What can you do with dog hair?
Collie hair can be spun and knitted or it can be felted to make many different types of garments. It is 80% warmer than wool.
We are just coming to the end of Summer and heading in to Autumn but ‘Tuppy’ has decided that this is the best time to shed her coat. Last night, I spent an hour or so stripping out all the coat that had lifted and here is a nice pile of it on the grooming room floor!
Industrious people can make good use of dog hair. It can be spun to make clothing, wraps and rugs. It is extremely beautiful, very soft and very warm.
I’m reminded of a funny thing that happened to me and a friend involving a gorgeous cardigan made from collie hair. Mind you, it probably wasn’t so funny for the poor American guy who possibly still thinks he met two women who killed dogs to make a jacket!
My friend and I had travelled to England to visit some people and see some collies. While there we attended a collie dog show. The club, that day, was raffling a beautiful cardigan knitted from collie hair. It was stunning and my friend won it! (I didn’t find out until years later that my friend had practically bought all the raffle tickets!)
This was in December – winter in the northern hemisphere – and my friend wore her collie cardigan when we flew back to San Francisco (where I was living at the time). As we departed the aircraft in ‘Cisco, a young fellow ran his hand down the sleeve of my friend’s jacket and exclaimed, “How beautiful – is it Angora?” My friend said. “No, it is dog hair”. The poor man jumped back and with a look of horror, snapped, “How many dogs did you kill for that!” He literally ran from us before we had time to get over our surprise and tell him that you don’t kill dogs for their hair – they shed it!
In 2002, I was in New York and found a small shop that sold only things make of Chiengora – the term that is used for dog hair. I thought I might treat myself to something special, but when I discovered the cheapest thing in the shop was a pair of mittens at $600 – I decided maybe not. (I know how often I lose gloves, mittens and scarves!)
A few years ago a good friend sent me this lovely scarf made from the hair of her two collies. I love it and it is extra special because I bred those two collies.
This scarf has been felted rather than knitted. Collie hair will felt very easily. Some of the hair was dyed with a vegetable dye to give it the lovely pink colour.
The following links will take you to further interesting information on Chiengora.
- In this Yarn With a Tail, Our Heroes Thirst for Hair of the Dog
- Shop for Chiengora
- Knitting with Dog Hair