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Book Review
Knitting with Dog Hair
by Kendall Crolius & Anne Montgomery

Review by: Kate Connick, August 2003

Kendall Crolius & Anne Montgomery's Knitting with Dog Hair is a quirky, fun, and very interesting book. I've never spun wool, and I'm a mediocre knitter at best, but I enjoyed this book nonetheless.

The authors explore all aspects of knitting with dog (and cat) hair from "harvesting" fur, to preparing it for spinning, to spinning and finishing the yarn, to caring for pet-hair items once they've been completed. The authors include a handful of sample projects, and they even include comments about the coats of a variety of specific breeds. They pretty much cover all bases.

Throughout, the book is written for the novice. The writing style is warm and amusing. To genuinely benefit from the information provided, one would need to have some needlework knowledge and experience, but the content will not alienate those without such background. The authors' humor and humility are employed to best effect in making this a light-hearted and breezy, educational read.

Although the authors have included an appendix of spinners for hire - organized by state - this information is probably no longer current. No email addresses or websites are referenced, so one would need to rely on snail mail or telephone calls to find out.

My greatest complaint about this paperback is with the illustrations. The black and white photographs illustrate the ideas but don't flatter the yarn or projects depicted. For example, one photo is accompanied by text that reads, "This scarf was made from... a red Golden Retriever - the hue of an Irish setter - and the color is exquisite." That screams for a color photograph rather than the black and white one that makes the scarf look blandly grey (like everything else in the book).

This book makes a fine gift or reference for anyone with a hairy dog or an interest in needlework. After reading it, I have an extraordinary respect for anyone with the patience, dedication, and skill to transform dog or cat hair into something wearable.

Knitting with Dog Hair, by Kendall Crolius & Anne Montgomery.
Published by St. Martin's Press, 1994. ISBN: 0312104898

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