What is Angora Wool ?
Well believe it or not Angora wool actually comes from a rabbit ! Not surprisingly it is called the Angora Rabbit.
A lot of people have never heard of a wool produced from a rabbit and assume it is from a sheep or a goat. This is NOT the case. Although there is an animal called the Angora Goat – the fibre it produces is called Mohair – it is not at all similar.
These ridiculously fluffy rabbits look like huge puff balls and have a long smooth coat. Really long !!
The coat produces some of the most effective naturally insulating fibres in the world.
How is Angora Wool harvested ?
The rabbits are sheared, much like a sheep, and no harm is done to the rabbit in this process – they are far too valuable. There are generally 4 shearings per year.
Why is Angora used in Thermal Clothing ?
The coat is actually made up of two different fibres:
- the guard hair – which is a longer fibre designed to keep rain and water off the under coat
- the undercoat – which is the fine fluffy coat that provides such great insulating properties
It is this undercoat that really shines as a thermal insulator. It is an extremely fine fibre being typically only 10 microns in diameter. This is almost half the thickness of a the finest of lambswool. This gives is a soft comfortable feel, with a slight silkiness to the touch.
The most important feature of the fibre, which makes it different from virtually all other animal fibres is that it is hollow. This gives it amazing thermal properties – making it almost seven times warmer than sheeps wool.
A 100% Angora Wool garment would really only be able to be worn in the very coldest of climates. For that reason (and to some extent the cost) Angora is usually mixed with other fibres to provide a more wearable piece of clothing.
As Angora keeps the body extra warm is is also ideal for soothing arthritic joints.
Why I only use German Angora products
Long haired rabbits have been around since Roman times, and their hair has been spun for yarn as far back as 100 BC.
Nowadays the industry is dominated by the Chinese – where there is estimated to be over 3 million rabbits in production. This means Chinese Angora wool as some of the most cost effective on the market.
Germany is the largest of the European producers, with over 40,000 rabbits. Because of my concerns about animal welfare in China I have decided to stick to German Angora products. They are a little more expensive, but they are produced under the highest animal welfare standards.
You can take a look at my range of Angora thermals by clicking here
Finally, and on a lighter note, i thought it would be fun to show you a picture of the fluffiest rabbit you are ever likely to see. Yababoon is credited as being the fluffiest Angora Rabbit in the world !