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This is what makes Angora Lace yarn an affordable luxury

by Charles Voth

I’ve been so lucky to knit with this yarn for the past few weeks. My wife, Pam, has been helping me out with a project made with Angora Lace yarn, too. And she loves this yarn. This week we’ll look more at this yarn’s qualities, and explore two patterns a technique and a new stitch that may just change your lace forever.

Angora Lace yarn in Rose shows off this intense yet delicate shade of pink.

Angora Lace comes in 3.5 oz [100g] balls that have 462 yards [420m] (that’s enough for a pair of adult women’s socks) of soft, cushy goodness. Sorry to ooze the compliments…the thing is, I’ve always had a thing for angora yarn…I even used to have Angora rabbits as pets, and harvested their fur humanely when they entered their shedding seasons. Just to be clear…Angora rabbits are not killed for their fur. They live coddled, sheltered lives with good food, opportunity for exercise, and they are petted and groomed often, which means they get used to and attached to their humans.

When they shed, which is several times a year, their owners will comb the loose fibers out. With some rabbits, the combing is like a massage that stimulates the hair follicles to relax and release even more fur quickly, and the outer coat comes out leaving a shorter undercoat below. I had English Angoras, like my Chewbacca here, he enjoyed 5 years with our family when our sons were young. I still have some yarn I spun from his fur. German angoras, whose fur is even longer, sometimes get haircuts done very carefully to keep their skin healthy and to avoid matted clumps forming on their bellies, around their legs, or under their chin. Their fur grows too long and fast to wait for the comb massage.

Angora rabbits, like Chewbaca here, provide soft warm fur that is very lightweight, but multiple time warmer than sheeps’ wool.

And back to the yarn! Angora Lace comes in 14 solids and 12 speckled space-dyed colorways. The rest of the fiber content is 60% superwash wool, and 30% nylon. One of the most frequent complaints about Angora fiber in yarn is that it flies away and tickles one’s nose. Some hand-spinners have a tingling sensation on the delicate skin of their wrists when they work with Angora…it’s just that fine, and it does like to fly around. In this yarn, the 10% that is spun with the other fibers is definitely enough to provide warm and lightness to the yarn (making it easier to get the good yardage by weight), but it is spun tightly enough that the fuzz doesn’t fly away at all. Actually, when you pick up the skein, you can’t really even see a halo from the angora…but that lovely fuzzy glow does appear after you’ve knit the yarn.

The 12 speckled colorways of Angora Lace yarn in all their finery.

The care of this yarn is still strictly hand-wash only. I would assume that despite the superwash wool and nylon content being dominant, it’s not about the knit items shrinking. I would bet my only skein of cashmere that it’s because machine washing may cause the angora halo to matte or twist on itself creating those little fuzzy wicks of fur, rather than maintaining the delicate halo. As my friend Cynthia says, “Angora will felt, matte, or shrink seemingly just by looking at it!” So true with 100% angora yarn, but this hardy yarn will survive a decent hand-washing without shrinking.

Join me tomorrow, we’ll have some knitting fun with Wisdom Yarns Angora Lace.

This purple colorway is called ‘Paradise’.

Fellow KNITmuch blogger, Luke Gilligan, also writes about how a yarn’s construction and composition affects the projects and designs you knit with it in this series of posts with Angora Lace yarn. Join me this week as we look at other projects you can knit with this soft and lofty fingering weight yarn.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: Intarsia knitters! Ladder Back Jacquard technique changes everything


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