Caught in the Net | Caught in the Net | Chicago Reader

Caught in the Net 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Captured at www.waterw.com/-pattylee/index.html

Making Dog Hair into Yarn is Fun and Easy!

Dog hair--there must be some use for it!!!

How often have you wondered what could be done with all the excess fluff you've been combing out of your dog?

Turning your pet's hair into something beautiful is surprisingly easy. First, you turn the hair into yarn through the age-old process of hand spinning. Hand spinning is fun, and you can learn to do it yourself. With some simple tools and a bit of practice, you can soon be wearing something you have made from your pet's hair.

Chiengora (pronounced she-an-gora) is the name people are using for dog hair. Chien is French for dog and gora is from angora, the fiber the hair most closely resembles. Dog hair is now considered a luxury fiber along with mohair and cashmere (goat hair) and angora (Rabbit hair).

How I Learned to Spin Dog Hair

Having grown up with longhaired dogs (collies and shelties), I knew the quantity of hair that accumulates from grooming them. Several years ago, while learning to spin, the possibility of working with dog hair began to fascinate me. After the death of our sheltie, we said, half in jest, that our next dog would have to have spinnable hair. We acquired two Tri-color collies, and the experiment began. Being able to actually make yarn from Jack and Erin's hair was quite an achievement for me. The yarn itself was delightful. A muted gray and white, it was lightweight and very warm. Even today, after spinning hair from more than 40 breeds of dogs for many people, I am still excited by its beauty.

Why Do People Make Yarn From Dog Hair?

For some people, making yarn from dog hair is a practical matter. By viewing it as a renewable resource and then utilizing that resource, they benefit from something usually unwanted and discarded.

For most people, however, the reason is sentimental. By having a pet's hair spun, they always will have a part of their treasured companion with them--a reminder of the love, loyalty and good times they shared together.

The reasons for using dog hair are as varied as dog owners and their relationships with their dogs. A blind woman proudly knits the yarn and then wears the scarf made from her Seeing Eye dog's hair. A 94-year-old lady crochets a hat from the spun hair of her aging companion, a Cocker Spaniel. A breeder saves and uses the hair of every dog who was ever a part of her kennel. A show judge happily wears the "coat" of his favored breed. Each reason is unique and heartwarming.

More and more people are proudly saying, "Yes, the item I'm wearing is special. It's Chiengora, the fur from my very own dog."

Caught in the Net welcomes interesting flotsam culled by its readers. Send E-mail to netfishing@chicagoreader.com. There's a T-shirt in it for you if we print it.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by reeled in by Jane Rosemont

Agenda Teaser

Music
October 18
Performing Arts
Love and Information Trap Door Theatre
September 12

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories