Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fresh From the Wheel ~ Samoyed Dog

Yes - you read that right!  I have spun some fabulous yarn from dog hair.

When my co-worker, Don, showed me a picture of his dog Blue, my first questions were,  Does he shed? How soft is his hair?  Can I have some?  When he brought me a small bag of it I was elated!

 Blue is a breed known as a Samoyed that originated in Russia. Taken from the web: Samoyeds have a dense, double layer coat. The topcoat contains long, coarse, and straight guard hairs, which appear white but have a hint of silver coloring. This top layer keeps the undercoat relatively clean and free of debris. The under layer, or undercoat, consists of a dense, soft, and short fur that keeps the dog warm. The undercoat is typically shed heavily once or twice a year, and this seasonal process is sometimes referred to as "blowing coat". This does not mean the Samoyed will only shed during that time however; fine hairs (versus the dense clumps shed during seasonal shedding) will be shed all year round, and have a tendency to stick to cloth and float in the air. The standard Samoyed may come in a mixture of biscuit and white coloring, although pure white and all biscuit dogs are common. Males typically have larger ruffs than females.

Because I don't have a drum carder, I spun the yarn straight from the wads of hair from the bag, so mine came out a bit 'lumpy bumpy', but I actually love the texture. I did not separate the outer coat from the under coat, so it is mixed with softness and some wirey hair.

I wasn't sure how dog hair would stand up in a traditional knitted garment, so I decided to make a keepsake felted bowl for Don and his family. This yarn actually felted nicely and has a softness that does not even compare to merino wool. I had a bit left over and made Mrs. Don a crocheted flower pin as well.

Don says that in the spring, Blue will shed an entire garbage bag full of hair. I'm hoping he will share that with me and at that time I will pick through it and just spin the under coat, which is almost as soft as my Angora bunny's hair! And, it will be a nice summer time project (spinning on the porch so my house isn't full of dog hair!)

I guess you can say that I've joined the hopelessly addicted group of people known as spinners. I no longer look at a dog and say, "What a cute dog".... I know say, "Humm.... could I give that hair a spin?"


New England Quilter said...

Beautiful pup! A friend of the family used to spin her dog's hair. She made herself a hat and mittens set! Have fun spinning :)

Melinda said...

Years ago I was a dog groomer, and I could have kept you stocked in dog hair for a lifetime! ;) What a great idea you had, and the bowl is adorable!

Daniel said...

That... is quite awesome. :)

Unknown said...

i absolutely love this post!! i have an alaskan malamute which shed twice as year aswell about the same amount as a samoyeed. Never thought it could be of good use. And cool be made in to wool. I just regret i dont spin after reading your post!