What was I thinking?!
Think before saying yes.
Back in November I did a craft fair thing. I only had a half booth which meant I got to share space with another half-er. The lady I shared the space with did machine embroidery and made awesome ornaments. Near the end of the first day she started asking me about spinning. Being a spinner, and I imagine this is the case with any craft really, opens me up to a whole host of questions regarding what I can spin. I've been asked about everything from the obvious (cotton etc) to the less than obvious (corn silk). Without fail, no matter the person, I will get asked if I can spin pet hair. This is a resounding yes. Anything with fur/hair/coat can be spun. Technically. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. As is usual, she asked if I could spin dog. Then she got specific. Could I spin poodle? Would I need a carrier fiber for it? She wanted all the details.
The bits that got double clipped resulted in tiny shorts tufts that wouldn't lay the right way or spin in easily. It would fly up and out of the wool and was generally a nuisance. Because both fibers were matted/semi-felted it made drafting rather difficult at times. The end result? Chunks of rough fiber that when forced to draft became rather sturdy. And unyielding. And not soft. It became such a mess that I didn't even bother to fill my entire bobbin. I couldn't. The fiber wasn't budging and I was tired of fighting it.
As soon as it was done, I finished off the wool single in a quick Navajo ply. It resulted in a mini skein of about 44 yds. The yarn is fantastic. Seriously lovely. There is more of the wool leftover and if I'm able, I will spin it to match this because AWESOME. The poodle though? Still debating.
Color wise, I love it. The delicate shifts from white to a light red are....well delicate. There are a few spots where it's a long blip of red but for the most part it's very blended. Unless you are holding it in your hand, you don't really notice it. It wasn't until a section of just wool passed through my fingers that I even noticed there was much color. The plain wool was significantly brighter and made it look like I had just attached a new batch of wool without blending it. I removed that piece and started again. The end result is a very subtle brownish red. When I say very subtle, I mean it.
The final yardage of poodle (prewashed...I'll re-measure in the morning) was/is 238 yds. Total between the two skeins is 282 yds. There is more. A lot more. I could easily get 1,000+ yds out of this but I don't want to. And I won't. Again: just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I will call the lady in the morning and explain everything to her and I know she will understand but this is not what I had in mind when I agreed to this. I was picturing this lofty, yardage heavy, soft yarn and instead I got a moderate yardage of yarn that smells (when wet) and feels exactly like the animal it came from. I envisioned whipping this out in a months time and having bragging rights galore and instead it took me about 2 months of fighting with the fiber and my equipment to get a yarn that I will happily never see again. I have no idea how this will work up (in any craft) and while I am curious enough to consider a quick swatch, I'm not sadistic enough to actually do it.
As a spinner (and knitter...this isn't just a spinner thing) I often have this grandiose vision of a project and the final outcome. I generally picture a serene evening where everything goes my way and I rock the hell out of the whole process. The reality is generally different and this project was no exception. It's a learning experience, as trite as that may be. I have learned a few things from this.
1. My drum carder is a beast of a machine and I love what it can do.
2. Poodle is something I never want to spin ever again.
3. Preset notions of a project will likely lead to a frustrating end result.
4. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.