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 Jacob fleece I acquired from a farm in Devon. http://farmerdixon.co.uk/
They had put a notice on Twitter saying they had some fleeces up for grabs that would otherwise be going to British Wool. When I spotted they had Jacob fleeces on the list I contacted them immediately.
Jacobs have THE MOST GORGEOUS fleeces, soft, thick and really tactile. Jacob sheep are full of personality with their spotty wool and four horns. I also love the fact that there is legend and folklore attached to Jacobs, some even say they appear in the Bible!
This rug is quite big and heavy, it measures: 43” x 28” (not inc. locks) measured from top to bottom and across the middle at the widest bit.
Locks measure between 3 and 4 inches. The locks are “puffy” with a crimp running through and defined tips. Because the locks are so “puffy” the fleece feels thick and “bouncy”. It’s a very tactile rug for this reason, you would want to stand on it all day and let your toes unwind and relax.
Please note there is a small, pale pink stain (marker spray) on the wool, I’ve shown this in picture “5” in the gallery. I’m currently working on an info page about marks on fleeces (should be published on our site this week). There are lots of reasons we mark sheep, the most common one is to identify the flock. Others include marking to show a sheep has had its annual vaccination against pneumonia and soil diseases, raddle mark, or pregnancy scan mark. The mark on this rug doesn’t spring out at you unless you know it’s there, it appears on the tips of three locks. I’m sorry it’s impossible to wash these marks out which is why small coloured blotches can sometimes appear on the rugs I make. I quite like them because they tell me a little bit about the sheep and what she’s been getting up to.
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 about 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.
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. It can also be popped in the machine on a wool cycle at no more than 30’c, however please note there might be a risk of slight shrinkage if machine washed.