This is a for-fun post since I'm deviating from my normal download of training information. If you're looking for something interesting to shake up your Monday, this ought to do it!
I have a feeling that if scientists ever took a picture of my brain while "crafting", it'd look like all those giant pictures of the sun in science books - constant eruptions (solar flares and plasma for all of you with kids in school) and BRIGHT spots every where. Of course, I think that's what it would like while parenting or training puppies . . . they'd probably return my brain to me and say, "We're sorry, Mrs. Kelley, it's broken and we can't fix it!"
Crafting is my overall term in the Kelley house for all things creative that I attempt and teach myself to do. To fully understand the depth of meaning in that term, you'd have to speak to my husband about the state of my supplies. "Waste not, want not" made it to my generation and I have bins full of just about anything you can imagine and yes, I literally have a huge burlap sack of prime sheep wool, hot off the ram, so to speak.
I also . . . have an ever-growing bin of dog hair.
For those of you with Goldens in the house, you know what I mean. Those piles of fur you sweep up when they're blowing their coat make it look like you've murdered some poor fur-fairy and spread the fluff all over your floor.
Did you know you're sweeping up chiengora? It's a word primarily used to describe yarn spun from dog hair, but has also been more broadly used to describe things created from dog fur. To a self-taught knitter of 20 years, this was a whole new world for me!
Did you also know that dog fur is up to 80% WARMER than wool? That folks have mittens made from dog fur and request to have wool added just to cool it down? Mind blown. (To my dear mother-in-law with the constantly frozen fingers . . . beware, you may be wearing the hair of the dog this Christmas!)
I have worked with baby alpaca fiber, prime sheep wool, and yes, the cheap acrylic yarn from Wal-Mart that's indestructible in its cheapness, but I had never worked with dog fur before. It is unbelievably soft. No wonder Golden Retrievers look amazing when they're all blown dry and combed out.
My latest hunt for something new to learn accidentally dropped me into the world of needle felting. Needle felting literally consists of poking a lump of wool with a barbed needle. I had no idea they did this with dog fur . . . I had no idea they did this period!
Did you see Rhonda's Facebook post not too long ago in June? That was my first attempt at both needle felting and working with dog fur. I bought some barbed needles (already stabbed my fingers a few times - they need a disclaimer "points are sharper than they appear"), studied quite a few photos online, and groomed Goose. Unique and unforgettable birthday gift - check.
Wow. So. Much. Fun. and incredibly life-like. Plus, it does not stink. It's like any other luxury fiber when washed. Lovely.
I started my first 3D needle felting sculpture this past week. Would you like to see? I haven't added the actual dog hair yet and it's still in the sculpting stage, so no judgement. ;) I'm rather fond of this little guy already though. It will be challenging and exciting to give him his Golden coat!
There's your fun and interesting new fact for the day: that fur you're sweeping off your floor is actually worth something. It's actually a prized fiber. So next time someone says to you that dogs shed too much, whip this fact out and tell them, if you wanted, you could sell that "shedding" to a fiber artist. :)
Who knew? Who knew.
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Thanks for reading.