Before I took up spinning, I was doing a bunch of research, and talking about it a lot with my best friend (since I process information by relating it). I really don't remember how angora came up, but it did. And for some reason, out of all the fiber I told him about, "rabbit wool" became his favorite (and yes, I know that terminology is incorrect; I've since corrected him to calling it "bunny fluff"). I knew I would have to make him something out of angora because of this, so when he later joked that I should make him a hat, there was my plan.
Turns out it's way cheaper to buy angora fiber than it is to buy angora yarn, so... yeah. 100% pure angora fiber is an interesting spinning task. The fibers are short and hate to stay together, so they take a ton of twist to stabilize. It also likes to spin thin. So yeah, you could say it's a challenge.
I have four ounces of it, two 2oz ...bundles, I guess. Plastic bags full of fiber. I manipulated one into a braid when I pulled it out, and I've left the other alone for now because of angora's tendency to shed. I really have no idea how much the hat is going to take, so I'm going to do the two braids as two skeins. That means I only have to have an ounce at a time on my spindle. And means I can take a break from spinning to do half the plying, and then spin the other skein. I'm easily bored.
Anyway, so this is my birthday gift to him. Not just the hat, but the process. Of course I have to do the spinning (this is so not a beginner's fiber), but I'll probably let him help me ply it if he's interested. We're definitely dyeing it together, however he wants that done. And since he's a quick study, he can also help knit it. Meaning he'll be involved in every step of this process from fluff to finished, with the exception of spinning singles. This is fun for both of us.
Right now I'm just shy of finishing the first ounce. I have a small length of top left out of the ounce, and then I'll wind off this single onto a pen (probably) and start on the other half.
One of the college campuses at which I take classes is a giant two-story building that vaguely resembles a strip mall. So while I was there yesterday, between classes with little to do for an hour, I spun. Over the second-story railing. Aw, yeah.
I picked a section of railing where people don't normally walk underneath, and it was fortunate that I did. Once during the spinning process I lifted the spindle for a flick, and when I released it the slight bounce snapped my single. Oops.
Interestingly, things seem to fall slower when watched from above. Akitla struck the ground with a clunk audible from the second story, and lay forlornly in a tiled corner, waiting for me (I wish I had a picture of this, but I was too busy freaking out to stop to take one). I admit I cursed as I snatched up my things and dashed down the adjacent stairs to retrieve her. Except for a slight dent at the bottom of the shaft, she's perfectly all right.
I think from now on, I'll keep my balcony spinning to the plying part of the process. There's less likelihood of tumbling spindles with that stage. Anyway when plying over a balcony, a good solid spin will carry it all the way to the ground, which tends to make people stop and gape -- a sight that basically makes my day.