Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Dog Spinner

Recall my Adventures with Ladyofyre. It was our correspondence that lead to my desire for one half skein eyelash yarn. An ad went out on knit list ads for a woman selling a box of novelty yarns, including one half skein eyelash yarn. I decided it was fate that I should purchase that box at that time and have been delighted by the result of my purchase. A whole box of wonders.

Anyway, along with the box of novelty yarns, I also purchased this woman's issue of VK* Winter '02. Having been pleased with my recent VK Winter '05 purchase, I figured at $3 it was a bargain if I liked even one of the patterns. Unfortunately, that issue did not arrive with the package of spectacular bargain novelty yarns.

When I let the seller know, she was very apologetic and put it in the mail right away and mentioned "I added a few extras for you!"

This morning I arrived at work to find that she had included the VK W'02, Family Circle Easy Knits September 1997, Cast On! The Magazine for Knitters both Holiday and Winter 1997. Eight years is enough to be vintage, let me assure you.

I brought the magazines with me to my dinner date with Sooner tonight. We were at the table at the Panera bread exploring the wonders within the covers ("OOH! This whole family has coordinating sweaters! How great!" "Sooner, I think you really need to own that interloping snow flake cardigan.") We also discussed at length the dangers of sweater knitting. What if you knitted a crosslane cabled sweater and it looks terrible on you? No matter whether or not something fits, sometimes it's just not flattering. It's not as though you can bring the sweater back to the LYS** and say it looks terrible, you'd like a refund on your yarn.

Anyway, I was looking at the ads and noticed that most of them didn't have websites, since it was 1997. One was for spinning someone's dog hair and cat hair into yarn.

I have been fascinated by this phenomenon since I began researching dog sweater patterns. It sort of freaks me out but of course I am drawn to it for it's freakishness. I do not wish to own anything knitted out of any of my animals, but I do think it would be funny to present this crazy gift to someone else. I instantly thought of my mother, who loves her granddog Macy. Macy is a shih tzu, very soft and glamorous. She would make a fine scarf or fingerless gloves if given the chance.

The woman's ad offered to make "catsmere" or "chien-ille". It had a phone number and an address. I thought that even though it was eight years old, her phone number probably hadn't changed. Plus, it was only 6 PM in Ohio.

DogSpinner: Hello?
Bevin: Hello, is this Fiber Works?
DS: Yes
Bevin: Um, do you still spin dog hair into yarn?
DS: After all these years, I'm still at it! HA HA!
Bevin: I am responding to your ad in the Holiday 1997 issue of Cast On! You know, the magazine for knitters?
DS: Oh. Well.
Bevin: Exactly how much would it cost to spin my puppy's hair into yarn? She's a shih tzu.
DS: It is fifteen dollars per ounce of workable yarn.
Bevin: Well, that sounds reasonable. How much hair do I need to send you? As many ounces as I want yarn?
DS: Pretty much. You'll collect her brushings, mostly from the soft undercoat, and send them in.
Bevin: What kind of yarn is it? See, I live in New Jersey and my mother lives in California and I was thinking that since she loves my dog so much she might want a little piece of Macy to keep with her at all times. It's so much better than a picture, you know?
DS: Sure. You could knit a shawl or scarf.
Bevin: Perhaps fingerless gloves.
DS: Of course.
Bevin: So do most people give you a haircut's worth of fur? Can I get the groomers to throw it in a baggie for me?
DS: Actually, it's a lot shorter that way and doesn't spin well. There's less workable fibers. The soft undercoat is what you're going for.
Bevin: So really I need to brush her and pull the stuff out of the brush.
DS: Exactly.
Bevin: So... I guess I will start collecting it. She's only 6.5 pounds, I'll probably have enough by Christmas.
DS: If you have some by next month I'll be at [some obscure knitting convention in PA I can't remember the name of].
Bevin: I hadn't even heard of that. But if I do end up going I'll bring Macy by for a consult.
DS: Sounds good!
Bevin: Thank you very much for the information. You have a great night.

Sooner's laugh was audible throughout the Panera Bread.


lucia said...

I have seen quite a few items knit from spun hair from Samoyeds. It knits up absolutely beautifully; it's prettier than mohair. The knit items have a sort of halo effect.

Of course, Samoyed are somewhat larger than your dog. It may take some time before you accumulate enough hair for a hat, but if you're interested in having it spun, there is a reasonable chance you'll like the final product.

illanna said...

First of all, I read the "ladyofyre" post from beginning to end. It was actually captivating and I couldn't stop. What a riot! Your blog is so amusing to me... definitely a daily read. Thank you for bringing fun into the many dry knitting blogs.

Heidi said...

This idea is so not dead! There is a lady near me who does the same. See:

(Recent Chicago Tribune article, in case that URL doesn't work)

Your blog rocks. I'm telling all my friends about it!


Shasta said...

have you guys seen the yarndex?

this combines all my librarian sensibilities with all my yarn desires. Runs a little slow, but is pretty great for figuring out what yarns are available.

illanna said...

I saw your post about the cat face in knitters review. I can never tell if you are for real! Are you serious? Cat face???