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Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

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Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby LunarFantom » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:47 pm


Weird question but, I hear angora fur, while super soft and warm, tends to not hold its shape when spun/knitted into products. Would combining it with a different rabbit fur such as silver fox fix this problem or would it be better to sell the fiber raw until I have a sheep or goat to join the production line?

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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Nymphadora » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:24 am


As a spinner, I actually haven't had any trouble spinning straight angora. The issue (if it should even be called that) with angora is that the hair shafts are relatively smooth and straight compared to sheep's wool. This makes the fibers more slick to spin and there's less bounce-back or spring to the final yarn because angora doesn't have crimp like sheep wool. It does have a lovely halo, though, and it is very warm!

Your idea for mixing it with silver fox fur would not help resolve this issue, in part because it's equally slick but also because silver fox rabbits are not a wool breed and therefore lack the staple length required to feasibly spin the wool into yarn. To introduce crimp into an angora yarn, blending it with sheep's wool or something similar is probably the best bet.

Good luck!

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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:43 am


Angora is a fiber that drapes. The way the individual fibers itself are shaped and act. Wool is shaped and acts differently that gives it spring and bounce-back. Different breeds have varying amounts of spring. Breeding won't change that. But it is easily remedied by blending the angora fiber with wool. And since angora is so warm it isn't something people are apt to make 100% angora yarn for hats etc. Stuff that is 100% angora is open and drapey items like lace shawls. So blending with wool isn't really an issue overall.

The simple answer would be that hair fibers don't have spring. Alpaca, angora, mohair are all hair fibers.

If you are looking at what to market... Some people want to buy angora fiber for their own decisions of blending or spinning itself. Some people want to buy blended rovings with angora in it. Where are you located? If you are already looking for spinners then you should try to find a spinners (etc) guild near you. Some might be interested in the angora fiber. If you are interested in pursuing other fiber animals they will be able to help direct you to local breeders. You could buy wool from farms and have it milled and blended with your angora. Your biggest issue there will probably be finding a mill that will process small amounts you'd be after and making sure they process fine fibers nicely with their equipment.
If you found some fine wool shetland, corriedale, blueface Leicester, merino,... Those would all be great with angora. Most blends I see are 50/50 wool angora or 80/20 wool angora. Just a few days ago I spun a lovely roving blend that was wool, silk, angora (though unlabeled % of fibers) that was just soft as can be. Different people will be after different blends though.
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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby LunarFantom » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:49 am


ohiogoatgirl wrote:If you are looking at what to market... Some people want to buy angora fiber for their own decisions of blending or spinning itself. Some people want to buy blended rovings with angora in it. Where are you located? If you are already looking for spinners then you should try to find a spinners (etc) guild near you.


I'm in a very middle of nowhere kind of place so guilds are going to be scarce. Its very very VERY cold here though so overly warm clothes isn't a huge issue. Maybe I can find sheep wool from a local farmer.

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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Nymphadora » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:16 am


LunarFantom wrote:I'm in a very middle of nowhere kind of place so guilds are going to be scarce. Its very very VERY cold here though so overly warm clothes isn't a huge issue. Maybe I can find sheep wool from a local farmer.

I'd start by trying to sell just the pure angora. But if you find a local supply of sheep's wool, make sure you blend them correctly, and that both are cleaned properly before you blend them.

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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby LunarFantom » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:47 am


Nymphadora wrote:
LunarFantom wrote:I'm in a very middle of nowhere kind of place so guilds are going to be scarce. Its very very VERY cold here though so overly warm clothes isn't a huge issue. Maybe I can find sheep wool from a local farmer.

I'd start by trying to sell just the pure angora. But if you find a local supply of sheep's wool, make sure you blend them correctly, and that both are cleaned properly before you blend them.


By cleaned do you mean carted?

Also, so only sheep wool does this, mohair, alpaca hair, and whatnot won't help?

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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Nymphadora » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:10 am


LunarFantom wrote:By cleaned do you mean carted?

Also, so only sheep wool does this, mohair, alpaca hair, and whatnot won't help?

By clean I was mostly referring to any wool that may have picked up vegetable matter, bits of twigs, etc. It doesn't need to be washed and carded necessarily, but having clean wool before you start blending with the angora will just make a much nicer product.

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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby hotzcatz » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:27 am


Angora 'wool' has no crimp so yarn of pure angora has no stretch to it. Makes lovely draped things such as scarves and shawls, makes lousy socks. Angora/alpaca/mohair/camel/llama are all pretty much the same type of 'non crimped' fiber. There's no reason to add any of this group to each other since it doesn't bring any new character to the finished yarn.

Adding in sheep's wool, which has a lot of crimp, especially the finer Merino and such, (different breeds of sheep have vastly different types of wool) adds stretch and bounce to the angora fiber.

When blending fibers, there's usually a reason for adding in each fiber. Our bunnies produce fiber for Hula Bunny yarn, that's 40% English angora (there's differences in the fiber from each breed of angora rabbit), 40% fine Merino sheep's wool and 20% silk. The bunny fluff is for ungawdly softness, the Merino for stretch and the silk for a touch of shine. That's just the mix we use, you can add in different fibers and in different ratios.

But have a reason for why each fiber is added in. Also, who is your target market and what do they want? We sell our yarn to folks looking for local yarn while on vacation. Not sure if that would be an option for your area or not. There is the occasional request for angora fiber, but about 90% of the folks visiting here want finished yarn.
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Re: Mixing furs for spinning, or selling directly as fiber?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby SixGun » Thu May 30, 2019 10:57 am


hotzcatz wrote:Angora 'wool' has no crimp so yarn of pure angora has no stretch to it. Makes lovely draped things such as scarves and shawls, makes lousy socks. Angora/alpaca/mohair/camel/llama are all pretty much the same type of 'non crimped' fiber. There's no reason to add any of this group to each other since it doesn't bring any new character to the finished yarn.


I have to disagree about the no crimp. In fact one of the judging characteristics for shows is crimp of the wool. English angora fiber has the least crimp, but French has a good deal of crimp. Crimp deals with how the fiber spins together. Lots of crimp holds the singles together so a much shorter staple can often be used, and it also creates a much fuller yarn.

However angora has very little elasticity. This has to do with the actual makeup of the shaft of the fiber. Not crimp. Angora, like human hair, dog hair, and to varying degrees alpaca and camel have no give. What you see is what you get. It doesn't stretch so when you make a garment it cant be something that needs to stretch, like a sock. Another characteristic is drape. This mostly has to do with micron count. The width of the fiber cannot support a shape when there is weight applied to it. A wrist cuff made from angora will hold its shape more than a scarf or cowl. The weight of that garment will make the item fall or drape under its own weight. Wool with its natural elasticity and greater width holds its own. It can be made into a sock because the fiber will stretch and try to go back to its natural shape. Elasticity. The thicker micron will also keep the garment in the shape its knitted or crocheted in. Think of it as building a house with bricks instead of grass. Bricks are heavy but stay in one shape. Grass will wave in the wind, bend, turn, etc. It has strength, it just isn't thick, so it doesnt set up the same.


hotzcatz wrote:Adding in sheep's wool, which has a lot of crimp, especially the finer Merino and such, (different breeds of sheep have vastly different types of wool) adds stretch and bounce to the angora fiber.


See above. The sheeps wool and angora mix creates a singles and then yarn of characteristics of both fibers. The yarn stretches, but not as much as it would if it was only wool. It holds its shape, but not as much as if it was only wool. The reason many people mix with super fine Merino is because of the micron count. It's much thinner than wool, therefore softer than normal wool, but its still about twice as thick as the angora. The fiber shaft of the Merino though has the elasticity of its thicker wool counterpart. Again though, if you look at the ability of super fine Merino to hold its shape compared to a thicker wool, it can't compare.

Angora and Alpaca makes a nice blend. Holds its shape more than angora alone. Halos because of the angora. Overall very pretty.

Angora and Merino is a good blend for a wool type yarn with halo. You can still get halo at just 25% angora, so a great way to stretch the angora look. Its soft at that ration, but thats the micron count of the super fine merino.

Angora and silk is shiny and soft (micron count) but has no bounce or elasticity. The nature of both the fiber characteristics. However you can just use Satin Angora fiber, similar sheen without the silk.

When blending you just need to know the characteristic of each fiber you're using. Being familiar with the characteristics will help you produce the yarn you want.

That being said I primarily blend Angora and Alpaca. I can source the alpaca locally, and I get a great price point for the "exotic" nature of the fiber. I also sell a blend of Super Fine Merino and Angora. I can get the Merino in any variety of colors and it behaves the most like 'normal' yarn. The average weekend knitter is looking for something like this.

Like hotzcatz says, know your market. Etsy sales are my primary venue and I offer other options but thats what sells the most. Locally, when I teach classes I tend to sell mostly raw angora fiber. Thats because that market wants to take some home and experiment and blend it themselves. They are spinners and will make their own yarn.

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