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.
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:
This rug is made from a Border Leicester fleece. It comes from our friends Christine & Russell who run a smallholding in Dumfries where they keep a flock of friendly sheep as well as ponies and dogs. Click here for info:
Border Leicesters are one of the “big British sheep breeds” – they’re easily recognised as they carry themselves in a certain upright way, kind of proudly, and rightly so, they are lovely sheep.
Their wool is very pale cream, almost white, long and “shaggy”. If you look closely, you’ll notice the locks are well defined and there is a small curl at the end of each lock. Border Leicester wool is always lovely, I really enjoy working with it, it has a soft, silky feel and the curly tips are very cute and make me smile.
This fleece had lovely long “britches” which I’ve incorporated into the rug. I love making rugs with “pantaloons”, I think they’re so cute. This “britches wool” is long and wavy and completely different from the curly wool making up the rest of the fleece. The “britches wool” is also a bit courser than the rest of the fleece and is a little “sheddy”. Please don’t worry though, this is minimal shedding and once the wool settles will become less and less so. The “britches wool” is also slightly darker than the rest of the fleece with pretty caramel tones. Most sheep tend to have this special type of wool around their back legs, it doesn’t only look cute, but the longer, courser wool is naturally water repellent which is quite handy considering sheep spend most of their lives out in the elements!
This rug measures approx. 40 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 27 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure between 3 and 6 inches with the longest locks around the “britches” making the rug appear bigger when it is laid flat.
Please note, although I thoroughly wash and rinse each rug I make, you may still find tiny bits of hay/moss/seeds hiding away in the fleece. After each rug is washed and dried I go through it and pick out any bits of hay etc still clinging to the wool. However, without resorting to industrial cleaning, if you look closely, you are sure to find a few “meadow sprinklings” still hiding away.
Please also note, there is a faint patch of blue marker spray (dye), running down the centre of this rug. I removed most of the blue wool as I made the rug, (click here for info on why sheep have coloured markings on their fleeces) but didn’t want to discard more locks than I had to for fear of throwing away the nicest bits of wool! The blue patch is very faint and doesn’t “jump out at you”. If you zoom in on the photos you will see what it looks like.
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. More washing info will be included with the rug when I send it out.
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.