In addition to destroying most of my worldly positions, knocking down my children, and turning parts of my yard into a landscape resembling Sherman’s March to the Sea, my lab Stoney sheds. She sheds a lot. Despite the fact that I brush her, my wife brushes her and the children brush her, she still manages to drop about – and this is only a slight exaggeration – 17 pounds of fur in the house a day. So much it fact that that I’ve all but ruined my Dyson vacuum cleaner sucking it all up.
Only a month ago, the dog follicles swirling around in the vacuum’s see-through canister resembled something from that show on National Geographic where morons drive toward speeding tornados. Today, that same action produces a grayish block that resembles a slightly undulating core sample. And even after I manage to suck up all Stoney’s hide from my living room, I still have to find something to do with it.
I tried burning it but not only was the smell enough to gag a maggot but the end result was something of a noxious tar ball. The hair doesn’t breakdown in my compost pile and when I throw it in the trashcan half of it sticks to the inner walls. This buildup has continued to the point that my trashcan walls are now three and a half inches thick.
Looking for an alternative placement for all this hair has led me into the frightening world of people that knit with dog hair. Yes, there is such a subculture; a small swath of people around the globe that enjoy turning their dog’s shed hair into comfortable blankets, lush garments, and smart scarves and hats.
People who blog about the best way to harvest hair, wash the stink out, and make something darling for friends and neighbors. And apparently the Holy Bible of these industrious, albeit lonely, freak artisans is Knitting with Dog Hair by Kendall Crolius and Anne Montgomery.
According to the description on Amazon.com this book can teach you, “How to make Afghan or a beret from your Beagle,” “How to collect, clean, and store your pooch’s fur,” “How to modify your patterns to accommodate pet-spun yarn,” and “How to find experienced pet hair spinners.” It’s the latter part that has me excited. Who wouldn’t want to meet “experienced pet hair spinners?!”
My favorite comments from the customer reviews include, “I bought this book 2 years ago and it is still good reading,” “Everyone in my house thought I was crazy until I brought home Kendall Crolius’ book (Really?),” “I felt bad at first shaving my dog completely bald (Again. Really?),” “In these times of impending environmental catastrophe, it behoves all of us to recycle to reduce our carbon footprint. Happily, this onerous task has just been made easier by this publication. (You taking yourself out of the gene pool might have the same effect.)” and “If you enjoy knitting and love dogs spinning their hair into yarn is a fun thing to do (But then again, so is drinking a few beers and reading comments from people like you).”
Even though this new endeavor looks exciting, I’m just not ready to commit to making a Stoney sweater yet. Maybe after the New Year. What do you think Outdoor Life readers? Should I learn to knit dog fur? Should I try to hook up with some “experienced pet hair spinners?”