Wednesday, October 7, 2009

book review - Knitting with Dog Hair by Kendall Crolius and Anne Montgomery

So I’m walking through the Orem Public Library and stop to check out the Staff Picks shelf – I’m always looking for a good recommendation – and there it is: Knitting with Dog Hair, a Woof to Warp Guide to Making Hats, Sweaters, Mittens and Much More by Kendall Crolius and Anne Montgomery.

Knitting with dog hair? This must be a hoax. I pick it up and look it over. The front and back covers show photos of people confidently dressed in their handmade dog hair garments.

“Stop Vacuuming and Start Knitting!”

“Warmer than Wool for a Three Dog Night”

“Easy Step-by-Step Instructions for Collecting and Spinning the Fur”

“Original Patterns for Novice and Pro”

“Top Breeds for Best Results”

There’s no way I can replace this book on the shelf and walk away. I proceed to the front desk and check it out.

A couple of days later, I finally have time to give it a read. It’s legit! Well, I don’t know if it’s legit, but it’s for real! People really collect their dogs’ hair, spin it into yarn, and knit with it. Clothing. And they wear it. Are you scratching yet?

I get about halfway through the book and I’m making myself a little nervous. It’s beginning to sound quite rational. Perhaps if I had a beloved pet, I might be tempted to try this. I think of people I know who are very attached to their dogs, and wonder if any of them just might be induced to take this up.

There could possibly be health benefits. The authors tell about a woman in Estonia who sells dog hair sweaters at her village market. She claims that dog hair relieves symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism.

And this hobby is not exclusive to dog lovers. The book contains a photo of a delicate cat hair lace collar and a pattern for a pill box hat made of soft, glossy cat yarn.

My family had a beautiful Golden Retriever when I was growing up. Her name was Sherry, as she was the color of sherry. The authors say that Golden Retriever yarn knits up into a beautiful scarf that looks especially nice with a camel hair coat (so save your camel hair, too). Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a memento of the dog we grew up with? Maybe some Sherry mittens or a Sherry afghan? Too late now.

How about an Afghan afghan?

Don’t know how to knit? No worry. Pet yarn can also be used for crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, weaving… And if you’re hesitant to take up spinning, the authors include a state-by-state index of Spinners for Hire. Just mail them your cherished bags of pet hair and they do the rest.

Knitting with Dog Hair was a fascinating read. It’s very well written, and somehow makes one think the whole idea is sane. It doesn’t make me want a dog, and I’m not sure I’d ever have room for an article of handcrafted pet hair anywhere in my life, but I’m definitely buying a copy of this book for my bookshelf. I’ll probably buy a few to give as Christmas gifts, too. I’m determined to convince someone I know to take up the hobby.


  1. This is why I love having you as my friend! I would never in a million years have even picked up that book, and here you have read it and are buying copies to share! That is hilarious that people would save hair from their beloved pets to make sweaters. Thanks for opening up my eyes to a world that I never dreamed existed out there!

  2. I had to stop reading to go take a couple of Benadryls...

    I'm going to "Dear Sister" this one to Beth you'll probably hear her laughing if your windows are open...

  3. Do you think you could use human hair? You could knit a scarf to match your head. You could knit dreds, an afro or even banana curls...

    Instead of bronzing your baby's first shoes you could knit booties from your baby's first hair cut.

    I think you should add that one to your "crafty" Saturday!

  4. Our crafty Saturday was last Thursday. I made you a Christmas present.

  5. This is funny, Melinda--I remember seeing an ad in the back of a magazine somewhere that said you could send them your dog hair and they would spin it into yarn. We always joked about doing that with Duncan's hair since he had so much--we could have made a king-size afghan, I bet! Some people are a little odd!