Chiengora a la Bronson

Unadulterated Great Pyr

A few years ago, I was asked to spin some Bearded Collie. I had never spun dog hair before…but agreed wholeheartedly. The dog papa never came through, and I held, in the back of my head, a fantasy of Bearded Collie yarn. Then an issue of Spin-Off featured chiengora spun by readers. Mmm. I wanted to spin some puppa dog! Buy my dog is an Australian Cattle Dog who, apparently, doesn’t shed.  What to do?

Within 2 weeks, I was handed 3 gallon bags of Great Pyr. One from a fellow musician who has a horse hobby farm and 2 Great Pyrs as LGDs, and two from a fellow musician and artist whose Great Pyr, Bronson, protects their critters on their 100 acre farm.

The other day, I pushed my way through bags of fleece and samples looking for moths and striving to organize the chaos in the studio. There I found a list, “Bags 7 & 8, Bronson, Great Pyr.” Mmm. With the goal of finding Bags 7 & 8, I did an amazing job in record time. I just really wanted to check out that Great Pyr fiber.

The contents of Bag #7 were clean, but I gave them another rinse in 7th Generation Lemongrass & Clementine zest dishwashing soap. After spinning Reggie in the morning, clean previously washed alpaca fiber, and coming up with black fingertips, I wanted the experience of soft, smooth, clean fiber between my fingers. The Great Pyr fiber dried very quickly. I carded it using my Howard handcards, dividing the bag into 8 piles of 6 batts. I pulled a roving from each pile, ending up with 2 piles of 4 rovings each. I was aiming at a worsted-bulky 2-ply yarn…something that would be a joy to knit.

Using a low ratio on the Fricke, I spun 2 lovely, hairy singles from 4 rovings each. Plying them with low tension, made for a fabulous yarn. The resulting yarn, shown above, is heavy and luscious.