Pictured here is the sweater that Granny Toothman knitted from the spring shedding of her Samoyed dog. The dog is named after the Samoyedic people of Siberia. The Samoyed is still used to guard reindeer and is also used as a sled dog. Granny said that four of these dogs were brought to England, and then the stock were taken to West Virginia where they were used to herd sheep.

While it is known that this breed of dog is extremely intelligent, Granny would go as far to say that the Samoyed was smarter than some people that she knew. Granny also claimed that the coat of the Samoyed is 100% waterproof. Granny stated that it took a long time to spin the thread the knit the sweater. When we asked her how long, she said: “Well, all I can tell you is that the dog wore the coat one year, and I wore it to the next.” The dog belonged to Granny and weighed about 60 pounds. The buttons are Cowry shells which Granny had found on the seashore.

Creating clothing out of dog fur was Granny’s specialty; however, dog fur was quite difficult to obtain. Granny would often offer to spin or weave an item of clothing for anyone who would give her enough dog fur to make two items—one for them, and one for herself. But Granny rarely held on to the items that she made for herself, as she would often give away her hand-woven garments to friends and relatives.