Last Saturday I attended a workshop on how to spin angora. For those of you who don't know, angora does NOT come from angora goats - that's mohair. Angora fiber comes from angora rabbits. According to the instructor, Peggy Coffey, angora is nine times warmer than wool, which is one reason few garments are made exclusively from angora.
Another reason not to use 100% angora is the fiber does not have scales like wool. It is slippery and needs a LOT of twist to hold together. Mixing angora with wool helps alleviate both the issue of the fiber being too warm and too slick.
Some breeds of angora rabbits are sheared or clipped, but the ones Peggy brought are plucked. Several times a year, they "blow" their coats, which means they start to shed heavily. That is when it is time to harvest the fur.
We sampled fur from different breeds of angora rabbits and in different blends. I'm not sure yet how I feel about spinning angora. The tight twist gets kinky very easily. Also, the yarn has a "halo" - hairs that stick out. Although very soft, this halo can also tickle.
My primary reason for attending this workshop was to learn what to do with the sheddings from Hip Hop, an angora-minilop mix rabbit I owned many years ago. Peggy suggested I sandwich the angora between layers of mohair on my blending board since my angora has a rather short staple.
The workshop was held at MoonTree Studios. This was my first visit to this venue, which is a bit off the beaten track. While I was there, about six inches of snow fell, with more coming down as I was leaving. Fortunately, I was able to make it to US30 without trouble and eastward there was less snow even though driving conditions deteriorated periodically. There was so much slush on the front of my car, some of the driver assist technology didn't work. So much for self-driving cars in an Indiana winter!