Very bored with vermin wrangling.

John needs a new cloak, so I’m trying to wrestle four plates of grey squirrel into something like this one


I have to get four two foot by four foot plates of fur into one large one.

when Gareth caught me hoovering the living roo rug, he asked, “are you cutting out? You must be cutting out because you wouldn’t be hoovering otherwise”

The fur I’m using is ethically sourced grey squirrels from culls, because the only good grey squirrel is a dead grey squirrel( at least in the uk, where they’re pretty much committing genocide against the native reds). Since they’re not useful members of society whilst alive I see no reason they shouldn’t be useful dead. We could actually do with a tree rat cull in these parts, I see at least one every time I look out of the window.

I’m glad I can get ethically sourced fur now. You can never get enough recycled stuff to make large useful things, and although I don’t mind cannibalising cheap bunny fur coats from the seventies I’d rather not cut up any decent old coats because they’re too nice as historical pieces in themselves. I’ve never considered fake fur an option, I’d rather use no fur than fake. Fake looks fake, the individual hairs are too thick, the blunt cut ends don’t shine, and fake fur doesn’t move ( watch ginger Rogers dance in fur, and see the way it dances with her) you can tell the difference between real and fake a hundred feet away just by the movement. Also, fake fur, well it’s not exactly earth friendly and biodegradable, what with being made from petrochemicals.

anyway, I pondered for weeks how to best manage the nap of the fur for this. Geoffrey’s fur seems to flow down from the shoulder so I decided that for a half circle cloak the pelts would need to flow out from a central seam. Trimming the pelts to a straight line seemed to me that it would make a rather ugly line, plus it would waste a good bit of expensive fur ( this thing is costing £500 in materials, so least waste the better), so I’ve been sewing the pelts interlocked.


As you can see I’ve laid them out flat and I’m hand stitching them, trimming as a go along for a good fit ( I’ll sew the straight edges on the machine). It’s very slow work and I’m getting very very bored with the pesky dead vermins.

however, I think it’s worth the effort


In other news I’m currently reading john bradshaws book, the name of the cat. He reckons that some recent feline behavioural studies have focused on cats understanding of physics and engineering. Unsurprisingly enough, these studies tend to conclude that your average kitty in the street has remarkably poor grasp of these subjects. However, it does explain why branston has repeatedly dismantled Gareth’s printer- he is obviously trying to expand feline knowledge of printer engineering. My cats a genius.


~ by opusanglicanum on October 3, 2015.

21 Responses to “Very bored with vermin wrangling.”

  1. Got to be the only good use for a grey squirrel – nature’s little speed bumps…

    • You can eat them ( the rump end) they were a delicacy in the Middle Ages, reserved for lords.

      Personally I think there must be a gap in the market for natural all tree rat catfuds, branston keeps sitting in the window ranting about how much he wants one

  2. There’s certainly a lot to be said for finding a use for tree rats!

  3. The vair is lovely. And nice to know that grey squirrels count as ethical fur sources. (Though this stuff gets complicated. I have long lusted after a big possum blanket, and the local indigenous people have a possum fur traditional cloak that is awesomely gorgeous too. And the things *are* tree rats in most urban settings, as europeanised gardening is like an eternal feast for a species evolved to live on the Australian native boom and bust cycle of low-nutrient flora. But they’re a protected species so to get the fur you have to import it from New Zealand, where they’re an introduced pest. Which always seems like defeating the ‘local fur’ and ‘avoiding petrochemicals’ point….

    Anyway, can’t wait to see an actual vair mantle, if your handsome kitty will allow humans access once you’ve finished HIS cloak (I know that possessive look!).

    • Is possum fur nice? They always look like rather scruffy beasts. But then again Gareth has a pet chinchilla, and poor chinnybiddy is the moultiest creature I’ve ever met, it’s heard to imagine her as a coat.

      The mantle has to be wearable by Nottingham in a few weeks time, although I’ll get it back to put some tablet weave on later, as there’s just no way my work schedule will allow me to weave this year. ( I’m worried next week may well kill me)

      • The cloaks are gorgeous, both for the fur, and for the art that some have on the skin side. They are said to be very warm, and while I’ve never gotten to play with any pelts or to frot a cloak, New Zealanders spin the fur into yarn, and the possum/merino blend socks and jumper I have are warm and soft and light and just a lovely tactile experience. Cashmere is the closest equivalent I know.

        Some of the traditional arrangements of the fur are quite vair like, though most possums are way bigger than squirrels, so the pattern is larger. The first time I saw a red squirrel I thought it was a baby, because I’d always mentally equated squirrels and possums in size (probably the fault of CS Lewis and his illustrator).

        Anyway, hoping you survive your horrid work week and that Nottingham gets his mantle delivered on time!

  4. *bows down to the Queen of Doing Re-enactment Right*

    It looks awesome!

    Where on earth did you get ethically sourced fur? Since House de Clifford shut down, I’ve not had a source (not that I’ve got a project for anything furry, but it’s always nice to know).

    • De Clifford’s have been back for over a year, torm and website
      Facebook too

      • OMG. The prices aren’t even ridiculous. High, yes, but, but could realistically be saved for. Hmm. I wonder how much postage to oz would add? (Big hypocrite me since I won’t order possum fur from NZ? But — vair!!) Thanks for the link!

      • If you contact them they’ll do a better deal on multiples. But don’t you have to be careful what you can import into Australia cos of the draconian import laws. Radio four did a whole programme a couple of years ago about someone who tried and failed to import cheese

      • Hmm, I know people who’ve imported rabbit fur from the US for medievalist purposes (crazy, yes, because we have a permanent rabbit plague, but not, it seems a rabbit fur industry, so rabbit fur is actually way cheaper from overseas) so I think fur is okay. Food stuffs do have stringent quarantine rules, I believe. And we’re not allowed to have unpasteurised cheese For Our Own Good, no matter how nice it tastes.

        Looks like WordPress ate my previous reply about possums. So short version, possum fur looks awesome, possum fur yarn is nicer than cashmere in my opinion, and some traditional Koori cloaks even look quite vair ish:

      • I love unpasteurised cheese, just thinking about it reminds me that there’s some Yorkshire blue in the fridge. So do you gets blue cheese at all?

      • We do, including some imported ones, but they can’t be made from raw milk. iirc, there was a big fuss a few years ago trying to get an exception for Roquefort, but I’m not sure what came of it. It’s been a very difficult few years and I haven’t kept up with quite a few important things, including the Cheese News. Now I shall eat some cheese while I stitch my daughter’s surcoat, thank you for reminding me 🙂 No imported Stilton to hand, but there is a nice Gippsland Blue in the fridge…

      • It might have been the Roquefort story on the food programme. He was forced to dispose of it so he had it buried in a coffin with a tricolour and the marseliesse playing as a last act of defiance

      • Oh, goodness! How awesome! That’s great to know.

      • Next year I get a cloak ( it was more important joy have one for kingy things first, and we could only afford one at a time) I would dearly have loved to have lined my red velvet gown though…sigh…when I can afford to have silk brocaded velvet woven for I shall line it in vair

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: