What would you do with 360 yards of vintage French angora?

vintage box of french angora yarn

Last week, a woman I know handed me a box of yarn and asked me if I had any suggestions about what she should make with it. I know I say this a lot, but: I died. Her grandmother owned a general store in the ’50s and ’60s, and this was one of the things Nina inherited from her. (That’s Nina with a long I.) Everything about it killed me. The 8 tiny balls of yarn, still neatly nestled into the compartments of this little lidded box. The vintage label on the end, declaring it 100% French angora. And, omigod, the sale tags still poked into each ball: 57¢. There was a handwritten price on the end of the box, presumably for if you wanted the whole thing. It was either 98¢ or 89¢. Either way: speechless. Don’t let the terrible nighttime cell-phone pics fool you — this is beautiful yarn. Pitch black, weightless and unimaginably soft.

Comparing yardage for currently available 100% angoras (still sold in 10g balls), and guessing it’s DK or worsted weight, it looks like it’s probably about 45 yards per ball, so a total of 360 yards. Nina commented on how unwearably warm angora can be, but it’s really only enough for an accessory anyway. All I can think is I would want it around my neck. My first thought was that simple garter-stitch kerchief I made for my mother last year, but it’d be lovely to do a small version of something like Orlane’s Textured Shawl Recipe, if the texture wouldn’t be obliterated by the fuzziness? To Nina’s point, something with some openness in the stitch pattern could be wise. I’d love to see the Lacy Baktus done in black angora. (Mine used about 400 yards, but it could be knitted to any size and yardage.) Or I also thought of Elis, which has been on my to-knit list for a long time.

But I would really love to know: What would you do with it, if this little box of gold was yours?

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Re ICYMI: Having been thinking a lot about Tunisian Crochet lately, and how much I miss it, I was thrilled to see the Purl Bee post a Tunisian pattern this weekend. So my pick for ICYMI this week is my funny little Craft club coasters, which happen to have been inspired by a couple of Purl/Hoverson knitting patterns. More Tunisian, world!

14 thoughts on “What would you do with 360 yards of vintage French angora?

  1. I would do with it what I always meant to do with spun poodle fur (which is similarly warm): Use it for collar and cuffs on a sweater. I picture a cardigan with a zipper or button front and a wide collar that would lie flat when open but could zipper or button up to be thick and snug around the neck. Could be contrasting colors (I envision dark gray for the sweater body) or all-black.

  2. I agree with Kittbo – collar and cuffs would be my first thought. Also, remember that you should get a nice “halo” with angora so going up in needle size could work and stretch your yardage somewhat. I made a lacy Bactus with an angora that is one of my favorite scarves.

  3. Amazing treasure! You might consider alternating it with a glossy or lustrous yarn to extend it and reduce the warmth factor, maybe a simple crescent shape? Whatever you do will be wonderful and I look forward to the adventure you’ll share.

  4. I just love the box so much ! I don’t know what I’d do… make a scarf I guess ! I’d really do something special with the box… lol.

  5. What a treasure! My mother gave me some Anny Blatt yarns she bought when she was a knitter in the 80’s. Some are 70%angora 30%wool. I have earburned a beret from Isolda Teague for it
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rose-red
    I also have about 270 yards of 100% angora in 2 tones of blue {162+108 yards}. I never thought about knitting Elis but it is a great suggestion. Thank you.

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