Sheepskin with felted back

Posted on do 04 augustus 2022 in blog

We did an experiment with felting a back to a recently shaved fleece. The wool came from a Ouessant sheep. Below is a photo series on how we created a sheepskin without having to kill a sheep.

Preparing the fleece

The fleece we started with; fully detached from the sheep.

We mostly followed the instructions layed out in this video: Leicester Longwool Sheep - Having a go at making a fleece rug by wet felting. Nicely explained and I can confirm the process works as described.

I saw this video Mongolian Felt Making for yurt (Ger) a while ago. It is essentially the same process, only on a larger scale. As an aside, I also found it interesting to see the whole process of constructing a yurt: Making a Yurt in Kyrgyzstan. The felting of the mats is shown from timestamp 12:35 and in this video is more mechanized than in the first video.

Table with plastic sheet and broomstick.

Table with plastic sheet and broomstick.

Placing the fleece sheet on the table.

Putting the fleece upside down on the platic sheet on the table.

Taking a closer look at the fleece.

A close-up look.

Two additional layers of wool for felting.

After adding two layers of "carded" wool.

Adding hot soapy water to the whole thing.

Soaking wet with boiling hot soapy water.

The part not show is that we then put a net curtain over the top and started padding down the wool.

After the wool was sufficiently padded down, we started rubbing in a single direction. This starts the felting process. After a while we started rubbing in circles.

At some point, I believe after about 15-20 minutes, the wool started coming through the curtain. We then rolled the fleece with the plastic on the broomstick and tied the roll with string to keep it in place. After another 20 minutes of vigourously rolling, we untied the whole thing.

Front after felting, still wet.

Front side after felting. First by hand, then by rolling in plastic.

Back after felting, still wet.

Back side after felting.

We rinsed the sheepskin in cold water and then let it dry on a rack.

Drying the sheepskin

Drying on a rack.

Front after drying

Front side after drying and fluffing up.

Front and part of the back after drying

Showing part of the felted back.