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Wade on the Trail with his dog

LMQC’s outdoor blogger, Teri Stickler, and her faithful companion, Kaia, often spend hours outside on trails during the winter months. For Kaia, it’s no problem – after all, she’s a Samoyed. But Teri stays warm in a rather unique way.

By Teri Stickler and her Samoyed, Kaia

Teri in her Samoyed hat and scarf poses with Kaia, whose fur was used to make the hat and scarf. Teri is the one on the right.

As winter heads to the southern hemisphere and we witness the Vernal Equinox on March 20, you may have wondered how Kaia and I have been able to enjoy being out in winter’s cold this year. Of course, the Samoyed is built for subzero temperatures, but that doesn’t mean we are built with the same protection.

We do know that certain fabrics offer more warmth than others. Wool is a good choice, as is alpaca, goose down and Thinsulate to name a few, but have you ever considered outdoor clothing knitted from dog fur? Probably not, right?

Nothing warms the heart – or the head – like a good dog.

After having my first Samoyed, I did some research on the breed and learned that the dogs were commonly used by the Samoyede people of Siberia. The dogs were used to hunt, herd reindeer, pull sledges (sleds,) and sleep with the children to keep them warm, but the Samoyed fur was also a source from which to make blankets, sweaters, socks, mittens, scarves, and hats.

The Samoyed generally ‘blow’ their coat twice a year. These dogs have a double coat, the soft, fine undercoat sheds as temperatures rise and this hair can be spun into yarn and knitted for clothing and blankets.

After owning four Samoyeds, I had always wanted to have something made from the fur of all four dogs. I had not kept a lot of fur, but I had kept some from each of the four, hoping that someday I could have a sweater made. This past year I investigated further and found someone who would make me a scarf and a hat. (I dropped the idea of a sweater because I knew it would take a lot of yarn and furthermore, I was told I would only be able to wear the sweater out of doors, beings it would be too warm for indoors.)

Teri sent nearly 3-1/2 pounds of Samoyed fur to a company in Canada that specialized in making items from animal fur other than wool.

To make the scarf and hat, they asked for between 3 and 3 ½ pounds of Samoyed fur. I gathered all I had saved, sorted, and weighed it. Amazingly, I had exactly 3 ½ pounds. Perfect! That was boxed and sent to Canada, which was another funny experience in itself when the post office clerk asked the box contents, and I told him, “dog hair.”

How to turn your dog into a hat and scarf

After receiving the fur, the lady who was going to knit the hat and scarf sent the fur to a mill where it was cleaned and spun makeing 10 skeins of yarn. Often yarns are a combination of other fibers such as adding wool. This technique can add to the yarn’s tensile strength and softness, but this is not necessary with Samoyed fur.

She was then able to knit the hat and scarf and even attached a Pom Pom made from Arctic Fox.

I should explain, the Pom Poms that she uses are created from coats that had been reused. I had the choice of Arctic Fox, Norwegian Blue Fox, Blonde Fox, Red Fox, Coyote, and Raccoon. I chose Arctic Fox as it was white like the Samoyed fur.

Teri is now “one of the pack”

In case you are wondering, Samoyed fur is semi-allergenic and has little if any “dog smell.” And wow, is it ever soft and warm. I received the hat and scarf and was told she only used 5 skeins, so 5 skeins were left. Rather than let that go unused I asked to have two more hats knitted. These are in different patterns from the first.

Now when Kaia wants to walk in blowing, blizzard conditions, or just wants to walk in lightly-falling snow, I have just the right attire to accompany her.

Kaia stands next to all of the fur collected by Teri to make her new winter hat and scarf. That’s a lot of fur there, fuzzball.

By Teri Stickler and her Samoyed, Kaia

Teri in her Samoyed hat and scarf poses with Kaia, whose fur was used to make the hat and scarf. Teri is the one on the right.

As winter heads to the southern hemisphere and we witness the Vernal Equinox on March 20, you may have wondered how Kaia and I have been able to enjoy being out in winter’s cold this year. Of course, the Samoyed is built for subzero temperatures, but that doesn’t mean we are built with the same protection.

We do know that certain fabrics offer more warmth than others. Wool is a good choice, as is alpaca, goose down and Thinsulate to name a few, but have you ever considered outdoor clothing knitted from dog fur? Probably not, right?

Nothing warms the heart – or the head – like a good dog.

After having my first Samoyed, I did some research on the breed and learned that the dogs were commonly used by the Samoyede people of Siberia. The dogs were used to hunt, herd reindeer, pull sledges (sleds,) and sleep with the children to keep them warm, but the Samoyed fur was also a source from which to make blankets, sweaters, socks, mittens, scarves, and hats.

The Samoyed generally ‘blow’ their coat twice a year. These dogs have a double coat, the soft, fine undercoat sheds as temperatures rise and this hair can be spun into yarn and knitted for clothing and blankets.

After owning four Samoyeds, I had always wanted to have something made from the fur of all four dogs. I had not kept a lot of fur, but I had kept some from each of the four, hoping that someday I could have a sweater made. This past year I investigated further and found someone who would make me a scarf and a hat. (I dropped the idea of a sweater because I knew it would take a lot of yarn and furthermore, I was told I would only be able to wear the sweater out of doors, beings it would be too warm for indoors.)

Teri sent nearly 3-1/2 pounds of Samoyed fur to a company in Canada that specialized in making items from animal fur other than wool.

To make the scarf and hat, they asked for between 3 and 3 ½ pounds of Samoyed fur. I gathered all I had saved, sorted, and weighed it. Amazingly, I had exactly 3 ½ pounds. Perfect! That was boxed and sent to Canada, which was another funny experience in itself when the post office clerk asked the box contents, and I told him, “dog hair.”

How to turn your dog into a hat and scarf

After receiving the fur, the lady who was going to knit the hat and scarf sent the fur to a mill where it was cleaned and spun makeing 10 skeins of yarn. Often yarns are a combination of other fibers such as adding wool. This technique can add to the yarn’s tensile strength and softness, but this is not necessary with Samoyed fur.

She was then able to knit the hat and scarf and even attached a Pom Pom made from Arctic Fox.

I should explain, the Pom Poms that she uses are created from coats that had been reused. I had the choice of Arctic Fox, Norwegian Blue Fox, Blonde Fox, Red Fox, Coyote, and Raccoon. I chose Arctic Fox as it was white like the Samoyed fur.

Teri is now “one of the pack”

In case you are wondering, Samoyed fur is semi-allergenic and has little if any “dog smell.” And wow, is it ever soft and warm. I received the hat and scarf and was told she only used 5 skeins, so 5 skeins were left. Rather than let that go unused I asked to have two more hats knitted. These are in different patterns from the first.

Now when Kaia wants to walk in blowing, blizzard conditions, or just wants to walk in lightly-falling snow, I have just the right attire to accompany her.

Kaia stands next to all of the fur collected by Teri to make her new winter hat and scarf. That’s a lot of fur there, fuzzball.

Teri Stickler

Teri Stickler

Outdoor Blogger and Co-Adventurer

Meet Teri Stickler. Teri is a retired Quad-City teacher. She thoroughly enjoys the out-of-doors, sharing most of her adventures with her Samoyed companion, Kaia.