How to Spin Cat Hair

By Susan Sivek
Spin Cat Hair

Would you rather have a beautiful hat or pair of mittens made from your cat's hair rather than just dumping all the hair in the trash every time you brush your pet? In a few simple steps, you can create yarn from your cat's hair that can be used for knitting, crocheting, weaving or other crafts. With some basic knowledge of spinning on a spindle or spinning wheel, you can make a fuzzy, soft yarn that is unique to your cat and will become something with which to always remember your feline friend.

Gather hair from your cat. Hair acquired by brushing is better than hair that has been cut, because it will be longer and easier to spin. The hair should be clean, free from grass or other vegetable matter, and free from fleas and bugs. Be sure it smells fresh and clean, the way you want the finished yarn to smell --- not like flea shampoo or another less desirable fragrance.

Use the hand carders to prepare the hair for spinning. Combine it with any other fiber desired, such as merino wool, or use the cat hair alone. Card the hair or fiber blend and form it into rolags by gently rolling the mass of fiber from the hand carders so the fibers are parallel.

Spin the rolags into yarn using your drop spindle or spinning wheel. (If you do not know how to spin, see the Resources below for links to basic information on spinning. You can also have your cat's hair processed into yarn by companies that provide this service.) Add a lot of twist when spinning, as cat hair is very fine and will require a lot of twist to hold together. You do not want the yarn to shed like a cat when it is later made into a garment or other finished item.

Ply the yarn if desired. You can ply the singles you have spun in Step 3 with themselves or with another yarn to increase the overall yardage you can use to knit, crochet or weave.

Wind the yarn into a skein, and tie it loosely with scrap yarn in six to eight places. Finish the yarn by soaking it in cool water for a half-hour, then roll the skein in a towel and press to remove the excess water (do not wring it out). If your finished yarn is strong enough, snap the skein between your hands, or swing it through the air and smack it on a countertop or against the side of the bathtub. This motion will allow the fibers to "bloom" and reveal the beauty of your completed yarn.

Tip

You can use your cat hair or blended yarn for a variety of clothing, such as a sweater, mittens or scarf. It can also be used as an accent on a garment primarily made from another fiber.

Yarn made from cat hair will perform much like angora yarn, with its great warmth, occasional shedding, and fuzziness or "halo." Keep these characteristics in mind when creating your clothing.

The fuzzy "halo" of cat hair yarn will make it difficult to undo if you make a mistake during the creation of your project, so be sure to work carefully.

Clothing made from cat hair should be washed in warm water with gentle detergent. Avoid agitation.

About the Author

Susan Sivek teaches journalism and communication and is also a freelance writer. She has been writing since 1999. Her writing interests include travel, health, exercise, cooking, crafts and more. She has been published in scholarly journals, on MediaShift.org, and on eHow. Sivek holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.