Spinning Dog Hair – Part Two

Here is part two in a two part series discussing what it takes to spin your dog’s pet hair into beautiful yarn!

Leigh Dudenhoeffer  of Frozen Tundra Fiber Arts is a long time spinner of dog hair. She has graciously agreed to provide us with some tips about how to get started spinning this special type of fiber!

ALVB: When did you first try spinning dog hair? What made you
want to try it?

LD: I started spinning dog hair about 10 years
ago
when my neighbor’s Llasa Apso was dying. The lady had saved bags and
bags of his
hair from all his groomings and knew I spun wool. She came over with it
and
asked me if it could be spun. I told her I could spin anything except
dryer
lint. I made her 2 skeins of pure Chiengora sock weight (14wpi) yarn
that she
knit into a hat and mittens with a skein left over. After that, people
just
started bringing over their dog hair to have it spun, if I could.

ALVB: How does it differ from more “traditional” fibers
like
wool, Alpaca and Angora?

LD: Dog hair differs in that there is very
little
crimp in most. St. Bernard hair from the long haired breeds is silky and
lustrous and requires medium twist, but not too much or the yarn will be
hard.
Long haired dachshund is very silky and lustrous also and spins very
much like
alpaca hair. I have found that some dog hair is very similar to Llama
hair
(thicker & sometimes coarse), some is quite similar to camel hair
(very
coarse), and some is similar to Alpaca hair (very fine and lustrous).
None that
I have ever spun was anything close to being like Angora.

ALVB: Do you use a wheel or a spindle to spin
the dog
hair?

LD: I use both a spindle and a wheel to spin dog
hair. It all depends on my mood when I start spinning it and the staple
length
of the hair. I generally do short hair (under 1-1/2″) on a spindle, but
have
also done it on a single drive spinning wheel. I typically spin long dog
hair on
a double drive spinning wheel (a matter of comfort for me as my double
drive
wheel allows me to treadle almost at a crawl if I want), but I’ve spun
it also
on a spindle. Most of my spindles are bottom whorl drop spindles.

ALVB: What would you recommend to those who want to give dog hair
spinning
a try?

LD: If someone is highly interested in spinning
dog
hair I generally recommend that they wash and deodorize it first. There
is
nothing like finding out you’re allergic to dog hair the hard way. Most
dog hair
does not need to be carded, but if you feel you must, do so lightly. Do a
lot of
experimenting. Dog hair is very, very versatile.

I hope the great insights by these two great spinners have been helpful for those of you who have been considering giving dog hair spinning a try. If anyone does try it out, make sure to share your results with everyone here!

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