens gifts, what to buy for mothers day, easter, hand made scarf, hem stitching, angora scarf Thanks for reading!

A New 10″ Hackle

Recently I made a new hackle (much larger than the first one) to blend wool on. I used 6 cake breaker heads on this one for 2 pitch hackle with a working length of about 10 inches.

 custom hackle, diy hackle, maple wood hackleWe used a nice chunk of maple wood for the base.

2 pitch hackle, fiber prep hackle, double row hackleWe made custom clamps to hold the hackle to my desk. I was pretty excited about these clamps; they look so much nicer than bar or C-clamps. They are made from a 3/8 square U-bolt cut in half. That bolt is at this link: http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/national-hardwarereg%3B-2192bc-675-square-u-bolt-zinc

We also picked up 2 each of 3/8 washers and wing nuts for each clamp. We used 2 pieces of oak wood for the clamps’
pads
custom clamps

custom clamp

It works wonderfully for blending. I’ve been using it to mix some alpaca/angora to spin.

fluffy hackle This hackle cost about $38 to make. Some of the supply costs are listed below, in case you are interested in making your own hackle.

  • 6 cake breakers – $30
  • Square U-bolt, washers and nuts – $6
  • Maple wood – Free

We had the wood and epoxy on hand, and we also had the tools, such as a router, various saws, a power sander and a drill.

Thanks for reading!

DIY Hackle

Have you ever heard of a cake breaker? Me neither. A few weeks ago I was walking down the kitchenware aisle at our local thrift store, and a giant fork happened to catch my eye. I picked it up because I originally thought that I could make a wool comb out of it.

cake breaker

No one quite knew what it was intended for. (we thought it was for holding meat down while its being cut) After some time on Replacements.com, we found out that this utensil is specifically used for angel food cake. Its supposed to be really good at cutting the cake without squishing it. Who knew?

I decided to make a hackle out of it, so I ordered another off of Amazon to make a 2 pitch hackle.
The other cake breaker is here:http://www.amazon.com/Animewild-R-M-Cake-Breaker/dp/B000FRUNXM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408905724&sr=8-1&keywords=cake+breaker

The supplies I used are here:

supplies

  • Mahogany Wood, or any hard wood
  • Cake Breaker
  • Liquid Epoxy
  • Chisels
  • Wipe-on Polyurethane
  • Power Sander

I measured a groove about half an inch wide and a little less than that deep. I used a chisel to cut the groove.

I used a saw to cut off the heads of my 2 cake breakers (one was sterling silver!)

Than we used liquid epoxy to set the metal heads in the groove. It got a little messy, but sanded off nicely after it dried.
We used a bulk epoxy that we had originally used for another project, but I think a small tube of 2-part liquid epoxy would work. Those small epoxy packs can be found at hardware stores or auto parts stores.

Here’s the epoxy I’m talking about: http://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Glue-4200101-Epoxy/dp/B001Z3C3AG/ref=pd_sim_sbs_indust_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=13KRHAC7D1Y4XZ13RM7M

epoxy unsanded
epoxy sanded

Then I applied 2 coats of a wipe on polyurethane finish, and taadaa! A hackle!

finished outdoor  top white
finished white

I am going to make another one, 12 inches long. The tines on this one are about 4 inches wide, and while it works, I really need more room to make roving that is long enough to be useful for spinning. My experiment cost under $10 to make as I had most of the supplies on hand and I got the satisfaction and enjoyment out of coming up with idea to make something and having it work!

Bummer.

So, it seems Chloe was not pregnant. As you saw in the last post, she made a beautiful nest, right on schedule, and even gained about a pound.

But. No babies!

Bummer.

I waited until the 40th day after the 31 day pregnancy to be absolutely sure she was not pregnant. After that, I took the nestbox out and rebred her. The new due date is June 24, 2014!

Poppy Felt Painting, Pt 2

Last time you saw the poppy field painting, there was almost no poppies in the field! Now I’ve finished the needle felting part, so I’ll post the photos of this process.

1118320-bigthumbnailMy reference photo

with fground poppies

Step 1

First, using needle felting, I blocked out the shapes of the big foreground poppies, and added shadow from the trees on the distant poppy field.
In retrospect I should have also filled in the bare white areas of the green field.

Step 2pt 2
Here I’ve needle felted shading and more detail to the foreground poppies, reconstructed the the top right corner and right side, and added the midground poppies.
You could also embroider red french knots for the midground poppies instead of needle felting them.

Step 3

pt 3Here I worked on the distant poppy field and hills on the left, adding a little shading, a few trees and defining some rows in the field.

Step 4

pt 4

Here I added poppies on the left side, added some green to the distant field, redirected the distant tree shadow, added a little lighter green to the dark trees, put some blue in the sky, and put some more poppies in the right side too.

Finished!

Thanks for reading my posts!
God Bless, Rebekah

Shelter for Breeder Doe Cages

This is the shelter that I’m building for the wire cage I built in the last tutorial. I bought the black metal shelves at our local hardware store that was going out of business.
They were used as shelves for paint at the hardware store, so they are sturdy, and even better, stand by themselves!
I can put pans on the shelf underneath the cage to catch the droppings, while the cage hangs from the shelf above it.

Now we just have to put the roof on, and I can move Chloe into her new space!

Also, I can put another cage underneath for another doe when I need to.

paint shelf with cage

shelf with enclosure

 

Thanks for taking the time to look at this post!
God Bless,
Rebekah

How to Build a Wire Rabbit Cage

Here’s a tutorial I’ve been working on for a while about how to build a wire cage. I’m building a larger cage than the regular size for expecting does and their litters.
This one is 4 ft long and 2 ft deep, custom made to fit the shelves I have. That’s probably the best thing about making your own cages, you can make it any size you want!

Here’s the Supplies:

  • 1 2 x 15 ft roll of 1 x 1 inch wire mesh, for top and sides.
  • 1 4 x 2 ft piece of 1 x .5 inch wire mesh, for the floor
  • A piece of the half inch wire (1 x .5 in.) an inch larger on all sides than your door hole.
  • Tin snips
  • Tape measure
  • Needlenose pliers (not pictured)
  • J-clip pliers
  • J-clips
  • A mallet or hammer is useful, but not totally necessary

Also, an important note:
Never use hardware cloth for the wire mesh! I used hardware cloth for the floor on my first cage, and I ended up having to rip off all the clips and re-cut and clip a new floor out of the 1x.5 in. wire. Hardware cloth is just not sturdy enough, very saggy, and doesn’t have large enough holes to let the droppings through, which means I would always be cleaning it.

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Okay, step one is cutting a 7 foot long, 2 ft wide piece of  the 1×1 inch wire.
This makes the top and end pieces of the cage.

tin snips, wire cutters

Step two:
Measure 18 inches from both ends in toward the middle of the 7 ft length of wire and mark it with a Sharpie. Now Bend the 7 ft length of wire up at the 18 inches mark on both ends. Do. Not. Cut. The ceiling and the end pieces are all one piece! You can kneel on a wood 2×4 at the 18 inch mark and bend the wire against that, however a 2×4 is not absolutely necessary. This is where your hammer or mallet comes in handy. You can bend the wire against the 2×4 by tapping it lightly with the hammer until you get a good 90 degree angle. (Sorry, I don’t have pictures of this step. It’ll make more sense in the next few steps.)

Step 3

Now, cut two 4 ft long, 18 in wide panels out of the same 1×1 inch wire.
You cut the width of this panel the same height as the end pieces you just bent.
You bent the end pieces up 18 inches, therefore you cut the width of the side panels 18 inches too.

On one of the panels cut an opening for the door, but make sure that you have enough wire to make the door for it!
You can make the door whatever size you want (see? is custom made not great?), just don’t take so much wire out that the cage isn’t sturdy.

front cut out panel

Now, I’ll introduce you to my favorite tool, the J-clip pliers!
Seriously, this is a fun little tool. I bought both my pliers and my j-clips on Amazon and I really like them.
I’ve also tried the kind Tractor Supply stores carry, but I dislike them. The pliers make lopsided clips, and the clips themselves are really hard to to clip.
The brand I got on Amazon is Pet Lodge Miller Manufacturing.

j clip
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Okay, now place the clip in the pliers, with the curved end of the clip in the wide end of the pliers.

put in pliers

Now just line up the wire pieces you want to clip in the curved end of the clip and squeeze the pliers.
Easy!

wire mesh, welded wire

pliers closed

 Now you can use the pliers to put together your cage!

Step 4

Clip the side panels to the top and end piece. If you bent the end wall the same height as the side panels they should line up!
This is what your cage will look like with one side panel clipped on.

metal cage, metal hutch, rabbit cage

See how the top and end walls are all one piece? That’s what I mean by bending the end walls up.

Here’s the cage with both sides on and the door but no floor.
(and the the big bunny that likes to play in the cage 🙂 )

caleb  in cage

You can put the door on with J-clips as hinges. On my past cages I have put the door on the outside of the cage, swinging out, but with this one I tried putting the door on the inside of the cage swinging up into the cage. If you do it this way you’ll have to put the door on before you clip the side panel to the rest of the cage.

Step 5

Now the floor! Almost done! Cut a piece of the 1 x .5 inch wire 2 ft wide and 4 ft long.

Now, your wire probably came in a roll. And that means that your wire will want to curve the direction it was wrapped on the roll. So before you put the floor on, you’ll want to flatten the wire some, but leave a little curve in it. When you put the floor on, make sure that the curve bows up, into the cage, and this will help prevent sagging! If you accidentally put the floor on with the curve facing down, than your floor will already start to sag.

attaching the floor

Step 6

Aaannd…. You have finished construction on you very own, custom made, all metal cage!!
Now for the finishing touches. You will want a latch for your door, and maybe you want to install a feeder!
One nice thing to have is door guards to put over the raw edges on the door frame, and you can get those door guards (and door latches, and everything else rabbit related!) at this link:  http://www.bunnyrabbit.com/price/cagequip.htm.
For door latches, you can use dog leash or key ring clips, or make your own like I did with wire and j-clips.

This latch is pretty self explanatory, and it works quite well! I’ve used this style on my first cage that I made almost a year ago, and my bunny has never escaped from it.

wire latch, diy, diy latch, closure, cage latch, cage closure

Here’s the finished cage! (except the door latches)

finished cage

finished 2

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoy these posts, click the “follow” button on the right and you will receive an email  when I’ve posted something new.

God bless