Wednesday, 23 October 2013


When I joined Ravelry, I stated on my profile page that "I want to learn to spin my bunny's fur into angora yarn".  To that end, every time Smokey Bunny moulted, we collected his long, soft fibres of fur. 

He had an extraordinarily soft coat.  In the past I had noticed other rabbits' coats become coarser as they mature with distinct strands of hair, yet Smokey's coat never changed - it always stayed soft and fluffy.  It was very black when he was a kitten, and as he grew older, he developed a white undercoat. 

This tuque had only been on the lawn for a moment when
inquisitive Smokey came along. Can you see his fluffy moult?
31 October 2012
When the white sections close to his skin began to moult, his deep black coat would get a grey tinge as the white infiltrated the black. In places it would create a 'salt and pepper' effect but most of the time Smokey was a soft, fluffy, misty grey.

Smokey inspecting "Bunny Phone Cover Mark  II",
new and improved after the first cover wore out.
15 May 2010

We have been keeping his fur in brown paper bags. The theory is that it will be able to 'breathe' and not become affected by humidity etc. What is the best way to store it?

What did Smokey think of my crocheted phone cover?
I think this is a sign of approval.
"Bunny Mark II" (my own design)
15 May 2010
I am not a spinner (yet) and I have no experience of it whatsoever apart from the spinners I have met at craft fairs. I have visited blogs, borrowed library books and even purchased a drop spindle at a craft fair, not even realising at the time that there are different sizes for different purposes, just like different sized crochet hooks. 

Despite my efforts, a lot of the spinning terms are still meaningless to me - obviously one needs to be doing it in order to understand because no matter how hard I try, the specialist terms and jargon make very little sense to non-spinner me.

But that hasn't quelled my desire to turn Smokey's fur into something comforting, soft and warm just like him.

Sadly, on 8 October 2013, at 2:30 p.m., snugglebunny Smokey was taken by a very nasty cancer.  He was 8 years old which is an 'old-man-bunny' age but right up until the day he died, he was responsive and active; eating, drinking, wanting to play outside, still grooming himself etc. - all of those behaviours that belied the fact that the cancer was progressing within.

Smokey 'reading' the Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Although he cannot read the words,
he certainly took a lot of interest in the pictures.

He had a remarkable
personality and charmed everyone, even people who, up until meeting him, hadn't any care for rabbits at all. 

Sometimes this busy bunny roamed a little too freely!
Here he is climbing the fence of the vegie patch.
That Peter Rabbit is a bad influence!
23 April 2011

Smokey was house trained and roamed freely around the house and garden. Sometimes he went on excursions in the wider world wearing a leashed harness.

No bunny rug in this photo - cheeky Smokey!
He was easy to lose on my bed when his
black shiny coat blended in with my black bedspread.
27 July 2007

On cold winter nights, he would hop up onto the end of my bed and sleep on an actual 'bunny rug' (which had been used by my own children when they were babies - how fitting).

Hiding behind the woolly bush
1 October 2012

We learned of Smokey's diagnosis barely a month before his death.  On the day he died, it was pleasantly sunny and warm, with a still, blue sky.  He spent the morning stretched out, relaxed under the woolly bush (one of his favourite spots) in the company of his (human) family.  My daughter spent the entire morning in the garden with him (because we knew his time was near) sharing pats and licks (a rabbit show of affection).

Smokey digging. He wasn't a huge fan of digging
and never ever tried to dig out of the yard. My family thinks
that is because he was very happy to be with us.
The flowerpot indicates Smokey's small size.
23 April 2011
She came inside for a few minutes, and that was all the time it took for Smokey to pass away. I went out to find him on his side 'sunbaking' on the lawn; he had almost made it across to his absolute favourite place: a form he had dug out under the sage bush which was lush with spring growth and purple flowers.  He looked peaceful.  I like to think that his last thought was happy anticipation.

I am grateful that he did not appear to suffer from pain, that his battle with the cancer was swift; he had his family around him and he had a peaceful day in his favourite garden haunts.

Smokey would dip his head to ask for a pat.
22 September 2013
After everyone had one last cuddle, one last stroke of his soft, fluffy coat, we ceremoniously buried his body, adorned with his favourite tasty flowers, in the corner of the garden behind the irongrass (a very spiky strappy plant in which Smokey would hide when he was feeling cheeky because no one could get near it for fear of being pricked by the sharp blades).

