Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spins with wolf

[Photo: Samoyed dog on the left
and wolf on the right]
I recently had an opportunity to spin both wolf and dog (Samoyed) hair at a workshop with Judith McKenzie. I will do a separate post for the dog hair as there is so much to say about it and for now focus on the wonderful wolf fibre. The wolf was a dream to spin. You would think wolf has more rigid hairs and hence a rougher feel to it but the down from its coat is so soft it gives it a silky softness and it has a halo like mohair. The dog in comparison is soft as well but has a firmer feel and lacks the silkiness of wolf.
Interestingly, wolf doesn't smell like, well, like wolf. Dog, on the other hand, smells like dog. One wants to make sure that smell is vanquished completely from the fibre long before being caught out in the rain wearing a dog sweater.
[Photo: Wolf on the top and dog on
the bottom]
Judith and her wolf spinning friend Debi (who was also in the workshop) had collaborated on a chock-full-of-information-for-the-wolf-wannabe-spinner-in-all-of-us article on spinning wolf for Spin-off magazine (Fall 2009) and the whole class benefited from their incredible knowledge. Here's the short version: make a cloud of fluffy fibre; spin semi-woollen; wash vigorously to bloom and lock the fibre; luxuriate in the softness.
Where does one get wolf to spin? Well, I suppose you could hope to find natural shedding of their winter coat out in the wilds, but it is a better bet to try zoos, captive wolf sanctuaries, owners of wolf/dog crosses and ambassador wolf programs. Check out this story about an ambassador wolf.

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