Dog hair can be spun into a very soft and warm wool. Spinning from dog hair is a cheap, unusual and environmentally friendly way to make use of all the hair a dog might moult. Dog yarn is just as durable and hard-wearing as soft wool, although it is not as elastic as traditional wools. If you require elasticity in the yarn, simply blend with fine wool or any other spinning fibre and spin as usual. Coarse hair from short-haired dogs may not be suitable for yarn.
Comb the dog's hair regularly to collect hair and to prevent matting. While you can use hair which has been clipped from the dog, moulted hair is softer. Cut hair is coarser and may not be suitable for clothing yarn.
Store the dog hair in a paper bag or cardboard box. Plastic bags may compress the hair. Fill the bag or box to three-quarters full. Do not fill to the top. If you are storing the hair for a long period, put mothballs in with it to prevent moths damaging the hair.
Hand-wash the hair in a basin with mild washing detergent to prevent any odours. Rinse thoroughly in hot water and leave to dry flat on a towel. Repeat if desired.
Hand-card the dog's hair onto a spinning carder. Put the carder onto your lap and take handfuls of hair and evenly spread the hair across the carder until the teeth can barely be seen. Doing so lines up the wool to be spun. Mix fine wool into the hair you are carding to make a more elastic yarn.
Use the spinning machine to spin the hairs into yarn. Spin first into a single thread and then ply (spin together) two threads to strengthen the wool. Longer dog hair is much easier to spin, so aim to collect only hair that is two inches or longer. Wash the yarn after spinning to avoid any bad odours.
Wash the finished yarn in white vinegar to break down the enzymes which cause a wet dog smell. When washing the finished garment, use dog shampoo or a mild detergent. It is best to handwash dog's wool garments to prevent the garment from becoming misshapen. If you are not comfortable spinning the hair, a professional spinner can be paid to spin for you.
Do not use dirty or matted hair. Avoid clipped hair as it will often have guard hair, which is coarse and uncomfortable to wear.
Tips and warnings
- Wash the finished yarn in white vinegar to break down the enzymes which cause a wet dog smell.
- When washing the finished garment, use dog shampoo or a mild detergent.
- It is best to handwash dog's wool garments to prevent the garment from becoming misshapen.
- If you are not comfortable spinning the hair, a professional spinner can be paid to spin for you.
- Do not use dirty or matted hair.
- Avoid clipped hair as it will often have guard hair, which is coarse and uncomfortable to wear.
Things you need
- Dog hair
- Paper bag or cardboard box
- Mild washing detergent
- Fine wool (optional)
- Spinning carders
- Spinning Machine