A few weeks ago, my Facebook feed lit up with links to a new book called Crafting with Cat Hair. Originally published in Japan, Crafting with Cat Hair was translated by Amy Hirschman and was just released by Quirk Books. Over the course of 24 hours, five different people sent me a link to the book. I like to think that this was because I love cats and am an avid fan of crafting, and not because everyone has noticed that I am always coated in enough animal fur to create a family of finger puppets. Regardless, I was overjoyed when Michael mentioned his friend was sending him a copy, and that I could borrow it.
My dog, a sweet medium-sized-red-dog, was rescued from a gas station in southern Virginia, where generations of mutt breeding led him to have a thick three-layered coat (generally seen in breeds like huskies) which I’m sure kept his ancestors cozy and protected from the elements. However, now that he lives in the climate-controlled indoors, it means an endless supply of fur flies off of him year-round. Crafting with cat hair seemed like a fun idea, but I needed to know if it could be done with dog hair, the ultimate renewable resource. Although specifically aimed at cats, the book suggests that most animal fiber will felt, to some degree, so I decided to create a portrait of (and out of) my beloved cat and dog.
The process itself was quite easy. You “harvest the fiber” (two swipes of the Furminator on each pet and I was in business), cut out a pattern from cardboard (I used a paper plate, it worked), then stack a sponge, a piece of felt, your pattern, and the fur and begin to needle felt it into the shape of your pattern. (Needle felt is a fancy term for “poke it all over with a special needle until it looks felty.” This is not advanced crafting, you guys.) I embellished with embroidered French knots for eyes, and collars out of yarn.
The cat fur definitely had better results than the dog fur, but regardless, I kind of secretly love the “portrait” I created. Now, I know right now you are planning for holiday gifts, so I must warn you that it seems the beauty of crafted cat hair lies in the eyes of the beholder. Not even my mother, supportive of all of my crafts and devoted grandmother to the world’s greatest dog and cat duo, would actually want to find this portrait wrapped under the Christmas tree. If you have a cat loving friend (or acquaintance in need of a lint roller), give the gift of this book. Keep the crafts for yourself!
Praise for my handiwork:
“Too far.” –Megan
“I think you love your pets too much.” –Kelly
“Let’s put that on eBay. It looks like $75 to me.” –Craig
“Now that is something that your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be happy to have.” –Jordan
“That’s made out of hair, isn’t it?”–Stephen
“That is the most adorable thing I have ever, ever seen.” –Kathy
“Can you make me one?” – Michael
” . . . Oh.” –My fiancé
–Katie Ford, Assistant Marketing Manager, Crafting Cat Lady