Dog hair on the couch, dog hair on the floor, dog hair in your food–dog hair is everywhere! Dealing with dog fur is just part of being a pup parent. You sign up for it the second you bring your dog home, and it’s impossible to have complete control of your dog’s shedding. Most of us deal with the fluff with a sense of resignation and a lot of lint rollers. But Irene Lerman has found a much better–and more creative–solution. She turns dog hair yarn into beautiful creations, and it just might change the way you view your dog’s excess fluff.
Irene is a skilled knitter, but she takes her crafting to a higher level with yarn made from dog (and cat) hair. She told BarkSpot that her idea to use pet fur for knitting came to her from her sweet Ragdoll cat named Mittens. Ragdolls are known for their silky, luxurious fur. We’re talking about fur that looks like it belongs in a shampoo commercial.
When Irene brushed Mittens, she would end up with handfuls of beautifully soft and silky fur.
“I just could not bring myself to throw his gorgeous hair away and started thinking about using it for knitting.”
Irene spins all her own dog hair yarn.
To start, Irene researched the spinning process traditionally used to turn sheep’s wool into yarn. She tried the same technique with Mitten’s fur, and was pleased to learn that it worked. Next, she wanted to try it with dog hair. A local groomer provided the fur, and it ended up working just as well.
Ready to take this unconventional idea all the way, Irene eventually bought her own tools and spent months practicing her technique. She said,
“So I bought the spinning tools and spent a few months learning how to get it right, as the yarn was coming out in different thickness and was not very usable at first. I regrettably ruined a ton of Mittens hair, but a few months later I was able to knit with it!”
With her spinning technique perfected, Irene went on to create beautiful items for her friends and family. She made scarves, mittens, teddy bears, and hearts using cat hair and dog hair yarn. Those first few creations were a big hit, and five years ago, she opened her own Etsy shop.
Irene can make her yarn out of just about any type of dog hair. She says the best yarn comes from dogs with undercoats, like Huskies, Samoyeds, and German Shepherds. But all brushed hair is suitable for small decorative items. Half of Irene’s work revolves around making keepsakes for dog owners who recently lost their best friends. She makes quality items that her customers cherish.
Dog owners are thrilled to have well-made and personalized items.
“My customers are usually very enthusiastic, curious and supportive about my craft. I strongly believe that pet owners are very special people, and I enjoy interacting with them!”
Whether you find yourself vacuuming dog hair twice a day or want something memorable from a recently deceased pet, dog hair yarn is special and practical. It gives good use to something you would otherwise throw away, and it’s a great representation of how much you love your dog.
Irene offers all kinds of items in her Etsy store. There are wearable items like scarves, hats, and mittens along with decorative items like hearts and teddies. For dog owners who knit, she also offers to spin their dogs’ fur so they can knit with it themselves.
And best of all, Irene donates a portion of her earnings to various pet rescue groups.
All images courtesy of Irene Lerman/PetHair2KnitWear