I'm curious about others' experiences knitting with yarn made from a pet's hair and would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks!
A number of years ago (25??) before my husband and I got married, he had a dog which was part wolf part golden retriever. His neighbour was a knitter. She would collect all the fur that was combed out from the dog. After a few years she had enough to spin into yarn. She knit my husband a pair of mittens from it. I don't know if she added any other fibers to it or not. When my husband and I got married, I came across these mittens. They had been worn out and were now moldy from being stored in a humid/wet environment. Apparently they were a warm pair of mittens according to my husband.
I had other friends who spun their angora rabbits' hair into yarn. That is the extent of any pet hair that I know about. Can I ask you, what are you planning to knit with your pet's hair?
You may also want to ask your question on the spinning section of Interweave Knits as I am sure you would be sure to get a large response from there! This is interesting.
Back in the 1980's I got a bag of Samoyan dog hair (from brushings). This particular bag was from a puppy up to his first birthday, so the hair was extremely soft and floated if there was any breeze in the area. I mixed it about 50/50 with some soft wool (don't remember what type of wool) and spun it into a thin yarn...probably between a fingering and sport. Then I proceeded to knit it into a sweater for the owner of the dog. It was indeed VERY warm and definitely a cold weather outdoor sweater. For me it worked up very much like my Angora bunny hair, which I got from my own bunnies and also blended on a 50/50 with wool. I have not seen or heard from the person I made the sweater for in many years, so not sure how it's holding up; but if they took good care of it, I would assume it's still very wearable and warm. I enjoyed working with it.
I have not worked with other types of dog hair though, so can't tell you what they might work up like. I would say, though, if you have the opportunity to experiment with different dog hair fibers, go ahead and do so. You never know what you might find and enjoy working with.
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I own a westie and he is always beside me when I am knitting. It is impossible not to have his hair mixed with the yarn I am knitting with, no matter what kind of yarn it is. The hair does not go out of the garment after being washed, so I have finally accepted that those garments are 99% cotton, acrylic or ??? and 1% westie fur. May be if you get long dog hair it may last a little longer than short hair.
Patience, persistence and love are the main ingredients for wonderful knittings.
I just tried this one as my 2nd project on knitting and I failed on it. I was looking for some tips here to make it right. I hope I can do it better the next time. :)
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I think you have to have for a start a skein of yarn what ever the material you want. Then, if you want your garment plenty of dog's hair you should choose a woolen or alpaca like so that the hair can mix of felt with the yarn more easily than with a cotton one or you can also use an acrylic one. The process is similar to the one you use when you felt two tails of yarn. Of course the hair must be long and this experiment should be done in a small piece like a gauge. That way you can decide whether you shave your dog or not and if it is worthy.
My dog's hair is very thin and long. It rolls over the yarn I am knitting with and once it is knitted you can not take it out, unless you unravel it and pull it away.
Let me know if this works for you. If not we can make a further search for your succeed.
hi All who are desiring to make articles using "pet" hair,
Here is just a thought and I dont know if you have done this or not. At the bottom of the page in the grey area, are a listing of the other Interweave site links. One of them is Spinning Daily. If you clicked on that site, perhaps you could get some tips and hints for carrying out these projects???
Happy knitting, Zoe
Thank you. Yes, I'd been saving my dog's fur for long time till my dear husband threw it away arguing there had been long time since I had been collecting it and nothing happened. Long time ago I found an address in internet about samoyedo fur yarns and alaskan. I haven't tried again because I meant to knit with my own dog's hair.
Thank you, again.
Merlich: I'd been saving my dog's fur for long time till my dear husband threw it away
Chuckles here Merlich,
I have to lol a bit here cause I have a mini Schnauzer!! I cant imagine letting her hair get long enough to knit!! Perhaps to braid it with beads???? I clip her every 8-10 wks. It takes place over about 3 days cause she doesnt like to sit still long enough to do it all! hehe
Happy knitting and let us know on here what happens in your quest, Zoe
You are right. It sounds funny and difficult to imagine. I do not let my dog to get his hair long. Just when I trimmed him I used to collect the hair. Now, I don't. I wanted to knit a scarf for him. You know, just to see how it worked. Although, if we all knit with sheep fur, which would be the difference if we knitted with dog's fur? If you were given five skeins of your favorite color and they just said they've spun themselves, would you reject them? The only thing I've done is to stop fighting with the hair that rolls into the yarn when I am knitting, because I always lose. My Westi is like my shadow, he follows me everywhere I go.
So, you can l.o.l. I didn't mean to knit a garment for me but may be others do. Let's see what happens. O.K.?
This story will continue ... he he!!
The very first fiber I spun was a 50% mix of Newfoundland and sheep - just a beautiful sheen on it, and I knit it into a vest. It sits in my closet waiting for a winter's day cold enough to wear it - and I live in Northern Michigan.
If you are going to make any sort of garment using dog fur it's important to get rid of all the guard hairs - the stiffer, shiny hair. What you want is the soft undercoat. With a dog like a Golden Retriever, this is the stuff that just falls out of the coat in shedding season. To harvest this, pluck the fur, rather than comb or brush it. There is a great little book Knitting with Dog Hair by Kendall Crolius and Anne Montgomery. As they say on the front of the book - Better a sweater from a dog you know and love than from a sheep you'll never meet.
Your post is very nice. Last night when I was answering to Zoe I was remembering when Eunny Jang interviewed Deb Robson from Unicorn Yarns, she is an expert in wool. She was showing a piece of wool with dirt, grass an flies.
I wanted to mention it too but I thought it was too much for just one post. Your dog has no flies or bugs and with sheeps ... we do not know. It doesn't matter because we love to knit with yarns made of different animals hair. Although it sounds hilarious I would like to collect again my dog´s hair. With your direction now we know why probably Russ failed in her proyect. She is hoping to get some advice from any of us. We have two directions: 1) what to collect and 2) a book that supports our curiosity.
Thank you very much Pippa.
This will continue ...
Following with our subject about knitting with dog's hair, I found accidentally a video about the cowriter of the book Pippa12 told us in her previous post Knitting With Dog Hair, Kendall Crolius:
I also found a three part video from Spin2wave about spinning dog's fur:
part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZowsUs0JHw ,
part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRNtqiER7kg&feature=related and,
part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYeBEEj6owc&feature=related .
Yes you can spin and knit with dog or pet hair. As a spinner I would suggest that the pet hair be mixed 50/50 with sheep wool. The sheep will make the yarn hold together with the pet. The reason that most people don't use dog is the oils from the dog will penitrate the hairs and not wash out. Were as the oil on sheep will wash out at 140 degrees F. So the yarn that you make from dog will be fine except when it gets wet and then it will smell like the same old DOG.