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Un chiengora andalou
December 18, 2009 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Do you love your dog? So much that you want to make a sweater out of her fur? Know first that this may be illegal in New Jersey. Also, take into account that Chiengora is 80% warmer than wool... so you'd better make it a bikini instead. Need to accessorize? There's always the cat! [ previously | Beware the Sweater Curse! ]
posted by not_on_display (46 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gross, but, nice title
posted by jckll at 11:59 AM on December 18, 2009


Un chiengora andalou

...or, How To Use 1,000 Pet Hair Rollers on 1 Sweater!
posted by explosion at 12:06 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


i think there's a difference between people who like their dogs and dog people.
dog people are totally demented.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2009


Okay, what the hell? I was researching an entirely unrelated item on Amazon yesterday, and when I came back to the front page, it told me, "Customers who viewed this item also viewed" a sheep shearer (!) and a book about knitting with dog hair. This is getting creepy.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2009


sort of previously.

And this is some creepy Ed Gein shit.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:08 PM on December 18, 2009


And this is some creepy Ed Gein shit.
I think you've missed something.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:11 PM on December 18, 2009


Oh, lord, "chiengora." I can't stop giggling at the image that comes to mind with that term. Dunno though, if I could actually turn the hair/fur I have from my cat or even my own head, I'd have no problem crocheting with it. I mean, if you have it and know how to make things with it, why not? One possible reason why not is how itchy this crap can get - hair shirts were penance for a reason.
posted by neewom at 12:12 PM on December 18, 2009


Related
posted by exogenous at 12:12 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Another thing I woulda been sure I'd thought of first if not for the internet, damn them for cornering the elusive crazy bag lady + crazy cat lady combo.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:14 PM on December 18, 2009


THAT explains the Chia sweater.
posted by msalt at 12:21 PM on December 18, 2009


Excellent. Force your cat to wear a dog-wool coat. Butt-sniffers of the neighbourhood, prepare to be confused.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Portraits Of People In Clothes Made From Their Pets' Fur.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, what happens when your dog is snuggled up next to you in a coat made from the dog's OWN DISCARDED HAIR. I know dogs can be cool with almost anything so long as they get food and head scratches, but do they, at that point, have a little "Man, giving up the woods was a seriously dumb idea." moment?
posted by The Whelk at 12:26 PM on December 18, 2009


Why do people think this is 'creepy'? Do you wear wool? Do you wear silk? The only difference is that the dogs aren't (I hope) raised strictly for their fur; it's usually just a dog owner + crochet/knitting enthusiast who is excited about this new, free and entirely home-spun material. There's nothing creepy about it. Human repulsion is strange sometimes.
posted by Malice at 12:32 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are any number of blankets in my house which are, effectively, at this point made of my dog's hair although they were not originally made that way. I think, if you are a furry thing, having your own fur around is not particularly weird.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:32 PM on December 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't find this gross. Not saying it's "Oooh feel my new dog hair sweater" but it's no different than angora, rabbit, or any other fur for clothing. It at least isn't the actual hide with the fur attached.

Owning 2 dogs (border collie and a mix border collie possibly malmute) we always say we totally could make another dog/sweater/etc out of their hair. Love my dogs but man do they shed! You can pull tufts out of them.
posted by stormpooper at 12:33 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I brush my Berner, I collect the hair and stuff it into a paper bag for a coworker who SWEARS she's going to spin it into wool yet. I've passed her bags of his brushings and have nothing to show for it other than another bag in the house collecting his hair. He's a 135 lb Bernese Mountain Dog. My friend owns a 160 lb Leonberger and she's passed me several bags of his blond hair to pass to the cowoker. So, this lady has the hair of two massive dogs and the hair of her two Angora bunnies to work with but to date has not yet spun any of it into wool. Her husband must be thrilled.
posted by onhazier at 12:38 PM on December 18, 2009


I dunno if it's creepy or not but man, those dogs are HAIRY. What a nightmare of hair those people must endure.
posted by GuyZero at 12:39 PM on December 18, 2009


so you folks who think it's gross to have an article of clothing mad from your pet hair don't have a problem with yarn made from unknown animals of unknown origin and unknown upbringing? do you even KNOW where that llama has been?
posted by msconduct at 12:42 PM on December 18, 2009


Just for the record, I only find it creepy because this random, fringe thing appeared in my life two days in a row. I'd gladly wear a scarf made from my cats' cast-off fur.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:47 PM on December 18, 2009


My wife, an enthusiastic knitter, pointed out similar links a few years ago. One apparent downside is that if a doghair sweater gets wet, it smells like a wet dog.
posted by jon1270 at 12:52 PM on December 18, 2009




so you folks who think it's gross to have an article of clothing mad from your pet hair don't have a problem with yarn made from unknown animals of unknown origin and unknown upbringing? do you even KNOW where that llama has been?


