EVANSTON — Kindred Spirits Healing Arts in Evanston is where Jeannie Sanke takes her three dogs to keep them healthy, but it is their fur that’s her business.
Chiengora – “Chien” is French for dog and “Gora” is derived from angora – is the ancient art of spinning dog hair that has been around for thousands of years.
Jeannie started making custom pieces about two years ago. Everything from sweaters, gloves, ponchos, scarves, hats, even a Teddy Bear, all made from the beloved fur of dogs.
Long haired breeds with a healthy coat work best and a little shorter can be blended with other materials. The pet hair must be brushed, not cut, and sent to Jeannie. She cleans and spins the fur before knitting begins.
The wool is 50 percent warmer than sheep. The practice is still used today by people in extremely cold climates near the Arctic Circle.
Some too use the practice as a way to honor pets that have passed.