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Friday, June 15, 2007

A Fur Bearin' Critter

It finally happened. Finn grew an undercoat! Puppies don't really have undercoats, just a general fluff, but then Finn started growing in big dog hair, but there was no undercoat. You should have seen how fast he was doing his business all winter. Then, a couple of days ago I was combing him and TA DA! Undercoat! Most of it is a pale blonde apricot color, but on the backs of his drumsticks (AKA the butt fuzz), he has a pure white undercoat. What you see above is a combination of the two because I was just combing him, not realizing that we had two different colors going. I'm going to get me some doggy fiber* to spin!

For non spinners, dog fiber is frequently referred to as Chiengora. It's a very fine, very soft fiber that will bloom in a finished yarn like angora rabbit. It's also very warm. I'll probably blend Finn's with - well how could I not - Finnsheep. For now though, I've got to keep harvesting it.

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Blogger Vanessa said...

Wow! At first look it doesn't even look like dog hair - soft and fluffy. Good for you!

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks exactly what we get from Jack! Poor Stephen never has gotten the undercoat, so he hurries in the winter, too!

9:37 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

That's really interesting! Can you actually get enough from a dog to knit something with?

9:44 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Ahh how cool! Now I want a dog, thanks Melanie ;-)

I thought it was Angora at first - it's beautiful! What are you going to make with it?

9:59 AM  
Blogger Angelika said...

My dog is a "Golden Chow" like my kids like to call her. She sure looses a lot of fur too, but she is a blond redhead. Is it worth saving to have somebody spin it up? I was thinking about it. She also eats grass, so I won't need a sheep for the backyard :)

10:13 AM  
Blogger Soo said...

Wow! Now that's a dog that's earning its keep. Look forward to seeing it evolve into something...well....less dog-like!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Sherie said...

Well, if Finn is like the Goldens I've had in the past (pre-spinning days) you'll have plenty of fur to make just about anything! LOL

12:26 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Now, I'm not normally a person who ooh's and aah's over peoples' pet pictures on knitting blogs. But I have to admit, your GOlden is absolutely gorgeous!!!!

Did you get him from a breeder? If so, may I inquire who it was? The dog has such a sweet and gentle face - does his disposition match?

And Melanie, when are you gonna write a lace book, girl? Your designs are fabulous!

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been collecting the undercoat from our dogs for a number of years (sheltie, aussie, samoyed, golden). My husband is actually brushing and saving the soft undercoat of our Golden right now. Like with a sheep, there is often a big difference in the texture and quality of the undercoat depending on the location on the body. The "britches" area is often courser. I used to save everything, and now I pitch the corser undercoat. I also find the chiengora that comes from the legs is much shorter and will make a less stable yarn. I have been lucky to have beautiful yarn come from our dogs. People are SHOCKED about the source of the fiber.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Enid said...

Ohh Melanie

I have fell bouth fur in the path and YES..I sure understand you...I missed my Poe (golden boy) and my angoras Ebony (black) & Chester (broken Chesnut)..but for now growing the 5 kids it is! Happy Birthday to Finn! Now I will start saving my Taina's (sheltie) butt fur..lol! and see what happen!

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want a lot at a time....get a Great Pyreenes! We have white fluff all over the backyard, got to brush him again!!

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Martha said...

The Chiengora is great to spin & knit with, I have been doing it with Collie, Golden's, Samoyeds, & Newfoundlands for years. My fovorite is Collie. I don't add anything to it, just card it, spin & ply it. One thing to remember, dog undercoat is extemely warm. Have fun. Also, looking forward to MS3!!! (and Harry Potter)

1:34 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

All the years I had a Samoyed, I never knew how to spin. Now that I spin, I don't have a dog! When we move where we can have one I told hubby, I'm getting another Sammy so I can spin and knit him...hubby thinks I'm weird! (And he may be right! LOL) It will be interesting to see what you do with this undercoat. It's a nice color.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Ria said...

Little by little I've been saving the combings from my tabby cats to use to spin some day. It's so soft, and a nice sooty grey colour, and while I'm sure the yarn would come out rather plain-looking, I'll bet it'd be nice and soft.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Saffista said...

I've always just wondered what the fiber would smell like if it got wet! :-)

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

Ohh, I am *jealous*! :P I love my pupster to bits, but she ain't spinnable. She has a shorthair terrier type coat (mostly) and what undercoat she does have is *incredibly* short. It would take a lot of de-hairing and would then need blending to create a spinnable mix. Still, I'm not short of spinning stash, really... Finn is *adorable*, by the way!

3:27 AM  

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