Northern California Angora Guild

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Allen's Presentation of Wool Texture at the Judges Conference

There are many sessions and classes one could attend in the ARBA conventions.  A participant could really learn from these sessions.  On Oct. 19, there were RabbitCon sessions and there was also a Judges' Conference going on.  RabbitCon required additional payment but the Judges' Conference was free for anyone to participate and to attend. 

In the Judges' Conference, the most interesting session for us Angora people was Allen's hands-on session on wool texture.  

Allen uses pool noodles and an accordion style cloth hanger to aid his presentation about the wool pliability.

There are plenty of wool on the table for participants to touch and feel.

There were quite a few people standing close to the table.

Allen is very animated in his presentation.
Touch it, he says.
There are various wool samples on the table for participants to touch and feel.

Allen gave a written handout in addition to giving the participants the chance to touch different kinds of wool.  Here are some quotes from his handout:

The more pliable the wool shaft, the softer it will feel.  The finer (narrower) the wool shaft, the more pliable it will be, and moreover the softer it will feel.  On the contrary, the thicker the wool shaft, the less pliable it will be, and thus the coarser it will feel.   An easy comparison is to think of wool fibers like trees.  When the wind blows, the sapling (fine diameter trunk) bends and bows while the old oak tree (thick diameter trunk) harles bends at all.  Wool shaft diameter plays the most crucial role in texture.
If we think of wool like trees, let's consider three types of trees: sapling (soft and short), oak tree (coarse and long), and poplar (middle of the texture spectrum and long).   Considering this analogy, follow this table for a more concise summary.  The (+) represents the ratio of each wool type.

Breed                   Texture Points      Underwool                       Guard Hair
English Angora              20               Sapling ++++                   Poplar +
French Angora               20               Sapling +++                     Oak Tree ++
Giant Angora                 20               Sapling +++ Poplar +       Oak Tree +
Satin Angora                  15              Sapling +++                      Sapling ++*
American Fuzzy Lop       5               Sapling +++                      Oak Tree ++
Jersey Wooly                 14               Sapling +++                      Oak Tree ++
*Satin Angora guard hair should be longer but similar in diameter to underwool.    

Texture Vocabulary

There are several words we use to describe wool that can be very useful in pinpointing exactly what we feel and see as judges:
Prime:     (+) Guard hair and underwool are nearly the same in length, guard hair and underwool have the appropriate ratio.
Bouncy:   (+) A correctly textured coat that is full of life and comprised of the appropriate amount of guard hair to give the coat free-flowing appeal.
Hairy:       (-) Guard hair far outnumbers the presence of underwool; little crimp to the underwool (straight); resembles human hair (high luster).
Cottony:   (-)  Underwool far outnumbers the presence of guard hair; underwool and guard hair are similar in texture (too soft).
Harsh:       (-)  Guard hair is very thick in diameter and lacks pliability.


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