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.
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:
This rug is made from a Border Leicester fleece. It comes from friends of ours who run a smallholding in Crocketford just outside Dumfries. This hardworking young couple keep a variety of different sheep as well as dogs and horses. They are only too happy for me to use their fleeces which would otherwise go to waste on their compost heap.
Border Leicesters are one of the “big British sheep breeds” – they’re easily recognised as they carry themselves in a certain upright way, kind of proudly, and rightly so, they are lovely sheep.
Their wool is very pale cream, almost white, medium to long in length and “shaggy”. If you look closely, you’ll notice the locks are well defined and there is a small curl at the end of each lock. Border Leicester wool is always lovely, I really enjoy working with it, it has a soft, silky feel and the curly tips are very cute and make me smile.
This rug measures approx. 34 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 23 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure approx. 4 inches with longer more flowy wool around the “britches”.
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.
Please also note, natural wool rugs can be prone to a little shedding after having been washed, particularly longer woolled fleeces such as this one. This will calm down once the fibres settle.
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.