Well, for what it's worth I don't own any clothing made from animals, and I think all skin/fur coats are pretty creepy. But I see your point. And its not the being made from your dog thing that is the creepy thing to me, its the people who make the sweater or whatever after the dog dies to, you know, like memorialize it. That's what I was referencing with my ill-considered gein comment.

As far as sustainability and all that goes, I think its great.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:06 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know how you clean the fur before spinning it into yarn? Because I've had both dogs and cats, and while they don't usually smell bad, I'm not sure I'd want to wear clothes that smell like either of them. Especially the laborador we used to have. They're sort of oily dogs anyway, and this one liked to go to the beach and roll around in dead fish carcasses.
posted by electroboy at 1:11 PM on December 18, 2009


>: I don't find this gross. Not saying it's "Oooh feel my new dog hair sweater" but it's no different than angora, rabbit, or any other fur for clothing.

It's not gross because it's from a household pet, it's gross because when it gets wet, it will smell like wet dog. And dogs, even the nicest dogs, are kind of foul.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:36 PM on December 18, 2009


And dogs, even the nicest dogs, are kind of foul.

YOU DID NOT JUST SAY THAT ABOUT MR. TINKLES.
posted by maxwelton at 1:52 PM on December 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Our friends had a pair of 13 year old chows which they adored. Both dogs died earlier this year. But when we had "dog sat" for them, I collected their fur when I brushed them.

I am making needle felted doggies out of the actual dog fur as mementos for our friends. It's quite nice to work with.
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 2:35 PM on December 18, 2009


A friend of mine from grad-school days had made a pair of mittens from her dog's hair. They were warm, though the feel of them was, well, hairy. Her dog had subsequently died sometime after the mittens were made, so she liked having them as a memento of her pet.
posted by briank at 2:52 PM on December 18, 2009


In the interest of bringing gross 4Chan memes to the masses, I suggest we instead end the headline with:

A

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I
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F
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posted by mccarty.tim at 2:52 PM on December 18, 2009


We' ve got two siberian cats. I've suggested a catsmere scarf to my wife, and her response is always: "Fine. You spin it, I'll knit it."

Anyone know how many pounds of loose cat hair you get off a 10 lb long hair cat in a year? (Neither my wife nor the cats is keen on shearing.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:14 PM on December 18, 2009


New Zealand has been trying to get rid of its huge population of introduced 'possums and you can get clothing made from their fur.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:29 PM on December 18, 2009


I imagine you could have dog or cat yarn lanolized just like most wool. That would help with the itchy and the smell. I helped a woman crochet a bookmark from her dog's fur, I wouldn't wear more than mittens out of it. Personally, if I were to spin any of my cats' fur I would card it with sheep's wool to help with the shed factor. It would cut down on the "hairiness" of the yarn, too. I'd still take Qiviut over dog or cat hair any day.
posted by MaritaCov at 4:24 PM on December 18, 2009


No mew jersey in New Jersey?
posted by Anything at 4:30 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aren't the best merkins made from cat fur?
posted by spasm at 4:39 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Knitting and spinning enthusiasts have been experimenting with dog and cat fur for quite a while. I've seen stuff made from pet fur but there's a reason it hasn't taken over from wool and more traditional fibers: it's kind of dense and flabby, unlike lofty resilient wool. Apart from sentimental value, pet yarns are just not very appealing. Which is surprising, given how lovely a cat's fur feels on the cat, but it just doesn't spin into a nice yarn.

I think it took centuries of selective breeding to get nice sheep's wool too - some archaic breeds are very hardy and easy to care for but their wool is stiff and scratchy, better for carpets than clothing. Maybe if we start now, in a few decades we'll have Fluffies and Fidos that actually do something useful when shedding all over the furniture.
posted by Quietgal at 4:39 PM on December 18, 2009


My neighbor/landlord is a Newfoundland breeder, and periodically sends their combings to a local spinner who specializes in "chiengora." She has several items made from the resulting yarn. Coincidentally, she has a Newfy sweater being delivered Saturday, and I'm looking forward to talking to the spinner.

