Chiengora is gaining popularity as a unique textile - but would you consider it?
Flickr photo by Jasen Miller
"My dog's fur would certainly make a warm sweater," is an often-repeated comment.
I've laughingly said that a pair of mittens knitted from my Gretchen's abundant fur would be ideal. With the time that I spend outdoors with clients, they would be put to use everyday. Gretchen is half Saint Bernard, so the mittens would be super-soft and warm, and she wouldn't miss a strand at the rate that she sheds sometimes.
As it turns out, using dog fur to create warm, even stylish garments isn't something that is just a comical idea — according to Wikipedia, it's a practice that has roots in prehistoric Scandinavia and for a time, it was the main fiber that was used in North American Navajo Indian culture for textiles.
Today, there are talented textile artists who spin raw fibers into wearable items, and will even implement the use chiengora, as it's referred to in spinning circles, to help create one-of-a-kind garments for dog owners.
No word on if cat hair, which most of you will agree is equally abundant, has been used in this practice.
A few people have noted that they have saved shed fur from a beloved pet that has passed and have had it spun a sweater or otherwise. The physical reminder is of comfort to them in more ways than one. Check out some images of people wearing items created from chiengora, from a recent post on F Stop Lounge.
Some liken this idea as weird, or creepy, just as they have with the practice that I've written about recently — creating wearable jewelry out a deceased pet's cremains.
The question is have you done this, or would you consider doing this with your pet's fur? Share your thoughts.
Lorrie Shaw leads the pets section for AnnArbor.com. Catch her daily dog walking and pet sitting adventures or email her directly.