Northern California Angora Guild

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cupcake in a Cup

Recently in a show in which a 4-H club was doing a bake sale to raise funds.  There were lots of pretty sweets that are inviting but none was as genius as this pretty cupcake. 
This is truly a cupcake, it's a bunny cake in a cup.

In a better lighting, the cupcake in the cup is even more inviting.




Friday, February 27, 2015

Allen and His Sheep

Allen's Facebook post on January 27, 2015 says,

"When a friend sent me an image three years ago of this most adorable animal, I was convinced they were some photoshop job. Turned out, the Valais Blacknose was very real and has been a hidden treasure of the Swiss Alps for centuries. Our first chance to see the amazing breed came and we are fully indulging!"

Allen posts this picture as his FB cover photo and describes:
"Valais Blacknose Sheep and a photo I didn't snag off Google images. Dream come true!"

What is this little lamb?   A Valais Blacknose Sheep ?

It's Allen's needle felt creation in 2009, doesn't it look like Valais Blacknose Sheep?   He had this sheep in his dream long before seeing their photos.

 In this 2009 photo taken during a RabbitCon session, Betty explains needle felting by using Allen's sheep.  She is holding the tool that Allen made and used to create the sheep.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Three Little Bunnies

We are three little bunnies.

We like our front but he likes his profile.

The Year of Pink Sheep?

What kind of sheep is it?

We like this cuddly lamb.

OK, OK, we'll line up with these two little guys.

The best thing to happen will be winning double Best In Show many times in the Year of the Ram/the Year of the Sheep/the Year of the Goat!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saori, the Free Style Weaving

Betty says,
These two Saroi woven bunnies were gifted by Chris O., these are very nice art work, I treasure them.
What is Saroi weaving?  Let's see how it started according to information on the internet:
"“SAORI” - its beginning When Misao Jo was 57 years old, she built a loom, and started weaving as a hobby. One day, she wove an “Obi” (a belt for Japanese Kimono), and found a warp thread was missing. But she thought it was making a good effect, and she was very pleased to find that a nice pattern had been formed by an accident. She showed the “Obi” to a person who was running a weaving factory in her neighborhood because she wanted to know how other people would value her weaving. The man told her that her “Obi” was “flawed” and it would be worthless as a commercial product because one warp thread was missing. Misao realized that a commercial factory is only eager to produce a “flawless”cloth, but she would be able to achieve a hand woven quality through intentionally making a “flawed” cloth. Then she began to weave an “Obi” with many “flaws”. It was easy. She just skipped some blades of the reed when warping her loom. In doing so, she found that the absence of warp threads in irregular intervals and varied thickness could make more interesting effects. She finally finished an “Obi”, and it was highly praised by an owner of an “Obi” shop in "Shinsaibashi Street" (an expensive shopping street in Osaka, Japan)."
Many weaving studios are now set up to teach Saori weaving, and many are called such style as "Freestyle weaving". 
I consider my handspun Angora yarn as freestyle, I can make them lumpy and I can make them smooth, depending on how the wool is and how I feel at the time of spinning.  When people ask about my lumpy yarn, one of my usual answer is, "If you want perfectly even yarn, go to Walmart."
Handmade items are expressions of how the maker or the artist is feeling at the time.   They are all one of the kind, no reason to make all look exactly the same.  If one wants something to be totally symmetric or totally the same from one to the other, one should go with things that are made by mass production.    Artistic expressions are all unique and different.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Found on the Net: Spinning and Knitting with Dog Wool in 1966

While searching on old Angora information on the UK agency
a video showing a UK woman Barbara White using her Pyrenean sheep dogs "wool" for spinning.   It shows her combing the sheep dog and gather the "wool" then spin.   It describes that the sheep dog "wool" is combined with sheep wool or Angora wool for spinning and knitting.  Enjoy the photos and the video.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Found on the Net: Old Angora Pictures and Videos

Found on a UK news agency many old Angora photos and videos.     Here are some to share:

This is one of the oldest photos on the site, circa 1924.

In 1928, a factory farm worker is handling the Angora wool.

In 1936, a woman is harvesting wool.

A cut down Angora and its wool in 1937.


 In 1940, a man is cutting the wool off an Angora.


In a rabbit show in 1942, this Angora rabbit is reported to be a grand champion.

Spinning demonstration in 1949.

In 1949, a woman is using an "air pump" to blow her Angora.

The same Angora being blown by the "air pump".


Another photo of this Angora being blown by an "air pump" in 1949.
And then there is this rabbit show in 1942, the cooping looks about the same as what we have in the ARBA conventions today!
Enjoy some of these videos that are for previews:



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Anything New under the Sun?

In 1989, the blower was introduced as a groom tool in the wonderful world of Angora.    See:

What's unusual about this photo?  A woman  has a hose in her hand, looks like she is blowing her Angora.

She has a large blower under the table.

These two photos look very "normal", that's what we do in the Angora world.
Wait, the photos are black and white, the woman's clothing is not something that we wear today or wore in 1989.   These photos are screen shots of a video made in 1953!
Recently we discovered this 1953 video on Youtube that was uploaded in 2014:
What's being done in this video is pretty much what we do today with the exception that most of those who have good non-molting stock don't use the plucking method to harvest wool anymore.  
When the blower was introduced by Susan Conley in the 1989 ARBA convention, we all thought that was the best idea since the white bread.   Now we know the method has been in existence for a long time except that we did not know it.  
Is there anything new under the sun?
 The agency that uploaded the 1953 video also uploaded a 1928 video
about a large Angora rabbit factory farm.  

Enjoy these videos.