1. What breeds of dog fur has the best fur to be spun into yarn?
Any dog that is double coated with a long, soft undercoat is usually able
to be spun into yarn. Please understand the color of the undercoat may
vary from the color of the top coat or guard hairs.
2. How much undercoat is needed?
About 1 ounce or 2 plastic sandwich bags filled with undercoat. This will be blended with a high quality wool to make approximately 100 yards of yarn.
3. Why is the undercoat blended with wool?
Dog fur spun by itself is not typically as strong as fiber that is blended with another type of wool. Also dog fur is much warmer than plain sheep wool. Depending on what you read it is between 4 to 10 times warmer, or another source said 80% warmer than regular sheep wool. Also, dog fur does not have the same structure as sheep wool and is a very slippery and fine fiber. It also does not have the same "memory" as other wool and will not bounce back to it's original shape as well as fiber that is blended with another wool.
4. Will the yarn smell like dog?
No. Once we receive the dog fur fiber, it will be processed in a similar manner as any other fiber (sheep, alpaca, llama, goat, rabbit). It will be washed and rinsed several times. Then it is laid out to air dry on screen drying racks. So like other animal fibers even when it gets wet again it will not smell like wet dog.
5. Collecting the fur fiber.
You can pick up those little fluffs of fur that collect around the edges of your floors. Or you can save what you comb out when grooming. Under NO circumstances should you save and send any fur that has been trimmed or cut. Cut fibers do not lend themselves to being spun into a soft, comfortable yarn. There tends to be guard hairs mixed in and those are coarser and not as comfortable to wear. Clipped fur also has a blunt edge so it will not blend as well as naturally shedded fiber or undercoat that has been brushed or combed out. Also do not save any fur that has been gathered using a Furminator or deshedding type tool as these cut the undercoat.
5. Cleanliness of fur fiber.
The fur fiber is washed during the process of getting it ready to be spun and after it has been spun. But sending fiber that has a lot of extra dirt and what is called VM (vegetable matter) in it will take longer to process and will incur an extra charge per ounce of fiber.
6. Storing the fiber.
As you are gathering the fiber to send, the best way to store it is in something that will "breathe" such as a brown paper bag, cardboard box like a shoebox, an old pillow case, and I've had someone send fiber in one of the bags that potatoes are sold in (the red mesh type bags).
7. Caring for the finished product.
We suggest washing your item the way you would any hand washable wool item. We use a small amount of Dawn Dish Detergent, but there are many great products. Use warm water, DO NOT agitate. Agitating the fur fiber item will cause it to felt. Gently lay the item in the water after the soap has been added to the water. Submerse the item and let it soak for a few minutes. Gently lift the item out of the water. Drain the soapy water, run rinse water that is the same temperature as the water used to wash the item. Place the item in the clear water and repeat until the water is clear with no soap in the rinse water. Do NOT agitate, squish, or wring the item. Once the rinse water is clear, lay the item on a clean towel, roll up the towel to get as much water as possible out of the item. Use another dry towel to lay the item on so it can dry much like you would any other fine wool item or garment.
8. Dyeing of fiber.
At this time we are not set up to dye your fiber. But we can certainly blend it with another color of wool.
9. Minimum Charge to have fiber spun.
There is a minimum charge of $50 to have your fiber spun. The process of preparing the fiber to be spun, spinning the fiber & finishing the fiber is time intensive. The minimum charge will allow you to have between 200 to 220 yards of yarn.
From the book "Knitting with dog Hair" by Kendall Crolius & Anne B. Montgomery, according to Dr. George Ward, Jr. division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology of the University of Virginia, "First, let me say that allergies to dogs are far less of a problem than allergies to cats. It would appear that the allergies are from the dander shed from the dog's skin as well as the dog's saliva. Thus, thorough washing would probably remove most of the allergenic material, although a controlled study to answer this question has not been done."