Knitting with dog hair?!!

To all people who spin out there:

A good friend of mine who I visited in Canada for the Thanksgiving holiday has a dog. The breed of the dog is a "Keeshond". The dog has very long hair , kinda kinky, with very soft undercoat. He has to brush this dog often to keep the hair from matting together.

He has been saving the hair from the brushing in plastic bags because he wants me to make him a scarf out of the hair. I grabbed a wad of the hair and twisted it between my fingers to see if it would ply together and stay together and it did! The undercoat of this dog feels like cashmere!!

No come to my questions:
1. I know nothing about the spinning process. Is it possible or have anyone heard to people making yarn out of dog hair?
2. He is wondering how much hair to collect for me to make him a scarf. Could someone tell me approximently how much and should I weigh the hair to determine how much? I am thinking that it should be spun to about a worsted weight and I will probibly knit it on a 7 or 8.
3. How can a get a hold of someone who spins. Does anyone know of anyone in Minneapolis? Anyone who spins from Minneapolis out there......?.......hello.....
4. If someone is found, do I need to do anything to prep the hair for spinning?

Agian, I am a knitter who just likes to buy the yarn in a store. But I am intregued about knitting with this very very soft undercoat of this dog, it is so soft! Just might make a scarf for myself.

I look forward to hearing from all you people out there that spin!


trpc's picture

It's not uncommon. It's easier to spin if the fiber is longer, and/or if there is some crimp to it. You can also blend it with other fibers.

trpc's picture

If the undercoat feels like cashmere, you can seperate it from the longer, coarser guard hairs for a softer yarn. This is how alpaca and cashmere, as well as some other fibers are processed. It is very, very tedius work! If you have yarn spun, they should be able to spin any weight that you ask for. I did a google search for "spin dog hair" and came up with several items, Including The dog hair can be dyed just like any other fiber as well. Good luck!

trybat's picture

I saw a news story a while back about people spinning their pets fur to make scarves so that when their pet passed on they had a warm cozy reminder of the love they shared. I do remember them saying that dog fur is very very warm :) As for actually doing it, I don't have a clue! lol

teejtc's picture

I saw an add the other day in one of the Interweave magazines for a place that spins your animal hair for you. I think they mix it with wool. I also talked with one of our local spinners the other day and she said that you almost have to mix dog hair with wool or it's TOO HOT and you almost can't wear whatever you make out of it. That's not from personal experience, of course, but that's what she said.

Grace and Peace,

MMario's picture

From experience - I can tell you it is extremely warm! My brother-in-law has a vest knit from yarn spun from the undercoat of our husky/border collie mix.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

BuduR's picture

I have a friend who had her dog's hair spun, (Newfoundland) she saved it for about 2 years and had enough to make a sweater. she only saved the undercoat. She didn't have the person spinning it mix it with anything and she says the sweater is too warm to wear even in the winter. She did say that you should have an experienced spinner, and to actually have them spin up a bit to see how they spin it. would be a waste of the dog hair if they aren't very good at spinning and you come out with an icky mess.

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

rjcb3's picture

I second MMario.

I used to spin my dog fur with my drop spindle and collected enough brushings to make a sweater. My dog, by the time the sweater was finished, carried it around in his teeth like a mother with a pup, and brought it to his bed and layed over it like it was a baby.

That sweater should still be in a box in an attic in Cleveland, Ohio, as I couldn't bring EVERYTHING when I came back home to Maine.

If dog's hair/fur is strong enough to keep THEM nice and warm rolling around in the snow and laying on the ground in the middle of Winter in the deadest of cold weather, it's all the much more warm for us folks.

...just don't walk out in the rain without a jacket or you'll smell like a wet dog!