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 using Yogi’s fleece from when she was first sheared at just over a year old. Her wool is a delightful shade of strawberry blonde which is unusual even for a Coloured Ryeland who are all sorts of colours, and makes Yogi very special.
We first noticed Yogi was different when she popped out of Witchy two years ago, (see pic 5), to our surprise she was totally brown, just like a chocolate button! All our other lambs start out in life black, their wool gradually fading as they get older to beigey-grey through to cream eventually. We were wondering how Yogi’s fleece would transform as she grew up and I’m pleased to report she has become our very first strawberry blonde sheep!
Yogi’s fleece is not only an unusual colour, it is also soft and dense to the touch. Her wool has the characteristic long locks of young Ryelands and being her first fleece, it is made up of her “baby wool” plus a year’s growth so is very soft. I loved working with her fleece, the wool is really tactile.
The “Yogi rug” measures approx 17 x 24 inches including locks. (Locks measure approx 2 inches). This rug would make an ideal bedside rug where footfall is light and barefeet will get to benefit from its softness. It would also work well placed on a chair, ottoman or bench to soften a room, or simply draped over the arm of a sofa. Being a small (but perfectly formed) rug, it might make a nice mat for a baby to lie on.
Please note, as I was making this rug I noticed some pieces of Yogi’s wool were a bit green looking. I realised this was from the paint spray we’d used last year to mark the sheep we had vaccinated with their annual pneumonia and soil borne diseases vaccination. This paint normally washes off in the rain but despite me washing and soaking the rug several times there’s a teeny bit still showing, sorry! Please see last photo in gallery.
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 rugs here:
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.
In keeping with our holistic approach we like to use our fleeces in creative ways. We send some away to be spun into yarn but keep some back to make felted fleece rugs. 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 these rugs yourself, they can be popped in the machine on a wool wash at no more than 30’c, or they can be gently soaked in warm water using a wool detergent followed by a refreshing vinegar rinse to keep the pH happy. For more washing and care tips, click here: