To continue on with the same theme as my last post, this is blog post by Judy Kavanagh. Judy spins pet fur and makes it into yarn that she then knits into scarfs, sweaters, etc. I thought you might be interested in what she does.
"Wear your best friend wherever you go with yarn made from brushings
from your pet cat or dog. Pet fur makes a lovely fluffy yarn with a halo
like angora and is very warm for its weight. I can spin your pet’s fur
into yarn for you to knit, crochet or weave, or I can spin and knit it
for you into mittens, a hat or a lacy scarf.
What kind of cats and dogs have good fur for
The main requirement is that the fur is soft and long enough to spin. A
minimum length of about 1 inch is required, otherwise the yarn sheds a
lot and may be prickly.
Many kinds of dogs have good fur to spin. Some suitable breeds are
Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Malamute, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland,
American Eskimo and Great Pyrenees but any dog with a long, soft
undercoat is suitable.
Long or medium-haired cats provide the best fur among cats. Breeds
such as Persian, Ragdoll, and Himalayan have long enough fur to make
excellent yarn. But even short-haired cats can provide fur, although it
will take a long time to collect enough to spin.
Note that the colour of a pet’s undercoat may be different from the
outer coat colour. A calico cat may have a grey undercoat, for example.
How much fur do I need?
Not as much as you might think. Even 1-2 ounces of fur can be blended with wool to make a pair of mittens or a hat.
A sandwich bag stuffed full of fur weighs about half an ounce. A grocery bag of fur weighs about 8 ounces.
Why do you sometimes blend the fur with wool?
I cat blend dog and cat fur with about 50% fine wool to give added
strength and elasticity and to create more yarn if you have a small
quantity or fur. I can spin dog fur without blending it with wool but if
it is knitted it may sag not bounce back into shape after it’s
stretched. This may be fine for a scarf or throw, but may not be
suitable for a hat or mittens. 100% cat fur will felt itself and become
stiff and hard so it is not recommended.
Does pet fur yarn smell?
No, although dog fur can be very smelly, I wash it several times
before I card and spin it. All yarn is washed after spinning as well.
How do I collect the fur?
The best fur is collected by brushing or combing your pet. You want
the soft undercoat of your pet’s fur, rather than the stiffer outer coat
(if your pet has one). Many breeds of dogs, such as huskies, shed their
undercoat in a short period of time during the summer. This is the
perfect time to collect fur for spinning. Washing your dog before you
brush may encourage the fur to shed and also makes for cleaner and less
smelly fur. Throw away any really dirty or short bits of fur.
You may also have your dog clipped. The clippings will include both
inner and outer coats and you (or I) will have to sort the fur and pick
out the stiffer and thicker guard hairs, unless you don’t mind a prickly
How do I store the fur?
If possible, store the fur in a cardboard box or paper bag, rather
than a plastic bag, to prevent compressing the fur. This is especially
important with cat fur as it will felt very easily if compressed.
However, if you find the fur has felted, I can usually separate it again
How do I wash my mittens/hat/scarf?
Wash it like you would wash any fine wool. I recommend you hand wash
your items using mild dishwashing liquid in hot water. Rinse in the same
temperature water. Roll up in a towel to absorb extra water and then
dry flat on a towel.
Can you dye my dog or cat fur different colours?
Yes, cat and dog fur can be dyed just like wool.
If you are interested in having Judy spin your pet's fur for you to knit or crochet, please check out her blog:
Judy's blog, http://www.jumaka.com/spinning/spinningblog.html