Shed Happens: all that dog hair can be something beautiful. But would you wear a sweater made out of your dog's hair?
Growing up with Labradors and shepherds, Jeannie Sanke always remembered all the hair that was tossed in the trash or that wafted away. After learning to knit at the age of 5, she knew she will figure out something to do with all that dog hair someday. Today she is the owner of KnitYourDog website with 18-months waiting list of costumers.
Nearly 25 years later, she was watching a TV show about knitting with dog hair and the lightbulb went off.
Over Buster's lifetime, Sanke had kept all his hair, amassing five garbage bags of fluffy fur. Now she had a plan.
While visiting family in New Mexico, she found an artisan who would spin her dog hair into fiber.
"It was the softest yarn I had ever held in my life," Sanke, who lives in Chicago, told MNN. "I started knitting myself a pullover. Once I actually wore it, it was extremely warm." The dog hair gave the sweater a huge halo, she says, which is the cloud-like fuzziness or fluffiness that floats around the yarn.
"I really had an extreme reaction from people when I wore it," she says.
"They were flummoxed when I told them it was dog hair. Very few people were grossed out by it. People were telling me stories about their dogs that had passed when they were touching the sweater and reacting with it.".
At the time, Sanke was a program administrator for a small nonprofit organization, but she wasn't happy in her job. She was looking for another venture, so a friend pointed out she already had a business idea that could work.
She made the leap into the dog-hair knitting business, but things were relatively slow at first. She made a few items a year. Then, when a local Chicago TV station did a story on her work, word started to spread.
She now has an 18-month waiting list of customers hoping to have everything from ponchos and scarves to mittens and hats made from the hair of their four-legged best friends.
She takes orders on herKnit Your Dog website. Some of the more popular items include sweater cuffs (starting at about $85) and scarves (starting around $150).
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