Specifically, the fur of a Siberian Husky. I wanted to blog about this today, because I’ve gotten a lot of strange looks when I’ve mentioned spinning dog hair, and many folks are downright grossed out by the idea. So here we go.
I got into spinning, and bought my wheel primarily for the purpose of spinning dog hair. Yep, you read it right. I’d heard of people doing it for the purpose of creating keepsakes for pet owners whose pets have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and I thought it was a fabulous idea. Then I thought, why wait till I’ve lost one of my babies? Thor drops enough fur in the course of one grooming to make another dog. Why not start spinning his fur now, while I still have him? To date, I have two boxes worth of his undercoat, with more on the way all the time. He’s a woolly-coated Sibe: there is never an end to his shedding. There may be a little less to comb out during parts of the year, but whether it’s less or more, it’s always a copious amount. If you’ve never owned a Sibe and saw what I brush out of him during a regular grooming, it would boggle your mind. Seriously.
Because he’s got a fairly long staple, learning to spin using his fur was not as traumatic as I expected it to be. And because he’s my dog, practice fiber was, of course, free. How can you beat that? If you run out of stuff to spin, go groom the dog, and voila! – you have more spinnable fiber at no cost other than your time to groom him, which is bonding time, in my eyes.
To address the idea that it’s gross to spin dog hair, I submit this for you to ponder: most people who aren’t allergic to it have worn wool. Wool, as a very general rule, comes from a sheep. Sheep live in pastures. Many of them have limited contact with the humans who own them. They don’t live in the house, they’re not (for the most part) getting regularly bathed. At the point that their coats are sheared, the unprocessed wool is full of feces, urine, and vegetable matter, if not other things. It also doesn’t smell very good.
Now picture the average pet dog: they’re in your home, which means they’re pretty much clean. Certainly, they’re not as dirty as the average sheep. Yes, wet dog is a fairly unpleasant scent, but just like sheep’s wool, the fur can be cleansed of that scent. There’s less work involved, too. I sit down, call Thor over, leash him, and brush him. Nothing to it.
Also consider this: Sibes are Arctic breeds. They’re bred to withstand temperatures that we in the lower 48 will never see. They have the ability to keep themselves warm. How warm must their fur be? Answer: pretty rutting warm, as well as pretty rutting light!
So, all in all, to me, spinning dog hair is a great idea. And since dog hair has been found in even prehistoric yarn, well, obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks so!