What is a Vegetarian Sheep Skin Rug?
It looks like a normal sheep skin rug, but it is made from the clipped fleece of the sheep, rather than the tanned hide of a dead sheep. In other words, the sheep is still alive and living a happy life. Each spring, sheep have to have their wool fleeces sheared so that they don’t overheat in the summer. Shearing, or clipping is done for animal welfare reasons, and is done by a trained shearer. The sheep should be handled gently to minimise any stress.
Felted Sheep Fleece Rugs
I hand make felted sheep fleece rugs, that look just like sheep skin rugs. They are often called vegetarian sheep skin rugs. Here are some pictures of rugs that I made from beautiful sheared fleeces.
Wool Sourced from Small Caring Smallholders
I buy my fleeces from smallholders who care about their animals. I can even tell you the name of the sheep that grew the fleece.
How Sheep Fleece Wool Rugs Are Made
For best results the fleece needs to have stayed pretty much in shape when it was sheared. Often wool that is not good enough for spinning can be made into a stunning rug. The cleaner the fleece the better, as grass, straw, twigs etc, known as vegetable matter causes problems in the felting process.
A felt wool backing (made from British wool) is wet felted onto the back of the sheared fleece, using the wet felting technique. There is a lot of manual work, cleaning, preparing and then working the fleece to make it felt. There is quite a skill applying the right amount of felting, so that it all sticks together well without over felting the beautiful locks. The rug is finally washed and dried.
Different Types of Fleeces
We have many different breeds of sheep in the UK, all having fleeces with different colours and length of locks. No two rugs will ever be the same and fleeces with a long staple length can make stunning rugs.
If you are interested in buying one of my sheep fleece rugs, browse my online shop. As we are continuously making new rugs, be sure to check back often for new rugs.