Looking for a cloud-soft, fluffy yarn?
Angora fibers might be the perfect choice. I explore what angora yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Angora Yarn?
- What Do You Use It For?
- Common Blends Using This Fiber
- Where To Find It
- Interesting Facts
What Is Angora Yarn?
Angora yarn is an animal fiber from a special breed of rabbit, sold at expensive prices.
This fiber is popular because it’s warm, delicate, wooly, and soft. They’re blended with other fibers and great for warmth.
It’s available in all colors of the rainbow.
Where It Comes From
The Angora Rabbit is a domesticated species that originated in Turkey, and the fiber derives its name from this country.
The rabbits were introduced to Europe in the 18th century by French soldiers, who brought them back as pets.
They became popular and were used for their wool.
Angora rabbits are found all over the world, with the majority being in China.
However, due to the lack of laws ensuring their welfare, many experts recommend never buying angora wool from big companies or clothing producers.
Many Angora rabbits are bred and raised in the United States for showing at competitions, organized by the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Association.(2)
Here is a short video documentary profiling a prizewinning breeder, Betty Chu.
The rabbits are quite amazing with their long fur!
Does Angora Wool Come From Angora Sheep?
No, it’s not to be confused with Angora goats, which produce mohair yarn.
What Are The Species Of Angora Rabbits?
There are four species of Angora rabbits.
- English – Has the longest fiber and is the most popular breed. They’re also the largest
- French – Finer fiber than the English breed. They’re smaller and have less wool
- Giant – A mix of the English and French Angora, and have longer fiber than the French Angora
- Satin – The shortest fiber, and their wool is lustrous
How It’s Made Into Yarn
The process starts with shearing the rabbits.
This is done every four months, and each rabbit can yield up to four ounces of fiber.
The fiber is cleaned, dehaired, and spun into yarn.
Here’s a video by Razzle Dazzle Rabbitry & Yarns LLC outlining the production.
This in-depth video is a must if you want to learn about the process of making this fiber.
Where Is Angora Wool Produced?
Most Angora wool is produced in China, although it’s also produced in Argentina, Chile, and the United States.
Where On The Rabbit Does Angora Fiber Come From?
Angora fiber comes from the rabbits’ undercoat. This soft, downy hair differs from the longer, coarser outer coat.
The undercoat is shed naturally every few months. The guard hairs, which is the less fluffy fiber (fibre) have less shedding.
It’s divided by the quality grading system as follows. The fiber should be free from hay or vegetable matter.
- First Quality – It’s taken from rabbits’ back and upper sides, the longest and cleanest fiber
- Second Quality – It’s from the neck and lower sides
- Third Quality – Any fiber of shorter length and felted
- Fourth Quality – The larger felted bits or stained fiber are totally unsalvageable
Many producers cut up the third and fourth quality fibers for the rabbits to line their nests.
How To Wash Angora Yarn
Here are the care instructions for Angora fibers. Angora is a natural fiber, so you have to be careful when washing it.
The best way to wash Angora is by hand in cool water with a mild detergent designed for delicates.
Don’t agitate the fabric too much, and avoid using hot water or putting it in the dryer, as this can damage the fibers.
Lay it flat to dry, and shape it while it’s wet to help maintain its original shape.
Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using.
Does It Shrink When Washed?
Angora has a high shrinkage rate. Hand wash it in cool water and lay it flat to dry to avoid damage.
How To Soften Angora Yarn
Here is a quick and easy method to soften Angora yarn.
- First, take some gentle fabric softener
- Next, fill a sink with lukewarm water
- Soak the Angora garment for about 30 minutes
- Rinse the item in cool water
- Lay it flat to dry
Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!
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What Do You Use It For?
Wondering whether you should use it to make a project? Here’s why this fiber is used to make yarn.
It’s often used for projects and things like
Here’s a video by Denise from Something Beautiful Handicrafts on making knitted projects with Angora wool.
The information in this video on which creations to make will be a great help!
Common Blends Using This Fiber
Here is a list of common blends using this yarn, and why they’re created.
- Mohair – To add softness, warmth, and durability
- Wool – For added elasticity and strength
- Acrylic – For a cheaper alternative that’s easy to care for
- Silk – For a luxury fiber that’s has a beautiful sheen
Where To Find It
Here’s where to find this yarn.
- At a yarn store or craft stores that stock specialty yarns in your area
- Online brand shops
Here are brands or manufacturers of Angora yarns to try.
- Plymouth Angora Worsted Weight Yarn
What’s The Price Like?
The price of Angora depends on the quality and brand, but it’s always pricier than other fibers like cashmere.
Want to know some fascinating tidbits about this material? Impress your friends with these.
- The fiber is hollow, which makes it light and warm
- The fiber is also flame resistant
- It has a high absorbency rate
- The fiber is often used in blends because it’s so delicate
- It was used in baby items in the early 20th century(4)
FAQS About Angora Yarn
Is Angora Safe For Babies?
I’d avoid Angora yarn for babies as it sheds a lot! You don’t want the baby to get the fibers in their mouth.
Is Angora Ethical & Eco-Friendly?
Some companies have high standards. Do your research about the producer and choose wisely.
It’s best to choose from small dedicated businesses rather than large companies.
Some companies have been exposed to have inflicted terrible cruelty on the angora rabbits.(3)
The bunnies are shorn or combed when they shed. They aren’t killed for their wool.
Some producers spin the yarn directly from the molting rabbit, like this woman in this video.
It’s an interesting look at the process!
Look for yarns certified by Caregora, a German importer of Angora fiber, who ensure the rabbits are well looked after.(1)
Avoid buying Angora wool from companies that don’t have clear policies to ensure the rabbits are treated humanely.
What Can I Make With Leftover Angora Yarn?
You can make projects like scarves and accessories.
Angora yarn is also used as a trim or accent.
Is Angora Yarn Itchy?
It’s super soft and doesn’t feel itchy, but the excessive shedding may be troublesome to people.
Is Angora Yarn Good For Clothes?
No, it’s not good for clothes because the fibers are too delicate and it shedding gets on all your other clothes.
It’s better used for knitted accessories.
Is Angora Yarn Good For Winter?
Yes, it’s good for winter because it’s warm and light.
Is Angora Yarn Good For Summer?
No, it’s good for summer because it can be too warm.
Do Angora Yarns Pill?
Yes, they pill and they shed excessively.
Can You Dye Angora Yarns?
Yes, you can.
How Much Angora Yarn Does A Rabbit Produce In A Year?
Around twelve to sixteen ounces a year.
What Was Chewbacca’s Costume Made With?
Mostly yak hair, and a little angora wool.
Happy crocheting or knitting! Hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have questions? Please leave them below!
- “Home.” n.d. Angora-rabbits.de. Accessed October 13, 2022. https://angora-rabbits.de/index.html.
- “NARBC – National Angora Rabbit Breeders Association.” n.d. Nationalangorarabbitbreeders.com. Accessed October 13, 2022. https://www.nationalangorarabbitbreeders.com/.
- Hoskins, Tansy. 2013. “A Cruelty-Free Angora Fur Trade May Be Incompatible with Fast Fashion.” The Guardian, December 10, 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/cruelty-free-angora-rabbit-fur-fashion-peta-footage.
- “Ball of Fleisher’s ‘Superfine Angora’ Yarn; 1918.” n.d. National Museum of American History. Accessed October 13, 2022. https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_641355.