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.
I made this rug from wool from our very own flock of Coloured Ryelands. I used Ynca’s fleece, you can meet Ynca here:
We take care not to use chemicals or anything on our fleeces which we wouldn’t want to touch with our bare hands. For information on what goes in, (or more to the point, what doesn’t go in) to our fleeces please click here:
Ryeland wool is thick, soft and springy (the springiness is due to a cute little crimp running through each and every wool fibre). It is on the finer end of the “wool micron” scale and for this reason it’s not as scratchy as some traditional wools can be.
Ryeland sheep are a short-woolled breed, and while some people might think they’re not as glamorous as their longer woolled cousins, personally I think what their wool lacks in length is made up for in cuddle-ability, softness and springiness.
This rug measures 24 x 17 inches, measurements are taken from the back, from the widest part across the middle and the longest part from end to end.
Ynca’s fleece is unusual, she has a look of a leopard print about her, her fleece is every colour a Ryeland sheep can be; cream, brown, beige and grey, all mixed together in the most delightful way. She’s a real cutey and a little cheeky too, truth be told.
I decided to make a mini rug from Ynca’s fleece because her wool was tricky to work with being on the shorter side at just an inch long it was hard to handle and really fiddly to lay out. So, I thought I’d make a mini rug to save my sanity! Now it is made I’m very pleased with it and think it would make a fabulous baby rug. The wool is organic and unfluffy. In fact, more or less as it is on Ynca herself, just a lot cleaner! You can see Ynca on the photos in the gallery. If you’re wondering why her name begins with a “Y” rather than the more usual “I”, this is because she was born in the year of the “Y” (all Ryeland lambs born are named starting with the same letter changing every year according to the alphabet).
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 and everything is done by me alone. The bigger the rug, the longer it takes. This rug took me three days 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.
Please also note, I added some drops of organic lavender essential oil to the rinse water as a natural moth repellent, in case you’re wondering why our sheep smell of lavender.
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.