Spin a Rabbit

Nature provides the Angora rabbit with a coat that sheds or molts periodically. This coat is easily removed by plucking when "ripe", or may be sheared with electric clippers, or clipped with scissors.

Spinning Angora is like spinning clouds. It is an experience no spinner should miss. Knitting, weaving, or crocheting Angora yarn is not hard, as the nap doesn't appear until after the finished project is handled. Angora has all the qualities one could ask for. It is soft, strong, durable, comes in a large variety of colors, is lightweight, makes a fine yarn, takes dye readily, and has a natural downy nap. It is probably the most luxurious fiber a spinner could ask for.

Angora rabbit wool is softer, finer, and it is said, seven times warmer than sheep's wool. A natural fiber, it breathes, allowing body moisture to escape, keeping the wearer dry, as well as warm. It is ideal for winter wear, sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, mittens and socks. Many people who find sheep's wool too irritable and scratchy, find Angora wool a beautiful alternative for warmth and comfort.

Clothing articles made from Angora wool are very durable and may be easily washed by hand in warm water with a mild soap and air dried.

Angora Rabbits have been called "The Bunny with the Bonus"*. Their fiber is certainly a huge bonus. In 1981 at my second ARBA Convention, I saw a very large display of Angora yarn skeins and garments, made by Angora breeders just like myself. They were soooo beautiful, and I just had to learn to make them for myself. I have been spinning Angora now for almost 30 years. Not a lot, but enough to keep me warm in winter, make unique gifts for friends and relatives, and to sell a few pieces now and then. I became one of those entering the skein and garment contests at major rabbit shows, and often bringing home ribbons and awards. I've also taken my turn at being judge, and have been Chairman for several of these contests.

It is very enjoyable to take a few Angoras, and spin at craft shows, fairs and festivals. It's even possible to hold a rabbit in my lap, and pluck and spin at the same time. This is a great opportunity to dispel myths such as:

Angora comes from a sheep or goat. (No, angora ONLY comes from a rabbit. An Angora goat produces mohair.)

"Wool" always means fiber from a sheep.  (No, the term "wool" legitimately describes the fiber from an Angora rabbit too.  It's helpful to say "Angora rabbit wool" to differentiate between it and sheep wool.)

You have to kill the rabbit to get the fiber. (No, it's plucked or clipped, and grows back in just a few months.)

Angora sweaters shed. (Not if they are properly hand-spun with good quality wool.)

The poor rabbit. (No, it would be a poor rabbit indeed if the wool weren't taken off regularly. Taking the wool is a service to the rabbit, and not harmful or painful in any way.)

It's hard to spin Angora, it's slippery, and you have to blend it with sheep wool.  (No, it takes a little more twist, but it spins beautifully.  I prefer to spin 100% Angora, and hardly ever blend in another fiber.)

*Peggy Moses

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