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Weaver/Spinner Profile: Dr. Bev Felten
March 15, 2016
Handspun, handwoven, dog-hair rugs support dog-related charity organizations
Elements to enrich our lives are all around us, but we often fail to recognize them. It is that recognition that led me to spin dog hair−and to the Schacht Matchless Spinning Wheel.
Being a dog breeder and a conformation judge, I began to think about spinning dog hair, a gift so often simply thrown away. At a local dog show, I retrieved Collie and gorgeous Old English Sheep dog undercoat from the garbage cans. Word got out that I was looking for dog hair and the dog show community joined in by donating boxes of multiple-breed, high-quality undercoat.
I love spinning dog hair in combination with other fibers. One of the first notable products off the loom were two rugs woven with handspun dog hair which I donated to Support Dogs, Inc., of Missouri, a non-profit organization that trains dogs for people with special needs. These dogs give back, yet again, by serving people.
I am a full-time nurse, and one day a colleague asked if I wanted her grandmother’s knitting machine.
Once I got the knitting machine home, I quickly learned that I would need to greatly improve my spinning skills.
I learned to spin from a combination of unusual sources, including the Facebook list, “Spinners in the UK,” a 1400-member online-community of international spinners who generously nurture inexperienced spinners, regardless of country. I posted the question to the list, “If you were to buy the best quality spinning wheel available, price not a concern, what would you buy?” I received an answer from a British fiber instructor who told me to get a Schacht Matchless. Which I did and now I spin daily on my Matchless. A subsequently purchased Sidekick goes on the road, making it possible to spin both at dog shows and while camping.
-Dr. Bev Felten