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