We also raise several ANGORA rabbits who came to our program as rescues that are now providing us angora wool that we collect and sell for fashion.
Our first Angora rabbits were owned by a family who had a barn fire in Northern Minnesota and they needed new homes immediately before winter. Our French Angora came from a family who clearly did not understand the need for regular grooming and upkeep. Our Giant Angora came from a wonderful fiber artist in Minnesota who is down-scaling her rabbitry. We absolutely love these members of our sweet bunny "family" and they are always a favorite at our educational events.
Angora wool comes from the angora rabbit, estimated 5-7 times warmer than wool.
• Natural, Animal Fiber
• Not to be confused with "mohair" that comes from Angora Goat
• Clean: comes directly from a live rabbit by brushing or sheering
like a sheep. This does not hurt the rabbit and actually helps
to keep it healthy
• Does not require washing, picking, combing, or carding
• Luxurious texture with very small diameter which makes it soft.
• Very durable, Hand-washable
• Not irritating or scratchy to the skin like other fibers
• Easy to dye different colors
• Blends extremely well with other fibers like wool, alpaca,
Rabbits produce wool like a sheep does but they can produce over six times more wool per pound of body weight than sheep. Rabbits eat 30% less per pound than sheep do and require less water and land mass to create the same amount of wool.
They grow about one inch of hair a month. Because most angoras do not "molt" we can gently brush out the wool with our pet brush, collecting the wool in bags. Four times a year we give the rabbits a gentle haircut with "bandage cutting scissors" leaving about 1 inch of fur. Our rabbits are never harmed -- it's just like you getting a haircut. They are not tied or held down and are free to get up and move around. We even let them stop when they need a break. It takes more time to give them their hair cuts, but our bunnies are much happier... and so are we!!!
PROCESSING THE CLIPPINGS:
We have partners who hand-spins the darker wool into yarn, mixing it with other animal fiber to give it strength and to Some owners add dye to the wool to create gorgeous, vibrant colors but we love the natural colors.
Many United States companies and fashion industries worldwide are currently boycotting angora that comes from certain countries because of some published videos that demonstrated animal cruelty. Peacebunny Island (the rabbitry that supplies STEM Bunnies) is responsibly scaling up to provide commercial-quality white angora clippings for the fashion industry.
Our organization only partners with American angora breeders and we are unveiling our new HEARTfelt luxury yarn ("Humane, Eco-friendly, American-raised Textiles").
Preparing Angora For Yarn and Knitting
Angora wool can be spun directly from the rabbit. Some people sit with the rabbit on the lap and use a spinning wheel. It does not need to be cleaned or carded depending on how it is harvested.
Harvesting Angora Wool
A rabbit begins to shed its wool naturally when it is approximately 3 inches long. That is when we harvest the wool by hand-combing the rabbit and then sheering. If the wool is left on the rabbit and it continues to grow, the rabbit will continue grooming itself and have a much greater chance of developing wool block, which is usually deadly.
It is common practice to blend angora with another fiber, such as wool, to help keep the fabric from becoming too warm. Some things are better NOT to be 100%.
Spinning angora is very different than spinning wool. It is very soft and slippery, therefore beginners find it difficult to spin 100% angora.
Angora should be spun at a high speed with little or no tension. Adding a little wool to the fiber will make it easier to spin. Do not be concerned if the yarn is not fuzzy when you are spinning it. It becomes fuzzy later after it has been plied, set, and handled.
A top whorl spindle is best for spinning angora because of the softness of the fiber. The spindle should also be lightweight.
End Uses For Angora Yarn
Angora yarn can be used for knitting and felting projects. 100% angora is too soft for weaving. Angora is ideal for making baby garments, winter underwear, sweaters, hats, scarves, and mittens