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 Wart’s fleece. Wart, along with his pal Wallace are fathers to our youngest generation of woolly ones.
While Wallace is somewhat excitable, Wart is laid back and cool as a cucumber. At tupping time Wart never rushes things. He prefers to let the girls get to know him nice and slowly, asking them questions, telling interesting stories and getting them drinks at the trough. Despite their differences, both boys are very popular with the ladies who would all agree that they have equal merits as well as being very handsome.
As you can see from his picture in the gallery (second photo), Wart’s fleece is a delicious dark chocolate brown with hints of silver running through it, if you look closely you will see the locks have beige tips, rather like highlights.
The “Wart rug” is a very masculine rug. The wool is not velvety soft like the rugs I make from the girls’ fleeces, it is wiry and dense, and means business. The finished result is the kind of rug you could imagine a caveman flinging across his knees on a chilly night.
On closer inspection of the “Wart rug” you will see a tight crimp running through the individual wool fibres of each lock. This crimp is what makes Ryeland wool so springy and bouncy. You will also notice how fine the fibres are which is what makes the wool so soft and Ryeland sheep so cuddly.
The “Wart rug “measures approx 34 by 24 inches, (including locks). The locks measure roughly 2”. It would be ideal as a bedside rug where footfall is light and barefeet will get to benefit from its softness and springiness. It would also work well as a throw, placed on a chair or bench to soften a room, or draped over the arm of a sofa.
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 at: making-felted-fleece-rugs.
My husband 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.
We do not use chemicals on our sheep, we are lucky, there are not many flies up here in the hills. In the summer we spray them as a precaution, but use an organic product based on lemons which smells lovely. As we cuddle our sheep frequently and use their fleeces to make things with we prefer to keep things natural.
Until recently Ryeland sheep were considered to be a “rare breed”. This is partly why we chose to keep them as we wanted to boost numbers. They are also the ideal sheep for smallholders as they’re friendly and easy to handle. As an added and wonderful bonus, they happen to be a top quality wool breed.
In keeping with our holistic approach I wanted to make more use of their fleeces. We send some away to be spun into yarn but recently I decided to try something different, rug making! 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 yourself, felted rugs respond well to a gentle soak in a detergent specifically for wool, followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy. Alternatively they’re also fine being machine washed on the wool cycle in a low temperature (no more than 30’c), using a wool detergent as before.
A final wee note, regarding postage, should you wish to order more than one rug please contact me as I might be able to combine postage costs depending on where you are and size of rugs you would like.