Spinners of yarn may be surprised to learn they can make exquisitely soft items using the mounds of hair gathered from brushing their cats. Owners of Persians who shave their cats in the summertime can ask the groomer to bathe and blow-dry the cat before trimming. The fur garnered from just one grooming yields enough yarn to knit a fluffy hat or small handbag.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Clean cat fur
- Hand carders
- Spinning wheel or drop spindle
- Scrap yarn
- Hot water
- Washing powder
Make sure your cat is clean before you brush or trim its fur. Collect at least enough to fill a plastic grocery bag. Remember that fur collected from brushing will be easier to spin as it has a longer staple or hair length.
Card the fur with the hand carders. If you are using cut fur or fur less than 2 inches long, to make spinning easier you may want to add a bit of wool roving, large balls of animal fibre that have yet been spun. Carders are two large brushes swept back and forth in your hands to create roving. Lay the cat hair over the brush in your left hand and sweep the right brush over it until you have an equal amount on both cards. Take care to line up the fibres in straight rows. Continue brushing back and forth until you have a sheet of fibre you can peel off.
Remove the fibre carefully from the carder brush. With the fibre facing up, roll it gently off the brush in the direction of the handle, keeping the fibres parallel. Collect as many clumps of fibre as you need to spin your desired length of yarn.
Start spinning. Pull a small piece of fibre about 5 inches long from the carded roving and tie or tape it to the end of the spindle. Start spinning slowly, feeding the roving a tiny bit at a time in a continuous string. Twist slightly as you go. Cat hair is very fine and will require a lot of twisting to hold together. It's better to spin a thin yarn and ply if you desire a DK (double-knitting) weight or heavier. Yarn made from cat hair felts very easily, so you may prefer to felt the skein before knitting so it doesn't felt as you work with it. Tie each thin skein with eight pieces of scrap yarn and agitate in hot water with a small amount of washing powder.
Dunk felted yarn in cold water to "full" or harden it slightly. Make sure all detergent is rinsed out, then slap the skein against a hard surface a few times to fluff it out. Ply the yarn, twisting multiple strands together on a single spindle, if a bulkier weight is desired.
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