Niele da Kine

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since Oct 15, 2015
Zone 11B Moku Nui Hawaii
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Recent posts by Niele da Kine

Not all cotton is the same.  If you grow upland cotton, it will have a very short staple and be an entirely different process than if you were to grow Sea Island, Egyptian or Pima cotton.  They also have vastly different growing conditions, too.  The Sea Island plants here grow in really high humidity, fairly even annual temperatures and lots of water.  It's about a five foot tall plant and kinda spindly but it's filling in somewhat as it gets older.  I don't know if it is all varieties of Sea Island cotton or just this one, though.  I may pinch back the next plants to get them to grow bushier.  Not sure yet if it's a biennial or a perennial, it's been growing for 517 days and still going strong.  It's planted in a raised bed vegetable garden, mostly to keep over enthusiastic weed string trimmers away.  

It's also planted in the herbs, I don't know if the rosemary, mint & sage are helping keep bugs away or not but they may be.  It started making bolls when it was about 150 days old.  It continuously produces bolls, not a whole lot at any one time but a few here and there and all the time.  It adds up eventually.  The fiber length is over two inches long.  Which is a lot longer than upland cotton.  It is also very soft and silky feeling with just a hint of shine to it.  It pulls easily off the seeds, which are black and the bolls have three lobes to them.  The leaves have three lobes, too, maybe it's related?  Haven't a clue.



Three ply, a fat fingering weight and I don't know how many yards or even how much the skein weighs.  It's been boiled since this picture and is hanging to dry so I can't weigh it yet.  This is my first skein of yarn for 2017.

The seeds were picked out by hand and then the fiber was spun.  Since the fiber had been pretty well fluffed out when the seeds were picked out, I just spun 'from the cloud' as it were instead of making it into a puni first.  Three bobbins half full of a thin single, then those were all plied together.  The yarn in the back of the picture was a test skein that was Navajo plied.  It wasn't as nice as the true three ply.

The spinning wheel is an Ashford Traditional and it was on the fastest whorl of the standard flyer.  I could have put on the lace flyer but I was too lazy.  I'd suspect that with a short staple upland cotton, you'd need a faster flyer, but I can't say for sure since the cotton fibers here are much longer fibers.

If I were going to be spinning a lot of cotton, I'd probably get out the Canadian Production Wheel since it is a better wheel for spinning fine and fast.  The Ashford can do it, but there's more treadling involved than if the CPW were used.
2 years ago
I mounted one on an old treadle sewing machine base.  A big wooden disk was cut out that was the diameter of the drum carder's handle's spinning circle.  That was mounted onto the handle by whatever method worked.  A groove on the edge of the wooden disk was lined up with the cord from the treadle base.  You could do the same with the bicycle wheel.


Another option could be to set up a flyer on your exercise bike and spin while exercising.

What wheel do you use to spin on?

Pattern support really helps sell yarn, too.  Making a pattern to go with your yarn will help folks buy it with confidence that they'll be able to do something with it.
2 years ago

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Niele, I love ytour 'bunny fluff'! Are those angora bunnies easy to keep? What do I have to think of if I want to have some of them?



Aloha Inge,

If you like, you can have your bunny live in the house, they can be litter trained.  They are friendly little critters.

Angora bunnies kept as fiber providers aren't any near as much work as the ones kept to be a show bunny.  All the bunnies here get a hair cut three times a year so most of their time is spent growing more hair instead of getting their hair tangled up.  

They get a hair cut with snips, scissors, clippers or plucked.  Not all breeds of angora will molt so they can be plucked, but ours molt and when it's ready, their hair can just be pulled off in small amounts.  The fiber is stored in a jar until it's spun, there's no prep necessary before spinning it although some people like to card it.  

For about two months after a hair cut, they're pretty much like a normal rabbit as far as hair is concerned.  For the final two months before their next hair cut, sometimes they will get some mats behind their ears or under their chin.  Those can be trimmed off since we don't worry about uneven coat length for show purposes.  The last month before a clipping, they'll get combed out if they've got any mats but about the time the coat starts getting unruly, it's all cut off and the whole process starts over.

We feed ours a lot of forage and we grow things for them to eat although they also get some commercial pellets as well.  Depending on where you are, there's probably something for the bunnies to eat that you can grow.  Ask the people you get the bunnies from if they're used to eating pellets or forage.  If they haven't been eating much fresh foods, start them in on forage in small amounts.

There are a variety of angoras, too, so you'll have choices of which breed of angora to have.  Just like sheep, each breed has a different quality of wool as well as how much they produce.  We have the English because their fiber is the softest although they don't produce as much per bunny as some of the other breeds.  However, they're small enough that we can just have more bunnies to make up for it.    
You might see if there's tax auctions near where you're looking for land.  Around here about twice a year there's land auctions where land can sometimes go for a fraction of the listed rates.  A friend of mine just picked up a half acre raw land in Hawaii for $6,100.  At this particular auction, you have to be there in person and pay cash on the spot.  No going to the bank, either a certified check or cash.  If you can't pay, it immediately is auctioned off again.

