Chiengora – The Middle

Adventures in spinning continue in the Furry Beastie Home. Turns out, spinning and knitting and all the steps along the way are a bit of a rabbit hole. I thought this would be a bit of fun, but it’s a touch all-consuming!

Rabbit hole? What’s this about a rabbit hole?

Never mind Mr. Snowy. Your fur is a little too short to spin well. Newfoundland fur is just perfect though, especially when blended with some wool.

Daisy and Diana have spent lots of time supervising as I prepare and spin dog fur. Sometimes they find it a little confusing.

Mum? What is my fur doing on a chair? This is supposed to be attached to me!

Diana gets quite interested in the washing and drying stages. All fur is hand washed, dried in the sun, and blended with wool before spinning. I spun two singles of chiengora and then it was time to ply them together to make a stronger, more balanced yarn.

My drop spindle filled with yarn after plying. It got a little heavy to work with!

Plying the two single yarns together was more complicated that I anticipated. Once I got the hang of keeping tension on both my single ply balls and stopped dropping the spindle every few minutes, it went fairly quickly.

Actually, that’s true of this whole project. It’s way more involved that I thought it would be. I have great admiration for the artists who create beautiful yarn and who have been so willing to share their knowledge. I have thoroughly enjoyed every step even with the mistakes and the inevitable tangles along the way.

One more bath

The last step is soaking the yarn in hot water to set the twist and then hanging it to dry. It dried quickly in the Texas sunshine, unlike Daisy and Diana who take many hours to dry after a bath. Then I wound it into a ball to make it easier to use.

Ta-da! One ball done.

Finally! A finished ball of chiengora yarn. It is so soft and fuzzy! It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start. I will definitely keep spinning. Maybe with a spinning wheel to speed things up a little.

Next step – Knitting. Getting closer to having a Furry Beastie Hat of my very own. Okay, even after all the work, that still sounds a little weird. But I cannot wait to see how it’s going to come out!


Diana ❤️ Squirrels

Every morning we go for a walk before it gets too hot. We live in Texas, so hot comes early and often when you’re a Furry Beastie. For Diana, the best part of the walk is the section of the park filled with squirrels.

Diana ❤️ Squirrels.

Daisy likes squirrels and all other creatures too. But when Daisy is walking, she’s got places to go, things to sniff. Not much time for squirrels really.

Diana – “Squirrel!”
Daisy – “Hmm…what? Who cares? Come on, let’s go!”

Diana zones in on squirrels.

She’s a big fan.

Diana is convinced that if she could only meet a squirrel up close, they would be friends. Daisy and I are not so sure that would be a great idea.

Diana would love it if I would install a squirrel table in our backyard. A place for friends to hang out. Get to know each other. Something like this.

This admittedly super cute squirrel picnic table is made by Squirrel Feeder and available on Amazon.

Diana, that looks like a trap! Sorry, that’s definitely not a good idea.

No pouting Diana!

Diana wonders if there is any chance she’ll get a squirrel picnic table for Christmas. Maybe if she asks Santa Paws…

Chiengora – The Beginning

Living with Furry Beasties means living with dog fur. Everywhere. Vacuuming and sweeping helps of course, but inevitably there is fur on my clothes, in my food, and definitely on my floors. It’s worth it for the sweetness of my Furry friends.

Newfies frequently generate enough extra fur to create a bonus dog!

Wandering through the internet one day, I came across an article on chiengora. Chiengora is yarn made from dog fur. Similar to angora, chiengora is soft and warm with a sort of furry halo around it, but it is made with dog fur instead of fur from Angora rabbits. Immediately I pictured myself wearing a warm chiengora Furry Beastie hat. After all, I certainly have enough raw material!

I started saving the fur that I brushed out of Furry Beasties with the theory of one day sending it off somewhere to be spun. Clippings aren’t great for spinning but Newfies shed hair pretty much constantly. They also blow their coats a few times a year which means daily brushing and lots of loose fur. Each time I brushed my Furry friends, I shoved a few handfuls of dog fur in a bag and stuck the bag in a drawer. Before I knew it, I had overflowing bags and the drawer was stuffed full. It was time to go a little further in my plan towards a Furry Beastie hat.

Source A – Daisy likes to be brushed. Happy times.

Turns out many people who spin dog fur have a backlog of clients. Since I’ve had some spare time at home the past several months due to Covid restrictions, I decided to try doing it myself! Full disclosure – I am in no way a textile artist. I read some blogs, watched some videos, thumbed through a few books and then just gave it a go.

Source B – Willing to accept bribes for brushes. Sometimes.

Okay, so when I say I’m not a textile artist, the truth is I didn’t even know how to knit. That seemed like the place to start. I started teaching myself and made some scarves, hats, and dishcloths. Turns out, knitting is pretty fun. And soothing too!

Next step was ordering a drop spindle and some wool top and learning to spin wool into yarn. Dog fur can be tricky to work with and starting out with wool seemed like good practice. Spinning feels like meditation. Creating a bit of order out of chaos. I liked it immediately. I learned how to pinch, spin, draft. I got better at keeping my yarn thickness consistent and dropped the spindle less often. There are a few steps after that to set the twist and so on, but in the end, I created my first ball of spun yarn.

Dog fur stored in paper bag, spindle, helpful booklet and wool top.

It was time to get out the bags of dog fur. I washed and air-dried several ounces of prime Newfie fur. Diana was fascinated by this part. She thinks all future washing of dog fur should happen after the fur is off the dog. She’s not a fan of bath-time!

