Marion Wheatland, 59, Boronia, Vic
I've made spinning my career. But I don’t just spin your usual sheep’s wool – my speciality is spinning pet hair!
It all started five years ago when I was teaching at a community house in Doncaster, Vic. A lady named May came in with her black poodle, Mango
‘Can you spin my dog?’ she asked.
At first I was confused. Did she want a jumper for her pooch? Then I realised she wanted me to make a jumper out of her pup’s fur! At the time, Mango’s mane was too short to shear. But two months later, May gave me a bag of Mango’s curly fur that had been clipped by a groomer.
I spun the yarn then washed it to get rid of the doggy smell. Once I’d spun three balls, I knitted the fur into a fluffy vest. Altogether it took around 25 hours to make.
When May came in to try it on, she was absolutely delighted with the result. I was in stitches when she went to her car to show Mango. He gave her a very confused sideways glance!
Soon after I started my business, Spinning Pets Yarn, and have been inundated with requests.
One lady spent months combing her tortoiseshell Persian cat so that I could make her fur into an infinity scarf. Another couple asked me to make a sweater from their two Samoyed dogs. And May now has a blanket and beret to match her scarf.
Recently, a woman got in touch to see if I could spin her hair into yarn!
The cost varies on the amount of yarn I need to spin. A scarf is around $100, but a vest can cost more than $350. People want these garments made because they love their pets so much. That way, they are always close.
I love my unusual job. If nothing else, explaining what I do makes for a good yarn!
When I tell people that I wear my dog as clothing, they think I’m crazy! When they ask why, I explain to them that Mango’s my baby and I want to feel him with me all the time. After my previous dog, Milo, died, all I was left with was a lock of hair. Now I’ll have enough to remember Mango by forever!
Originally published in issue 33 That's Life! magazine - August 18, 2016.