Tuesday

[spinning] Carding Siberian Husky Fur

Many years ago a friend gave me a bag of dog fur. He has a pack of Siberian Huskies for sledding and an abundance of fur since this breed sheds it's undercoat twice a year. I brought the fur home and Googled the best way to wash it: stuffed into panty hose, soaked in a tub, dried in the sun. It's been so long but I finally took it out this weekend to card it into batts*. 

*Okay, WEBS is having their annual anniversary sale and I've been rummaging through my stash of fiber and yarn, distracting and convincing myself that I don't need any of the beautiful things that they're offering at ridiculously reduced prices... must... resist...

The drum carder, secured it to a table:

Spinning fur into yarn

I had lots of random merino in my stash to blend with the fur- white, yellow, brown, three shades of blue. I was going to use it all, at a ratio of 4 parts wool to 1 part fur. On average, everything I blended was 20 - 25% fur. The supplies here are 2 oz merino, 0.5 oz fur (half of the contents of the panty hose snake), a long knitting needle to help take the fiber off the drum and a slicker brush for cleaning up the drums.

Spinning fur into yarn

I'm no expert at carding, having only seen a handful of YouTube videos and using this drum carder twice in the past. I just did what I thought made sense. The staple of the fur is short- only about an inch. So, I would lay down a layer of merino, add the fur, add another layer of merino. Then blend this again because if there's anything I learned from all the instructional videos, it's that "once is never enough" when you use a drum carder.

The first layer of wool:

Spinning fur into yarn

Then feed in the fur:

Spinning fur into yarn
 

Kind of lump at first:

Spinning fur into yarn

But things start to smooth out (also, lots of fur gets picked up by the smaller drum- I used to slicker brush to repeatedly take this fiber off and feed it back into the carder):

Spinning fur into yarn

Add another layer of blue:

Spinning fur into yarn

Use the knitting needle to separate the fiber on the carder, so that you can peel the whole layer off. If someone would like to give me an ice pick as a present, that would be so much better than this aluminum needle (which has started to bend). I promise I wonder consider an ice pick delivered in the mail as a threat.

Spinning fur into yarn

Spinning fur into yarn

Then peel:

Spinning fur into yarn

This wool-fur-wool sandwich is then separated into strips and fed back into the drum carder.

Spinning fur into yarn

Spinning fur into yarn

If "once is never enough" then "twice is good enough for lazy people". The fiber is more uniformly blended:

Spinning fur into yarn

If I were going to sell this or give it away as a gift, I'd probably run it through the carder again but, hey, I'm the one spinning it and I really don't have many F's to give. 

Here is the fiber ready to spin. Such a soft cloud. SO SOFT.

Spinning fur into yarn

First time spinning:

Spinning fur into yarn

Adding a lot of twist to help lock down the fur. Will process all of the yarn as two-ply. This picture is my practice yarn- I've spun more and the plies are a lighter weight and will be a finer yarn.

Once it's all spun and washed, I'll knit something. I can't wait to see what kind of halo anything knit with this yarn has.

2 comments:

Gracey is not my name.... said...

Interesting, I've never really seen how it was done. I have some dog yarn I bought from a vendor, but haven't used it yet

Rebecca said...

That is really cool! I've heard of spinning dog hair but never seen in in action.

Searching for fiber craft blogs in the Upper Valley, I found a post where you mentioned Country Woolens. Between that and your Vermont residence I'm hoping you're in the UV (as broadly defined by the Valley News: http://www.vnews.com/news/townbytown/ ). If so and you would like to be included in a blogroll of local fiber crafters we would love to have you. The link would be here: http://uvfibercrafts.blogspot.com/. I am trying to "seed the tip jar" by seeking out some good blogs rather than waiting for all of them to come to us.

Sorry for the awkward comment, but without a Twitter account I didn't know how else to get in touch. Happy spring and enjoy your foraging - we just got a bag of fiddleheads from some friends who picked them near their house.