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 “North Country Mule Hog” fleece from Marwhirn Farm in the village. I’m often at Marwhirn as I help out in their garden, snipping and pruning away to the background tunes of sheep baa-ing and cows moo-ing. You couldn’t meet a nicer farming family and I really love going there. As a result, working with fleeces from Marwhirn is a joy.
Hogs are “teenage” sheep who have brilliant quality wool thanks to not having yet had lambs. The stress of lambing can sometimes affect wool quality so when I work with a hog fleece I’ll know that the wool is going to be great.
North Country Cheviot Mules are lovely sheep with their silky soft, springy, creamy coloured fleeces. They’re the result of crossing a Blue Faced Leicester tup with a North Country Cheviot ewe. While Cheviots have dense, springy, tightly packed wool, the Blue Faced Leicester has luxuriously long and silky wool. As you can imagine, the combination of these characteristics brings about a sheep with a truly lovely fleece.
Please note, there is a small patch of pink marker spray stain on the fleece. This doesn’t wash out unless you use industrial methods which I don’t. When I laid the fleece out before felting it I removed most of the pink wool, however I couldn’t discard any more as it would have spoiled the shape of the rug. It isn’t very noticeable and does not jump out at you. If you zoom in on the photos you should be able to see it. Small marks and stains on fleeces are a normal occurrence, if you click here you can read more about this.
Taken from the back, measurements are: approx. 41 inches in length from top to bottom, and approx. 28 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure approx. 4 inches with longer ones around the britches area making the rug appear bigger when you look at it face up.
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 on her fleece over the year), it’s likely you’ll find little “meadow reminders” hiding away in the wool. 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.
Finally, if you’re wondering how to wash your rug yourself, please don’t worry, I include an info sheet of “woolly washing tips” with every rug I send out.