|Marc, shearing Leisel this summer.|
|Before we shear|
I constantly look for ways to make my work easier. I often feel that so much of what I do takes longer than it should because of lack of proper equipment. This summer, we had someone come to our open farm day to demonstrate shearing German Angora bunnies. Marc raises angoras and we purchased our bunny Leisel from him. He has perfected the art of caring for and shearing rabbits using electric clippers. It had been taking me 2 to 3 sessions spread out over a two or three day period to shear Leisel using scissors. Marc clipped her down within 1 1/2 hours this summer on our front porch. After seeing this, I knew I had to purchase my own set of clippers.
|Beautiful Angora/Wool blend yarn.|
I find that many guests to our farm have never seen an angora rabbit. Most of them know about "angora sweaters" and how expensive they are, but few of them have ever seen the fiber growing on the rabbit. They leave our farm with a greater appreciation for the price of angora yarn and finished products after they have spent some time with Leisel learning about how to care for her. Angor fiber, one of the softest and warmest fibers in the world, creates a lovely halo when knitted and is highly sought after. The German Angoras boast of being the most heavily coated rabbit among all the angora breeds. Our Leisel yields approximately 11 to 12 ounces of fiber every three months. With each shearing, Leisel loses about one tenth of her body weight in fiber. All year, we save her wool in bags and in the spring combine it with a fine wool to have the mill spin it into a delicate sport weight yarn which we offer as a Yarn CSA Share.
This fall we successfully sheared Leisel ourselves for the first time using a pair of light weight clippers. It took about 2 hours to shear her back, sides, and down her legs. Though we tried using them on her belly, we found it easier to use scissors for her belly and face area which took another two hours. As with sheep, the ease and speed of shearing depends upon how you hold the rabbit. Knowing the right position to place them in, allows you to extend legs and reach those difficult spots. We felt a little awkward with this part but with practice, we should be able to speed this process even more. In the meantime, Leisel will just have to be patient with us.
The word out there from people who have purchased Leisel's yarn say it is beautiful and absolutely love it. I currently have two projects on knitting needles and can not wait to finish them and wrap Leisel's cozy fiber around me! If you would like more information about purchasing one of Leisel's yarn CSA Shares, visit our website! Just a few shares remain for the 2012 shearings.