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 from a farm in Devon. There’s a bit of a story behind how I acquired this spotty, personality filled fleece, it all started with a tweet!
I’m not on “twitter” myself but my hubby Adrian is. One evening last week he popped his head round the corner of my study whilst I was having a bit of “me time” looking at tops on ebay. I was a teeny bit irritated truth be told because I don’t get much time to browse tops and I really enjoy it when I get the chance. So I was hoping for a cup of tea to make it worth the interruption. Sadly there was no tea, only hubby with a random announcement: “There’s a farm in Devon selling off some fleeces before they get sent to British Wool” he said. “No”, I said almost before he’d finished, (I could feel the tiniest of small moods coming on) I have a shed full of fleeces, so many they are coming out of my ears. But curiosity got the better of me and after hubby had hastily retreated I had a sneaky peek at the twitter post. “Hmm I thought, they have spotty Jacob fleeces”!! I love Jacob sheep, they’re great! Spotty and fluffy with the softest of fleeces. So before I had time to think about it I found myself contacting the lady from the farm in Devon and ordering 10!! Yes, 10, in for a penny …
It turns out the farm in Devon is a fabulous place which runs smallholder courses and sells all sorts of things, check them out: http://farmerdixon.co.uk/training-courses/
The fleeces arrived super quickly in huge bundles that were pretty heavy. Rocket is my middle name so I didn’t even put them in the shed before I’d undone the first bag and revealed fleece number one.
It was just like a Neapolitan ice cream, multi coloured and completely mouth-watering!!
I got to work on it straight away, and here it is!! The end result is a spotty, sumptuous, thickly fleeced rug which makes my heart skip a beat it is so pretty.
It measures: 36” x 21” measured from top to bottom and across the middle at the widest bit.
Locks measure between 2 and 3 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 have a little holiday.
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.
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