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.
This rug is made from a collection of fleeces kindly given to me by our neighbours. They keep a flock of Cheviots who have luxuriously long wool, they are predominantly white, so when a dark one appears it is very special.
Cheviots get their name from the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. As mentioned, they are mainly white woolled but occasionally a brown one pops up out of nowhere. This is probably a result of their Celtic ancestor – the “Scottish Dun Face” – a primitive sheep who were a range of colours; white, black, brown and dun. When the Romans arrived in the region bringing with them flocks of longer woolled, white sheep, it is believed that they bred their sheep with the Celtic Dun Face which produced a hardy, mostly white, long woolled sheep – the early ancestor of the Cheviot we know it today.
When I took this fleece out of its bag I realised it was a beauty straight away. That said, it was tricky to work with as it only just fitted on my table. I pondered whether it might jump off at any moment and give me a bear hug!! I was glad I persevered with it because once it came together and felted it turned into a really lovely rug.
It measures approx. 38 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 25 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure approx. 6 inches making the rug appear bigger when it is laid flat.
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. The bigger the rug, the longer it takes. This rug took me well over a week to make, see how I make them here:
My husband Adrian and I run a small holding in the Galloway Hills of South West Scotland. We keep a flock of Coloured Ryeland sheep as well as hens and two rescue dogs. We try to live as sustainably as we can and we like to use what we produce in creative ways.
In keeping with our holistic approach we like to use our fleeces in creative ways. In the past we sent all our fleeces away to be spun into yarn but now we keep most to make felted fleece items. Friends and neighbours have taken to giving me their fleeces too which is why I can happily offer many different types of fleeces. I love the way that by making these rugs, the same sheep can provide a rug year after year.
Please note, although I carefully wash and rinse each rug, you may still find tiny bits of hay/grass/seeds hiding away in the fleece.
Finally, should you need to wash your rug it can gently soaked in warm water using a wool/silk detergent followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy. I will include more detailed washing instructions with the rug when I send it out.