Carders full of dog fur and wool

Then I bought myself a pair of carders and used those to create a batt of dog fur/wool mix (80% dog fur and 20% wool). Next, came the spindle again and in no time at all, I had spun some chiengora yarn.

A good start!

Okay, so the whole process is a little time consuming. I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would! There will be lots more washing, carding, and spinning to do before I have enough chiengora to start knitting my lovely warm Furry Beastie hat, but I am definitely getting closer to my goal.

What will the dogs think when they see me wearing Chiengora? I’m not sure if they will be thrilled that I have embraced their Newfie-ness or if they will be creeped out by the whole thing. Updates to come.

Daisy’s Favorite Things

Birthday – November 30

Nicknames – Daisy Bear, Lazy Daisy, Nap Queen

Favorite Toy – Hedgehog. Daisy used to have a pillow pet she would carry around so that she was prepared to nap anywhere at any time. Diana stole it. Daisy got a new one. Diana stole that too. Hedgehog is sacred. Even Diana knows better than to try to steal Hedgehog. Most of the time.

Walks or Car Rides – Car Rides. All day long. Short walks are okay. Anything longer and Daisy has been known to lay down on the sidewalk and request that we go home and get the car to pick her up.

Car Rides with Hedgehog? Perfection.

Pet Peeves – People making noise during nap time. Diana stealing her toys.

Favorite Foods – Cheese. Watermelon. Fish. And French fries. Always french fries.

So juicy! She only gets the red part, no rinds for puppies!

Hobbies – Daisy is a certified Therapy Dog. She loves going to schools to help kids practice reading. Her favorite books are Biscuit books. Woof! Woof!

Daisy is a Biscuit super-fan.

Embarrassing Puppyhood Story – Daisy is a water dog. She loves to swim. Without an indoor pool, she once resorted to splashing her front paws and head in a toilet. Water all over the bathroom! Thank goodness it had just been cleaned. Silly Daisy Bear. Good news for Daisy, we did not take any photos! Now that would be embarrassing.

Happy Birthday Diana!

Three years ago, this small sweetheart came into the world. A short time later, Darling Diana became a part of our family. We loved her from the moment we saw her.

Today we celebrated our sweet furry girl as Darling Diana turned three! She had a fabulous day. We planned a pool party with her bestie, but rain and Covid-19 changed our plans a little. No worries, we still had lots of playtime and cuddles. Diana even enjoyed a virtual visit through Zoom with some dear friends!

And of course, there had to be cake. Who doesn’t love cake?

After cake, it was time for presents!

Diana loves her new Birthday Loofa Toy. Stuffies are her very favorites. She loves to cuddle them, shake them, and gum on them. A new stuffy was just perfect for her.

Eventually even the best of Birthdays come to an end. Diana had a lovely day with her family and friends. All that partying wears a puppy out.

Happy Birthday Darling Diana!

Furry Beastie Conspiracy


The Furry Beasties weigh in at approximately 225 pounds or 102 kilograms combined. Currently, they are conveniently located between the area where I am prepping dinner and the area where I am cooking dinner.  It is possible to pass between them.  Barely.  Coincidence?

Listen, don’t be fooled by this innocent face.


It may be Diana’s idea.  She is the mischievous one and clearly, she does not trust herself to look me in the eye.


Still, if Diana were to casually stretch out her paw, and  I were to trip over that outstretched paw?  There would be two Furry Beasties partaking in the feast.  Sunday roast for Furry Beasties and cereal for the Non-Furries in the family.

Furry Beasties, I am on to you!

❤️ Sisterly love ❤️

Diana often drives Daisy crazy. Diana is quite frisky and more interested in wrestling than napping most of the time.  When two large Newfs play, the whole house shakes and conversations are impossible!  Then they sleep…and they hold paws…and hearts melt.  😍

Daisy and Diana sleep holding paws most of the time. 💖

In service to others

Daisy waiting for her next reader at a recent R.E.A.D. session.

Daisy and I qualified as a therapy dog team just about a year ago. She mostly visits senior centers and special events such as college exam stress relief sessions.  We are also a R.E.A.D. team which allows us to visit elementary schools weekly so that reluctant readers can read stories to Daisy.

Daisy loves her visits and gets excited when her vest comes out. Going to new places to be petted and loved on by strangers is her idea of a perfect day.

If my Furry Beastie and I become a therapy team, does that mean my dog can go to restaurants and on airplanes with me?

No, therapy animals are not service animals or emotional support animals.  They are amazing, wonderful creatures who have undergone training with kind caring handlers, but they do not get special privileges.  A good comparison chart is below.  You and your Furry Beastie will not receive special privileges reserved for service dogs, but you likely will feel privileged to be able to help those in need of a furry friend.

Note – I did not create this image. It seems to be all over the place online so I am not sure who deserves the credit, but it’s definitely not me!

Could any Furry Beastie be part of a therapy team?

If your Furry Beastie loves being with people and is comfortable in a variety of situations, a therapy team might be right for you.  Start off with making sure your basic obedience commands are solid. Then contact your local therapy animals organization and see what your next step would be.  Many organizations offer their own training or at least can recommend a trainer or group class to help your dog practice skills such as moving through a large group of people, how to become familiar with walkers and wheelchairs and so on.

Not all therapy teams involve dogs either.  There are also therapy cats, therapy rabbits, even therapy horses and therapy donkeys! Regardless of your Furry Beasties species, you may find that being part of a therapy team is immensely rewarding for both of you.