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Toronto, Canada

Last modified on
JAN 19/18
Handspun Angora, Dehaired Angora

HERMAN THE BUNNY © BBC News. Read the Herman's Story »

Angora Knitwear was doctor-prescribed in Europe for the pain relief without drugs. Many people use angora garments and medicinal articles to treat different kinds of pain: headache - angora hats, scarves, or headbands to sleep in, back pain - angora T-shirts or waist warmers, knee arthritis - angora knee pads. Some of the manufacturers of medicinal wear, like Sigvaris, commercially manufacture different types of angora warmers.

Angora fiber is a specially bred rabbit's wool. The Angora Rabbits are raised solely for its fine and soft hair. Because the angora rabbits have been specially bred (by the French nobility) for its long fur for many centuries, they would not survive for long in the wild. Their fur would get tangled in the underbrush, making them easy prey for predators.

It is considered that the first mention of angora yarn in print was given in 1833. It was described as "Rabbit's hair from the city of Ankara, Turkey". (But this mention could be rephrased and it actually might be related to the charming Turkish Angora goats or cats as well).

Angora wool is ultra soft, fluffy, light-weight, and warm. It is 7 - 8 times warmer than sheep wool, because the angora rabbit's hair is all hollow that increases its insulating properties. The angora fiber itself is very clean, because rabbits clean their own fur, and the same way as cats do - they lick themselves! They also shed and have hairballs. Rabbit Grooming at House Rabbit Society ».

There are four types of angora rabbit hair: English Angora is the silkiest of the Angoras. It does not have guard hairs. French Angora is supposed to consist of 30% guard hair. There is not much difference in the actual spinning of the two fibers. However, French Angora blooms more due to the guard hairs. English Angora needs to be "abused" a little to achieve this bloom. German (Giant) Angora was developed through selective breeding, resulting in a rabbit with very high fur yields. The German type is finer in diameter and produces a softer yarn. Its fur is strong enough for commercial processing. Satin Angora is lighter weight than the other Angoras and for this reason it takes more of it to make an ounce.

The principal producers of angora fiber are China and U.S. The fiber is farmed by individual farmers. Substantial quantities are also produced in France and smaller quantities in Eastern Europe and South America. Coloured Angora rabbits are bred in India and their hair is used to produce artisanal fabrics. - Ref: Robert R. Franck "Silk, Mohair, Cashmere, and Other Luxury Fibers".

Raising angora rabbits for their hair is highly skilled work. Because the fibre is very fine and smooth, it is difficult to spin it. The fibre is usually blended with other fibres such as fine wools, often with a small proportion of nylon. If it is 100% angora, it is usually woollen spun.

Quality also depends not only on where the wool is harvested from, but how clean it is and how free of matts.
{Premium, 1st Quality}: Clean, free of felting, over 6 cm long. The premium quality angora wool is taken from the back and upper sides of the rabbit. This is usually the longest and cleanest fiber on the rabbit and is absolutely matt free and perfectly clean. There should not be any hay or vegetable matter in the rabbit fiber.
{2nd Quality}: Clean, free of felting, under 6 cm but over 3cm. Second quality comes from the neck and lower sides, and it may have some vegetable matter.
{3rd Quality} is the rear-end (or butt) and legs, and any other areas that easily matt. This fiber is of shorter length and may have some vegetable matter and small matts. Clean, felted, second cut.
{4th Quality} is totally unsalvageable and consists of the larger matts or stained fiber. All dirty, discoloured fibre.
Third and fourth quality are perfect for cutting up for the birds to use in lining their nests.

Reference: Spinning Angora, "Completely Angora" by Sharon Kilfoyle and Leslie Samson, Samson Publishing.

Design and photography © Irene & Mr. Sheep Co.

Commercial angora recently became another type of "angora" wool. It is made of 100% acrylic (invented in Germany). This type of "angora" is an amazing solution if you need an "angora" article for show-off, but some of these so called "angora" pieces, mostly sweaters and cardigans, are sold at the prices of natural, high cost, angora garments. Chiengora is similar in appearance to angora, fluffy and very soft. It is hand spun from dog hair (Newfoundlands, Chow Chows, Elkhounds, etc.)

If natural angora shedding bothers you, you always can choose dehaired angora /handspun or dehaired angora /millspun, angora and merino or lambswool blends, or other ultra warm fibers such as cashmere, yak down, camelhair. Some advanced knitters suggest to put clean and fully-dried angora garments to a freezer overnight to get rid of shedding (no proof). To keep your angora garment fluffy, wash it with an egg or baby shampoo or woolwash "no rinse". Care instructions »
Egg shampoo recipe: Crack 1-2 eggs (depending on a volume), separating the yolk(s) into a cup. Add 1-2 tea spoons of vinegar (for thinner mixture, add a bit of water). Mix with a fork.
Advanced and non-commercial angora fiber manufacturers do not recommend to wash garments made of pure angora fiber. Instead, dirt can be removed with the use of potato starch: an angora garment must be rolled in the starch and then shaken. Or wash using an egg shampoo.

Angora garments are feather-weight and airy, being 7 times warmer than sheep wool, and fit your figure perfectly without adding any extra volume. Angora is used not only for fashion, medicinal warmers and underware, but also for athletic knits. Knitted from angora, athletic pullovers and vests, e.g., are great for snowboarding and skiing: you won't be cold at -15ºC and won't be hot at +10ºC. Instead of wearing layers of commercial clothes of different styles and origins to survive the Canadian Cold, it is enough to put on just one thin, feather-weight pure angora garment under a coat or even wear it next to the skin, and enjoy all the beauty and advantages of Winter Wonderland. As we found out, angora vests are great for snowboarding and skiing: You won't be cold at -15ºC and won't be hot at +10ºC.

Angora sheds, but the beauty requires sacrifices. Try to wear similar coloured articles with your angora garment, including coats and jackets. Store your angora beauties on a shelf, letting them breathe freely. Do not place any other garments over them to help keep their full volume, and they will serve you for many years.

Angora Thermal Clothing »
AngoraRabbit.com » All about angora rabbits.
Thermal Materials and Fibres » The Totally Warm, Thermal Clothing
Angora FAQs - Santee Field Rabbitary »

› To begin an angora garment (except berets, caps and hats), cast on 4-5 (5-7) sts less, because 100% Angora tends to stretch slightly widthwise when worn multiple times without washing (the shape is back after the garment has been washed).
› If you do not have enough time to knit angora underwear, make a simple angora vest/waistcoat (V-neck or round-neck) and wear it right on your skin, and then other garments, - no extra weight, no extra thickness, it feels like your second skin, but ultra warm. You can also sleep in it without getting sweaty.
› Make simple rectangular inlays for your bra: do not insert in the bra cups, put next to the skin.

› Angora Bunnies For Sale ( German and Giant angora bunnies for show, wool production, and companionship) »
› French Angora Bunnies for sale in Canada »

100% Angora 100% Angora 100% Angora Lambgora  Angora Merino

‹ Fil Katia Angora 100 »
‹ Lanas Stop Angora »
‹ Lang Angora »
‹ Lotus Angora Handspun »
‹ Malabrigo Angora »
‹ Orkney Angora Aurora »
› Orkney Angora Elsness DK new item
‹ Orkney Angora Incredible 4 ply »
‹ Orkney Angora Incredible DK »
‹ Orkney Angora Lambgora »
› Orkney Angora Lambgora 4 ply new item
‹ Orkney Angora Skara Brae »
‹ Rusangora® Art Farm Long Fluff »

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