Rabbits for Fiber/Spinning

leeta84

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Hey all. I'm doing a lot of research into owning rabbits for fiber and spinning it into yarn.
A (probably simple) question that has come up and that I don't know how to find the answer for is this.
Do people dye already colored fiber? Like, say you have a white and brown rabbit (forgive me not using correct terms I'm still learning) you take the fiber from it and spin it. CAN you dye it (how does that work on colored fur) or do people just like it natural?
 

animalmom

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Welllllllllll........ the short answer is yes you can dye colored fur but the color won't be true. If the fur is brown and you go to dye pink you could very well end up with a color you don't like.

My understanding (VERY limited) is you dye the white and use anything else as is, or blend if you have variations of brown.

Then again you might just explore how your rabbits' fur take the dye and come up with intriguing colors with the mixed fur.

Alpaca, yes I know not a rabbit, fiber is sorted by color and only the white gets died. The other natural colors are marketed as that "Natural Colors"

Here is one yarn site that sells natural colored alpaca. https://www.knitpicks.com/yarns/Simply_Alpaca_Aran__D5420319.html

On the third hand, if you are wanting to do a line of "dusky" colors with your rabbit fur then blending in a portion of the brown may make that happen. Creative living through chemistry!

Go for it, what ever you decide. Pictures of your product are always welcomed and appreciated. Do you spin? Looking to market your yarn? I know there are places to send wool and have it spun and returned to you... would these same places be interested in rabbit?

I just read that angora felts easily so you would want to keep that in mind if you pursue dyeing.

Let us know what you decide to do. Please and thank you.
 

AmberLops

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I agree with @animalmom ….I would dye some the white and leave the other colors as is for natural colored yarn.
I think when it comes to people buying fiber from rabbits (and other animals!) they prefer the natural colors.
The angoras that my mother had were white and she sold the fiber as just white and everybody wanted it ;)
 

leeta84

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Thanks for you input. I don't have rabbits yet but am looking into buying them. And hopefully goats in the future. I just wanted to know if I should make my choice on colors now or just kinda wing it. If people prefer natural colors I don't mind that either. I just wasn't sure how it works with multi colored rabbit fiber. :)
 

Alaskan

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Are you wanting to dye it and spin it yourself? Or sell the fiber as is?

The reason I ask is that from what I understand the hair from rabbits tends to be short, and not crimp or stick together, and so is trickier to spin than long fibers that don't slide past each other as easily.

:hu
 

Alaskan

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Oh... as to dying... the colored hair/fiber/wool can also be bleached and then dyed. I have noticed that in some fiber products that I have bought, since the bleaching reduces the strength of the fibers...you have to be careful with it.
 

AmberLops

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Are you wanting to dye it and spin it yourself? Or sell the fiber as is?

The reason I ask is that from what I understand the hair from rabbits tends to be short, and not crimp or stick together, and so is trickier to spin than long fibers that don't slide past each other as easily.

:hu
The key to easier spinning in to remove the guard hairs in the wool :)
Angora hair can easily get 4 or more inches long depending on the type of angora!
 

leeta84

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I am planning on spinning it myself because I think it would be fun to do. I don't know if I would sell it that however, as way as I'll have to get good at spinning first and then find the time to do it lol.
I bought an oz of rabbit fiberon etsy just to give it a try and of course all I have right now is a drop spinner, but it's a start.
Dyeing was just a after thought. As I'm looking to buy my own rabbits I wondered if I should go for all white or if it would matter in the first place? How do you spin/sell fiber from a brown and white rabbit? Does that even matter at all to people who want natural fiber?

What's the guard hair of the wool? Is that something that someone would do before selling the fiber to someone else?

Sorry I'm full of questions but I'm finding it hard to find the answers without asking someone hehe :D
 

AmberLops

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I am planning on spinning it myself because I think it would be fun to do. I don't know if I would sell it that however, as way as I'll have to get good at spinning first and then find the time to do it lol.
I bought an oz of rabbit fiberon etsy just to give it a try and of course all I have right now is a drop spinner, but it's a start.
Dyeing was just a after thought. As I'm looking to buy my own rabbits I wondered if I should go for all white or if it would matter in the first place? How do you spin/sell fiber from a brown and white rabbit? Does that even matter at all to people who want natural fiber?

What's the guard hair of the wool? Is that something that someone would do before selling the fiber to someone else?

Sorry I'm full of questions but I'm finding it hard to find the answers without asking someone hehe :D
Ha ha hopefully you'll find some time for it!
About the guard hairs...They're part of the coat and they are the more 'wiry' and long hairs that aren't as soft as the rest of the coat...some people like guard hairs in the wool, as it gives the spun yarn a unique look. But some prefer the guard hairs taken out to make the wool softer. It all depends on what you're selling and who you're selling to. If you're making yarn I would suggest keeping the guard hairs in the wool. And maybe selling a few with the guard hairs removed and see what sells better.

If you're going to sell raw fiber you may want to consider carding the wool. Angora does mat really easily (especially from English angoras) and carding it into batts is the best way to prevent that and the value of the wool goes up...but the tools you'll need to do this can be expensive.
As for colors...I honestly don't know what colors people prefer. I think white tends to be the most popular though!
And for broken colors (brown/white) I think you could just spin it the way it is. I know people love multi-colored yarns from fiber!
Hope this helps :)
 

Ridgetop

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When we took our spinning classes (DH was much better than I was) we also learned to dye and process our wool. We didn't dye anything until after it was spun into yarn. The yarn is so much easier to dye. I actually felted a whole fleece trying to process it! :hide Processing wool is difficult since too much pressure in forcing the water out can felt it. Sheep wool has so much lanolin in it that it requires extensive washing and rinsing.

The brightest colors come from unsweetened Kool Aid if you can find it anymore. Natural dyes from plants can also be used but will result in more faded colors. Most people with colored sheep or other species separate the colored wool for natural colored yarn and only use white for dying. If you are buying your rabbits now be sure to get solid colored rabbits rather than "broken colored". You can always blend in the colored wool but will ever be able to separate the white fibers from colored fibers on a rabbit with both colors. White wool is more desirable because of the dye factor unless you have a business requiring the colored wool.

In our classes we learned that sheep wool has "scales" or rough "fingers" on each wool fiber allowing it to grab onto each hair and stick together as you spin. As to spinning certain wool like Alpaca or Llama or Angora, those wools do not all have the "scales" on the wool which catch on the wool fibers allowing it to be spun into long threads of wool. Sometimes you have to add sheep wool to get those fibers to spin properly without breaking off. A coarser sheep wool in often added to the soft Alpaca or Llama fibers to help them grab each other while spinning.

I would take a spinning class and learn all about fibers while learning to spin. However, the correct procedure in dying wool is to dye the hanks of spun yarn rather than the loose wool fibers before spinning.
 
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