worry -- no bunnies are harmed in the
harvesting of angora fiber. When a rabbit's
coat is ripe for harvesting, you can pluck
it by the handful without causing any
pain -- there's a new coat coming in underneath,
so it's ready to release.
Editor's note: November 27/13
It has come to our attention that in some factories, Angora rabbits are plucked alive, the same way feathers are removed from a dead chicken. This causes pain beyond bearing to the rabbit and they scream -- something rabbits only do when their lives are threatened. Other methods of harvesting rabbit fur include trussing their legs so they don't move while the fur is shaved. The shaving causes no pain, but the trussing, in this editor's opinion, is inhumane and cruel. Please seek out information on how any angora you wish to buy was harvested and only support angora naturally shed or gently shaved from an un-stressed rabbit. Thank you.
Bagging it is
another story. The fiber is charged with
enough static electricity to power a lawnmower.
It clings to the sides of the bag and
suspends itself in midair until it lands
on the closest pair of eyebrows...or corneas.
Once captured, however, it's ready to
be spun without cleaning or carding.
angora is not for beginners, I've learned.
The fiber is fine and slippery and requires
a practiced hand to feed into the spinning
wheel at just the right tension. Held
too loose, the yarn twists around
on itself, creating hopeless knots that
gum up the works. Held too tightly, the
yarn spins thin and breakable. What you're
really aiming for is a gentle twist that
brings out the soft, airy quality of the
fiber and allows plenty of loft.
the hands control the tension, the feet
are busy pedaling, determining the speed
with which the yarn is twisted. An experienced
spinner can get a lovely rhythm going,
hands and feet working together in hypnotic
angora is so fine, the fiber traps pockets
of air, making it many times warmer than
sheep's wool. It's so warm, in fact, that
a garment of 100% angora would be too
stifling to wear. To compensate, many
knitters reserve angora for decorative
accents, or knit it loosely to give it
room to breathe. Loose knitting also allows
the fibers to blossom into that signature
angora "halo," which becomes more pronounced
with wear [no need for fancy stitches
here -- they won't show!]
has a nice crimp, but no spring or memory.
In this regard, it is more like working
with cotton or silk. Or clouds, really.
If it were any softer, you would hardly
know it's there.