|Gunther, May 2000 - July 2011|
Well, after a couple years of smashing fur into that box in the corner of my sewing room, I decided it was time to see if this was even a viable idea. Let me tell you how lovely dog fur smells after being closed up in a box for two years . . . pretty much like the dog himself was in that box, only a bit dustier.
Well, I persevered. Out came the dog fur, some washed wool and the carding combs. I mixed together all the colors of fur I had, added a bit of wool for strength and went to town. For those of you who are not familiar with carding combs, they are essentially a pair of paddles with rows of teeth on them. Very similar to a wide, flat hairbrush.
The combs untangle the fibers and remove any knots or debris that hasn't been picked out. It's important to have the fibers all running in the same direction to create a smoother yarn. If you're trying for a cottage-y, homespun look, you can comb less and spin those nubbies into the yarn for extra texture. Combing will, of course, blend all your colors together for a more uniform look. Here, my white, black and brown all combined to give me a dark grey with a bit of brown flecking.
This the view I have while sitting at the spinning wheel. I hold the combed fibers with my left hand and draw them out with my right hand. While I pump my feet, the wheel turns, the fibers are twisted and pulled into the orifice (that's the official term) and wound onto the spool. Voila! Dog fur yarn!
Admittedly, the yarn turned out much more attractive than I had expected. It's soft and heathered and still smells like a dog. When I have a full spool, I'll take the skein off and wash it in the dog shampoo that groomers use. Then perhaps a sweater or hat? And when I get rained on, I'll smell like wet dog. And I'll be very popular at the city park. :) Who knows. I'll keep you updated when I actually work up something, but for now, I'm back to spinning . . . and brushing the dog. Oh Bosley . . . where are you?