Yarn Production

The complete process, from breeding to finished handspun yarn

Egernfärgad angora rabbits two weeks old

Shearing

Angora rabbits are not clipped until they are 8-10 weeks old. From then on, they are trimmed every 90 days (4 times per year), and the fur grows about 7 cms. between each clipping. Before the rabbit reaches 8 months of age, its fur has a tendency to knot and does not have the texture and quality necessary for use in yarn. Fur from rabbits younger than 8 months is used instead to manufacture felted products.

Carding

Most of our premium wool is sent off to be machine spun, though I do spin some exclusive yarns by hand. The fiber may be carded before spinning, but this is definitely not required. Carded wool gives a more evenly colored yarn. Yarn that is uncarded becomes more mottled because the color can vary from rabbit sider and back. I usually card the wool before spinning because the spinning goes more quickly when the fibers are parallel. 

Spinning

I use a regular Louet spinning wheel when I hand spin angora wool. I decide whether to make the yarn thick or thin or somewhere in between. I spin the yarn clockwise, always trying to spin it as evenly as possible. I place great importance on producing yarn that is even and well balanced. 

handspinning av angoraull

In AngoraGarnet’s rabbit barn, breeding is a continual process.

Our main goal is to produce wool of good quality from our rabbits, but breeding for temperament is also important.

Angora rabbits are generally quiet and easy going, qualities that are necessary to facilitate hand sheering. 

Angora rabbits come in a dozen colors that are divided into four main color classes: white, yellow, brown, and gray. The groups are subdivided into additional color categories. The wool from a brown rabbit is, for example, different than the wool from a wild brown rabbit.

A wild brown kid is curious about the world. A brown and two egernfärgade kids are visible in the background

Sorting Wool

All dirty wool discarded. Rabbits are very good at keeping themselves clean, so there is very little wool that is wasted.
The wool is graded according to length and texture while the rabbit is being clipped. The finest wool from the rabbit's back and sides is set aside for yarn; mashine- or handspinning.

Fur from the rabbit's neck and stomach, as well as from the lower back above the tail, which is more than 3 cms. long is considered 2nd grade wool. It is used for felting. Any fur that is shorter than three cms. is considered 3rd class wool and is not used for production at all.

Very short wool is reserved for rabbit mothers who did not prepare the nest well, or have prepared with too long woolfibers when it’s time to give birth. If the mother’s wool is too long the rabbit kids are at risk of getting strangled in the wool.

Twisting the yarn

Den stora konsten är att få garnet i bra balans. Det vill säga att exakt upphäva spänningen som kommer i garnet under spinningen. Garnet spinnas i en riktning (medsols) och tvinnas sedan i motsatt (motsols) riktning. Är garnet inte i balans vill det vrida sig. Ett garn i bra balans vill vid slätstickning ge ett snyggt resultat. Maskorna vill ligga rätt över varandra. En produkt stickad av garn som är tvinnat för lite vill vrida sig åt höger, är garnet tvinnat för mycket vill det vrida sig åt vänster.

The art of twisting is to make sure the twist is even. Specifically, you need to keep a balanced level of power in the wheel during the spinning process. Yarn is first spun in one direction (clockwise) and then twisted in the opposite direction (counterclockwise). Yarn that is not properly balanced will curl and won’t lie flat. Well balanced yarn produces a beautiful stockinette stitch, which lines up perfectly. Garments knitted from yarn that is twisted too little will slant to the right; while garments knitted from yarns twisted too much will slant to the left.

The finished yarn

Finished yarn is stored in skeins or balls, ready to be unraveled by the hands of happy knitters.

De handspunna tråderna tvinnas till garn

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