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 friends of ours, Christine and Russell who run a smallholding just outside Dumfries. They keep a flock of Cheviots, Herdwicks, Herdwick-Texel crosses and Mules. Their sheep are cute and friendly and like ours, all have names. Christine runs a farm sitting business as well as a successful equine business, you can see what she gets up to here: https://www.facebook.com/cjequineservices/
This particular rug is made from a thick and bouncy fleece from a Herdwick-Texel cross. This cross breed has a sumptuous fleece combining the thickness and warmth of the Herdwick (those hardy little sheep who roam freely across the Lake District), with the lustrous wool of the Texel who originally come from a small island off the coast of Holland in the North sea, brrrr! Like the Herdwick, they’re a hardy sheep with a thick, dense wool which is helpful if you live on an island in the North Sea.
This rug measures approx. 36 inches in length from top to bottom measured at the longest points, and approx. 24 inches across the middle at the widest part. These measurements don’t include the locks, the locks measure approx. 3 inches making the rug appear bigger when it is laid flat.
This rug is big and fluffy. You’ll be happy to know the wool doesn’t shed, although Herdwick fleeces can be prone to a bit of shedding until the wool settles, the Herdwick-Texel cross didn’t inherit this trait. What I did find though whilst working on this rug, was that I couldn’t get the locks cleaned up, they hung onto all sorts of things; seeds, dust, moss, hay, all stuck firmly in place with lanolin … the only way I could get the wool clean was by brushing it out, hence, the fluffy look.
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 by me alone, 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 it can gently soaked in warm water using a wool/silk detergent followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy. I will include more detailed washing instructions with the rug when I send it out.