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FOR enthusiasts, wool from Angora rabbits is next to godliness. In knitting terms, it has the ultimate 'halo', or fluffiness: hardly surprising, really, when you consider it comes from an animal that resembles a fur-ball.

Two women who are determined to talk up its merits are Dorothy Dyson and Alison Hulley, who set up Snowdon Angora to market this finest of wools.

Between them they have 44 Angora rabbits in the back gardens of Leeswood and Connah's Quay, each of which are clipped every three months for their valuable fibre.

"They're pretty good at not escaping," said Dorothy.

"The odd one gets away, so we have to fence off the garden.

"They're a very placid breed, very easy-going, and the wool they produce is much softer and warmer than sheep's wool, lighter even than alpaca wool."

They named their company not after the mountain, but after their chief woolproducing rabbit, Snowdon. The idea for the venture stemmed from a visit to Anglesey where Dorothy met retired Llangefni teacher Rosalind Easter, who at the time had amassed a collection of 70 Angoras.

When Rosalind - who called her knitware venture Mrs Easter's Bunnies - set up an Angora co-operative, Dorothy got involved, followed by Alison. Eventually they struck out on their own, selling at shows and through magazines.

No Welsh mill takes angora wool, because it's so light and difficult to handle, so their wool has to be sent away to Lincolnshire for carding and spinning.

Both ladies knit, but lately they've put aside their needles to focus on the raw wool market. Knitting's renaissance has seen demand rise for specialist wools, and Dorothy and Alison are happy to oblige.

Alison added: "I love Angoras for their wool, but more than anything I love them because they make the best of pets."


Dorothy Dyson (right) and Alison Hulley, of Snowdon Angora Picture: ANDREW FORGRAVE
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 31, 2010
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