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Sweaters from Rover?

Knitting with Dog Hair

I am a dog lover but I am really disturbed by a dog hair sweater.  Anyone else think this is odd?  I will concede that this is probably an appropriate choice for a dog/craft kind of crowd, but I can’t get my head around wearing dog hair INTENTIONALLY.  Am I missing something?


0 Responses to Sweaters from Rover?

  • Oh, definitely keep this one. Dog hair, cat hair — it’s big business. I’ve also seen a person who knits, then felts the fabric and makes purses, so that people can have a little piece of Rover or Fluffy to remember him by when he crosses Rainbow Bridge. Maybe creepy to some, but popular with pet lovers and, IMHO, better than keeping the pooch stuffed on the mantel.

  • This is a keeper,those knitters are hard core. I see them around even in coffee shops. Their hands don’t stop moving making something.

  • I have a pair of dog’s wool half gloves. Warmest things I’ve ever worn, and make a great supplement to regular mittens.

    It’s not disgusting, and they don’t smell. I’m really surprised that people haven’t heard of this.

    They are dyed a lovely leaf green.

  • My girlfriend says that during WWII in Norway, when wool was rationed, folks used to use dog hair as a substitute. Thanks for the exciting discussion!

  • Awesome! Someone gave me this book and I have it on a shelf in my office as a curiosity, but could never quite bring myself to add it to the library collection. I’m an avid knitter and beginning spinner, but I generally stick to sheep, goat, and alpaca. No reason this should gross me out, I guess, but it does!!

    Still chuckling about the cool mullets from last week…

  • We have that book at our library. We had a knitting display up for awhile last winter and we found this little prize. I love it!

  • At first I tried to think knitting with dog hair perhaps isn’t such a horrible idea it first seemed – and then I thought of wearing it in the rain…

    Or soaking it from the inside by sweating out of fear of smelling like a wet dog.

  • Don’t worry about getting dog hair wet and smelling like a dog. Do you smell like a sheep when your wool sweater gets wet? No, you probably just get warmer, as wool generates heat when it’s wet. Do you smell like a goat when your cashmere sweater get’s wet. No.

    Now silk. That stinks when it gets wet.

  • Why is it any weirder than making a sweater from sheep hair or goat hair? We had a Pomeranian we got from a breeder. Her friend had spun the Pom hair from her daily brushing of a couple of dozen dogs into a nice cashmere-like yarn, and knitted her a heavy outdoor type sweater. It was softer than wool, and very warm.
    For a while we kept the combings of our ivory Pom, but life is too short to learn to spin… or even to find a spinster. (My mom’s a knitter). The up side is you don’t have to card the wool because it comes out of the dog-brush pre-carded.
    Keep the book.

  • I think the fact that the little boy on the front is wearing a dog-hair sweater with a picture of a freaking CAT on it is a real kick in the teeth for the poor canines… They’ve seen their hair collected up by freaky humans and then turned into a garment that worships the arch-enemy.

    p.s all books ever should have ‘Stop vacuuming and start KNITTING’ written on them, that’s amazing.

  • There’s a dog-loving knit blogger called Yarnhog (www.yarnhog-yarnhog.blogspot.com) who wrote at length (maybe a year or two ago?) about spinning her dog’s hair and ultimately knitting it into a blanket as an intarsia dog shape (making the whole blanket of dog hair would have been too hot.) Kinda cool, and has pictures.

  • Keep it. I am a spinner and I’ve been asked by several people if I could spin their pet hair into yarn. Depends on the kind of hair, but it can be done.

    It’s not any more disgusting than any other animal fiber (sheep, goat, rabbit, etc.).

    I think what weirds people out is the fact that they KNOW that animal and are freaked out by wearing a part of it.

    I’m less freaked out by a scarf knitted from Fido’s hair than a stuffed Fido sitting in a corner. 🙂

  • Dog Jacket!
    Robots in disguise!

    (big points to anyone who gets this. Probably only the very rare Australian…)

  • I think I’ve seen this book before.

    I also hand spin, and I have to echo the sentiments of the other spinners. There are all kinds of fibers you can use to spin, and they all have their pros and cons. Yes, you can be allergic to dog hair, and dog hair can be itchy. But the same can be said for more “normal” fibers wool, alpaca, mohair, etc. I’m mildly allergic to dogs and cats, so I probably wouldn’t try spinning dog or cat fur.

    That being said, an entire sweater out of dog hair is considered overkill by many spinners. I’ve seen a few purses, and I can see smaller items like hats. Knitting an entire sweater out of your own handspun is quite a feat, regardless of the fiber. But entire sweaters out of dog hair are the stuff of legends.

    (I have read one story about someone who did knit an entire dog hair sweater. It was fine until it rained and she smelled like wet dog. I can’t remember the breed.)

    Based on what I’ve seen, spinning *your* pet’s hair is a novelty. I’ve seen it with both dog and cat hair. Often it’s just a small skein or even just a short length of yarn just to say “hey, look what I did.” (I’ve contemplated using my pet rabbit’s hair, but I think the fibers would be too short.)

