Angora – Angora Rabbit
How is Angora fabric made?
Angora is the downy coat of the Angora rabbit. It is very different from the fabric produced from the Angora goat which is referred to as ‘Mohair.’ There are 47 different breeds of rabbit that are officially recognised as being producers of ‘Angora’ fibre. These include; English Angora, French Angora, Giant Angora and Satin Angora. Angora is the third most produced natural hair fibre, after Wool and Mohair. The production of this fibre originates in Turkey.
Angora fibres are collected around 3 times a year by either plucking, shearing or gathering the loose fibres meaning the rabbits are not harmed at all in this process. These fibres felt very easily and care should be taken and the animals must be properly maintained so that this doesn’t happen accidently. The higher qualities of angora fibres are either plucked or gathered as although shearing is much quicker and easier, the fibres produced have blunt ands and can produce irregularities in the finished fabric.
Once the fibres have been collected, they are sometimes carded, but not always as they can be spun straight away depending on the quality. Lower grades of Angora are usually carded to try and make it slightly better quality. These fibres are then spun loosely on a spindle before being dyed and then either knitted or woven into fabric. It is quite difficult to spin because of the fineness of the fibres.
90% of the whole worlds Angora is produced in China, Chile is the second largest producer. Like Cashmere and many other animal fibres, Angora rabbits have a soft downy layer of under hair which is protected by a layer of ‘Guard’ hairs. These are coarse and basically unusable, it is the under hair which is used in the manufacture of Angora fabrics.
Properties of Angora Fibre
- Soft and Fluffy
- Thin fibres meaning they are very lightweight
- Silky Texture
- Much lighter in weight than wool as the fibres are hollow
- Available in many colours from white to grey, tan, brown and black.
- Easily Felted
- Fabrics that are 100% Angora are not used very often, and when they are they are just used mainly for accents. They have the same appearance and texture as fur.
- Typically warm
- Not elastic at all, as they do not have the natural crimp usually associated with animal hair fibres
- Angora is usually blended with wool to enhance its properties
- Commercial knitting yarns generally use 30-50% Angora
- Excellent thermal Insulator
- Hollow fibres mean they have a loft and a characteristic ‘floaty’ feeling
- Best heat retention of all wool fibres
- 6 times warmer than fabric
- More sustainable as the fibres can be shorn more often than most natural fibres
- Expensive because of the laborious manufacturing process
- Dyes Easily
End uses of Angora
- High-end luxury garments
- Sweaters and suits
- Knitting Yarn
- Baby Clothes
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