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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow snow snow snow snow and more snow (also socks and spinning dog)

is it time yet


This snow business really gets to me about mid February….   usually we sneak off to Florida for 4-5 weeks in the motorhome and visit the folks.  But this year we decided to stay home and cuddle grandbabies.  Two new little girls came in Dec and Jan, so we are here to help out the new parents and support them and spend time with the wee babes…

So we are spending this time gearing up the rig with some new improvements and modifications (more about that in upcoming blogs)


Spending time at home in the winter is okay too.  I am usually down in my studio, or hanging out by the fireplace in the livingroom.   Here is one of my spinning wheels, my sockknitting machine and the never-ending baskets of yarns, fleece and fibers!

my little fiber chair corner


I got quite a few pairs of socks done with my newest yarns over the weekend:

rustic winter3harvest moon3desert canyon3



A while back someone was asking me about spinning dog fur, so I will write about that….

I had a very special doggie friend, Akasha, a shetland sheepdog.   She was also known as Akasha-Burger-Dip-Dog-Yoyo-Head-Spaghetti-Brain….   She spent almost 15 lovely years with me.  During her last four or five years, I decided to save her soft undercoat sheddings each time when I brushed her.  I was a new spinner and always meant to learn to spin dog fur.   So the bag grew and grew in the closet. 

After her sad passing to the Rainbow Bridge in 2003, I spent my time mourning, then decided to tackle this project. 

Believe me, many many tears were spun into this…

 fur 1

I hand carded each clump of fur into roving for spinning.  (I now own a drum carder so the process goes much faster)   But I did this all by hand, each little fiber.

With the dog fur, I blended in some sheep wool for stretchability and springiness spinning it into many skeins of yarn.  Then I plied that spun strand against a strand of rust colored loopy mohair, from angora goats, for a binder and strength.  Now it becomes a 2 plied yarn.  By adding the rust colored mohair strand, it also gave the fur more *color* ---  the shedded fur on a Shetland Sheepdog is mostly the creamy undercoat.  Not much of the longer dark hairs of rust, brown and black fur is shed that you see on a Sheltland Sheepdog’s overcoat. 

Here and there in the yarn are clumps of the white *ruff* chest and collar hairs that added some dimension to the yarn too.  I was not a very good or even spinner at this time, so it’s a bit clumpy and bumpy.  That is OK, as it made a lovely texture in the finished product.

fur 2


It took a few weeks of evening carding and spinning time to get enough yarn done dog fur


Now it was time to take the skeins to the loom room studio and wind it all on.  This is my largest loom and weaves blankets up to 60 inches wide.  It was made in Canada is a LeClerc brand called a Nilart.  

nilart all set up

Weaving a blanket is quite a process.  It takes a lot of time to get it all correctly threaded and wound onto the loom, but once it is ready, the actual weaving part goes very fast.


winding on back beamhalfway threaded akasha throw


      As I stroked each strand of yarn, during the winding, warping and threading,                    it was like petting my darling Akasha again.  

only one boo-boo

(by hanging that extra single thread off the back on a weighted roller, as I wove the blanket, the mistake was corrected in the finished product)


The actual weaving progressed nicely, and I kept all my memories of my little furry friend in my heart.  It was a sad thing, but a good thing….

halfway woven

When the blanket was done, it was removed from the loom, the end yarns were twisted into ropelike fringes, it was gently washed, and was ready to cuddle.  Yes, it sheds as bad as a dog does!  It does not smell like a dog, just like a wool sweater does not smell like a sheep.  With Akasha being an inside housedog, and bathed often, even her fur did not smell “doggy” either.

Our young collie, Duchess (a.k.a. Dumb Ducky)  missed her old buddy too.  She moped around acting very old at the age of 2,  she was going through her own mourning.  

(We later got another sheltie, Duke, to keep her company)


To this day, Duchess, sniffs the throw and gets a far-away look in her eyes.  She knows….

Copy of duchess enjoys the throw tooall done now



Akasha Purusha Van Den Busch   July 15, 1989 – Jan 23, 2003

pretty girl akasha


  1. I'm not much of a crafts person but I think that was wonderful how you did all that with weaving in the dog fur as well. You must have a huge amount of patience & dedication Karen.....good for you:))

  2. Oh Karen,

    This touched my heart so very much. I thank you for sharing your story and your lovely Akasha.
    Peace, strength, love and light,
    Betty (TxYellowRose)

  3. This is absolutely amazing. Thanks for the story of how you weave dog fur! A treasure for sure.

  4. Awww! You made tears come here, too.
    What a wonderful blanket that is.
    That labor of love must have taken a long time, but I know you never regret it.
    Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  5. Love your blog. Thanks for sharing. Randy and I are traveling around and trying to stay out of the cold. I was shocked to find out that it could possibly snow here in Austin Texas tomorrow. Argggg! Good thing Randy finally got a heater in his rig.


  6. I didn't even know you could do that with dog fur. Thanks for that information. But mainly thanks for the wonderful story, that really touched my heart as our dog is getting older and showing signs of illness.

    Enjoy the new babies, too!!!


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