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 Bluemli’s fleece, you can meet Bluemli 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, I think what their wool lacks in length is made up for in cuddle-ability, softness and springiness. This said, Bluemli has quite long wool for the breed, she has a lovely fleece, I know I’m biased because she’s one of our girls, but she’s a very pretty lady 😊
This rug measures 28 x 21 inches, measurements are taken from the widest bit across the middle and the longest big from end to end.
This rug is predominantly cream in colour, however, if you look very carefully between the locks, not all of them, but some of them will have a tiny hint of grey near the base. This is only discernible if you peek really closely, right between the locks. You will also notice the bottom end of the rug (around the “breeches”) is slightly more grey-beige. This little mystery comes about because Coloured Ryelands are born with the cutest black wool, (see photos). They retain this dark colouring as lambs and toddlers, but as they mature into adult sheep their wool gradually gets lighter and lighter. When they reach about 3, their dark baby wool will have almost completely disappeared. Bluemli is 7 now so has lost nearly all of her baby colouring, however there is still a tiny hint if you look very carefully.
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.