Tuesday, 1 January 2013


I just want to take a little side trip into Cheingora, or dog hair. For your first experiment with dog hair, I can’t recommend fervently enough to have someone else prepare your fiber far, far away from your home. If you have ever tried to card angora, you will know it’s not for the faint of heart. There are also preferred methods of collection of which you would know me well enough by now to know that would not be how I did it. Our groomer bathed our Bichon and then cut his hair. Sounded so good to me. Apparently for best results, unwashed and brushed out/shed hair is best (except Bichons don’t shed). Not to worry. I have a big bag of hair I may again attempt to card once the memory of the flying fur feeble first attempt fade from my mind.

I ordered some Sami (Samoyed/Shetland) roving from Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative in Vermont and happily set to work. Surely no one expected me to give up on spinning dog hair, really? I keep my recent handspun skeins in a bowl on the coffee table for

1.      Inspiration to work with it

2.      Decide to keep it or not

3.      Admire, pet it and call it George

10pm every night, Jake has what is commonly referred to as the Bichon Blitz. We tuck in our heads, hold on to our wine as Jake tosses and hurls toys flying and then tears circuits around the coffee table. This one night, he jumped up to the bowl of handspun beauteousness and snatches Sami, eloping to his couch. Jake has never taken to any of my fiber or yarn before. I stop at mentioning finished shawls as he is a little prince after his mother. The softer and finer the knitting. the happier he is to sleep on it.

Jake had become obsessed with Sami. Everyone suggested I make something for him from the yarn.  The opportunity arose with the annual guild challenge, this year to be to make a pillow. I would knit a pillow for Jake from Sami.

On Ravelry, I came across alphabet pattern dish cloth designs and resolved to knit patchwork squares with his name.

Oops. 1 square short, I have run out of yarn. Speaking of running. This is where stories intersect. This is the time of the black water escape and this is the project that escaped with us.

So…the coop was out of fiber but Christy on Ravelry kindly offered me her handspun which just happened to arrive in time for me to grab it (and the ½ bottle of wine) and head out through our condemned door


Phew! Problem solved yarn wise. The condo not so much

note the different colour in the bottom right and far middle left
as indicated by Jake
Now I want to add something interesting in an educational way. Both Christy and I had the exact same roving. We even ended up with very similar weight yarn but that is where the similarity ends. They could have been 2 totally different fibers for how different they looked. Hers was white, bloomed and fluffy and mine more of a golden sandy, smoother yarn. According to Judith Mackenzie, yarns spun differently from the same fiber can appear to be totally different colours. Huh!


But wait. Christy sent 2 skeins! I think I have enough yarn to weave the second side of the pillow.


We brave the condo construction and retrieve my rigid heddle loom (we won’t linger long here). Much maths later, the loom is warped up and off I go.

Oops, I’m out of yarn! What was Christy thinking sending me 2 skein s? The woman who created this fiber who also happens to have a dog called Jake is sending me a wee skein but my deadline looms near and my condo looms far…Canada post, even further.

I can still make it work. I buy some doggy braid, Velcro and set to reinforcing the woven fabric to cut it up and patchwork it with the braid.

I borrow the work sewing machine. It doesn’t go

I brave the condo construction for my machine. It goes but it won’t bloody stop.

My summer is not progressing so well.

 Take myself to friend Agnes’ house and sewing machine. I immediately break the needle.  Am feeling like Marvin in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but I am not having any sort of conversation with these machines, let alone an intelligent one.

New needle loaded, we get this pillow done and dusted with a day to spare before presentation

…A few days later, a parcel arrives in the mail. SAMMI handspun yarn from Sabra and Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative. Oh no. A doggie fisherman sweater perhaps. I wonder if I have enough…
A truly fiber obsessed canine

1 comment:

  1. Love this story! I hadn't remembered the color difference; that's really intriguing.