Spinning dog hair...I'm not having much fun at this....

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A dear friend has a beautiful dog (terrier/retriever mix.) This dog has lovely apricot-colored fur/hair (what is it on dogs, exactly?) She clipped his coat and gave me the trimmings. I thought it would look nice, spun up with some creamy fleece. Yuk! It has no crimp, clogs up my carder, and looks anemic by the time I have it blended in. I'm about to give up, but thought some of you folks out there who are obviously brighter than I might be able to help me salvage this project.

Ideas? Thanks in advance! I thought it would be fun to make a present for my friend out of her dog clippings......maybe a nice jar of jam or pesto instead???? (Not made out of aforementioned!!)

-- sheepish (WA) (rborgo@gte.net), March 24, 2001


At the fiber mill I worked at, we would always recommend blending no more than 30% dog, with a good medium grade wool, with lots of crimp to it. For color, you are probably going to have to dye the wool. The texture of the dog is going to make a big difference in how you'll want to dye it. If it is mostly the downy undercoat, try dying the wool to a close match, or dye part of the wool a much darker apricot shade, which will blend down lighter, but keep your color from looking flat. If the dog has lots of guard hair, or is textured like mohair, you could dye the wool a much darker color, then softly brush the finished project to raise a fuzzy 'halo' of the lighter colored fiber. For example, a dark purple wool with about 25% pale lilac kid mohair blended in gives a color effect similar to frosted grapes, and peach wool with bright red mohair turns out looking like a red fuzzed peach. (color blending was my favorite part of the job!) Another thing that would brighten things up is the addition of about 10% tussah silk. This is much cheaper, and much less likely to break and pill, than the white silk. It naturally occurs in varying shades of gold, sometimes shading into light brown, and adds a real glow to a project. I love adding it to anything brown or auburn.

BTW, if you are having trouble with your natural grays sneaking over into tan, overdye about 10% of it a bright blue, like an unclicked on link. It sounds like overkill, but well blended, you will have a hard time picking out the individual fibers, and the finished yarn will look gray. (note - if you are going to blend in mohair, or anything with guard hair, dye before you blend, dye on the coarser fibers will stand out much more than on the finer stuff.)

-- Connie (Connie@lunehaven.com), March 24, 2001.

When I lived in Ft Collins, CO there was a woman into fiber arts. She used dog hair but, she used the hair from long haired dogs, newfoundlands, collies, etc. not short hairs. Terriers would be tough since their hair is crinkly. Sorry I can't provide a fix.

-- Deborah (bearwaoman@Yahoo.com), March 25, 2001.

Sheepish, dog hair is like sheep wool,each typ has its different uses.clippings have alot of gaurd hair and are much more dificult to spin and use then combings which are longer and softer.I once did a friends old english sheepdog clippings and found the yarn spun up ruff so my husband wove it into a belt for our friends, and it turned out beautifull, lots of coler variance. samoyed on the other hand is usauly soft even in clippings. You can use 100%dog hair if the staple is 2 or more inchs but any thing shorter needs to be blened.I could tell you a horror story of doing short [ under 1 inch]staple dog hair .some dog hair blends ok with sheeps wool but most dont.I suspect your staple lenghth is short in which case you might need to blend with a straighter fiber like lamma, or alpaca.Every dog fiber is different, some can be soft and worn close to the skin[ samoyed combings]and some is ruff and works better as belts or purses.And if the staple is to short [ under 1 inch]run dont walk from it.

-- kathy h (ckhart55@earthlink.net), March 25, 2001.

I'm not a spinner yet myself, but I've been collecting info for the day I get the courage to try. Try the website below for info about chiengora. It might have a few hints for you or maybe you can try e- mailing the site author. Also there is a book out entitled "Knitting with Dog Hair" by Kendell Crolius and Anne Montgomery. I checked under terriers in the book and for most terrier breeds, the authors recommend blending the dog hair with wool.


-- Connie (Lawbag@earthlink.net), March 25, 2001.

Yeah, this stuff is a lot of different lengths! Most of it is 2 inches or less. (locks I am working with are around 4 inches or so.) I finally tried "aligning" it with my hand cards first and it worked slightly better, but not much. I did get some of it blended in, but even so, it isn't particularly attractive. I think I will keep adding fleece to the batt(s) and diluting the dog hair. Then I think I will add some other colored fleece and misc. fiber pieces so that the total dog percentage is around 10 percent. It will end up a tweed with some apricot in it. And I can spin that. Then I will tell my friend the truth and still make something for her...maybe a bag or something that doesn't require any wearing next to the skin! (I had originally though a hat or mittens....)

I have learned a good lesson! And I loved your replies. Thank you!

-- sheepish (WA) (rborgo@gte.net), March 25, 2001.


-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), March 26, 2001.

I love to spin dog hair. Especially huskies. A neighbor down the road had a long haired Shepard which she got clipped every summer. One timne She asked me to spin the hair for her as a keepsake. I did but it was so course! I knitted up a little book mark for her. THe rest I threw away. I prefer husky fur. All the mohair I've handled never had any guard hairs in it. Even the raw stuff. When I spin the dog fur I do it when it is still dirty from the dog. THe dirt helps to hold the fibers together, for you unti lit is spun on the bobbin. THen I wash it. Good luck with your dog fur.

-- michelle (tsjheath@ainop.com), March 26, 2001.

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