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!
I made this rug the “upside down” way, scroll down on the page “how I make felted fleece rugs” to see this rug in the making.
The reason it is shaped like a pasta bow is because only the central part of the fleece was intact. The rest of it just came apart in my hands so I will use the remaining locks to make into a cushion.
This rug measures 37 inches long and 22 inches wide at the widest parts. The bit across the middle measures 15 inches. The locks measure between 2 and 3 inches and are “puffy” with a crimp running through and defined tips. Because the locks are so “puffy” the fleece feels thick and “bouncy”. And did I mention it is incredibly soft? 😊
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. Oh, and never use fabric conditioner/softener, it does terrible things to natural fibres.