Angora wool is soft, lofty, lustrous, and lightweight. When spun, the yarn has a “halo effect” which makes the yarn and any finished garment appear as soft as a cloud. Angora wool provides extraordinary warmth due to the fact that core of the fiber is hollow providing the rabbit with superior insulation. Though it is approximately 7 times warmer than sheep’s wool, the fiber is very delicate. Because of this, it is often blended with other fibers to enhance its strength and durability. Only a little angora is needed to add the halo effect and give the blended product the luxurious feel. Blending also helps the angora fiber resist pilling.
There are over 30 officially recognized natural colors of angora wool range from white through the spectrum of natural browns to black. Due to the structure of the fiber, it also takes dye well. Some people find that angora yarns are slippery and have to adjust their knitting or crocheting technique to compensate for this characteristic. A simple solution to stop slippery angora yarn from escaping is to use wooden knitting needles, which grip the fibers better than do metal or plastic tools.
How to Care for an Angora Garment
Garments made from Angora should be hand washed only when needed using a pH neutral soap and cool to lukewarm water. Rinse the item in cool to cold water to remove any soap residue, taking care not to rub, wring or agitate the fibers, as this could lead to a phenomenon called “felting” in which the fibers shrink and lock together. You may also add touch of hair conditioner to rinse water for extra softness.
Like any animal fiber, Angora is weaker when wet. Do not wring or twist the wet garment. Wrap it a towel and gently squeeze out the excess water before laying it flat to dry. This may need to be repeated with several towels, as wool of any sort can hold up to one third of its own weight in water.
Angora fiber is susceptible to attack by moths. Use mothballs to protect the yarn and garments. If you don’t like the odor, periodically place the yarn or garment in a plastic bag in the freezer for 48 hours to kill any moth larvae. You should also air out stored fibers in the sun every now and then.