Thursday, July 30, 2015

Adventures in keeping Angora rabbits - Part 1 - Living Quarters

I thought rather than another update on baby bunnies, I would share a little more with you about Angora rabbits and some of the little tidbits I have learned thus far.  Believe you me, I am still learning so much all the time, but we definitely took a crash course with these little ones, and doing is always the best way to learn, or at least that's what I like to think.

And as I started typing, I realized that it would be a very long post if I just shared everything I want to share with you.  So...this will be part one of a small series on our adventures keeping Angora rabbits.

1) Living Quarters:

We got Penny and Rory back in February.  Penny was about 2 years old, and Rory was just 7 months at that point.  First thing we thought we ought to do was build them an outdoor mansion.  Space to run outside and in, and a divider so they could see each other but not get *ahem* too intimate.

Penny looking a little camera shy...

But not Mr Rory...silly boy!

They loved it, but as we soon found out, there were some flaws.  First and foremost, our attempts to keep the lovebirds apart were futile.  The way we had built the enclosure had more vulnerable spots than initially thought.  So, our breeding plans had been sped up dramatically.  (More on that in the next post.)

Rory is always mugging for the camera.

Yup...I figured out how to get to Penny, why do you ask?

Second, we found that something that we had hoped would give them relief from the Central Cali heat was also not working for us.  Digging.  Man, are rabbits good diggers.  The tunnels that we had hoped they would create in the dirt to keep them cool were deeper and more extensive than we thought, and there were several occasions in which we found ourselves chasing rabbits around the yard.

This is one of the more extensive tunnels they dug right out of their caged area.

And third was grooming.  Most of the time it was fine.  But if it got muddy, or they escaped into the weeds and brush, they would be covered in mud or burs or foxtails.  Think long fur on any animals and then you know why that is a problem, so even more so when you plan on using that fiber later to make yarn.

After removing Penny from the enclosure, we would
walk her around on her silly bunny leash and she always
wanted to go see Rory.

And of course the heat was a constant issue.  So we packed them back up into their initial cages with some modifications.  Well....kind of.  At this point, Penny was caring for her second litter (the first was unsuccessful, but again, this is for another post) and she and the babies were tucked away in their special hutch.  So we set up the old cages inside this lovely little lattice work structure already on the property right by our house, equipped with a box fan and misters.  We moved everyone inside of it, which came with the security both they and I needed (you can ask the hubby, I was a constant wreck while they were outside that they would be eaten) and we were able to keep them cool without them digging, kept clean and separated from each other.

We are outgrowing our little hutch! Also, feed us.

Now that the babies are getting bigger, we are about to add a new cage structure inside this area for them.  I know it is probably just my human feelings and not an actual rabbit need, but I like that they will be set up where they can see each other and with the new cages, will be able to play together some (except for poor Rory who will be our only unaltered male, so he has to be separate, but does live right next to Penny so they snuggle up against the cage to each other.)

So we have eventually figured out a living situation that seems to work well for the rabbits as well as us humans. As for the mansion we built, it will make quite a lovely chicken coop with a few minor alterations.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Our exciting yarn release!

This has been a day I have been quite excited about...our yarn release day!  So, without further delay, I would like to introduce you to our new line of completely hand processed and hand spun yarns!

Ok...maybe a little further delay...I feel like I should give a little background.  But skip down if you don't want the backstory and just want to drool over yarn.  I will completely understand!

I have been into yarn for a large part of my life.  My great grandmother taught me how to crochet from a very young age (I think I was 11) and I loved it.  Later I taught myself how to knit so I could make a variety of fabrics with my yarn crafting.  It was always really quite difficult for me to leave any yarn store without at least one skien of yarn.  So when we started talking about starting our own business, I was quick to pitch the fiber farm with hand processed yarn idea.  And that was before I'd even learned how to spin yarn.  I knew that I would love spinning, because the end product was YARN!  How could I not love it?

And after a great shearing season with all the wonderful alpaca folks in the area, and after successfully breeding 4 more angora rabbits, it was time to get down to business and spin us some yarn.  And even though it has been a bit slower than I would have liked, I am excited to release the first of our lovely line of yarns, with many more to come.  It has taught me so much about the animals we get our fiber from, the extensive process it takes to hand make yarn from start to finish, the qualities of each fiber and how they work together.  I must say that I am most excited about our alpaca and angora blends.  So soft, with a lovely halo, and as close to hypoallergenic as you can get when you have natural fiber from animals.



These are our blends so far of 50/50 angora and alpaca fiber.  I love the colors...the brownish red alpaca or light grey alpaca with the white angora are just too much fun.   These ones are both a worsted weight.  The hubby has been helping with the winding them into lovely center pull balls and packaging them up so they are all ready to go when they find their new home.


This brown is straight alpaca and is a neat light brown with red hues.  It is a bulky weight yarn.


And this lovely black yarn is 100% llama fiber.  While it has a slightly courser feel, it is still surprisingly soft.  I would compare it more to the feel of a sheep's wool with a little more guard hairs. It would make a very warm scarf or squishy rug or addition to a lovely blanket.  I am currently knitting a shawl out of some single ply and can't wait to try it out.  It is turning out quite nice!

