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 bag of fleeces given to me by friends of ours who keep a small flock of Border Leicester sheep. You can see our friend Christine busy shearing in the last photo in the gallery. 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 long, extremely soft and “shaggy” and if you look closely you’ll notice the locks are well defined and there is a small, cute curl at the end of each lock.
This rug is small, but the long, luxurious locks give the illusion that it is much bigger. It measures approx. 26 inches x 18 inches measured at the longest and widest parts, (not including locks). Locks measure a whopping 4 inches! I think this rug would make an ideal bedside rug or a luxurious bath mat, it would also look nice placed on a chair, ottoman or bench to soften a room, or simply draped over the arm of a sofa to snuggle into on chilly evenings.
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:
My husband 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. Please also note, if you look closely you’ll see the tips of this rug are slightly darker than the rest of the wool, this is “clean dirt” caused by lanolin and the elements and is nigh on impossible to remove. This shows up because Border Leicester wool is almost white. The only way to get the tips as squeaky white as the rest of the wool is by breaking them off, (noooo!) or brushing the them out (eek!), neither of which I wanted to do. These Border Leicester locks are so special I didn’t want to tamper with them and spoil the look of the rug.
Should you need to wash your rug it can be gently soaked in warm water using a wool detergent followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy. I include a detailed info sheet on how to care for your rug with each rug I send out.