My daughter's beautiful words say it all:

22 September 2013

I can't imagine what my life is going to be without you at my feet when we eat dinner or when I need a cuddle.
You were so sprightly all the time and full of life.
I'll miss watching you jump up and kick your feet when you're happy on the grass.
I'll miss the way you snuggled into my face and licked me on the nose.
I'll miss just looking down and seeing you stretched out and happy while you're making the cutest noises.
You were so remarkable and the biggest character. Cheeky and playing chasey and then running up to us when we called your name.
I'm glad you're not suffering but I'm sad you're gone. I love you so much and I'm so happy you knew that in your last moments.

I hope you enjoy these photographs of Smokey posted in memoriam. One day I will spin his fur and make a soft scarf to remember him by, not that it is necessary as he certainly was an unforgettable soul.

R.I.P. Darling Smokey


Hiding in the sage.
22 September 2013


  1. It's hard to lose a pet. I'm thinking of you all and of the happiness and delight that Smokey gave you all.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. It looks like he had an amazing life with you.
    I hope you can spin his fur into something nice. I think I would use a very light spindle when attempting to spin shorthaired bunny fur.

  3. Thank you for your sentiments. Smokey is greatly missed. I am adding more of the family's favourite photos as I find them too. It is a comfort to know that others understand and appreciate that Smokey was a significant family member, companion and friend.
    Thank you, Frigga, also for your advice on how to spin Smokey's fur.
    In the past I had been advised to blend it with another longer fibre like merino because it Smokey's fur is so short.
    Someone else advised to felt it instead. I am not keen on felting because it can be so unpredictable.
    I would rather have a spun fibre that I can crochet.
    I have come across resources that describe spinning wool but none about rabbit fur so your help is most appreciated when it comes to spinning it with a drop spindle.
    Any other thoughts about spinning rabbit fur will be most welcome!

  4. I think blending with another fiber is a good idea too, if that's not a problem for you. It will make it easier to spin and more durable so you can actually crochet with it. Merino is always lovely, or maybe a merino/silk blend, for even more softness? Personally, I also love to spin Blue Faced Leicester wool (BFL). It's also super soft and I heard some people find it easier to draft than Merino. I can't wait to see what you make of it. I think it's such a cute idea of you to spin Smokey's fur!

    1. Ooh! I like the idea of a merino/silk blend. I have never handled BFL before and am keen to discover its properties for myself. I think I will make it next year's project to investigate these options and get on with learning how to use the spindle.

  5. I am so sorry! What an adorable bunny he was.

    1. Thank you. It is hard for pictures to convey his little antics and personality. He certainly was adorable and I am glad it comes through in the photographs.

  6. When I re-read my daughter's words about Smokey at her feet at dinner, I think of the way he would come to his little spot by the dinner table and eat his own dinner of hay, vegetables and pellets whenever we sat down to dinner, taking his cue from the family routine. If the conversation around the table got lively and/or louder, he would voice his own sounds to join in the cacophony! He had to have his say as well!
    He was a very expressive, communicative and social bunny who involved himself very much with family life - he ate when we ate, he watched tv with us, helped us when we were out weeding the garden and 'guarded' us when we slept.

  7. Aw, I came to your blog through a comment you left on an other blog, and this is the first post I read. I'm so sorry for your loss, bunnies are little animals which such big characters, and it's so sad when they have to go.

    I hope it works out with the spinning, I'm sure it will be pretty, and such a great memory of Smokey :)

  8. Thank you for coming to visit Lupey Loops, Amber. It is nice to meet another bunny-lover, and especially a "Woolbunny" lover.

    I had a look at your most recent bunny photos on your blog. The last photo of a grey rabbit reminds me of Smokey because it has a solid colour and the fur is fluffy like Smokey's. We never knew which breed he was because he was an orphan and we adopted him. We wondered whether he had a bit of angora in him or perhaps some mini rex because he was so tiny. I wonder whether anyone can work it out from Smokey's pictures?

    I also love your crocheted African Flower Pony. So much work! Stunning.

    How long have you been hand dyeing fibres? You have some lovely colours displayed on your blog and etsy pages.

    Thanks for sharing your kind thoughts.

  9. What a beautiful post Jodie. RIP Smokey. I love how he ate his tea with the family and joined in conversations. I had Flemish giant rabbits when my kids were younger and we also hand reared a motherless kitten the kids found on a friend's property. I miss having more pets and have been thinking about getting a guinea pig but a rabbit would be good too.

  10. Thanks Kylie, I appreciate your sentiments. You obviously know rabbits and how clever they can be. Smokey was like a cat in the way he used a litter tray but he was less self-centred. He would sleep on the end of the bed like a cat, but he was like a dog in that he would come when called and was easy to train. He was very social (like a rabbit!); cared for his family and took great interest in everyone who visited, and was extra friendly with all the regular visitors. We are sure he considered them all as part of "his family" and he took upon himself the responsibility of watching over everything.

  11. He sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!