Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here we go again

Got a crazy plucked piece out of Harvey very easily today while brushing him.  I am guessing all his follicles aren't synchronized to shed at the same time because his undercoat is really brushing out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

flystrike in house rabbits

Oh dear, I just read that flystrike can occur in rabbits in your house during the summer. Good thing I read that because (although it is winter) Harvey is such a jerk when I try to groom his underside. Maybe a professional will be needed in the spring, and some sticky fly paper.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Knitting and Traveling

I'm knitting Harvey a little carrot curtain, that I modified from the book Pet Projects. I made it smaller since I didn't want to buy anymore black yarn, and it's kind of going to be a decorative flag for his habitat.

I will finish it while flying to Egypt this week. I'm not sure what kind of care instructions to leave my mom. Billy is much easier, even though he has just tested positive AGAIN for anaplasmosis :(

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Doldrums

Tuesdays are the worst. Well, Harvey is starting to grow again. It's nice to have a short-haired situation some of the time. It will be good for my mom who will be taking care of him while I'm in EGYPT next week! I'm not really sure if the best situation is to leave him at the apartment, or bring him to my parents, since he's really a new roommate of mine. I'm not sure if it will confuse him and if Bailey, the rambunctious cocker spaniel will bother him.

I asked my mom for a drop spindle for Christmas, and my plan is to take the first harvest I have and blend it with wool roving from Iron Horse Farm in MA. It might not be a purist way to go, but I'm not overly obsessed with the 100% angora look and I want to get to spinning!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Haircut!

Harv's begun to shed and I combed him for a couple hours to no end, then this morning I just decided to shear him. He's so young that I guess his hair won't be prime for spinning for a couple more months. I left him a good little coat that I'll groom since it's cold here now. And I gave him a break before I started his belly. Not so sure that's going to go well. DIY disaster maybe!

I'm dying to spin some crazy shit. In the meantime, check out the book Intertwined.

Before (well actually a few weeks ago because he hates the camera):
 Now just chillen, spotted little cow!:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Do we have shedding?

I didn't realize Harvey's hair had gotten so long since I got him. I chopped a little off his face so I could see his schnoz, and while combing today I got about a full ziploc full of wool. I'm debating if I should spend more time combing him tomorrow or shear away.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holy Cow, Feathers!

Doing some research to briefly touch on feathers and silk in my thesis intro, and yuck.

Goose down feathers are [usually] harvested by scalding the goose in burning water while it's alive, before it is slaughtered! Sometimes you just innocently think they would naturally be harvested when they are shed, however after trying to harvest shedding angora wool, it is such a pain in the ass. So now I imagine this came about for factory efficiency.

I'm also finding it hard to come across concrete evidence that silk worms don't feel pain in the chrysalis stage (when they are boiled traditionally for silk cocoon threads)... onward to more research.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Animal Rights vs. Welfare

Animal rights is a tricky phrase to define. We all want to say we believe in animal rights, but after looking further into the definitions out there, it is not as easy to just consider yourself a proponent for animal rights. For example, I'm a pet owner so I don't believe in all animal rights. My entire thesis is going to be about using animals for clothing humanely. Animals can't pursue liberty or represent themselves in front of a court, so there is a line to draw on how far you can say animals get the same rights as humans. Here's what I've come up with for my research:

     Animal friendly: referring to when animals are welcome, such as in an establishment like a hotel.

     Animal rights: the belief that because non-human animals can not make give their consent to humans, they    
     should not be viewed as sources of food, clothing, pets, research or entertainment and should be given the 
     same basic human rights as freedom, life, and humane treatment.
 
      Animal welfare: is the concern for the well-being and humane treatment of non-human animals

~My projects will refer more to animal welfare or ethics than animal rights as defined above. I hope that doesn't make me a "not as great" person!~ 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

POOP IN THE CORNER!

When I came back from VT I built Harvey a new habitat, hoping that I could better train him to use the litter box.  He definitely seems to like it better - so cute, standing up looking around and stretching like a cat.  He just keeps moving his box around. I guess if he wants it in the middle of the floor it's ok because it's what he wants, but it's strange to me.

