The hair necessities

Vivienne Morgan, of Ravenscar, at a dog hair spinning exhibition with her lurcher Seth.
Vivienne Morgan, of Ravenscar, at a dog hair spinning exhibition with her lurcher Seth.
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Dog hair...it gets in the carpet, on the couch and on your clothes, but if you’re unwittingly building up a collection, you could put it to novel use.

Teddy bears, mittens, slippers, scarves, memory hearts and lace shawls are just a few of the items Vivienne Morgan has created using fur from her own pets and from strangers’ hairy hounds too.

Some of Vivenne Morgan's 'doggy bears' made from spun dog hair.

Some of Vivenne Morgan's 'doggy bears' made from spun dog hair.

“I learnt to spin about five years ago when I got the hairy Lurcher Seth, from Greyhounds Galore,” said Vivienne, 60, of Ravenscar. “We think he may be part Afghan Hound as his undercoat is so soft and silky and comes out when being brushed in huge amounts. It seemed such a waste to bin or compost it.”

So started a new hobby for the watercolour artist and knitter who now gives exhibitions in spinning.

All hair is washed before being spun into a range of growing doggy designs which have taken shape thanks to a supply of combings from neighbours and other individuals, in addition to those from Mrs Morgan’s own dogs Seth and Pepper the greyhound.

“I then wanted to try spinning other breeds,” she added. “Some are better than others; long hair is best, but shorter coats can be blended with longer fibres to make a useable yarn.

Some of Vivenne Morgan's mitts, made from spun dog hair, as modelled by Pepper the greyhound.

Some of Vivenne Morgan's mitts, made from spun dog hair, as modelled by Pepper the greyhound.

“I sometimes accost complete strangers with long-haired dogs and ask if they will save some of the combines for me to spin. In this way I got some Bernese Mountain Dog from the Thornton le Dale Show, and I now have a regular supply of Rough Collie from a lady in Burniston whom I met on the old railway.

“Dog owners in Ravenscar save their dog’s combings, so I have spun Poppy the Lhasa Apso from the tea rooms, a nearly white sheep dog called Max and a Golden Retriever, also called Poppy.

“To quote from the book Knitting With Dog Hair, ‘Better a sweater from a dog you know and love than a sheep you will never meet’

“If any one is interested in spinning their own dog hair, I would recommend that they buy the book by Kendall Croilus and Anne Black Montgomery, a most amusing as well as informative read.”

Vivienne now makes little mementos for people to remember their beloved companions by.

To find out if your pet’s hair is suitable for spinning, or for more information about Vivienne’s creations, please email veebran@yahoo.co.uk