animal hair

i have 3 siberian huskies that i have been collecting their hair over the years and have accumulated roughly 15 lbs. i am searching for someone who can spin it for me and turn it into yarn. i am a disabled person in a wheelchair and have trained my dogs to pull me in my chair. we spend many hours at a time outdoors, so i need a good sweater and socks to keep me extra warm out there. can anyone refer me or does anyone know of someone willing to take on that much hair?

ozarkspinner4's picture

Bo, I envy you. I love to

Bo,
I envy you. I love to spin Husky down. And contrary to most peoples opinion dog hair when properly washed and spun doesn't smell anymore like a dog than wool does a sheep. And dog hair makes great socks and gloves as well as hats. I would be careful about making a sweater out of cheingora because of the warmth factor. Cheingora is mixed with wool to give it elasticity because dog, angora rabbit, angora goat [mohair], will over time "grow" when made into garments. Wool helps to keep that from happening. Wool fiber also has teeth on the shafts of the fibers that helps the strands stick together. Dog hair and rabbit and such don't they are slick by comparison. So the fibers slip past each other. And as mentioned cheingora dyes beautifully and produces a wonderful "halo" simular to mohair after washing and wearing. It will felt also rather easily.

With the amount of hair you have collected there are several businesses that will process cheingora and a couple that will even spin it on commercial machines. Realize tho that processing will reduce your total fiber amount by about half.

Having a spinner spin it for you may be a little on the expensive side depending how they charge. Some charge by the total amount on a contract agreement and some charge by the yard of finished yarn. Whether one ply or two, three or 4 ply. The yarn weight, etc. So going the commercial route my be more reasonable for that amount.

If you would like more information please feel free to contact me.

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery". James Joyce (1882-1941)

KilgoreTrout's picture

Yeah as MMario suggested,

Yeah as MMario suggested, there are several websites out there offering this service. I did a bit of reading up on it a while back, and learned a good tip. Definitely have it spun with wool or another fiber! Every commenter that spun pure dog wool ended up with a garment that was WAY TOO WARM, even in deep winter. Apparently evolution has been kind to dogs...

Jeff1201PA's picture

What an amazing idea for any

What an amazing idea for any pet owner, to have an article made from their pet's fur. It would be even more precious to you after that pet has passed.

Also, I think it's cool that you use sled dogs to cope with your disability. It's a neat idea and sounds like a lot of fun. I'd like to take a ride.

Longtime faggot, first time knitter.

Bill's picture

there is often a side

there is often a side effect...the "wet dog" smell....difficult to wash out...LOL

MMario's picture

well - both wool and alpaca

well - both wool and alpaca can be rather rank when wet as well;

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

Tallguy's picture

Yes, many animals (dogs,

Yes, many animals (dogs, cats, bunnies, goats, etc) will provide fibre to spin into yarn. Most animals are much warmer than wool. Most spinners like to blend in some wool just to make the valuable fibre go further without obscuring the look and feel of the exotic fibre. Because they are so warm, wool makes it more suitable for human wear in our normal temperatures "down south". If you are working in the far north, however, you may want as much protection as possible.

Wool also will make some of the fibres easier to spin. Some of the valuable fibres are the down from next to the skin, and are usually shorter than the rest of the fur (you may have to remove the longer stronger guard hairs). Short fibres are harder to spin, so the wool helps in that regard. You can blend in about 20-30% without changing the qualities of the exotics noticeably.

Yes, you can dye any animal fibre. It's a protein fibre and any protein (acid) dye will work, the same as it will with wool. Some exotics will dye very well, and show the colours beautifully. Others are already a darker shade, and any dye you use will blend with that darker shade to give you beautiful deep colours.

Kool-Aid is an acid dye and will work on any of your animal fibres. It is great for fun little projects, for just a bit of colour, but is not cost-effective if you are doing larger quantities. You are better off using a regular protein dye, which is made of the same chemicals as is KA. You can also use many of the vegetable dyes, altho with varying success.

To have something made with fibre from your own animal, no matter what it is, would make a great keep-sake. Sometimes you will only get a small handful after several brushings, but you can still use it for embroidery, or a small item. Sometimes you get bags and bags from one animal in a season (usually spring when they shed) and can make a full sweater easily.

To have someone spin it for you may be cost-prohibitive. It takes a lot of time to prepare, to spin and to finish fibres into yarn. You will have to pay a reasonable hourly rate, and this can really add up. If you have a lot of it, you may be better to take it to a reputable exotic fibre mill, to have it carded, or even spun into yarn.

The alternative is to learn to spin yourself. You have a source of fibre, and the spinning is rather easy and so relaxing! You don't even need a lot of expensive equipment. I have done most of my spinning with a spindle I made myself out a stick and an old CD. Now all you need is some good instruction, and practice!!

TomH's picture

Very impressive. Thanks for

Very impressive. Thanks for all the wonderful information.

gregory's picture

Wow, I have never heard of

Wow, I have never heard of doing this, what a great idea. Brings a whole new meaning to service animal. Why let anything go to waste you know. I didn't see any mention of dying on that site. I suppose the natural coloring is desirable anyway. Not sure if this type of fiber takes color anyway, I am pretty new to the whole thing.

Also, here is a good link to Ye Olde Bag, the link above is having some problems: http://ye-olde-bag-company.com/

TomH's picture

Welcome to the site, Bo.

Welcome to the site, Bo. Hope you enjoy your visits. There are lots of guys (and women) who have experience in almost all aspects of knitting as well as the other fiber arts.

MMario's picture

bo - you've enough that I

bo - you've enough that I think you might want to look at VIPFIbers (http://www.vipfibers.com/)

though this company is less expensive and bases their prices on the *finished* product rather then the *orginal* weight....

then there is Ye olde bag which will blend the hair with wool - and also says they remove gaurd harid - the only site which mentions doing that.

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