Article about Lori Spinning
What do you have of your dog after they are gone?
Some people have show pictures, some people have certificates,
ribbons, and wouldn't it be nice to have something of your dog -- some part of
your dog to keep with you?
Collect the undercoat when brushing your dog, put it in a paper
bag so it doesn't mildew in transit, and mail to Lori. She will card it,
spin it into yard, and either knit or crochet something for you -- if you
don't. Or she can send the chengora (dog hair yarn) back to you so you may
knit or crochet a lasting memory.
Caution: please do not wait too long to send the hair, you may
be short of the project.
Pricing is 10c/finished yard.
For example, if you stuffed a Wal-mart bag as full as humanly
possible, it could make 4000 finished yards, or $400. This could produce a
large afghan plus many hats, and maybe some mittens and socks and gloves and
Another for example: a stuffed quart zip-lock baggie should
produce something in the neighborhood of 6-700 finished yards and that should be
able to produce a hat or a neck scarf or mittens.
If Lori does the knitting or crocheting, the additional labor
charge is $20 for the hat, or $15 for mittens. Call for other
Lori Hicks -- c/o Dog Hair
6251 Goff Road
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Lori Spins for Fun
Dog hair keeps her spinning wheel spinning
Fri Jan 18, 2008, 02:49 PM EST
Picture by Rikki Van Camp
Lori Hicks of Canandaigua, seen through the
whirling spokes of her Prelude yarn spinner, uses the fur of her cats and
Alaskan malamutes to spin into yarn. She hand dyes it and knits it into hats,
scarves and little pet sweaters.
Canandaigua, N.Y. -
Lori Hicks carefully steps over a barrier gate for pets that divides her
living room from a side room where she claims to have 500 pounds of dog hair
stuffed in bags.
The 50-year-old Canandaigua native will turn it into yarn for making scarves,
hats, mittens and the like.
She retrieves a nylon mesh bag and plops it down next to a small wooden spinning
wheel. It’s filled with fuzzy wads of beige undercoat gleaned from her many
Alaskan malamutes kept in roomy pens on 19 acres off Goff Road. The dogs usually
“blow” or shed their undercoat twice a year. That’s how she gets the fur,
not by shaving or pulling it out.
The hair plucked from the bag has been carded — combed clean of debris and
knots — and readied for the next step in the process of becoming yarn.
Yarn-making enthusiasts refer to it as “chiengora,” a word combining the
French word for dog — chien — and soft Angora (from Angora rabbit wool or
Angora goat mohair).
Cashmere, alpaca, llama and cat fleece are also suitable for spinning, according
to Hicks, and she has worked with those fibers, too. By the by, she also has
many pet cats.
Hicks puts a gob of malamute fluff on a spindle. Using a foot pedal, she makes
the wheel go ’round, which twists the fleece. Then she pulls the thick thread
as it comes off the spindle. Once there’s enough for a skein, it’s shampooed
and hung to dry — ready to be dyed. Or not.
There’s a winter cap colored a natural speckled tan, and she shows it off.
“Feel how soft that is — that’s from Corsair, my 12-year-old bitch who
died a year ago,” she said. “I named her after a ... fighter plane.”
Hicks was in a motorcycle accident several years ago and suffered permanent
injuries. She fought to endure the pain of having 200 stitches in each leg, five
compressed vertebrae and two gaps in her pelvic bones that even now throw her
off balance when she walks.
“I used to be so active,” she said. “I was a mail carrier for 20 years,
and I could go anywhere and do anything. Now I can hardly get around at all.
It’s like two lives — one before the accident and one after.”
Her doctor told her to find some sedentary activity she’d enjoy. She took to
spinning and knitting because those skills were ones she had learned from her
grandmother and aunt.
The women also taught her other old arts like caning furniture and tatting (lace
making). Now Hicks is learning how to make vegetable dye.
The little pet sweaters she makes are sold at Launder Mutt in Canandaigua, but
they’re not recommended for dogs.
“Dogs suck wool,” she said. “They end up with balls of wool in their
This summer, she hopes to sell her yarn for 15 cents a finished yard at
Meanwhile, regardless of her limitations, she’ll have more than spinning to
keep her busy. She owns draft horses, teaches dog obedience for 4-H and belongs
to several clubs focused on her interests.
Contact Billie Owens at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 320 or at firstname.lastname@example.org