Rabbit Angora has been used in spinning for at least the past two thousand years. Eight times warmer than sheep’s wool, only a little Angora is required to give a garment much of its warmth and fluffiness. At only 10 microns (the unit of measurement used to measure fiber diameter), it far surpasses that of other wools such as Cashmere (at 16 microns) and Merino (at 17 microns) in fineness.
Spinning angora rabbit wool allows you to transform the fluffy fiber into a yarn that is soft, fuzzy, and warm. Whether you are an experienced spinner or a beginner, these step-by-step instructions will help you navigate the process and create your own beautiful yarn.
1. Prepare the Fiber
Before you start spinning, it’s crucial to prepare the angora rabbit wool properly. Begin by washing the fiber to remove any debris or dirt. Gently soak it in lukewarm water with a mild detergent, then rinse and squeeze out the excess water. After washing, lay the fiber flat on a towel to dry. Once dry, card the fiber using a carding brush or hand cards to align the fibers in the same direction. This process ensures a smoother spinning experience.
2. Adding Wool for Easier Spinning
Angora fiber can be quite slippery, making it a bit challenging to spin. To make the spinning process easier, consider adding a small amount of wool to the angora fiber. The wool acts as a grip and provides more structure to the yarn. You can blend the angora and wool fibers together using hand cards or a blending board.
3. Spinning at High Speed
When spinning angora rabbit wool, it’s recommended to use a high-speed spinning technique with little or no tension. This allows the fibers to twist and lock together effectively. You can use a spinning wheel or a drop spindle, whichever you prefer. Start spinning the fiber, allowing the twist to travel up the length of the yarn evenly. The high-speed spinning helps to preserve the softness and loftiness of the angora fiber.
4. Plying the Yarn
After you have spun the angora rabbit wool into a single ply yarn, it’s time to ply it for strength and elasticity. Plying involves twisting two or more strands of yarn together in the opposite direction. This process creates a balanced yarn that is less likely to unravel. As you ply the angora yarn, it will become fuzzier and more voluminous. Ensure that the twist is consistent throughout the length of the yarn.
5. Setting the Twist
To set the twist in your freshly plied angora yarn, you need to soak it in warm water. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and gently submerge the yarn, allowing it to soak for about 15-20 minutes. After soaking, remove the yarn from the water and gently squeeze out the excess moisture. Hang the yarn to dry, making sure it is evenly supported to avoid stretching. This process helps the fibers relax and the yarn to retain its shape.
6. Handling with Care
Angora rabbit wool is delicate and requires gentle handling throughout the spinning process. Avoid using too much tension when spinning, as excessive tension can cause the fibers to break. Unlike other fibers, angora wool requires more twisting to create a strong yarn. Experiment with different amounts of twist until you find the right balance for your desired yarn thickness and strength.
Spinning angora rabbit wool is a rewarding and enjoyable craft. By following these steps, you can transform the fluffy fiber into a soft, fuzzy, and warm yarn. Remember to prepare the fiber properly, add a little wool for easier spinning, use high-speed spinning techniques, ply the yarn for strength, set the twist, and handle the delicate angora fiber with care. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to create your own luxurious angora yarn for knitting or crocheting projects.
- Can I spin angora rabbit wool without adding any other fibers? Yes, you can spin angora rabbit wool without adding other fibers, but adding a small amount of wool can make the spinning process easier.
- How do I know if I’m spinning at the right speed? Experiment with different spinning speeds to find what works best for you. The yarn should twist evenly and hold together without being too loose or too tightly spun.
- Can I dye angora rabbit wool after spinning? Yes, angora rabbit wool can be dyed using various methods. It’s best to use dyes that are suitable for animal fibers and follow the instructions carefully.
- What can I make with spun angora rabbit wool? Spun angora rabbit wool is perfect for creating soft and warm garments, such as scarves, hats, sweaters, and gloves. It adds a luxurious touch to any project.
- Where can I purchase angora rabbit wool for spinning? Angora rabbit wool can be purchased from specialty yarn shops, online marketplaces, or directly from rabbit breeders who raise angora rabbits for their fiber.