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 Jacob fleece which I got from a friendly smallholding in Devon (http://farmerdixon.co.uk/)
This “mini rug” is made using wool from one of their Jacob sheep. Jacobs have lovely fleeces, they are naturally “spotty” and their wool is soft to the touch, thick and springy. Not only do they have fabulous fleeces, Jacobs are fun sheep with plenty of personality. Interestingly, it is thought that they originated in the Middle East and came to Britain via Spain on the Armada although nobody knows for sure. One thing we do know is that they get their name from Jacob in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible where it is written that Jacob took every speckled and spotted sheep from his father-in-law’s flock and bred them to produce even more spotty sheep. Who knows, perhaps the forefathers of the Jacob sheep we know today did indeed originate in the Middle East?
This mini rug measures approx. 24 inches in length from top to bottom measured on the back at the longest points, and approx. 16 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure 1.5 inches with longer more flowy wool at the “britches”.
The wool is “fuzzy soft” to the touch, densely packed, and springy. The locks of wool are “puffy” and each is tipped with a little curl. At the “britches” the wool is a bit longer (3″), flowy and fluffy giving the appearance of the rug having fluffy pantaloons.
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. See how I make them here.
I’m a huge fan of using homemade and/or organic products for everything around the house, including washing wool. This rug is washed in “Sonett” olive oil laundry liquid for wool and silk. It is then rinsed in spring water with a splash of our homemade apple cider vinegar with a few drops of organic lavender oil (as a moth repellent).
A little disclaimer: although I soak, wash and rinse each rug I make, (sometimes I’ll wash a rug several times over depending on how adventurous the sheep has been on her travels through the pastures and what she has collected in her wool over the year), it’s likely you’ll still find little “meadow reminders” hiding away in the fibres. Hopefully not too many though! I do go through each fleece after it’s been washed and dried and pick out any remaining “meadow bits”, but as you can imagine, it would be impossible to remove every single little seed.
Last but not least, if you’re wondering how to care for and wash your rug, please don’t worry, I include an info sheet with every rug I send out.