Monday, May 7, 2007

Hair of the Dog

This is my dog Twill. She is a seven year old Yellow Lab mix. She is a very smart and very active dog which means she was a nightmare as a puppy but has turned into a wonderful, loving, and loyal companion who minds, most of the time. This post is about her fur and its potential for yarn. First I need to back up a bit.
The Whidbey Weavers Guild has a guild challenge, as do many of the guilds I belong to. Due to my personal circumstances, the Guild challenge just didn't fit into what I was able to do this year, or so I thought. Like many of the guilds belonging to ANWG (Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds), WWG is trying to put together a booth for the upcoming conference this summer. The plea has gone out for challenge items to put in the booth. I have been thinking hard what I could contribute given my circumstances and short amount of remaining time. The challenge this year is to work with a fiber you haven't worked with before. I actually have, ahem, in my stash, some silk wrapped stainless steel yarn from Habu yarns. I am looking forward to using this yarn but I really don't want to rush it. This weekend, my neighbor who owns three dogs, lent me a new dog brush she purchased called a FURminator. I tried it out on Twill this morning and a light bulb went on. Labrador Retrievers are a double-coated dog breed. They have a soft undercoat and a coarser overcoat. I have a few bags of her fur I have been saving and the FURminator very efficiently removed the shedding undercoat so that within five minutes, I had another bagful of fur... to spin for the guild challenge of course!
We have a local dog fur spinning expert, Megan. I have been watching her spin dog fur and knit and weave with it for several years now. Megan is one of the reasons I had been saving the dog fur in the first place knowing that I would like to try spinning it myself one day. Well, "one of these days" has arrived. The fur is going into a deodorizing bath first and then will be blended with wool. I will then try my hand at spinning her fur. All that will remain to decide is what to do with the yarn. Thankfully I will be seeing Megan at the guild meeting or spinning group soon and can get some advice.
Have you tackled a new-to-you fiber lately?
-Renee and Twill

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