Do you know about angora yarn

August 7, 2016
reading time: reading time: 9 minutes

Do you know about angora yarn

 Rabbit hair (also called rabbit fur, cony, coney, comb or lapin) is the fur of the common rabbit. It is most commonly used in the making of fur hats and coats, and is considered quite valuable today, although it was once a lower-priced commodity in the fur trade.

Types of rabbit fur The hair of a rabbit can be divided into three types: “longer, rectrix guard hairs, stiff at the base; the more numerous tectrix barbed hairs forming the major part of the coat, which share a hair follicle with the third type-the shorter hairs making up the undercoat.” [1] Colloquially, these types are called • guide hairs: external hairs, long and rough • guard hairs (also called “barbes”): four guard hairs surround each guide hair, sealing the coat • down: there are approximately sixty down hairs[citation needed] for each guide hair; they are very short and barely visible, and serve to insulate the rabbit. A selectively bred rabbit from the 1900s, the Rex rabbit, has guard hairs of the same length as the down, but this is an atypical recessive trait that is relatively rare in wild rabbits. Rabbit hair is commonly considered a byproduct of the ordinary process of breeding rabbits for meat, and as such is manufactured in vast quantities in England and France; more than seventy million pelts a year in France alone. However, the quality of fur from these rabbits tends to be low, as the rabbits are slaughtered before reaching twelve weeks old and still have the infant coat. The lower quality hair is sometimes used for felt. In temperate climates, the highest quality furs are obtained in winter from rabbits over five months old, when the thickness of the fur is even; at other times of year, varying degrees of hair shedding causes uneven patches in the fur. The coat is also at its thickest at this time of year. The highest quality pelts are suitable for clothing, and typically constitute less than half of all pelts collected. The hair of the Angora rabbit is plucked or shaved and used as fiber, rather than as pelts. Rabbit fur products have a tendency to shed more easily than some other furs and might not have the same longevity. Use in the fur trade The use of rabbit pelts in the commercial fur trade took off in the 1920s, when it was incorporated into everything from hats to stoles, coats and baby blankets. By 1924, it accounted for half the US fur trade. While it was considerably cheaper than furs from other animals, it had softness and density and could also be dyed, plucked or sheared to look like other furs – shearing was also known as blocking. Havana rabbits were among the highly prized breeds because their fur could be used in an undyed state White pelts commanded a premium since they could be most easily dyed and in their natural state bore a close resemblance to much pricer ermine (stoat). New Zealand white rabbit (actually bred in the US) was highly prized, but other rabbit varieties in different hues – including Havana, Lilac and Checkered Giant were also valuable because they could be used in their natural colouring. One commentator noted in the 1920s: “[W]here one sealskin coat graced Milady of Fifth Avenue in 1900, a hundred thousand coats of rabbit-seal are turned out on Sixth Avenue during the fur season for the Misses of Main Street all over America”. Names developed such as minkony, ermiline and northern seal – all of which were rabbit fur. After 1938, American fur coats had to be labelled using the name of the animal used in its making – for instance ‘seal dyed coney' or ‘beaver dyed rabbit' – in order to avoid confusion among consumers. Angora wool Angora hair or Angora fibre refers to the downy coat produced by the Angora rabbit. While their names are similar, Angora fibre is distinct from mohair, which comes from the Angora goat. Angora fibre is also distinct from cashmere, which comes from the cashmere goat. Angora is known for its softness, thin fibres, and what knitters refer to as a halo (fluffiness). It is also known for its silky texture. It is much warmer and lighter than wool due to the hollow core of the angora fibre. It also gives them their characteristic floating feel. Angora rabbits produce coats in a variety of colours, from white through tan, gray, and brown to black. Good quality Angora fibre is around 12-16 micrometres in diameter, and can cost as much as $10–16 per ounce (35 to 50 cents/gram). It felts very easily, even on the animal itself if it is not groomed frequently. Yarns of 100% angora are typically used as accents. They have the most halo and warmth, but can felt very easily through abrasion and humidity and can be excessively warm in a finished garment. The fibre is normally blended with wool to give the yarn elasticity, as Angora fibre is not naturally elastic. The blend decreases the softness and halo as well as the price of the finished object. Commercial knitting yarns typically use 30–50% angora, in order to produce some halo, warmth, and softness without the side effects of excessive felting. The Angora rabbit There are four different ARBA recognized types of Angora rabbit: English, French, Satin