Today, I have a very interesting artist for you to meet.
He is a knitter, spinner, bunny cuddler and all round wonderful person!
So, here, now is Chris French!!!!
I spin. I knit. I bunny. Well, I raise French & German angora bunnies that lovingly provide fabulous fiber that I blend into alpaca and wool for handspun yarn.
My journey in crafting spans a number of decades. I first learned to knit and crochet when I was in the 4th grade—I was in an accident and was bedridden for several months due to a fractured pelvis. One of my friend’s mother taught me the basics, and that was the beginning of lots of fun times learning about the two crafts.
Fast forward to college in the early 1980s, and I discovered Lopi sweaters—I must have made six or seven of them! At that time I was knitting English style and learned to knit Continental so that I could knit with both hands to manage the two-color rows. I didn’t know it was called Continental knitting; I just called it left handed knitting!
Twenty years ago I learned to spin. I bought a second-hand Louet S-10, found a local spinning group, and I was off. A couple of years later my partner purchased me a Reeves 22” Saxony style wheel, that Rick Reeves made with the mother-of-all (flyer, etc) on the right side so I could spin left handed. It sounds complicated, but in short, I draft the fiber from the orifice on the right, across my front, and to the left, drawing back for a modified longdraw. This works well for quick spinning.
Three years ago I quit my job working in the natural foods industry (first at a food co-op, then a local, natural & organic store). I have a lifetime of migraines, and working a set schedule, or even anyone else’s schedule was becoming a problem for me. I ended that job, with the goal of starting a business selling handspun yarn and handknit items. I am very fortunate to have a loving & understanding partner, who has been tremendously supportive in this dream. Later that year, Vtknitboy handspun yarns was created.
I’ve always wanted to have a small farm with sheep and alpacas, but in reality, I know it all would be too much work for me to do. So…I hopped right into the world of angora bunnies! Two years ago I got two French angora bunnies, a brother & sister. Primo Torto is a tort color French angora, and his sister, Nuit Noire, is a black French angora. Shortly after, I got a chestnut French, Chessie. Later that year I purchased Annabelle-nippy-diva, a German angora. So far, that’s the bunny family! The bulk of the fiber I use in blending for spinning comes from Annabelle. German angora bunnies are larger than French, and provide a lot more fiber. German bunnies do not shed, so I can clip her on a regular schedule. Annabelle’s fleece can vary from 10-16oz, and I clip her every 90 days. The three French bunnies yield approx 4-8oz three times a year. They shed their fiber, and I harvest it by gently brushing and combing them over a period of about 1.5 weeks.
Bunnies are just amazing! I had no idea what I was getting into. They have unique, individual personalities, love lots of attention, and have bitchy moments, just like people. They provide fiber and endless entertainment.
Their fiber is incredibly soft and warm. Estimates range from 4-8 times warmer than wool. I just figure, it’s a lot warmer, and a little goes a long way. Just adding 10-20% to wool yarn creates a fabulous garment. Most of the yarn I spin and sell contains 20-30% bunny, a lot of alpaca, and a bit of wool. I also sell hats and scarves created from my handspun. The yarn generally falls into sportweight to worsted weight category. Knitting it on large needles (approximately US 8-11) helps to highlight the bunny fiber, which will fill out and halo a bit. Many of the hats I sell are knit doublestranded, and the hand (feel) of the fabric is soft & squishy.
You can find hats and a couple of scarves listed on my etsy site, vtknitboy. I am currently out of handspun, but will be spinning in the next week!
You can find me on Facebook, as Chrisinvermont. Chris French, Jericho, VT. I am Vtknitboy on Ravelry, and on twitter. I would be honored to connect with you in either or both places! I have a blog that has been on vacation lately, but will be back in business this month: vtknitboy.blogspot.com
There you have it! The bunny-man himself!
Now go and check out what he’s got listed!
Here are some more pictures of Chris’s work!
If you are an artist, or know of an artist you think deserves to be featured, please let me know by leaving a comment here.
My featured artists will go on to be featured on two more blogs this month. Next on Karen’s blog, then the Indie Mosaic blog and was just featured on Bridgett’s blog! So you get maximum exposure! Since we all do different things you will reach different readers on each of our blogs and you really get your name out there! It’s really great. And best of all: It’s free! If you enjoyed reading this and want to be featured, or know of someone that you think should be featured, leave a comment on this post, or email me at SlaveToMyNeedles@comcast.net. I would also recommend that you check out the upcoming artists in the calendar on the Indie Mosaic board!