February 9, 2014
100% ANGORA (Rabbit Hair) and Natural Blends, Lambgora
Angora fiber is specially bred rabbit's wool. The Angora rabbit is 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).
The angora fiber itself is very clean, because rabbits clean their own fur. 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. Known fact: Angora knitwear was doctor-prescribed in Europe for the relief of pain, without drugs.
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.
"China is the principal producer and in that country the rabbits are farmed on a highly intensive small-scale factory farm system 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." - Reference: 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.
Q: Is your angora fluffy and fuzzy?
A: We sell only premium, top-quality millspun angora yarns. If your preference is handspun varieties, a pretty good quality and exceptionally hand-dyed Angora from Malabrigo is available. Angora "blooms" depending on the breed of angora rabbits. There are four main breeds of angora rabbits: French, German, English, and Satin. French Angora blooms more due to the guard hairs. English Angora needs to be "abused" a little to achieve this bloom. German Angora was developed through selective breeding, resulting in a rabbit with very high fur yields. Its fur is strong enough even for commercial processing, but as you know, the most of recently produced commercial "angora" is made of 100% acrylic, which sheds much more in comparison with the premium naturally manufactured angora fiber.
Animal Walfare: Note that German Angora and Handspun Angora products are produced under the highest animal welfare standards.
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 »
Advanced and non-commercial angora down 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.
* 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.
Known facts: • 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. • 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. Why is Angora used in Thermal Clothing »
* Tip: 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.
Artisanal, Handspun: • Angora, Malabrigo • Angora Handspun, Lotus
Dehaired: • Angora, Malabrigo • Skara Brae, Orkney Angora
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