With all the great sartorial hoopla surrounding Kate Middleton’s (ahem, Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) white angora sweater that she wore to the royal wedding reception, I thought I would talk a little more about angora. First off, see that big white fluffy bunny rabbit pictured above? That is an angora rabbit, and its exquisite hair is used to spin into angora yarn and then knit into garments. Contrary to some who believe the bunny is harmed or killed to get its hair, it is a very gentle, natural process to harvest hair from those adorable bunnies.
Angora rabbits are specially bred for their long fur; they live long and happy lives while they grow their incredible fiber. Angora rabbits molt about four times a year, and it is during the seasonal molt that hair is gently combed and removed. They even purr while hair is being removed, so it must feel good to the bunny!
The angora fiber is amazing. It is 7 times warmer than wool, more lightweight and much softer. It has a natural fur-like halo and has many insulating and warming properties. Plus it is just so doggone sensuous! Nothing else quite feels like angora against your skin!
Since I buy and sell lots of angora sweaters, especially vintage angora, I have a lot of experience in caring for and washing them. First off; never, never, never dry clean angora! I know many labels say to do so, but don’t. Angora is meant to be very gently washed in cool water and a mild washing liquid like Woolite – not bathed in a harsh chemical dry cleaning solvent. Lay flat to air dry. Never put it in the dryer – you will ruin it – the horror!
A gentle hand washing will leave your angora sweater sparkling clean and fabulously fluffy. It will bring out the radiant beauty of the angora and will feel divine. And so, gentle readers, start seeking out those wonderful angora pieces. You are in for a delightful experience!