Making Sheep Skin Rugs

There are so many projects that have been attempted around here in the name of 4-H.  Many have been successes while a few have flopped.  But lessons have been learned along the way.  The latest venture is making sheep skin rugs.

We raise Registered Cheviot sheep and have been breeding, showing and selling them for over 6 years.  The kids have done well with the 4-H sheep and Vet Science project.  But each year they must find new goals for their project.  A couple of years ago Hannah worked with sheep by products including wool and milk.  We had a couple of failed attempts at sheep cheese, but some yummy sheep milk ice cream.  Now Rachael is in the process of tanning sheep pelts in hopes of making sheep skin rugs. 

Since we grow the sheep it is not hard to get the pelts.  The work involved seemed pretty easy when you read about it here:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1975-11-01/Sheepskin-Rugs.aspx

But the actual work has turned out to be time consuming and a bit confusing.  There is actually little info out there and we have yet to find anyone who has actually done it.  Several people mentioned that they had thought about it or thought it was a great idea.  At this point we are waiting for clarification of a needed acid, or do we need to do this step at all? 

If it works, this could be a good side business for the kids.  As we get into it, getting the pelts from local producers will not be a problem, and once we figure out the process we can get better at it.  The rugs sell for $100+ on the internet, so if it works, there is a bit of money to be made.

On a side note, I am glad that we can visit our local store for our clothes, shoes, food, etc.  I admire the pioneer women who carved a living for herself and family out of what she could produce on her plot of land.  It is hard work!  Especailly with all the rocks here in TN.

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About dwolters

mama to 4 wonderful kids. live on a farm and raise sheep
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