Blessed with softness, warmth, fluffiness and silky texture, the Angora fibre is almost six times warmer and much lighter than sheep’s wool because of its hollow core and fine structure. Produced from the fluffy coat of the Angora rabbit, which comes in a variety of natural colours such as white, tan, grey, brown and black, is mostly used in sweaters and suitings, and in the manufacture of knitting yarn, and felting. The Angora rabbits are domestic animals bred solely for their soft wool- so they are found throughout the world. Although it is believed that the Angora rabbits originally came from Ankara, Turkey – the city used to be called Angora, which explains the name.
Most breeds of Angora rabbit naturally moult about every four months. This is when the Angora wool is harvested. The best quality fibres come from plucking the fur as it minimizes the amount of coarser guard hair and matting. The fur is moulting when plucked, therefore falls out easily and causes the rabbit no pain. The second grade of wool is harvested by shearing. Shearing is also done in the case of some breeds of Angora rabbits which do not moult. To prevent the fur from matting and felting, each rabbit must be groomed at least once or twice a week.
The unique fibres of the Angora wool gives it a characteristic `floating’ feel. It is luxurious and lustrous. It is these sought after characteristics and the time consuming manufacturing process that also means that Angora wool is often very expensive. Pure angora fibers are rarely woven into fabric as it is considered too warm and the fibres too fine to provide density. Rather, they are blended with other wools to improve their elasticity and wearability.
The Angora fibre absorbs twice as much moisture compared to sheep wool. It possesses the best moisture-wicking properties of any natural fiber. Therefore, used in the making of thermal base layers and sportswear. The most common use of angora wool is in the production of clothing, high fashion and knitwear such as pullovers, scarves, socks and gloves. It is also preferred by people suffering from wool allergies.