Spinning dog hair into yarn to make garments is an ancient tradition. Native Americans would historically spin dog hair along with the wool of the mountain goat and bark fibres to make blankets and clothing. Nowadays, dog lovers collect the brushed hair from their pets and have it spun into yarn to create beautiful, soft mementos of their pets. The hair of the husky is one of the best for spinning, as the dog has a soft undercoat that it sheds naturally each year.
Brush your husky regularly, using a slicker brush to remove the loose hair of the undercoat. Remove any coarse, outer hairs from the brush as these are hard and can be prickly if used in a garment. Save only the soft fur of the undercoat for making yarn.
Collect the fur in a box to prevent it from being compressed. Keep it safe until you have enough to make yarn.
Wash the fur as you would a fine wool garment. Use a mild, detergent-free dishwashing liquid or laundry soap for delicates, in hot water. Rinse it in clean water of the same temperature and dry by rolling it up in a towel to absorb the water and then drying it flat on a towel.
Card the fur. You can send it to a wool manufacturer for carding, or do it yourself using hand-held wooden carding paddles or metal dog brushes. This separates and straightens the fur ready for spinning.
Spin the fur, either by hand or using a spindle. Take the fur in one hand and twist a section of it with the other. Keep adding and twisting tufts of hair and you will create a length of yarn. You can also send the wool to a professional to have it spun, which will result in even more yarn.
Make a garment or keepsake from the yarn, knitting or crocheting it by hand. Combine it with woollen yarn to lighten the weight and density of it. This will result in an item that is not as warm as one made from pure dog hair.
Things you need
- Hair brushings from husky
- Mild laundry soap
- Hand-held carding paddles or metal dog brushes (optional)
- Spindle (optional)
- International World History Project: American Indians or Native Americans
- "The whole craft of spinning from the raw material to the finished yarn"; C. Kroll; Courier Dover Publications, 1981; P31
- Cornell University Animal Science 3800: "Wool Processing"; "First and Second Projects, Learning to Spin and Felt"; J. L. Hartnagel
- Hand Spinning by Judy Kavanagh: Handspun Yarn from Pet Cat and Dog Fur
- Woofspuns: Collecting and the Hair
- For the Love of Yarn: Keepsakes from Your Beloved Pet