I usually do my recommendations and endorsements in a blog round-up, but sometimes a fiber artist really deserves more attention than that, and that’s definitely the case with my friend Judy and her business PetPals4Ever!
I am lucky enough to have met Judy – we have done some private workshopping in her home studio, where we played with making batts to spin from a mix of fibers including wools and dog hair, often affectionately referred to as “chiengora.” Of all the fibers I’ve seen weird reactions to, dog hair seems to be one of the most consistent… and it really doesn’t make any sense!
The comments I hear the most about spinning dog hair are:
“Doesn’t it smell?”
“But dogs get so dirty!”
…um, hello? Have you ever worked with raw sheep fleece? Trust me when I tell you that a dirty wool fleece can not only be gross [poop! weird veggie matter!] and smell pretty strongly. I’ve definitely never found poop in any of the dog hair I’ve spun, haha! But just like a fleece, a good cleaning of dog hair gets it smelling pleasant and makes it nice to handle. And no, if you get the item you’ve made from dog hair wet after that initial washing, you won’t smell like wet dog. Because there are no skin oils to build back up after the hair is off the pooch, it smells neutral. And it feels GREAT! A dog’s undercoat is incredibly soft and warm – hence that reference to angora in the funny “chiengora” nickname.
I’ve spun some dog fur in my time as a spinner and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Some people blend it with other fibers, but I have spun it mostly alone and unblended. It’s really lovely however you spin it, though.
Judy has taken the idea of spinning dog hair to a higher level, though.
She is a professional dog walker as well as a spinner, and it occurred to her – why not spin dog hair to make keepsake items to remember beloved pets forever? And with that thought, PetPals4ever was born! She offers a spinning service as well as the option to have your chiengora yarn worked into a keepsake item, like a pouch, wallet, or filled heart. It’s such a great idea – a way to have your beloved pet near you no matter where you are. Judy’s work is impeccable and she approaches each project with thoughtfulness, love, and respect for your pet and you. She’s also an animal lover, and it shows in everything she does!
I really can’t recommend Judy and PetPals4ever enough. If you have wanted to have your dog’s hair spun into yarn, I strongly suggest that you contact Judy and talk to her about if your pet’s hair is appropriate for spinning and what she can do for you. You won’t regret it! Tell her I sent you. 😉