yesterday i received a totally unexpected gift from carry, the host of my most favorite podcast ever, knitwit.
waffles with giant box from north carolina
she sent me rovings that are from her very own pets: dot, einstein, and wolfy. check out the packaging job.
top to bottom: border leicester, angora+cormo wool, and raw angora
if you are a listener of knitwit, you'd recognize that dot is the sheep that talks the dog into unlatching the gate so she could go for a stroll around the neighborhood. i love the natural color of dot's wool but it's pretty coarse. i will use it to make a beanie for jg; he likes scratchy wool. the angora blend feels like merino except loftier. the angora, what can i say. it's like touching puffly clouds. lovely stuff!
and speaking of lovely stuff, waffles got bathed this past sunday. this usually means i get a harvest of dog hair the day after. the first time karen did all the collecting. the second time she gave me some reading materials, introduced me to the tools, and let me try them on waffs. i did terribly. i got less than half an ounce of hair.
yesterday was the third time. and i think i got the hang of it.
brushing with "grain"
i remember being disgusted when i first heard about dog hair yarn. i had this image of it being really coarse and stinky. then, i met waffles.
90% down 10% guard hair
when waffles first hung around my office, she often sat at my feet. one day i went to pick something off the floor and noticed a puff of fibers gathered around one of the casters on my chair. i picked it up and it just floated in my palm, super delicate.
i honestly had no idea what it was. i showed it to karen, "look what i found on the floor!" karen immediately took it from my palm and threw it in the trash. then she apologized for waffles' shedding.
i thought karen was joking. i walked away thinking that she was pulling my leg. no dog hair is that soft.
blissed out from all the brushing
after that incident, i started thinking about spinning waffles' hair. i googled for information and chatted with advanced spinners about it. i have to admit that, even at this point, i was still bothered by the dog hair stigma. but i went ahead and asked karen to save waffles' hair anyway. and the rest, as they say, is history.
monday's yield: 1.5 ounces
packaged a la carry
some notes should you decide to brush down your dawgie:
1. bathe dog. air dry.
2. karen prefers that waffles remains standing so she can work all around. i prefer waffles lying down so i can taunt her like this:
just kidding. when i get better with brushing techniques, i would prefer to have waffles standing, too.
3. with proper grooming equipment, brush with grain first. this will work out the tangles. it won't yield much hair.
4. brush against grain to actually remove some hair. lots of downy stuff come off this way. it sounds like it would hurt but no, waffles loves it. she zones out like a druggie. it took a lot of effort for me to roll her blissed out body over to the other side.
5. the brushing will cause static electricity and the downy stuff will cling to everything nearby: you, the walls, the carpet, and of course, the dog. use the non-brushing hand to gather the hair and ball it up as firmly as you can. collect the balls in a paper grocery bag. why? because i have trader joe's bags lying around the office. plus it's roomy enough to let the hair expand back into clouds.
that's all there is to it. i understand that the hair can be spun right off the dog's back but i don't. i am not an advanced spinner so i have to card the fiber first. carding lets me blend a bit of merino in for staple. carding also removes guard hair. it's a must if you want soft yarn.
watching schmee clean out the brushes
i took waffles out for a spin after the harvest. all the static electricity made her look like a giant puff.
puffles still in brush down stupor
note the trim job on her tail