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 from a collection of fleeces from our friends who keep a happy flock of Herdwicks, Herdwick x Texels and Mules. They have the same philosophy as us, running a small operation which allows them to get to know each sheep and build up a friendship with them.
I made this rug from a fleece belonging to one of friends’ Mules. Mules are great little sheep – they are the offspring of a “hill bred” mum (usually Swaledale or Scottish Blackface), and a lowland dad, (usually a Blueface Leicester). This Mule fleece actually comes from a Swaledale x Blueface Leicester lady. Mules are specifically bred to bring together the best characteristics of lowland and hill bred sheep. They make terrific mums and are hardy enough to sustain a Scottish winter out on the hills. But best of all, Mules have thick, lustrous coats which isn’t surprising as both parents have long, thick, lovely fleeces. I love working with Mule fleeces, each rug comes out great and they felt really well.
This creamy coloured rug was a joy to make, when I got the fleece out to see what I’d be working with I jumped for joy, I knew it would be a beauty, firstly it was clean which makes life much easier, less picking through and removing twigs and hay etc which can take hours!! I also noticed the long, lustrous locks and silky smooth texture and couldnt wait to get started. I knew I’d enjoy putting this rug together and I wasn’t disappointed 😊
This rug measures approx. 36 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 24 inches across the middle (not including locks). Locks measure between 4 and 5 inches. This rug would make an ideal bedside rug or even a luxurious bath mat. It has quite a lot of weight to it and drapes well, it would 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.
Should you need to wash your rug they can be gently soaked in warm water using a wool detergent followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy.