***** "Great quality British sheepskin, just what I wanted. Seller was so helpful as well." - Shirley 9.1.18
***** "Beautiful Wool! Can't wait to felt with it!" - Katie 15.12.17
This is us..
Jess & Russ and our three children, three dogs, dozen chickens, 12 Cattle and a few hundred sheep!
We started The Rushlade Wool Company in January 2017 as a diversification of our farming and a way to give our wonderful wool a better purpose! We both grew up on Devon farms and absolutely love continuing this with our children.
We started out supplying local spinners with raw wool and now offer a range of Raw wool, Yarns, garments and textiles all from our own wool.
We carefully sort all of our wool here on the farm, our yarn is spun just over the border in Cornwall and our sheepskins just a few of miles down the road in the oldest tannery in the country. We produce all of our felted rugs in house and the hand knitted items are knitted here or by Jess' Grandma!
Wool is an amazing material! It is a versatile natural material that is both Biodegradable and Renewable making it an excellent environmental choice. It is also breathable and resists dirt and odour which means that it is comfortable to wear and easy to look after with less washing required meaning that you will cut down on the house hold chores as well as saving on energy, water and detergents. On the farm we aim to reduce the use of any brought in inputs and encourage the land and the animals to work in synergy. For example, one of the reasons we bought 8 stirks in 2020 was to produce dung! The dung from cattle is a great feed for the grass and an excellent way to avoid the need for fertilisers. Where we do have inputs, mainly in additional feed for the animals over the winter, we aim to buy in bulk as much as possible to reduce our plastic and buy additional fodder close to home.
We are always happy to discuss our farm and our products and hope to be able to open the farm gates in the coming year or so.
We have a number of breeds of sheep on the farm providing a wide range of different fibres suitable for a number of different crafts, from soft and fluffy to gorgeous long locks:
The Whiteface Dartmoor
A native breed the Whiteface Dartmoor is a hardy sheep. The ewes are excellent mothers and they are all well suited to our ground on the edge of The Dartmoor National Park. We keep our best ewes pedigree to carry on the strength of this wonderful breed whilst also crossing some with a Bluefaced Leicester ram to produce the Whiteface Dartmoor Mule. A mule that is growing in popularity, it has the curls of its mother and fine lustre of its father providing us with a wonderful fibre to work with.
We are members of the Whiteface Dartmoor Breeders Association - For more information about the association and the breed have a look at their website by clicking here.
Originally a Spanish breed, the Merino is most prevalent today in Australia having declined in the UK hundreds of years ago when shepherds moved away from wool production to focus on the production of meat. The Merino has a lean body but high quality, super fine, soft wool. There aren't many in the UK with the majority of flocks here selling fleece for export.
As the fibre is super fine it is very comfortable to wear against the skin even for many that would normally find wool too itchy!
We first brought the Merino ewes into the flock in January 2017, the ewes were in lamb to a Merino Ram and gave us a year of wonderful lambs. Since then we crossed the ewes with our Whiteface Dartmoor Ram creating the Dartmoor Merino. The wool is much like its Merino mum but on a bulkier ewe, easier to shear and a better mother.
In 2019 we brough in Shaun! Shaun is our Merino ram giving up more Merino offspring into 2020. Watch this space for lots of Shaun’s offspring over the coming years!
The Merinos wool is loved by spinners and with a clean dense fibre it generally just has a dirty tip that can be combed out. We often find spinners liking to work with the Merino in the raw. Due to its fine fibre, the Merino felts well and makes a brilliant material for wet felting.
We offer Merino as Raw wool, rovings and in three weights of yarn as dyed or natural.
Mules - North Country, Cheviot & Herdwick Mules
The Mules are sired by a Bluefaced Leicester Ram which improves the fleece providing softer, longer and finer locks of wool whilst retaining some of the mothers characteristics.
The Teeswater produces long free hanging locks of wool. The long locks are wonderfully soft and versatile to a number of crafts. When crossed with a Dalesbred Ewe, the Teeswaters characteristics are passed on to the Masham which is a renowned commercial half-bred.
These wonderful strong ewes have striking black faces and long white fleece. Surprisingly soft for a hill breed, these horned ewes are excellent mothers and run the hills of our farm beautifully. They are an absolute joy to see and bring wonderful lambs to the flock each year. Generally their wool is used to make our wonderful felted rugs and similar products.
Texels and Beltex
Often the shearling wool of our Texels is fantastic for spinning but often not popular with spinners and knitters. The structure of the fibre is however great as stuffing for cushions and other similar makes. We always keep a stock for our own makes and are happy to provide raw or washed to order.
All of our fleeces are available via our website but many are in limited supply so we would always recommend getting in touch to pre-order. To do this please email firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE PRESS
'Devon and Cornwall' | TrueNorth for More4 | 2018
In 2018 we worked with the production company TrueNorth on their series 'Devon and Cornwall' for TV channels More4 and Channel 4. In our episode the team followed us on our journey to collect our first spun yarn, dyeing and to Widecombe Fair along with our daily farming lives. You may also spot Russ in other episode where he appeared in his role as a livestock auctioneer and commentating at a charity speed shear!
Feature:'The Dye Lot' | Simply Crochet Magazine Issue 109 | April 2021
Using some of our Masham DK in 'Crocus', designer Emma Leith created a fabulous dream catcher for which the pattern was available in the issue for readers to recreate.
The Fashion Studies Journal | Farming Fashion: Faces and Landscapes of South West England Fibre Farms | Emma Hague, South West Fibre Shed
'A goal of the UK fibre shed movement over the last 2 years has been to bring together the worlds of fashion and farming'. Challenging consumers to question not only 'who made my clothes?' but 'who grew my clothes?'
The piece is full of gorgeous images by the Wonderfull Hatty Bell and audio from producers including Jess, The Rushlade Wool Company.