Felted fleece rugs are totally “sheep friendly”. No sheep are harmed in the process of making them, hurray! They may look just like sheepskin rugs but if you turn one over, you will see the base of the rug is made entirely of wool, not a hint of hide in sight.
This rug is made from a collection of fleeces kindly given to me by our neighbours. They keep a flock of Cheviots who have gorgeous fleeces; long woolled and luxurious. Cheviots are usually creamy white in colour, but sometimes a dark coloured one pops up, I was lucky to have one such dark fleece in my bag and I couldn’t wait to make something with it!
Recently I’ve devised a method which allows me to make “fleece shaped” rugs involving strips of cardboard and tin foil. I love my new method so I think all rugs from now on will be made this way. I lay out a fleece shaped frame with the cardboard, lay my carded batts on the bottom to make the base of the rug, then I place the carefully selected individual“puffy, fluffy” locks on top. This takes a few days but is totally worth the effort because the end result is a fleecey shaped rug, ultra soft, squishy rug like this one 😊
I will try and describe the colour of this fleece for you as it’s really very special. Imagine you had dark, brunette hair and had spent a month or so wafting around on a Greek island in the middle of summer. Then imagine you had the teeniest sprinkling of greys peppered throughout and decided not to head for a colour appointment the moment you got back but decided to embrace the natural look. This is this fleece.
Texture-wise, Cheviot wool is dense and springy. If you separate off an individual lock from you will see it is quite “tubby” compared to other types of fleeces, (imagine a chunky knit yarn compared to a one-ply). This gives the overall fleece a certain ‘bounciness’.
After I’d washed and dried the rug I decided to brush out the fibres to make the rug ultra fluffy and soft.
Please note, there is a small amount of shedding to this fleece, not enough to make you run for the hoover thankfully. The reason for this is because I used longer, courser locks (which can shed a wee bit) on the lower, wider end of the rug to create “bloomers”, see photo 2.
This is a smaller sized rug measuring approx. 28 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 18 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure approx. 5 inches making the rug appear bigger when it is laid flat.
Making each rug is a labour intensive but enjoyable process. It takes me several days to make a rug as everything is done by hand. The bigger the rug, the longer it takes. This rug took me about a week to make, see how I make them here:
My husband Adrian and I run a small holding in the Galloway Hills of South West Scotland. We keep a flock of Coloured Ryeland sheep as well as hens and two rescue dogs. We try to live as sustainably as we can and we like to use what we produce in creative ways.
In keeping with our holistic approach we like to use our fleeces in creative ways. In the past we sent all our fleeces away to be spun into yarn but now we keep most to make felted fleece items. Friends and neighbours have taken to giving me their fleeces too which is why I can happily offer many different types of fleeces. I love the way that by making these rugs, the same sheep can provide a rug year after year.
Please note, although I carefully wash and rinse each rug, you may still find tiny bits of hay/grass/seeds hiding away in the fleece.
Should you need to wash your rug they can be popped in the machine on a wool wash at no more than 30’c, or they can be gently soaked in warm water using a wool detergent followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy.
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