1. How many rabbits does it take to make a sweater?
What I'd like to say- none, rabbits do not know how to knit.
The real answer - It depends on many factors. If the yarn is spun very fine and lightweight, you might get one sweater from one rabbits yearly production of fiber (8-12 oz of fiber) Realistically, the way I spin, it would probably take about three rabbits' yearly output for enough yardage for a sweater.
2. If I buy a rabbit will my doberman get along with it?
What I'd like to say - Sure, for about two minutes.
What I usually say - This rabbit is not for sale.
3. How come the rabbit sits there so still for you?
What I'd like to say - Drugs, man, drugs.
The real answer - Angora rabbits are raised being handled from very young. Their frequent grooming sessions has them handles all the time and that constant handling tames the rabbit. Also, breeders select for that quality, so flighty, hard to groom rabbits are culled.
4. Doesn't that hurt the rabbit when you pull out his hair?
What I'd like to say - Yes, but all angoras are masocists and he thanks me for it.
The real answer - Every animal, including humans lose hair at some point. The angoras have been bred over many years to encourage this trait. They go through a releasing molt at least three times a year. This is no different than your cat or dog shedding their fur.
5. What's your rabbit's name?
What I'd like to say: Why name it? It won't come to you when you call it.
The real answer: ForSale. OK sometimes the rabbit really does have a name, or I will make one up right then and there. I haven't any one question why Bob the rabbit is now Sue the rabbit.
6. What is your dog's name?
What I'd like to say:
The real answer: This is an angora rabbit. His name is Sam (see above).
7. Is that hard to do? (asking about spinning).
What I'd like to say: Yes I am a trained professional, do not do this at home.
The real answer: No, all it takes is lots of practice and since I think it is fun, practicing is fun too.
8. Is that from that rabbit? (referring to what I am spinning)
What I'd like to say: Yes.
The real answer: This rabbit is not shedding his fur right now, so I have fur from another rabbit that is. That's why the rabbit on the table is brown and what I am spinning is gray.
9. Will the rabbit bite me?
What I'd like to say: If your fingers look like carrots.
The real answer: Only if you stick your fingers into his mouth. If you pet him gently on the back he will enjoy it as much as you do.
10. How much would it cost to have a sweater made for me?
What I'd like to say: Go get a loan.
The real answer: I do not market angora sweaters, the manufacturing industry has made the cost of angora sweaters reasonable enough, that it is worth your money to go buy one that way. The only thing I could offer would be an original design and then you are buying a work of art, not a sweater.
In spite of hearing the same questions a million times all day, I still love doing this every year at the fair. I got there at 8:30 and stayed until 4:30 at what will probably be the biggest crowd day of the fair this year. Since I only had three rabbits at the fair, I decided to take a 1.5 oz bag of fur that I had collected previously, and four knit items made with angora. When there was not a bunny on the table, I spread out the knit item for people to 'pet' I told them it was like petting the bunny only better, since the knitted hat did not run away. But no bunny even tried to run away that day. When I put a bunny on the table it was an automatic kid magnet, and there would be a dozen kids around the bunny in no time at all. The rabbits very patiently accepted all of the cautious and enthusiastic pats. I saw one bunny yawn, the biggest bunny yawn I have ever seen, I guess this is just much too boring for his lifestyle :)
I found this year I was answering more questions about just how spinning is done. Maybe I felt more confident to give that information, or maybe I just finally worked out a spiel that was understandable in laymen terms. I had many people thank me for explaining, because when they just watch, it does look like magic. Once they understand that the key thing is controlling the fiber and twist, the comprehension is visible on their faces. I liked seeing that.
The rabbits are home now, back in their cages and enjoying a well earned treat and snooze. I will not be taking the rabbits back to the fair, but I think I will try and get a spinning demo set up one time at next year's fair in the textile department. Hopefully, I can get some of the local spinners to join me, I think it would be welcomed by the textile department.
The fair is still going on this week, until Sunday, but I will not be back until Friday. I plan to go and see the sheep then. On Sat I have volunteered to work at the textile departments information booth for four hours, and then will go to listen to some music and relax with a beer. Then finally on Monday it is go and pick up all of my entries, and enjoy the ribbons attached to them.