Hey, Matt: I own four Bichon Frise dogs, and we get tons of hair when we comb them. It’s real soft and luxurious, and the wife and I have often remarked on how it would make a neat sweater as we throw it into the trash. You mentioned in your March 14 article that “there are people who make a living” making sweaters out of dog hair. How would I go about finding such a person? — Joe (I ain't the monsignor) Carroll, E-mail land
Thanks for heading off any embarrassing confusion, Joe, just in case we missed that reference to your wife. Anyway, since mentioning here that we can now have afghans made from real Afghans, I’ve had several requests for details. You are all stranger than I’d ever imagined.
There is actually a book for folks with too much dog hair and time on their hands, Knitting with Dog Hair: A Woof to Warp Guide to Making Hats, Sweaters, Mittens, and Much More, by Kendall Crolius and Anne Montgomery (St. Martin’s Press, $9.95), with one of the projects, a dog-hair dog sweater, of course. The authors say the best breeds for spinning and knitting are double-coated animals — huskies, Saint Bernards, sheepdogs, collies, golden retrievers, and the king of them all, the stupid but lovable Samoyed, source of yarn in Russia for centuries. But somewhere there’s a spinner/knitter who will work with any breed except, presumably, Mexican hairless. In general, two grocery bags full of fluffy-type dog hair yields one small hat.
Owners of dog-hair sweaters say the garments are warmer and lighter than lamb’s wool; they’re mothproof, nonallergenic, colorfast, and water repellent; they won’t attract fleas; and you get petted a lot when you tell people what you’re wearing. Best of all, no reports of anyone uncontrollably veering toward fire hydrants while out for a stroll.
But suppose you’re a cat person. Could there be a tabby turtleneck in your future? Of course. Some of the more adventurous spinners have even made yarn from buffalo, raccoon, deer, lions, sea lions, monkeys, and bears. A custom-made dog-hair sweater (you supply the raw material, someone else spins and knits) will probably cost between $250 and $400. Knitting with Dog Hair has a list of artisans around the country who’d be glad to work with your bushels of bichon hair. If you can’t find the book and can’t wait for the movie, try obtaining some names from the Northwest Regional Spinners Association, P.O. Box 2755, Redmond, WA 98073-2755.