The Great Pyrenees is a majestic mountain dog with a predominantly white heavy coat, sometimes with patches of tan, gray, reddish-brown or pale yellow. The outer coat is weather resistant, long, thick, flat and very coarse. The undercoat is dense, fine and woolly. The Great Pyrenees sheds year-round, doing so heavily during season changes such as the onset of winter and summer. Imagine the many uses you can get as you weave the hair provided in abundance from your dog. If you add a little wool to the hair for better elasticity, the yarn made from your dog is very durable and strong.
Things You'll Need
- Box or bag
- Shampoo or mild detergent
- White vinegar
- Spinning wheel
- Soft wool
Brush and comb your dog thoroughly to collect any excess fur. It is best to use the soft undercoat rather than the coarse topcoat for weaving. All current and new hair collected from your Great Pyrenees can be placed into a box or bag, ready to work with.
Wash the fur in a small tub using a dog shampoo or mild detergent. Rinse well.
Soak the clean dog fur in white vinegar and water to remove the enzymes that creates that “wet dog” smell. Lay the fur flat on a wire rack for several days to thoroughly dry.
Prepare the fur for weaving by placing on a weaving hand-carder. Hand-carders are a pair of wooden paddles (purchased at craft stores) that look like a dog’s slicker brush. There are two types of hand-carders, coarse or fine, depending on the texture of hair or fur. Coarse would be used for the hair of a Great Pyrenees. Place the hair across the teeth of the carders, evenly and completely across the entire carder, continuing until teeth are barely showing through.
Move across first carder with a second carder evenly in opposite direction five or six times to be sure the hair is evenly spread across the carder. While doing so, you can mix in some fine clean wool fibers to give the “yarn” more elasticity. The fur will then be removed from the carder by rolling from the top of the card to the handle. It is now ready for weaving.
Begin with single threads on a spinning wheel to weave strands into yarn. This is a gentle process of drawing strands from the hand-carders while gently pulling and twisting the hair without breaking. Use a piece of old yarn as a leader string from the spindle which attaches to the hair on your carder, and begin slowly until you get the hang of it. You are ready to use the yarn from your Great Pyrenees as you wish.