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 a friend’s farm nearby. Christine and her husband Russell run a smallholding in the rolling hills near Dumfries. They keep dogs, horses and a friendly flock of Mules, Herdwicks and Herdwick Texel crosses. Christine also runs a successful farm-sitting business and is our number one lady for looking after our menagerie if we ever leave the farm. She is a real gem and we’re so lucky to know her.
I made this rug from a fleece belonging to one Christine’s Herdwick Texel crosses. Both Herdwicks (Herdies as they are affectionally known) and Texels have extremely thick, dense fleeces which are well suited to rug making. The wool is on the courser end of the scale but is still incredibly soft and tactile. The thickness and denseness of the wool fibres gives this rug a “deep pile” feel. It is very strokable and cuddly 😊
I decided to make this rug “fleece shaped” rather than rectangular. I recently devised a method which allows me to make rugs of any shape which makes life rather exciting in the girl shed/workshop! The method involves long lengths of cardboard and tin foil which just goes to show anything in the house can have multiple uses, particularly handy during the Covid crisis when things are hard to come by!
This creamy coloured rug measures approx. 36 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 26 inches across the middle (including locks). Locks measure approx. 2 inches. This rug would make an ideal bedside rug or luxurious bath mat. It would also work well 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 things from these fleeces, the same sheep can provide a rug or a cushion 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.
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