Despite everyone's assurances to the contrary, these knit items look exactly as if they were made of dog fur. It doesn't look like cashmere, or Kidsilk Haze in a natural color - it looks exactly like dog fur. Like, even someone with absolutely no knowledge of the fiber arts would look at it and think,"Is that dog fur?"

I realize that for the wearer this is a feature, not a bug, but I find it rather unsettling.

The smell when wet is no better or worse than that of wool. Damp wool doesn't smell super great (to non-knitters). It's not a particularly "doggy" smell, not if the spinner has prepped the fur properly. It just smells a bit gamy.

The biggest down side to chiengora is that it has zero "bounce," and it felts like a mofo. If you want to spin your dog's fur, be prepared to go through a very lengthy, time-consuming, and delicate process to get the fur washed and prepped. Then blend it at least 50/50 with a regular wool (the spinner I know uses merino).
posted by ErikaB at 4:46 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh and I was going to add, several Native American tribes here in the Pacific Northwest have a long history of using dog's wool to make blankets and clothing. However, instead of spinning and knitting or weaving it, they just felted it into blankets.
posted by ErikaB at 4:47 PM on December 18, 2009


Does this work with mouse fur?
posted by jessamyn at 4:47 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does this work with mouse fur?
Yes, but generally if you've got a dairy herd they're short-hair and don't produce much fiber.

You'll have more luck with lagomorphs.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:15 PM on December 18, 2009


Does this work with mouse fur?

A tiny finger warmer of victory against the mice!
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


At one point in my life I actually raised Angora rabbits. I harvested, spun and knit the wool (It made the most darling booties) while at the same time I had 3 Maltese dogs. It never occurred to me to combine the two. What a missed opportunity!

Now I have a bulldog. One of the cats loves to nurse on her and it would be great if I could make him a tiny blanket from her fur, but her hairs are only about 1 inch long.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:09 PM on December 18, 2009


Anyone know how many pounds of loose cat hair you get off a 10 lb long hair cat in a year?

I don't know, a lot? My understanding is that cat hair is too smooth to 'catch' and stay spun, even really long haired cat hair doesn't stay spun well. Maybe blended into another type of fiber it might work though. I'll leave that to someone else to test... For science.
posted by susanbeeswax at 9:11 PM on December 18, 2009


Q1: If moths are an issue with storing the dog hair, wouldn't it also be a problem with your sweater? Q2: how does the warmth compare to micro fleece? Because I'm not really that keen on a dog sweater, but a super-warm blanket sounds interesting.
posted by ctmf at 9:41 PM on December 18, 2009


ctmf, moths are a problem with any natural fiber, particularly when it's stored "dirty." (Always wash your woolens before storing them for the winter!)

Same as with wool garments, but to a much greater degree. The stronger the smell, the better it serves as a moth attractant. One hopes that your winter sweater wouldn't smell as much as a handful of unwashed dog's fur.

The dog owner/customer isn't going to have the chops to wash the dog hair without felting it, so they'll have to store it dirty. Definitely a big problem, as my newf-owning neighbor can attest. She once lost a huge trash bag of newf wool to moths (or rather, their maggots).

As for Q2, the R-value of dog's wool is about 10,000 times greater than microfleece. (But only about 100 times greater than wool.) I can attest to this personally, having worn a newf hat for about 30 seconds before my head began to sweat and I had to rip it off in desperation.
posted by ErikaB at 7:07 AM on December 20, 2009


I have an incredibly soft cat. She's named Larry and she's half-feral, yet colored like a seal point Himalayan I've always thought it would be nice to have her skinned and turned into a nice hat when she expires. My SO (and the law) says no. :(

I thought it would be one of the highest honors one could bestow on a pet. :p
posted by wierdo at 11:13 AM on December 21, 2009


My understanding is that cat hair is too smooth to 'catch' and stay spun, even really long haired cat hair doesn't stay spun well.

Well, from the original post, it looks like someone managed to do it.

Also totally wondering what I could knit out of my boyfriend's cat's hair now...
posted by inara at 3:33 PM on December 21, 2009


Re: cats, I think it would really depend on the breed. I'm thinking of some Persians and Maine Coon cats I've known, whose undercoat was very much like what I comb out of my neighbor's Newfs.

A little late to the party, but here's pictures of the aforementioned skeins of 100% Newfoundland dog yarn, and a close-up to show the texture.

(I'm just heading over to add these to my Ravelry stash, but I have no idea what the yardage is. Still, though, I can't resist the chance to put DOG FUR in Ravelry.)
posted by ErikaB at 2:19 PM on December 22, 2009


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