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 our neighbours. They keep a flock of Cheviots who have gorgeous fleeces, long, springy, curly and lustrous. I rootled around in my big bag of fleeces and chose a “hog” fleece to make this rug. A “hog” is a young sheep, older than a lamb, but younger than a shearling. This fleece still contains baby wool and because a hog wouldn’t have gone through the stress of giving birth yet, the wool is of amazing quality, full of bounce with a silky texture.
I could wax lyrical for ages about this fleece so I’ll try not to go over board, but I fell in love with the corkscrew spirally curls while I was making this rug. Some of the locks are really long, about 5 inches, 6 if you stretch them out. Other curls are shorter and I nestled the shorter ones in amongst the longer ones because they were so soft and cute I didn’t want to leave any out. The overall result is a very thick, springy fleece which literally invites you to keep stroking it and patting the curls up and down which is very therapeutic actually.
Recently I’ve devised a method which allows me to make “fleece shaped” rugs involving strips of cardboard and tin foil. I love my new method so I think all rugs from now on will be made this way. I lay out a fleece shaped frame with the cardboard, lay my carded batts on the bottom to make the base of the rug, then I place the carefully selected individual“beautifully curly spirally” locks on top. This takes a few days but is totally worth the effort because the end result is a rug like this one 😊
This creamy coloured rug measures approx. 42 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 30 inches across the middle at the tubbiest part (including locks). The locks measure approx. 5 inches (with the shorter spirals of about 3 inches nestled in between). This is a weighty rug, heavier than the ones I normally make, it must be all those spirals. It’s a real beauty and would make a gorgeous bedside rug, you would never get very far as once your feet touch it they won’t want to move! It would also look very elegant draped across a bed or an ottoman. It’s almost too nice to use as a fireside rug but if you’re not very messy around your fire, then it would look stunning I’m sure.
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 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.