I've finished the first semester of my Masters and have spent the last couple of weeks doing very little psychologing (technical term), back home in South Australia. Apart from epic DVD marathons and epic naps, I've been doing lots of spinning. This is great because I don't have any of my spinning gear in Hobart and I have HEAPS of fibre to spin and spinning is just awesome. And, it's time consuming so it takes a long time to get very far with it, so it's good I got plenty done. The most wicked and awesome bit of spinning I did was finishing spinning the yarn from my rabbit, Coal.
We've had Coal for about six years I'd reckon, and he was an adult when we got him, which means he is getting on in years. I love him. He's one of the friendliest rabbits I've ever met and he's also extremely cute. Here he is on a hot day when we put his hutch inside:
Also, funny story about that hutch. It broke (he has a bigger one now) and he was hopping around, and my Mum, Dad and brother (who is afraid of rabbits. He does have a good reason for it though, trust me) were all running around trying to get him out of some bushes. I came up and was like, "hey, what's going on?" and they were like "the rabbit got out", and then Coal hopped out of a bush and came up to us like "hey, you guys here to give me a carrot or something?". Ok, maybe you had to be there. Point is, he's cute.
Coal grows a thick Winter coat every year, which he for some reason sheds towards the end of Summer, leaving him with a pretty short coat in Autumn. Now that we're a third of the way into Winter, his coat is recognisably thick again. Anyway, for the past two years (although not as conscientiously in the second year), I've been collecting his Winter coat as he shed it in order to turn it into yarn. As you can see, he doesn't have very long fur. At first I tried carding the fibre, but it was too wispy. It wasn't matted and barely contained any vegetable matter, so I just spun it with high twist, with a worsted draw, without any fibre preparation. After spinning it and setting the twist, I knitted the yarn into...a rabbit! Now I have a meta-rabbit or a double-rabbit, whichever you prefer. It is made from a knitted square from this tutorial. It was so easy! It'd be a good first pattern for a young knitter. Although when I was sewing it up, the rabbit yarn did snap every now and then, but it was all good. After I had knitted the initial square and tail (using my sphere formula), I fulled/felted the pieces a little, because, even after setting the twist in the yarn (which felts it somewhat), it still shed a bit. Overall, I am extremely happy with the meta-rabbit. Although it'll never replace the one and only Coal, it is nice to know I'll have something special to remember him by when he leaves us. Here is my handsome bunny rabbit with his meta-rabbit:
As you can see, the meta-rabbit is significantly lighter than Coal. This is because Coal is a smoke, meaning his fur is dark on the outside but closer to the skin it is grey. Our cats are the same. I believe the term for an animal with the same colour fur down to the skin is "self-coloured".
When I've told people about the meta-rabbit, I've had reactions ranging from "cool!" to a bit of shock and weirdness combined with "cool!". I totally get the weirdness of spinning your pet's fur into a smaller version of your pet. It's less weird than this, though. Also, a fibre-producing animal is a fibre-producing animal, whether you consider him family or not. Sometimes I think people forget that wool comes from sheep. My loved ones should remember this mini-rant when I attempt to spin human hair. It'll probably happen eventually.
The Knitted Kitten