- 100 rabbit pelts
- Sharp knife
- Heavy-weight cotton cording
- Spindle to hold the wound pieces of fur
- Wood to make a frame
Early people used rabbit pelts to make a heavy blanket to lay on or beneath. Today, many people still enjoy making and using rabbit skin blankets. The biggest problem you'll face with rabbit skin is that you need a lot of pelts to make a single blanket. Plan on using about a hundred skins to make a blanket large enough to cover a double bed. It's also extremely heavy, so it's not very portable. However, it is inexpensive, easy to obtain and it's warm. Rather than sewing the skins together, you can make a rabbit skin blanket by twisting the hides around each other on a frame.
Cut the hides into strips. To do this, use your knife. Mark the pelts on the underside, mapping out a spiral from the center to the outside of the pelt. The lines of the spiral should be about an inch apart. Cut the spiral carefully, so that you don't end up shaving off the fur from the other side of the pelt. This will leave you with a long coil of inch-wide hide. Do this with all of the furs.
Attach one coil to the spindle. Make sure the spindle is stable, because you're going to be pulling and twisting hide around it. If you don't have a spindle, a three- to four-foot section of branch will work just fine. Twist the fur strip around itself, folded in half, with the fur side facing outward.
Roll the twisted length of fur around the spindle. This will keep it from unraveling while you make your blanket. When you reach the end of one length of fur, attach the next one to it. To do this, cut a slit in the ends of each length of fur, and then loop them around each other. Continue twisting the fur as you did with the previous piece, and roll it around the spindle. Repeat this process of twisting, attaching and rolling, until you have completed all the skins.
Build a frame for your blanket. It's important that you make the frame in the exact dimensions you want your blanket to be. The simplest way to build this is by using lengths of 2 x 2-inch lumber. Make the frame a square or a rectangle, depending on which shape you want the blanket to be. Use strong cotton cording tied around the corners of the frame as reinforcement.
Attach the free end of the twisted hide strips to one corner of the frame, using a piece of cotton cording. Unrolling the twisted hides from the spindle, wrap the hides around the entire frame, from one end to the other. Make sure you keep them close together, and don't leave gaps between them. Do this until you run out of hides.
Twine the fur strips together, using the cotton cording. To twine them, cut a length of cotton cording about 20 feet long. Tie the middle of the cording onto the first strip of fur and then, moving from left to right, weave it in and out of the fur strips. Wrap the cording around itself before you run it through each piece of fur, so that it doesn’t unravel later. This also helps keep the strips tight. Repeat this twining about every couple of inches until you have twined the entire collection of strips together.
Remove the blanket from the frame. Simply detach the four corners of the frame from each other and then slide the wood out from the loops of the rabbit skins. Place the blanket on your bed. Climb underneath and stay nice and warm.
Rabbit fur sometimes sheds a lot. You can sew a lining on one side of your blanket to keep the fur from getting all over you while you sleep.