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 Texel x Herdwick fleece. It comes from our friends Christine & Russell who run a smallholding in Dumfries where they keep a flock of several different breeds of sheep as well as ponies and dogs. They have a similar ethos to us, each of their sheep have names and are friendly and cuddly.
Texel x Herdwick sheep have creamy coloured, thick and springy wool. Click here for further info about this breed and the wool characteristics of these lovely sheep.
This rug has densely packed, cute “puffy” locks, with longer more “flowy” locks around the “legs”. This “britches wool” is long and wavy and completely different from the wool making up the rest of the fleece. It’s also a bit courser than the rest of the fleece and a little “sheddy”. Please don’t worry though, this is minimal shedding and once the wool settles will become less and less so. Most sheep tend to have this special type of wool around their back legs, it doesn’t only look cute, but the longer, courser wool is naturally water repellent which is quite handy considering sheep spend most of their lives out in the elements!
Most Texel x Herdwick sheep are creamy-white in colour with only the smallest hint of fawny-grey colouring from their Herdwick relatives. (Herdwicks are mostly grey & fawn). This fleece however is unusual because it has lots of darker tones of grey and fawn running through it. There is no mistaking the Herdwick in this fleece😊! The texture of the wool is dense and springy and “fuzzy soft” to the touch. Interestingly, the darker wool is a little courser than the creamy wool.
You’ll notice as you scroll through the photos that there’s a lavender coloured “splodge” in the middle of the fleece. This is a flock mark and I left it in place as removing the stained wool would have compromised the shape of the rug. You can read all about fleece markings if you click here. Please note, these stains cannot be washed out but they do fade over time.
The rug measures approx. 39 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 30 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure approx. 3 inches with even longer locks around the “britches” making the rug appear bigger when it is laid 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 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.