19. November 2011 10:20
Every now and again I get to work on some very special projects
something beyond just knitting an established project with boring old run of the mill wool. In this case, the uniqueness comes in the form of some special dog fur.
I met the owner on the internet
she was looking for someone to spin up some fur from a well-loved Shepherd Dog Gaia who has since passed away. I always find it interesting how people meet up sometimes, and how the internet makes the world that little bit smaller. This fur came all the way from England to Prince Edward Island to be processed and worked into a keepsake photo frame.
Im a little embarrassed to say that this has taken me longer to get ready than I had anticipated
life is a little weird right now with the baby coming and all. But I managed to get the fur carded up and spun at the Maritime Handspinners Retreat, and this weekend I plan on finishing up the knitting of the frame.
First things first: Heres the fluff itself!
I decided to use the drum carder for this project to make some nice puffy soft batts to spin from. I actually had a decent amount of the dog fur (about 2 ounces) so I eyeball blended it with some soft creamy Merino Wool about 60:40 Dog : Merino. I really liked the way that the golden/cream fur combined with the cream wool
not overpowering the color, but instead highlighting the depth of shade that was already present. I got 4 nice big soft batts, and took them along with me for open spinning time at the retreat. I even stumped a few people at the retreat who tried to identify the preparation. One thought it might have been alpaca, because of the softness.
Since I knew I was going to be knitting a photo frame, I decided to go with a standard 2-ply yarn, and let the fiber decide on the size as I went along. Its funny really how sometimes a fiber prep will tell you how it wants to be spun. It seemed to flow through the fingers nicely at a fingering weight-ish single, so I just went with it. The finished yarn feels like a light worsted weight or so, but I imagine will knit up like a regular to heavy worsted yarn because of the nice halo. I do lovely that aspect of spinning canine undercoat the yarn ends up with such a desirable substantial halo. The stuff may be prone to felting, but boy is it warm!
The finished skein is a nice size
somewhere around 3 3.5 ounces, and the finished yarn is already developing that characteristic halo. I like the way that the cream and golden colors have marbled together and gave a nice soft variation in the finished yarn. Now Im off to skein it up and do a little swatching to choose the correct needle size.
I had a hard time finding a premade photo frame to measure and use for the dimensions of my knitted frame
so I think Im going to get creative and wing it. I figure, I intended to cover the entire frame with knitted fabric anyways, so I think I will make a frame in my own desired size from some nice smooth corrugated cardboard (maybe in 2 3 layers to give the illusion that there is a thicker wooden frame under the wool) and use that as my starting point. It will be light for mailing back to the UK, but also can be any size that compliments the photo, so will give me a few more options to really showcase Gaia and his beautiful fur.