Pennsylvania knitters embrace dog fur

Pennsylvania knitters embrace dog fur

Knitters in Pennsylvania are increasingly using dog fur within their crocheting, weaving and craft work.

This is according to Wendy Ellis, owner of Lancaster Yarn Shop in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, who told Lancaster Online that many people were trying out this traditional fibre.

More commonly used in cold climates, she said that some dog breeds such as Malamutes and Samoyeds were selectively bred for their fur, much like sheep or goats.

"Dog fur was prized for its insulating qualities and warmth. It makes very, very warm, very soft garments," Ms Ellis explained.

She went on to cite examples of her friends in Canada using soft, white Samoyed fur to knit hats, resulting in cosy and luxurious garments.

"It's an unusual craft, but the people involved in it are pretty passionate about it," she says. "There's usually a pretty personal story."

Dog fur is more difficult to use than wool from sheep or goats and can be difficult to get a hold of if you do not have a pooch at home.

Crafters will typically use the downy undercoat of a dog, which is more slippery and requires a greater deal of control to spin evenly when compared to sheep wool.

Anyone considering collecting dog fur should wash it with a mild soap after spinning to eliminate any odour.

Co-chair of the Lancaster Spinners & Weavers Guild, Beth Sterling explained how she recently made an entire sweater from Malamute fur, however she conceded that it was more for sentimental reasons than fashion purposes.

She also said she had spun fur from her neighbour's St Bernard dog, and described the process as "fun and easy to do".

While certainly not for beginner knitters, more adventurous crafters could look at using dog fur in their next knitting pattern, to compare results and ease of use.

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