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, Christine and Russell McGahan, who run a smallholding in the village of Crocketford near Dumfries. They have a similar ethos to us; running their small farm in a sustainable way, whilst maintaining a friendly relationship with their animals. All their sheep have names and are tame and cuddly.
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, long 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 is really weighty owing to the dense, tightly packed wool. The fleece is made up of both curly and straight locks as you’ll be able to see from the photos. There is curly wool in the middle, and straighter wool everywhere else. This is exactly how the fleece was on the sheep, I felted the rug just as it was (using the upside down method), as I wanted to showcase the natural formation of the different locks with their different textures.
Taken from the back, rug measurements are: approx. 42 inches in length from top to bottom, and approx. 27 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure between 3 and 6 inches so when you look at the rug face up it appears much bigger.
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.