An inexpensive and readily available luxury fiber, angora has the warmth of cashmere and the softness of qiviut.
Where it comes from
Angora comes from the angora rabbit which is at times confused with the angora goat, which actually produces mohair. These animals produce an average of 8 ounces (227g) of fiber a year which is about enough for a woman’s sweater.
Because angora rabbits have few sweat and sebaceous glands, angora fiber is extremely clean. Some manufacturers will spin the fibers without any processing at all.
There are three general classes of angora rabbits: French, English, and German. French is a full-bodied fleece, English is somewhat softer and more delicate, and the German rabbit is somewhere in between.
Regardless of the breed, all angora rabbits grow three distinct types of fiber: the strong, straight erector hair; the slightly finer protector hair, or awn; and the short, extremely soft crimped hair, or down, that’s closest to the skin. Both erector hair and protector hairs are considered guards hairs from a yarn standpoint.
A common misconception is that good angora yarns are made entirely of down hairs. Some may prefer this, if they can find it, but all three fibers can be used in angora yarn. The firmer guard and awn hairs actually serve as structural supports keeping the finer down fibers open and lofty.