Every knitter who has a furry pet struggles with pet hair in their knitting. When I was first starting out it really REALLY bothered me that there was all this cat hair in my knitting. I vacuumed, I swept, I washed the throws on the couches, but there was still fur in my knitting. I won’t lie to you, after a while, I just gave up.
How to deal with this would depend on your level of OCD when it comes to keeping fur out of your knitting. If you’re on the lower end and it’s a visual thing, I would judge the color of yarn your using and choose accordingly. For example, if you have a white cat and are knitting a black sweater, don’t expect that your sweater is going to escape. You’re going to be able to see that white cat hair like a beacon shining out in the night. I’m not saying you can only knit in white and cream, but that fur would sure be less noticeable on a tweed or heathered yarn of any color. A completely solid color is always going to share more fur than that of anything providing a busier pallet and more texture. – Level 1
If it bothers you that there’s dog hair in your knitting even if you can’t see it, progress to level 2! This would be to make sure your pet isn’t sitting on your lap or beside you when you’re trying to knit. I would vacuum or sweep the area as well; perhaps lay down a throw or blanket if you’re sitting on a couch that your pet frequents. I personally do quite a bit of knitting at my dining room table. I’m lucky enough that the chairs are comfortable and the TV is within line of sight. Since this is a flat surface I can wipe down everything and keep my cats occupied with fresh cat nip.
Level 3 would be if you were knitting something for someone with an allergy. To be completely honest, I would designate a section of your house that is ‘animal free’ if you can. I have a guest bedroom and we don’t let the cats in there because while a guest might not have an allergy, the fur might irritate them all the same. If you don’t have the space allowance to cordon off a piece of your home, you can also knit out of the house. I have a pair of socks that lives in my car, I only knit them there and the cats are never in the car. Other options can include knitting at a pet-free friend’s house, or someplace like a Starbucks.
As for getting pet hair out of your knitting, I’m afraid I haven’t found a solution outside of downright picking out each individual hair. I would highly suggest the prevention route. If you’re knitting with a synthetic fiber, some of the hair might slip out in the wash because there is nothing to hold it there.
Animal fibers, like wool, have microscopic barbs. You know those shampoo commercials boasting about how your hair looks before your use their amazing product? That is similar to what wool looks like under a microscope. That’s why wool felts; those microscopic barbs reach out and fuse the parallel fibres together. If your animal fur is worked into the wool, odds are, it’s not coming out easily with a wash.
The same goes for knitting your own fur into garments. When I had really long hair, I would always notice that I had knitted one of my hairs into a sweater and it was so worked in, I couldn’t just pull it out. I actually had to think back until I had unearthed enough to simply slip the hair out.