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 friends of ours who run a smallholding just outside Dumfries. They keep a flock of Cheviots, Herdwicks, Herdwick-Texel crosses and Mules. Their sheep are cute and friendly, and like ours, all have names.
This particular rug is made from a thick and bouncy fleece from a Herdy-Texel cross. To be honest, it wasn’t the easiest of rugs to make, the wool is thick and carpet like and wasn’t as well behaved as other fleeces I’ve worked with. I almost gave up on it, those locks just wouldn’t stay put, but in the end it has turned into a rather cute little rug. More like a mat really, the wool is firm and springy to the touch, like one of those expensive wool carpets with a deep pile. As with most of the rugs I make, I gave it “breeches”, (the bits at each side at the bottom). To get frilly breeches I rootled around in my spare wool bag for some longer locks so the breeches actually come from a Cheviot fleece I think.
You might notice that the photo showing the back of the rug has peculiar white spots here and there. This is where I’ve had to push some locks through using a needle felting tool as some of the locks wouldn’t take in the usual method, (as I mentioned, this wasn’t the most well behaved of fleeces I’ve worked with) 😉
This is a smaller sized rug measuring approx. 27 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 19 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure approx. 3 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 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 they can be popped in the machine on a wool wash at no more than 30’c, or they can be gently soaked in warm water using a wool detergent followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy.
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