Please don’t think I’m weird, but this bit of craftiness we’re sharing this week involves spinning fur baby hair. It’s one of those that only a fellow animal lover will understand. When we lost our Kayla last year it broke my heart that I didn’t have something tangible to remember her by. I couldn’t bear the thought of never cuddling up to her again. So I came up with the idea to make a spun pet hair heart from that awesome arsenal of hair that our fur babies shed so lovingly all over our home.
Unfortunately, you can only make a spun pet hair heart with the “shedding” from long-haired fur babies: alsatian’s like our Zia, collies, huskies, bouviers, labradors, shi-tzu, pekinese, poodles, and griffons (my daughter has one of these cuties).
But that’s okay. I’m going to think of a way to do something similar for our short-haired fur kids. The furry spun heart also fits perfectly with this month’s IBC “Furever” challenge, and you’ll be able to see a whole bunch of pet-inspired projects at the end of this tutorial. Right, before we get to the spun pet hair heart tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need to make a spun pet hair heart
- Old pillowcase or breathable bag to collect the hair in
- 2 cheap bristle grooming brushes
- A wooden dowel and toothpick
- Knitting needles
- Free half-heart pattern
- The shed hair from one of your long-haired fur babies
How much fur do you need?
For small items, like the half heart, you’ll need to collect about ½ a pillowcase full of fur. Don’t overfill the pillowcase or squish the fur down tightly. It needs to breathe while you collect more. How thick or thin you spin the fur will also have an impact on how much you need. 30 grams of fur should give you about 60 meters of furry, fluffy yarn.
How to collect your fur baby’s hair
As a mixed breed Husky x Alsatian, our Zia sheds like crazy, so we tend to give her a good brushing once a week. It only took four weeks for us to collect enough fur to make this heart. We use these rake brushes. It has a little knob at the back that releases the hair, which we saved in a breathable plastic bag or pillowcase.
Don’t stuff too much hair in the bag; it may start sweating and get all smelly and yucky. Oh, on that point, spinning and knitting with dog hair will make your hands smell like they’ve been drenched in “parfum le pooch” 😀 You can sprinkle a small amount of baking soda inside the bags to help neutralize the odor. If your fur baby has eczema, give them a bath and let them dry off before gathering the fur. Trust me on this one; those flaky skin bits are impossible to get out and may cause the fur to clump when you card or comb it in preparation for spinning.
How to spin pet hair and knit a furever heart
Getting the hair/fur ready for spinning
You’ll need two bristle brushes for this part.
Place a clump of fur onto one brush ….
….and then place the other brush on top and pull the two brushes in opposite directions.
This combing or brushing is called carding, and it disentangles, cleans, and aligns the fur making it easier to spin. Store the combed fur in a pillowcase or breathable plastic bag and pop one of those silica gel sachets inside to prevent mold or mildew from forming.
How to spin pet hair
To spin Zia’s hair, I went with the latest and greatest technology my craft cupboard could offer; a wooden dowel and a toothpick. Seriously, you can buy fancy spindles, but since I won’t be doing this as a full-time job, those sticks of wood were perfect. Just drill a small hole towards the top of the dowel and insert the toothpick. The toothpick will “anchor” the hair once you start spinning.
To hand spin fur, grab a handful of fur in your non-dominant hand, pull a few strands of fur out and twist it into a point. Then, using your dominant hand, begin turning the fur in a clockwise direction while gently pulling more fur out of the other hand. Keep turning and pulling until you have a long thread of furry, fluffy yarn. Secure the furry thread around the dowel and spin away. You can watch the short video below to see how I carded and spun Zia’s fur.
Spinning tips to keep in mind
- Always spin the furry yarn in the same direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise).
- If you’re a first-time spinner, like me, the thread or spun fur will not be even. There will thicker and thinner bits. It’s lumpy, bumpy, uneven, love-filled, happy memories yarn and not intended to be perfect. Don’t worry; it adds to the final look. Well, that’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it 😉
- It’s easy to join a spun piece to an unspun piece, so don’t get frustrated if it pulls apart while you’re spinning.
- Pull the spun fur every so often to check that it’s tightly spun.
- Your hands will smell like a sweaty version of your favorite pooch 😀
How to knit half a spun pet hair heart
Knitting with spun pet hair is just like knitting with chunky yarn. When knitting the half heart, try to keep your stitches as loose as possible to account for the varying thickness in the spun pet hair yarn.
The knitting pattern to make the half-heart is really easy. You only need to know how to:
Tidy the half-heart up by using a thick yarn needle to sew in any stray strands.
Adding a wooden heart
To make a mirror image of the half heart, place the knitted heart on a piece of paper and trace around the edges.
Cut the image out and flip it over before placing it on a scrap piece of wood. Use a jigsaw to cut the half-heart out. If you’ve never used a jigsaw before, this beginner’s tutorial will show you how.
Sand the wooden heart before drilling evenly spaced holes.
Use some leather cord to stitch the spun pet hair and wooden heart halves together.
Mounting the spun pet hair heart
You can mount your spun heart on almost anything. I used the seat from a broken chair for Zia’s heart. The wooden half of the heart is simply screwed on from the back.
And do you know what the best thing is? I don’t gripe and groan about our fur babies shedding all over the place. Now I brush them often and get crafty.
It’s a win-win for all of us.
Would you make a keepsake using your fur baby’s hair?
If you like the idea of making a spun pet hair heart as a keepsake, don’t forget to pin it for later.
If the thought of spinning your fur baby’s hair doesn’t appeal, then perhaps you can try your hand at making this memorial art instead. Or browse all the beautiful “furever” crafts that the other ladies from the IBC have ut together.
- Not only is this “Time for a Walk” leash holder so clever, Marie repurposed something while making it too.
- I think Anita’s puppies are going to have a ball in their new hobbit styled home.
- A Furever Heart keepsake by yours truly.
- Sara took string art to a whole new level with her furever idea.
BTW, if you’re looking for some of the things we used to make this spun pet hair heart, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you so much for popping in for a visit.