I love angora. It's truly one of the most delightful and decadent fibers in the world. I know, it gets a bad rap for shedding, leaving trails of fur on your clothes, and making you sneeze, but it is gorgeous. We received a large shipment of 100% French Angora Friday for a few special projects, and I just sat gazing at it and petting it all weekend. Doesn't it look just like baby bunnies!
I needed to knit a swatch and figure out its best gauge and all that other stuff we do with new yarn. Okay, that's not completely true. I just really wanted to play with it, and yesterday was the day. I must admit, I was a little hesitant about knitting it in the shop while I was working and wearing black pants and a wool jacket. But I cast on and figured that I had a Gleener handy...
There's no gauge info on the ball band. The yarn looks kind of fine, but angora blooms, so I decided to try it on an 8. This yarn is absolutely luxurious - it's like knitting whipped cream. So soft and delicious!
But the thing that amazed me was the complete and total lack of shedding. I was prepared to put up with the shedding because the fabric is so gorgeous, but there was not a single loose bunny hair or fuzzy bit on my pants, on the table, or on my jacket. What was this? How can this be? The fuzz stands a good half inch off the surface of the fabric, but it's all firmly attached. I can't even pull the fibers off.
I decided, as Lynne always says, to consult "the great god Google" and see why this angora did not shed. Turns out, all that stuff you hear about angora is really just the cheap stuff. I hate to say it, and I know it sounds very snobbish, but it's the truth. Angora fibers are graded on a number of factors, but one of them is length. "Excellent" and "Prime" angora fibers are 1.5 to 3 inches in length. Lower quality (less expensive) angora fibers are much shorter, and many are broken during the processing. These shorter fibers fall out of the yarn leaving little bits of fine bunny fluff on your clothes, and in the air, and up your nose.
You owe it to yourself to knit at least a little something with this amazing yarn. There are several patterns for fingerless gloves, hats, and cuter than cute baby booties and caps. I plan to knit this baby bunny for each of my kids' Easter basket. It only takes one skein. Yes, I know my kids are 20, 18, 18, and 11, but personally, I don't think you're ever too old for chocolate and soft fuzzy things. Don't you agree?