If you are interested in learning more about any of the yarns, we have linked all the pictures to their corresponding listing.  We would love to hear your feedback, too!

What is on the horizon?  Some lovely black and white blend of angora and alpaca, and in a month or so we will be shearing bunnies to get some new angora colors to blend...stay tuned!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Bringing the family into the business

When I was first wanting to start this business, I thought about the things we'd love to offer.  But many of the things were either outside our wheel house or wishful thinking that we could even try to accomplish it all.  But when we moved to little San Miguel, we also moved closer to my parents, who are very talented artists as well.  They are also very supportive, and when I asked (or maybe sort of begged) them to get involved, they were willing to learn about the fiber world and jump in!

My dad is quite skilled at turning wood.  And needless to say, that comes in quite handy in the fiber arts world.  My mind was thinking about all the possibilities right away.  Drop spindles, knitting needles, yarn bowls... so many pretty wood accessories to making wonderful projects.  And I spewed all my ideas (and still am) at my dad, who also has a full time job.  But low and behold, the first of the drop spindles were made...

This one may be coming off the sales shelf to live with
me full time...I am in love with how it spins!

Oh the colors!
Then other goodies showed up.... stitch markers, knitting needles (which sold at our table right away), and this crazy gorgeous yarn bowl made of locust wood with turquoise inlays....

The golden wood and turquoise are almost enough to
make my yarn crafting brain explode!

And that is some of our handspun yarn in there...more on that later!

And I hear I have other goodies waiting to land in my anxiously awaiting hands....

And then I asked mom about helping with a few things.  First, this is the woman that taught me how to sew, therefore of course I was going to ask her to help with some sewn goodies.  I know she also loves upcycling, the thrill of figuring out a new use for neglected or no longer usable items.  So first she made us some wonderful project bags from denim...

Even equipped with spots for needles or hooks!
And I know what you are thinking.  How do I also get my hands on some hand carved crochet hooks like those pictured in the bag?  Well, turns out my mom is also quite talented with her little pocket knife. 

Yup, she just uses that little knife to make these wonderful little Lance wood hooks with tons of character.  They are super smooth, but have that nice quality that wood brings to yarn crafting where it doesn't make the yarn slide too much like metal or plastic. 

And guess what!?  They are on sale this week!  Just enter the coupon code 'crochethookspecial' and you will get 30% off any hook of your choosing! Click to go to our shop!

I am working on getting some of my mom's weavings.  She is coming around I think....

And soon I hope to have other family members joining in the fun, such as my sister and maybe even one of my cousins.  Because how cool is it to not only have a family so very supportive, but one that is excited to join in the fun?

See you soon!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Updates Galore!

Well, rather than make this post about one subject, I am so behind, I figured I'd give some quick updates and share some pics to get us all caught up.

First, the important stuff - bunny update.  Since I last reported, we lost a few more babies.  We now have 4 little ones that are now almost 6 weeks old, and already quite the curious fluff balls!

Line up for grub!
How can I feed you when you're in the bowl?

They have been weened, so mom has moved out and the kids have their own home now.  They are doing so well that we will finally be giving them names very soon!  We are big fans of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog, and since we have Penny, we may be adding other bunnies to the cast.

4 Healthy Little Babies!
Look how big and fluffy we are!

In other baby news, the kittens are doing well...but how can kittens be so cute yet so destructive? We have had a few interesting mishaps with the kittens, including them somehow opening screens on our second story windows and jumping from them, and wanting to "help" with yarn making and sewing.

I'm a helper!  I can shred your patterns!
What's up?


 But all in all, they are little sweeties, and when they curl up in your lap and (finally) fall asleep, it doesn't get much better than that!

Finally passed out with ol' JB.
I was able to collaborate on a really fun project with our friend/landlord.  Her grandmother had made her this super sweet crochet barn bag filled with adorable amigurumi farm animals.  We wanted to recreate it so my friend could give it as a gift to her friend's newborn baby.  It was such a blast to make!  And if it strikes your fancy, let us know, we can make one of your very own!

What a cute and happy bunch of farm animals, waiting to meet their new owner!
We have also begun regularly setting up a table at an artisan's boutique and it has been great to hone how we want to do our booths at events.  Here is the most recent set up (sorry it's a bad pic...).  

Our recent table at Vines RV Artisan's Boutique.
More work to do, but not a bad start!

If you are in the San Luis Obispo area on a Friday, come say hello at the Vines RV Park!  All are welcome.  And soon we hope to join the Paso Robles Saturday Farmer's Market and Craft Faire!

We have also been working away on getting new product made and on our site, including our most popular item, our organizing rolls, like this one!  

We had a great suggestion from a customer that we should also make makeup brush rolls, so ask and you shall receive!  I am just loving these organic fabrics!

And in the next post, we will be revealing our new yarn line!  Those bunnies I keep talking about will be put to work, helping us make some yummy yarns for all of you to enjoy!  Stay tuned!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Welcome to the FARM!

