Sunday, August 12, 2012

Unusual Spinning Requests

I don't get too many requests for hand spun yarn, ordinary OR unusual. A lot of work goes into it, and few people want to pay the price for that. But I spin a lot, and many people know this. It's a pleasant activity which keeps me out of trouble, and also keeps my stress level down.

A few days ago, I received a query from a dear friend, asking if I could spin cat fur. Since I know someone who did accomplish this, I said I thought it was possible, but knowing the cat fur in question is from a short-haired cat, I said it would have to be blended with wool. Even then, I'm not sure it will work with short fur, but I'm willing to give it a try and see what happens.

As recently as five years ago, I would have had to flat out refuse, no matter how badly I might have wanted to do this labor of love for my friend. I spent most of my life being violently allergic to cats, to the point of having to take lots of preventive medication before even visiting a house where cats resided. When visiting my sister for a long weekend, we would have to spend a number of hours OUT of her house every day, just so I could breathe during the hours we spent IN the house. Sinuses, asthma -- basically, my whole respiratory system would go bonkers, and I would do my best to pretend I really didn't feel as miserable as it appeared.

But I did feel miserable, and it could get pretty horrible at times.

Almost three years ago, my daughter brought home a stray cat, and we all fell in love with him. I figured we wouldn't be able to keep him, but thought we could give it a try. And -- surprise, surprise! -- I am older,  and my body chemistry has changed significantly. The most notable change (besides hot flashes) is that I have outgrown my cat allergy. We have had our cat all this time, and neither my sinuses nor my asthma have been affected. To me, this is nothing short of a miracle.

OK, so I still take the same old precautions, like thoroughly washing my hands with soap and water after touching the cat, but so far, so good. No hint of a problem.

I realize I may be pushing the limit with my friend's cat fur, but if worse comes to worse, I'll wear a mask if necessary. But I think blending the fur with some good, rustic wool, such as Coopworth, Cotswold, or Romney will help cut down on the fly-away nature of short, slippery cat fur, and prevent me from inhaling it as I work.

I must confess, I'm intrigued by the possibilities, and hopeful that I can do the job well. After the spinning is done, my next mission is to knit a hoodie from the yarn.

I've met the kitty from whom the fur will come, and am now remembering watching him, his brother, and his mom go scampering around in the dark of distant back yard, chasing a laser...

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