Cat Hair Yarn: Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear

| April 17, 2016 | 6 Comments

Cat Hair Yarn: Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear

Etsy Shop: PetHair2KnitWear

Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear 5I was born in Russia and learned to knit as a girl because knitting is very popular there and almost every Russian woman knows how to knit. After moving to US I did not really knit as you can buy anything you want ready made. After adopting my cat Mittens, I started collecting his beautiful hair and for years did not know what to do with it, until one day I had a brilliant idea on making yarn with it. So I did some research and u-tube learning, ruined a lot of Mitten’s hair and finally got it right after a few months of trying! I later used a friend’s English setter’s hair and made lovely mittens with it. Now with Etsy’s help I am taking custom orders and never had a dissatisfied customer!

How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
When I was a child, I had a dog and was considering myself as a “dog person” until I met Mittens! He is a Ragdoll and was given away because the owner developed allergy to him. We only came to “take a look” but ended up taking him home with us. Mittens became a buddy for my little son who is now in college and only comes to visit occasionally. As all rug dolls, Mittens has gorgeous hair and through the years I collected quite a lot. I did not know what to do with this treasure, until one day I thought of a possibility to spin it! I made a few calls to friends but nobody knew how to spin cat’s hair, so I had no other choice than take lessons on U-tube. I ruined a lot of Mittens hair before it started come out nicely and I was able to knit a few small items with it.
Next, I wanted to try dog’s hair so I asked around and obtained a sample from my friend’s English setter, Lucy. The hair felt very different, but never the less I made fantastic gloves with it!

Please describe your creative process.
Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear 2The process of making items is a bit messy: first, depending on the hair quality, you I need to go through the hair and separate usable hair from unusable. Then I have to wash and dry it and then it goes through carding. This is a process when hair gets combed with special metal brushes (I use antique carders used for sheep fur) and it becomes nice and soft and ready for spinning! For the next step, I use a simple hand wooded spindle.I can make my yarn thicker or thinner, depending on how much hair I have and what I am planning to use it for. The rest is easy and far more pleasant: actual knitting!

How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
A friend introduced me to Etsy a little over a year ago and I started my shop with just a coupe of items, mostly made with Mitten’s hair.

Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
I do not sell products in local stores because they all are very special and made to order.

Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear 3Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
I believe i am quite successful even the volume is not high. All my products are requiring a lot of time to make, so I can only make an item or two every month.

Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
My customers constantly give me new ideas! The all look for something very special and unique. I get a lot of orders from the pets that are no longer alive, but the owners were able to collect and store their fur. These are very special orders and I try to do my best to honor the owner’s wishes and special requests.

Max

Max

Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
Mittens is proudly featured in my store. After all, if I did’ not have him, I would not be a part of Etsy community!

Are you a one wo/man show?
Yes, I am a one woman show, I do everything alone but enjoy the creative process greatly!

Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear 7

Luna

Do you have a blog?
I do not have a blog, but my creations were featured at Top Crochet Patterns. com, together with other cool pet hair knitting individuals!

Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Unfortunately I can not accept returns because of the nature of my items, but luckily, so far I never had an unhappy customer! My favorite items are handbags – they come out beautifully and I get lots of compliments for them! The also are very practical and werable. By the way, all the items I make are perfectly washable and will last forever!

Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWearCan you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
My favorite items are handbags – they come out beautifully and I get lots of compliments for them! The also are very practical and wearable. By the way, all the items I make are perfectly washable and will last forever!

I also love posting pictures of my furry clients on my web site – they all are so cute and adorable! I always request a picture for the inspiration before I start working on a particular item.

Also, can you go more in depth about how to submit one goes about submitting cat hair to you?
As for the process, customers usually pick what they want from my listings, ask me how much hair will be needed for a certain item and then mail me the hair. I usually complete an order within two weeks. They all are surprised how little hair is needed for small items.

Visit the PetHair2KnitWear Etsy Shop

Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear

Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear

Cat Hair Yarn Interview with Irene Lerman of PetHair2KnitWear

Otto

Visit the PetHair2KnitWear Etsy Shop

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Category: Ragdoll Breeders in South Africa, Ragdoll Cat Gifts

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Comments (6)

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  1. Patti Johnson says:

    Wonderful post & interview, Jenny! Thank you for sharing all this wonderful information with us about Irene’s amazing talent of spinning cat hair into yarn and then creating beautiful OOAK handmade items for her clients!!! What an amazing gift you have, Irene! Mittens is super adorable, too! Lurve the pics of all the animals posted! Wishing Irene much success in your Etsy shop business and I may even be a client one day as Miss Pink Sugarbelle certainly generates enough fluffiness for many projects! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

    • Jenny says:

      i am really excited about this – wish i would have done something like this with rags’ fur. i will be collecting chiggy and charlie fur for sure!

      • Patti Johnson says:

        I am truly fascinated about the entire process Irene uses to take the fur, sort the fur, clean the fur, spin the fur, create the yarn and knit the creation! What’s even more amazing is that you can learn to do just about anything via videos on YouTube! Wow! She learned to spin the fur to create yarn! Whoa! Pawesome, indeed!!! You have to let me know what you get made from Chiggy and Charlie’s fur…You’ll have to do a follow-up post to share those creations with your Floppycatters for sure!!! 🙂 <3

  2. plmcat says:

    omg ! finally someone that does this! i always thought what a great idea it was, that cat hair must be like the finest cashmere. i would love to have a hat made with my fuzzy bunny’s hair! what a lot of work this woman does and how wonderful. going to check out her site now!

  3. Teresa Reid says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Love Irene’s Etsy store (just looked at it). Just amazing to be able to have something so dear made from our precious little angel’s fur. That is just the cat’s meow! Irene is such a hard worker and so talented to be able to do all that work. I know about it first hand because I had a neighbor when growing up who had a spinning wheel and made her dog’s (an English sheep dog) fur into yarn. It takes a lot of work and is very tedious, epsecially the first part. Have got it favorited and will surely get something made. Right now, we have enough cat hair to make about 4 more cats! As it is still shedding season!
    Irene, your Etsy store is wonderful and wish you much success. All your items are just gorgeous. Love all your precious kitties’ photos (Max, Luna and of course, Mittens. Thanks so much for the wonderful interview Jenny! Another wonderful item being added to our ever-growing list!♥♥♥

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