May we introduce Animal? Animal is an angora rabbit whom we had the opportunity to meet earlier today - she's currently on holiday at Shauna's Pet Shop on Capel Street, and since we don't often get the chance to meet fibre animals in the city centre, we jumped at the chance. Angora rabbits (and angora goats and angora cats) are named for the city of Ankara in Turkey, and they're one of the oldest domestic breeds, though they've only been widely known in the West for a century or so. They produce extraordinarily fine hair which can be spun into the softest yarn imaginable. They moult several times a year, and they need to be groomed several times a week to stop those gorgeous coats from matting. Unlike cats, they can't get rid of hairballs and can become seriously ill without a good brushing every day or so. Luckily, they enjoy the process hugely - or at least, Animal did. She sat there on her special cushion and clearly loved being groomed with the big red grooming mitt. And grooming produces quantities of the softest fluff - a couple of passes of the brush yielded this, which disappeared into a bag to be spun and knitted later by a fortunate craftswoman: We'll be stocking not only angora blends over the coming season, but also some pure angora, so we'll all have reason to be thankful to Animal and her relations. Watch this space for details. And we're also very grateful to Shauna and her wonderful shop - you'll find the Facebook page at this link. As well as bunnies and tropical fish, she's got wonderful exotic creatures like iguanas and pythons and axolotls. You can't get yarn from an axolotl, though.