Welcome to the FARM!

posted Apr 8, 2015, 4:27 PM by Fiberton Acres [ updated Apr 19, 2015, 12:54 PM ]

Hello there! My name is Ash, and me and my hubby, Ric, are excited to introduce you to Fiberton Acres Ranch and Manor, our blog and our shop. Some of you may be old friends of my previous blog, Civic Stitchings, and some of you may be totally new, but I am so glad to have you all join us here!

Here at our small farm (not really an urban farm, as we are in the tiny town of San Miguel, California, but not really a full fledged farm) we create lots of wonderful things. Before I give you the tour (in the blog post to follow), let me give a brief background.

We recently moved to our new home on the Central Coast of CA, and we are enjoying the sun and the room to spread our wings. We made a drastic change - I worked in politics, and my hubby for a big box store as a manager - and we sold pretty much everything, packed ourselves into an RV and drove down from Eugene, Oregon to live in our RV (which we affectionately named Oliver) until we found our little plot of land. We had every intention of getting fiber animals and starting a fiber farm, with goats, maybe alpacas, rabbits, and more. However, we quickly learned that this was a much larger endeavor here in an area where water is now much more of a scarcity.

We eventually found a wonderful home in the tiny town of San Miguel. We love it. We moved from a medium sized city (Eugene, OR, in which the metro area is about 200k) to San Miguel (which is maybe 2k). For those that have never moved to a significantly smaller location, there are a few things you have to get used to. One is that everyone moves at their own speed. Working on politics, I'd have thought this to be very rude, that people are intentionally disrespecting your time. But after having lived here for a bit, I am starting to realize that people just are not as in as big of a rush here....ever. It still drives me a bit batty, but not nearly as much as when we first got here. In fact, it becomes a little endearing and reminds me that maybe I need to slow down. Another thing, and one that I absolutely love, is the sense of community. People watch out for each other. People make sure that you have the things you need. Everyone knows each other (which is also not so great from time to time) and cares for each other.

And that is how we found our awesome place. I was running a little coffee shop in town for a while, and a few of my regulars came by. I told them we wanted to find a place where we could have some
animals, but wanted to stay closer to San Miguel and needed something pretty affordable. And voila! They told us about their new place, a manor built in the 1930's that they had recently purchased, and that back in the day, they had built a chauffeur's quarters (or something of the like - but I always think of Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina...I adore Audrey...if you have not seen it, go watch it. We will be here when you get back) above the 4 car garage in the early 1930's. We saw it and fell in love.

And it is here that Fiberton Acres has started. Not yet a full fledged fiber farm, but we have begun with our angora rabbits - Rorschach (Rory for short) and Penny. We are hoping they will be bringing us some babies in the near future. Penny is the all white one, a German Angora and Rory has the splotches on the face and is a French Angora. Their fur is sooo soft! We mix it with alpaca and you get some super lofty, softy yarn.

We also have our silly dog, JB, who is now 13 and 1/2 years old and is still a little

pain in the rear. Which is pretty great considering his age! Look at that silly face. He mostly doesn't want to eat the rabbits, so that is great! And soon we will be adding two kittens to Fiberton Acres, once they are weened from mommy.

Next time I will show you around the place a little, and fill you in a little more on the operations here at Fiberton Acres!

Thanks for checking us out! We would love to hear from you, so feel free any time to drop us a line here, via email at, or find us on Facebook, Instagram,Ravelry, or Pinterest!

-Ash and Ric and all the animals

PS - Big thanks to our great photographer, Molly! Feel free to contact us if you are looking to get in contact with her.

Babies Everywhere!

We are super excited to welcome several new additions to our little menagerie! As I mentioned in our previous post about the FARM, we were looking forward to adopting two kittens from the neighbors/friend-lords. And white they can be a little handful, we have come to the conclusion that they are trying to break the cute-o-meter. Just look at them!

Leia is the striped one with white paws and tip of the tail. Obi (they are both girls, but we really wanted Star Wars names...hehe) has much more while on her, and looks like she will have longer, finer hair. Leia is in love with the dog, and JB is very good with them, but definitely not used to the rambunctious little youngsters yet.

In additions to these cute little furballs, we have bunnies! Penny gave birth to a large litter of 10 bunnies on June 2nd. I wanted to wait to see how things went before I announced this, as this is only her 2nd litter, and the first did not make it. Plus baby bunnies are pretty ugly. She has been a pretty good mom, but with such a large litter, we expected to lose some. So a little over a week in, I am feeling pretty confident that the 6 babies still alive are going to do pretty good. Fingers crossed at least!

Just think of all the fun colors we will get from their angora fiber. So soft and so pretty. We will keep posting on these little ones as they grow!

In addition to these babies, there are other little ones to report on...

I often get to go play with this little guy. Bo is the neighbor pup and just too cute. Who couldn't love that face?

And chicks! These are also the neighbors' little ones, and even though this picture is a little old now (ok, they are totally laying hens now, but hey) they are also cute, and they are what I hope to be adding to our our little FARM soon.

We are continually working on Fiberton and expanding our little operation. And sometimes it seems like we have bit off a little more than we can chew, but mostly it has been such a rewarding and eye opening experience. More soon!