Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chiengora Recipe


ingredients

1 dog
1 drop spindle
1 Furminator, optional (but oh so wonderful)
1 pair cotton hand carders, optional


preparation

Collect dog fur in a breathable container, like a paper bag. Sealing dog fur in a plastic bag concentrates the funk, which results in, um, funky smelling yarn. Of course, you'll wash the yarn later, but why should you have to wash your yarn several times when once should do? My fiber producer likes this process the best, but he always wants me to brush his belly. Belly fur does not make a nice scarf.

Using the hand carders, make rologs. I stink at this part, so this is the boy's job. Carding the fur orients the fibers in the same direction and removes debris. Although you don't need to do this step, it makes the spinning go so much faster. To be honest, if I was doing this by myself, I'd skip this step because I hate it so much.



To card the fur, start by charging your stationary hand card. This is just fancy way of saying put some fur onto it. (That orange ear belongs to Fifty-Fifty, my cat. )





Repeatedly brush the working carder over the stationary carder until most of the fibers are on the working carder. The hand carders should be oriented 180 degrees to each other.







Form your rolag by putting the card full o' fiber face up on your lap (it becomes the stationary carder). Starting with the both carders tip to tip, slowly, gently coax the fibers into a log. This is where I mess up every time, but the boy is quite good at this.




A very beer-worthy performance, indeed.


Ahem, where were we? Oh, yes, now we spin! I use a Schacht Hi-Lo drop spindle. What drew me to the drop spindle was its price (retails for less than $20) and its size, especially when these two factors are compared to a spinning wheel. Since I my chiengora aspirations seemed very far fetched, I didn't want to invest that much into it. Yet, this little spindle can do it all - I'm very happy with it!

There are some very good videos out there on the web on how to use a drop spindle, so I'll spare you the details and just show you a couple of pictures.

In this picture, my spindle is parked and I'm almost at the end of the rolag. Exciting, isn't it? For those of you used to spinning wool, you'll find that as you draft the fibers in your right hand, you'll need to pre-twist your fibers as you walk the twist up with your left hand. That's as clear as mud, but hopefully it will make sense as you spin. Without the extra bit of pre-twist, my fibers wouldn't lock on to each other and I would end up with oodles of 1- to 2-inch segments of useless yarn.


And now for the money shot: the yarn. It brings tears to my eyes.

Stay tuned for details on how to wash and set the twist on your one of a kind doggy yarn.

8 comments:

  1. That is so cool! And the spindle was less than 20 bucks? Right on!

    "The Boy" is such a good sport! He deserves another beer, if you ask me.

    Please let me know when the next part is up....this is acutally really interesting!

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  2. Will do! I fixed the picture problems, I hope, so now you can see all the steps.

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  3. I'm forwarding a link to this to my friend. She and her husband have a Chow named...Mingus. I hope you can meet them.

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  4. This so awesome... I should really try to do this.. I have a newfoundland/akita with LOTS of extra fur all black... maybe I could actually use it instead of being annoyed by it... a nugget for the brain to chew on...

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  5. Oh, this is too cool. I must try this as soon as I can figure out my drop spindle.
    I have 2 rescue doggies. Max, the Sheltie/Corgie, will be perfect. Gracie, the dachsund, thinks she's perfect, but has no actual hair to contribute. THanks for this info.

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  6. Wow - this takes recycling to a whol e new level - what a fab idea!

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  7. I have a pair of dog-wool socks that my aunt made me - rough coated collie with a newfoundland band at the top. They are very, very hairy, but the soles have felted beautifully from wear.

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  8. I'd love to spin, unfortunately there are two, no, three reasons why I can not. A) my mom would NOT take kindly to me starting to make fur out of my dog, B) Poppy is a goldendoodle and doesn't shed (plus, she just had an awful haircut and was practically shaved. To all you people who like your dogs looking normal, stay FAR AWAY from the grooming place at Pet Smart), C) I don't own a spindle, and yes, there has turned out to be four- D) The best I have knitted is a really really AWFUL coaster.
    Hence, my sad and depressing spinning story.
    K.K.wholovesyourblogbutdoesnthaveonesocantrespondproperlytoyou

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