I have about a ziploc sized bag of his fur now that's shed off. I'm hoping that wasn't his big shed (one of the four they do a year) because at this rate I'll never get a skein! I still love him though. He's definitely adapted to having me rub his nose.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thesis proposal

Trying to narrow down my 1000 ideas... "The Harvey effect: Animal friendly fibers"?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lion Brand Angora Merino

In my Lion Brand newsletter, I saw they have a new Angora Merino blend yarn line.  It's promising to see that it is only made in small batches and not available at retailers, but then obviously it is not easily accessible.  I suppose that easily accessible animal fibers is sort of a cruelty-free oxymoron.

LB Collection<SUP>® </SUP> Angora Merino
80% Extrafine Merino Wool, 20% Angora, $8.00 for 131yds. 

I won't have 131yds of Harvey until like a year from now!

The LB Collection is exclusively available through LionBrand.com, the Lion Design catalog, and the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City. Because these yarns are specially made in small batches, these yarns are not available through any other retailer.


There is a cute Angora hat pattern on the site too.
Image of Angora Tam
http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/L0307.html?noImages=0&utm_source=20100108_Oct08_Split1&utm_medium=Emails&utm_campaign=Weeklynewsletter&utm_content=P-AngoraTam

The bunny and the beagle

They got along great when I took down the gate, in the bathroom only though.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Harvey's first romp

I feel like I'm going to break him, and I wore an apron when brushing him, yes.
He's romping around the kitchen right now, hopefully not pooping.
After a crap day at work, it's nice to have unconditional love.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome Home and One Day Down

Harvey is home and settling in!  He's a 7 mo. old English Angora that I've been with for about 24 hours.  This blog is going to document this crazy project of mine, because I am crazy and I love furry guys (and I do have favorites, Billy the Beagle = #1).  He'll pop up in my stories, like now, when he is constantly trying to break through baby gates.  He rocks, but anyways...  The point of this project is to raise a rabbit, harvest his fur totally humanely, spin the wool into yarn, and knit an amazing sweater, all because I'm obsessed with animals and knitting.  Lately I'm like the fashion school reject turning in Manolos for Birks (but still the silver metallic ones).  Corporate America and the industry meanies will do that to you.
 
Well, anyways, this specific story begins Monday night when I brought my amazing boyfriend to the Topsfield Fair, an annual, local farm-like fair.  After speaking with a couple breeders working the rabbit and cavie exhibitions, and trying to get more info on angoras (the perfect rabbit for spinning), I held a baby white one and my "oh I can totally do this" instinct kicked in.  She was the rare Satin Angora breed from the Evergreen Farm in Taunton, MA (thanks Louise!).  She was beautiful, but the RED EYES!  Wowzas, I couldn't do that, despite the awesomely soft fur (with a wicked halo once it spun, that I was also told would be the worst of her life since it only gets better with age.)  Next to her was this bigger guy, Harvey, and he had a cool white and grey coloring and these funny eyes and ears.  When I held him, he just kinda flopped on my chest and chilled there.  He's like my cat, but not as whiny.  I learned his natural coloring will still dye well.  The whites and greys will get some great tones.  And he has a cool story.  Apparently his last owners were displaced due to a house flood, and the bunnies were left in a habitat that didn't have a lot of ventilation, and they were overheating and on the verge of dying.  With a little help from their breeder (again Louise from Evergreen) and a hose, they were back at it and Harvey went home again to find a new living situation.  I had to get him, especially with such a sweet name.

So my first goal with this guy was to try and make a cool living area for him.  I think I nailed that, although the cage is way too big for my apartment (it's fall/winter now), and I didn't expect so much poop.  My next goal is to keep him and the beagle away from each other.  They've sniffed and checked each other out, but I think I need to get Billy used to Harvey's smell before any more introductions take place.  My guy is one mean squirrel hunting chasing machine, and I'd like to keep it to just squirrel.

So now he's home, and pooping non-stop.  I've already brushed him once and have a nice clump of wool to start my collection.  Let's see how big he gets, and what kind of things I can make or cool photos I can take.  More pics to come, because Harvey is not into the camera right now.