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.
I made this rug from a fleece which I acquired from “South Yeo Farm East” in Devon. This family farm specialises in rare breeds and also run training courses for smallholders. Every so often they sell some of their rare breed sheep fleeces which get snapped up by people like me 😊 This little rug is made from one of their spotty Jacob fleeces.
Jacob sheep have really soft fleeces which you just can’t stop stroking it is so thick and squishy. Jacobs are one of my favourite sheep because their wool is so lovely to handle and I also cannot resist a spotty sheep! (You’d also be correct in thinking they are pretty rare too!)
Not only do they have fab fleeces, Jacobs are fun little 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 rug is a mini rug, more of a mat really, measuring 25 x 17 inches measured on the back at the widest parts (not including locks). The locks measure between 3 inches with longer wool around the britches.
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 and everything is done by me alone. Click here to see how I make them:
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.