    I took this picture at a yarn shop in San Antonio. A couple of spinners showed off yarn they spun from their cats’ fur:

    I think this book would have a place in a library, although the topic is a bit out there, even for spinners. I would be interested in reading more. Do they talk about dog breeds? Some might might go out of their way for Pomeranian fiber, but might not go for it if they have a breed with wiry hair. Is the dog hair combined with other fibers? Is the dog yarn used throughout the entire pattern, or just for trim?

    So I would it’s not a weeder.

    (Although I agree that “Woof to Warp” is inaccurate. Perhaps “Canine to Cast On” would have been a better subtitle.)

  • When I was a kid growing up in Canada. I had a neighbour who had Samoyeds and she used the fur to knit hats etc. This was in the 70s. However, I’m sure its a niche market!

  • Niche market – yes, interesting pursuit – yes. However it is unlikely to become a passion. There is no reason not to spin the cleaned fur/fiber, especially when it is gathered in a manner similar to angora rabbits. I am a hand spinner and think you can learn a little something from everything you spin. I’d keep the book in the library – I would like to check it out, try it, and then return the book. It isn’t something I would buy, but would like to read about.

  • actually i have seen this book somewhere and have heard of people spinning dog hair into wool, although it is not something that would appeal to me. i do have a long haired cat whose hair loss is amazing, the fibers end up in long, long strands (under the bed where she sleeps especially), might be interesting to try and spin her fur 🙂

  • The strands from Samoyed undercoat are 2-4 inches long are easy to turn into yarn with a wheel. I would get half a paper grocery sack of shedding combed from each dog each spring and just keep it until I had a few bags full. (Note: PAPER sacks. Plastic will not breathe and the unwashed fur will get funky.) I used to have a deal with a spinner. She spun the fur and kept half of the yarn for herself. It knits up just like angora and is incredibly warm and lightweight. When it gets wet, it smells like a wet mink coat. It is no creepier than any other natural yarn.

  • Hey! I *OWN* that book!

  • I love the idea of wearing something of pet’s hair! I’ve been thinking of knitting something of my cats’ hair for a while now, a scarf maybe, but I just haven’t gotten around to start collecting the hair, and before that I have to find someone locally who’d be willing to spin it.
    One of my cats has this unique shiny black coat with silvery white undercoat, it should look beautiful when spun and knitted. I actually have tried felting a tuft of her hair just to see what color it turn sout, and it’s nice silvery grey.

    So yeah, that’s a keeper.
    I wonder if there’s a similar one for cats wool:)

  • I just want to point out that Martha Stewart is apparently bringing this back. She talked about it on Late Night with Conan a few years ago. She had the dogs’ hair made into dog sweaters. So strange…

  • Hi. I used to live with 4 cats, all street cats that I adopted.
    I DID spin the hair they shedded, and the resulting yarn was very nice. I only did this a few times, and I managed only to knit a small square of 100% cat wool. It was a bit fragile, since these cats were short haired, and I’m no expert in spinning…
    Oh, one little thing: one of my cats behaved quite strangely about the cat yarn and about the resulting cat yarn square… She would bite the square and lick it… as if it were a kitten maybe??? a few times I left the square unguarded and this cat tore it to pieces trying to “straighten it up”. She also ate some bits of the yarn I was collecting. I can only guess she ate much of the square too… But she never got sick, that I noticed. Anyway, it seems to me that cats can recognise their own fur even when spinned and knitted. Has anyone had a similar experience? Let me know please. (BTW, this 100% cat square had been washed a few times. I really don’t think it had anything to do with smell)…

    Well, now I’m thinking of spinning my own hair. I cut it at home, and I decided to keep it and spin it maybe. 🙂 This won’t make allergics tingle!

    Have fun!

  • Funny story, but Cats 101 on Animal Planet recently did a bit on a woman who regularly shaves her long-haired cats and uses the hair to make purses and other goods.


  • @ Martin

    My cats too recognize spinned bits of each others and their own hair, and try catching and biting it. Maybe they think it’s a cat, or simply fun? Once I actually felted a small ball of their hair, and they excitedly chased it around the room:) From what you said, it looks like normal behaviour.

    Even if the hair is washed and a human nose smells nothing, a cat’s nose is much more sensitive, so I’d guess they sense the smell even after a few washings. I wonder if this means that things knitted from cats hair shouldn’t be left unguarded when cats are around? I can’t check this, as I don’t have anything of cats yarn.

    Eating the square should be no more harmful for a cat that licking their own fur, as it’s still the same hair, I wouldn’t be worried about it.

  • OMG I’ve got this book at home. It’s actually quite interesting. Unfortunately I bought the wrong type of dog for spinning – with a Jack Russell I’d get a hair shirt, if I could get enough hair. I wouldn’t have it in my school library but would leave it in any other library.

  • One has to wonder if the early settlers used dog hair to make clothes. They didn’t waste much of anything.