and Giant. There are many other breeds, one of the more common being German. Each breed produces different quality and quantity of fibre, and has a different range of colours. Fur production 90% of Angora fur is produced in China, although Europe, Chile and the United States also produce small quantities. In China, there are more than 50 million Angora rabbits, growing 2,500–3,000 tonnes per year. Harvesting occurs up to three times a year (about every 4 months) and is collected by plucking or shearing of the moulting fur. Most breeds of Angora rabbits moult with their natural growth cycle about every four months. Many producers of the fibre pluck the fur of these breeds. Plucking is, in effect, pulling out the moulted fur. Plucking ensures a minimum of guard hair, and the fur is not as matted when plucked as when it is collected from the rabbit's cage. However, plucking a rabbit is time consuming, so some producers shear the rabbit instead. While this results in slightly lower quality fleece, as the guard hairs are included, it does take less time and results in more fleece. Also, not all breeds of Angora moult, and if the rabbit does not naturally moult, it cannot be plucked. German Angoras do not moult. The rabbits must be groomed at least once or twice a week to prevent the fur from matting and felting. There is also a danger a rabbit will ingest its own moulted fur; unlike a cat, a rabbit cannot easily be rid of the build up. Animal cruelty concerns In 2013 several clothing retailers suspended the sourcing of products containing angora wool after video evidence surfaced of live rabbits with their paws tied being plucked raw in Chinese fur farms. Major retailers that banned angora products in response to welfare concerns include Gap Inc., Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and Esprit. Types of angora English Angora This breed is probably the cutest and most distinctive because of its long heavy fur that covers its ears and face. In full coat, their bunny features are covered and sometimes they are mistaken to be small dogs (or a relative of “Cousin It”). The wool is silky and fine which makes it very soft. The English Angora comes in white and a variety of beautiful colors. The coat is characterized by having little guard hair in proportion to its wool, and wraps rather tightly when spun, with relatively minimal fluffing. It is smallest breed of the four, weighing 5 to 7 1/2 pounds at maturity. French Angora French Angoras look more like regular rabbits. They have no wool on their head, face, ears, or the front feet. The wool has a higher percentage of guard hair to under wool, which makes it the easiest to care for. It is valued for its fiber qualities, which are excellent for handspinning. Its wool spins easily, and fluffs out nicely in the yarn. Its mature weight is 8-10 lbs. Satin Angora Satin Angoras are characterized by the sheen of its glossy coat. Like the French Angora, it does not have wool on the head, face, ears, and front feet. The wool feels lighter and less dense than the other breeds, and requires more grooming. Advanced spinners delight in the texture of Satin Angora fiber, and many spinners prefer it because of its shiny wool fibers. The ideal weight of a matured Satin Angora is 8 lbs. German / German Hybrids Angora The German Angora, is recognizable, mainly because of its’ size and popular among handspinners because of the large amounts of fiber they can produce. I once had a doe that gave me 12oz of fiber each time she was harvested. A purebred German Angora is only white and colored hybrids (pictured) are considered to be cross-breeds. They have dense wool because of their double undercoat and it is usually sheared, since it rarely molts. Their fiber does not “halo” as much, in spun yarn, like the other breeds. The German Angora has a mature weight between 9-12 pounds. Giant Angora The Giant Angora is the largest of the breeds and they are used commercially for large amounts of full production. They are similar to the German Angora and sometimes mistaken for being the same breed. The Giants get considerably larger and an adult can weigh up to a 20 pounds. They have three types of fiber textures, the under wool being the most dominant. Their wool is very dense and needs to be sheared because they rarely molt. I find the softness and quality of their fiber to be similar to the German Angora. A purebred Giant Angora is only recognized as being a ruby-eyed white. Quality of wool The premium first quality wool is taken from the back and upper sides of the rabbit. This is usually the longest and cleanest fibre on the rabbit. There should not be hay or vegetable matter in the fibre. Second quality is from the neck and lower sides, and may have some vegetable matter. Third quality is the buttocks and legs and any other areas that easily felt and are of shorter length. Fourth quality is totally unsalvageable, and consists of the larger felted bits or stained fibre. Third and fourth quality are perfect for cutting up for birds to use in lining their nests. With daily brushing, felting of the fibre can be avoided, increasing the usable portion of fibre.

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