Sheepskins

Shelagh with some sheepskinsThese are from the ram lambs which are killed for meat. We salt the skins and then send them to Mary Macalister for tanning at her tannery at Torrisdale Castle, Carradale, Argyll. They can’t be processed by machine as the staple is too long. Mary does the tanning by hand, organically curing with acacia bark.

SheepskinThe finished product has wool with a long silky lustrous staple and are bigger than a normal sheepskin. The white fleeces often have a golden tinge. When they are returned to us we have to pick out all the bits of straw and hayseeds that are still in the fleece. It can’t be combed out as normal processing would do and this would separate the fibres, lose the curl and change the character of the skin

Care of the Skin

The white skins are often soft and delicate - suitable as a throw on a chair or a bedside rug. The black skins sometimes have a very tight wiry staple and are more tolerant of hard wear.

To wash your sheep skin put it in a wool wash in the machine and dry flat away from heat. When half dry work the skin at the back to make it supple. Never brush out or vaccuum the skin, give it a good shake instead.  Animal claws pull out the curls and make the fleece fluffy.

Black sheepskin