Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spinning angora blog and podcast

I have spent a lovely week of carding and spinning some angora fiber, to record and publish this month's first podcast. Since I have already done a podcast on grooming a rabbit and collecting the fiber, I thought I would continue that process and talk about ways to spin angora fiber.

Did you know that rabbits come in dyelots? I talk about that and other hopefully helpful ways to process and spin that angora that has been lanquishing too long in your stash.

The podcast can be found on my website yarnspinnerstales or by subscribing through ITunes.

Even if you don't listen to the podcast you may enjoy the pictures below, of some of the angora goodness I have been doing.

It is very easy to card angora fiber on hand combs. This is a picture of white french angora fiber, carded and partially rolled off of the hand card.

One way to make angora fiber go a long way is to blend it with another fiber. This can be done with hand cards. Here is a picture of silk and satin angora fiber (top of picture) blended with the hand cards into rolags (middle of the photo) and spun into yarn (shown on my very low tech you know what tube).

Larger amounts of angora fiber can be carded into batts on drum carders. It is recommended that you use a drum carder with close set teeth, such as the Patrick Green carder with the fur drum that I use.

Storing carded angora brings up the issue of keeping it from clinging to itself and other items, like baskets or other fiber. To solve this problem I came up with taking the batt from the carder and rolling it on tissue paper. These inside out angora 'burritos' can then be stored in a gallon ziplock bag, lightly zipped closed.

For the spinning podcast I used an agouti French angora rabbit's fur, shown here. These's are actually what I consider 'seconds' since the fiber is sort of a jumbled mess, instead of laid out in nice locks as it is plucked from the rabbit. Don't let the word seconds fool you though, it is still a very wonderful collection of fiber. The agouti is a name given to a rabbit that has brown tips on the fiber which turns into a gray color, the closer you get to the base of the fiber (by the rabbit's body).

The standard photo of the fiber being spun: This is on my Ashford wheel with a lace flyer adaptation.

I spun both uncarded and carded fiber so I could try and show the difference. The uncarded fiber yarn is shown first, below. It is a slubbier yarn, but still very wonderful.

Finally the full skein of 100% angora, carded. This skein weighs 1 oz exactly and has 85 yards of 2 ply. I can not express how much fun I had spinning this skein, it's been a long time since I spun angora, and I still smile everytime I pass by the table and look at that skein.

PS. I am sorry to say that both my angora rabbits and myself are officially retired from any retail angora business. Please don't ask if I have any for sale. The answer is no. Google for a local angora rabbit breeder and contact them. I know from past personal experience they will be very happy to hear from a spinner.


Anonymous said...

Hiya, just a quick note to let you know that I've just finished listening to all of your podcasts today. What a wealth of information! I'm really happy that I've found this podcast, and I'll definitely be directing other spinners your way to listen in. I'm looking forward to the next one!

Lisa said...

Terrific podcast - so glad I found it. My bus ride in this morning was great - I got to knit and learn about spinning bunny (I have some red satin in my stash I think). The ONLY issue I have with spinning angora is that my cat goes nuts for it!

Thanks so much and I'm looking forward to the next one.

aija said...

I wanted to thank you for putting out such a great podcast for spinners-- I've been slowly listening and digesting your "back issues" and particularly enjoyed this one... I'll be spinning some angora I'll be blending soon, and I think you've inspired me to at least try and spin some 100% angora :)

sheepthrills said...

Loved this blog post and podcast. I have one precious ounce of bunny fluff. Thanks so much for this