What Is Angora and How Is It Made?
Skeins of angora wool.
valeriadiroma / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Angora refers to the long hair harvested from an Angora rabbit, which is spun into a soft, fluffy yarn that's used for knitting clothes and accessories and weaving luxurious textiles. Angora is also the name of a goat breed that produces mohair wool, another high-end fiber. However, for the purposes of this article, angora will refer only to the rabbit-sourced fiber.
According to the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club (NARBC), Europeans first discovered the Angora rabbit when some sailors pulled into a Turkish port of the same name in 1723. They were so impressed by the beautiful silky scarves worn by local women that they took some rabbits back to France. A reference to the rabbit first appears in the French Encyclopedia of 1765. Textile School says angora didn't become popular in North America until the 20th century, when small cottage breeders and spinners popularized it.
Since then, breeders, knitters, weavers, and fashionistas the world over have fallen in love with angora, a thin natural fiber known for its softness, fluffiness (also called a "halo" by knitters), and extreme warmth that is six times warmer than wool, caused by its hollow core. Fabrics made with angora tend to "bloom" or fluff up over time, which further increases warmth and elegant appearance.
How Is Angora Made?
Angora is harvested from rabbits that are kept in captivity. There are four types of Angora rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association: English, French, Giant, and Satin. Other breeds also exist, such as the German Angora rabbit, which is common. Each breed produces different textured and colored hair.