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. For this particular rug I used Pinky’s fleece, you can meet Pinky 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 26 x 18 inches, measurements are taken from the back, from the widest part across the middle and the longest part from end to end. Being a smaller rug with short wool I think it would make a cute rug for a baby.
Pinky has a very dense fleece which she gets from her mum Ursi who bears a striking resemblance to a big teddy bear. Pinky’s fleece is unusual because she has retained her dark “baby wool” colouring. (Coloured Ryelands are born with very dark wool but gradually lighten as they age). You can see Pinky when she was a few days old in the gallery wearing a pink jumper kindly knitted by my mum.
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.
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.