It has a paved road in front of his lot, there's grid electricity available if he wants it, although I don't know if he's going to go grid or off grid.  Water is via rainfall and catchment which is common on this island.  There's enough rainfall there that he probably won't ever have to worry about enough water.

It's wooded, but not much actual soil since it's mostly leaf litter over lava rock.  He's planning on growing orchids on the tree ferns and vegetables in raised bed gardens.  A small house and a big greenhouse I think are his current plans, we will see how they change as he goes along.  At the moment he's clearing a driveway and a place for the shed.  Since the land is already paid for and the taxes are very low each year, all of his extra income now can go towards developing the land.

From what I've noticed, Zillow may not be the best real estate website.  You could also try Trulia and RedFin although for our specific area, the local MLS listing had some listings that didn't show up on any of the big real estate websites.
2 years ago
Has anyone noticed any difference between leaves picked when the indigo is in flower and when it isn't? I've noticed that a richer dye seems to happen when the leaves are harvested when the plant is in flower. Although, this is just observational and not scientific. I may have just put more leaves in the bucket when I'd been picking them while the plants were in flower.


A couple of angora shawls from the bunnies in the backyard. I don't have them anymore, though, they were sold for rather a lot of money.

They were started with bunny fluff:



The bunny fluff is spun into yarn:





Here's the edge of another shawl made with bunny fluff:



They're insanely soft and folks love these shawls. Once they touch them, they don't want to let go.

Some of the bunny fluff is made into scarves, too:



Right now, I'm knitting my friend some socks from bunny fluff, but they're not done yet.


On a more utilitarian level though, there's sheep's wool into rugs. This is Midnight, he's the sheep that's been sheared already, the dark colored one. He's mostly a Clun Forest and he has nice springy wool on him, very soft and lovely as a rug.



Here's his fleece in a laundry basket:



Spun up fat on the bulky flyer on an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel (possibly the most common spinning wheel on the planet and/or known universe)



And spun into a rug. The black stripes are from Midnight, the white stripes are from his mom, Flannel, so this is a 'mother & son' rug:



For some strange reason, if you smear Vick's Mentholatum on your feet, your sinuses will clear up. I haven't a clue why. Maybe some sort of ointment made from the Vick's plant would do the same thing?

We also like adding a little bit of Peppermint or Eucalyptus oil to steaming water and then sniffing that to clear up sinuses. Hmm, I wonder if the Peppermint oil on the feet would work the same as Vick's?
3 years ago
If you use any Hungarian recipes which have a lot of paprika in them, you can add in a lot of turmeric as well.

We just had some turmeric today where we had a stir fry and the spices tossed on it were tumeric, cumin, paprika and a touch of cinnamon. Stir fried in olive oil instead of peanut or toasted sesame oil. It came out a tasty but more of a Spanish or Mediterranean sort of flavor than the usual Asian. Possibly because we skipped the sesame oil and oyster sauce.
3 years ago
I've not figured out a way to free range bunnies and still keep breeding records. We use selective breeding to improve the bunnies as well as to keep down inbreeding. Wouldn't inbreeding be a problem eventually with free range bunnies?

Also, if it's a fiber rabbit, how is the fiber kept clean if they're free range? Perhaps if they were ranging indoors, then they'd have clean wool, although I don't know if I want to share the house with that many critters.
3 years ago
I've not tried it myself, but it would seem to me that wheat grass as the only diet of a rabbit might be a little bit too far on the 'wet' side unless the wheat grass was allowed to get past the very young stage. Sometimes bunnies can get diarrhea when their diet has too much wet stuff in it which is why iceberg lettuce and stuff like that isn't good in large quantities. But if wheat grass or other sprouts were fed along with dry food such as hay, then it'd probably be a good thing. A lot of it would probably depend on what the rabbits are used to, also. Give them a little bit and see how they do. If they're fine and they like to eat it, then give them more.

Sometimes the bunnies don't know they're supposed to eat the good stuff, though. The folks at the university gave me some cuttings of a plant that grows easily in our area with lots of protein in it. Seemed like great bunny food to me, so I was all ready to plant a whole hedge of the stuff. Luecursia or some such name, I forget the exact name right now. But they'd given me some leaves as well as cuttings, so I gave the leaves to the bunnies just to give them a taste of their new food. None of them would touch them more than to take one bite and spit it out. Hmpf. I gave the cuttings to my friend with goats, they didn't seem to be so fussy.

3 years ago