Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friends

The past few days we have been readjusting to life without Shelley. This was Webster, the cat and Sidney, the lab, the morning after Shelley passed away. They were waiting for her to come for breakfast. Webster paced the house and in and out of the shed that whole day, looking to all her regular sleeping spaces. Sidney just slept in his bed, chin in his paws, despondent. Animals know about loss, in their own way they show the distress.

This is a picture of Daisy after Jessie died a few years ago. Daisy and Jessie were best friends. I bought them from another farm and they came together as lambs. That whole summer they lived together apart from the rest of the flock until they were old enough to fend for themselves. The day Jessie died and the days that followed had Daisy looking and waiting for Jessie's return.She baaaed and paced and kept to herself. It was heart wrentching.

I mentioned to the vet that I wished I had saved Shelley's fur over the years so I could spin and knit something warm for me. Something to keep close. I learned yesterday that they trimmed Shelley and saved me the fur to pick up. I have never worked with dog hair before and would love any comments or ideas on how to work with it. Her staple length is 3" overall. I was at a fiber show a few weeks ago and a vendor was spinning and then knitting hair from her dog and had already knit a fabulous pair of glovelettes. I thought perhaps I could blend some of our fleece with Shelley's hair if there is not enough to work with. Ideas please!

4 comments:

  1. Generally, the part of dog hair that is spun is the undercoat. If the vet's office just sheared off fur, you got undercoat and the coarse outer coat, which would no doubt be prickly.

    If you want to spin it, it is definitely best blended with wool. Wool barbs will help hold the whole thing together. You might also consider felting something - either as a sheet (background for some kind of felted wall-hanging type picture, perhaps?) or as a solid object (I like to do round felted balls, then cut them in half for flat-bottomed pincushions). There are various ways to produce those. For a felted ball or pincushion, I would blend with wool (the undercoat and wool will felt, but the outer coat likely will not) and toss in the washer & dryer with a few loads of laundry stuff it tightly in the toe of an old sock or nylon stocking).

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  2. I, too, have some dog fur that I'll be using in a future project. Mine are just bits and pieces, though, so I'll probably make a heart and stuff it with the fur.

    Some ideas for Shelley's fur are a scarf, a cowl/gaiter, a headband/ear-warmer -- I'm thinking along the lines of something worn close to your face or head (vs. a sweater). If her fur is soft enough, then something right against your skin might be a lovely reminder of her and a way to keep her close.

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  3. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Nancy,
    I only wish I had been more observant. Both my sister in law & her daughter spum dog hair & made beautiful winter hats & mittens. Unfortunately both have died within the last few years, and I never thought to ask how they did it. My niece had Samoyed's & the hair was beautiful.

    You will find guidance & be able to make a lovely remembrance of Shelley.

    Love ya,
    W

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  4. What a lovely thing your vet did for you! I'd agree - a blending with wool will be easiest to work with to give it some spring and bounce. I also used a very foofy-smelling hair shampoo/conditioner to wash the stuff I worked with, which helped tamp down the doggie smell. (I was making a hat - the owner insisted - for outdoor sports wear, and I thought it probably would be damp most of the time. It still smells a big dog-like when wet.)

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