Sheepskin rug without the dead sheep?
November 19, 2008 4:27 PM   Subscribe

I want to sleep on a sheepskin rug like this one, but I do not use or buy leather. What alternatives or fakes are out there?

I really love sheepskin rugs, but as part of my vegetarianism, I do not use or buy leather. Most of the fake sheepskin products I've seen do not appeal to me at all - they tend to become crushed or matted quite quickly, and they don't have the lovely depth or warmth that real sheepskin has. They also tend to look sort of tatty.

I want a fake sheepskin rug that is the same size, or can be cut to the same size, as a real sheepskin (though it doesn't have to be that shape). Real wool (minus the leather) would be awesome, but I'm not sure such a product exists, since I'm not just looking for a wool blanket. I don't care at all about the fake leather side as long as it isn't stiff. I'm not looking for any bright or artificial colors.

Googling has been fruitless so far - every company claims their fake sheepskin-style cloth feels *exactly* like the real thing, but none of them look convincing. Who do I trust? Any suggestions? Help me, hive mind!
posted by Cygnet to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
ikea -

ecofo -
posted by alice ayres at 4:40 PM on November 19, 2008

I guess maybe completely unhelpful and ignorant, BUT because I don't know you or your root reasons for vegetarianism (I'm assuming ethical, but I don't know what exact things you're not a fan of), I'm just going to ask if you've considered a NON-mass market authentic one?

As in one locally produced, by real farmers and artisans, not in a factory in China?

I'm gonna guess that's completely not an option because you don't like the death of the creature moreso than you dislike the way in which the animal is raised/treated/killed/processed, but on the off chance, it's an idea.
posted by TomMelee at 5:05 PM on November 19, 2008

TomMelee - You guessed correctly - I'm not interested, for ethical reasons, in buying a real sheepskin, even if it came from a small artisan farmer. However, I do appreciate that there can be a world of difference between a run-of-the-mill commercial product and an artisan one, so thanks for the suggestion. I had previously considered the possibility of inheriting an old sheepskin, but decided against that also.
posted by Cygnet at 5:22 PM on November 19, 2008

There's this. But it sounds like you were there, already. I'm a little mystified that you are ethically against using the real thing, but you want it to "look convincingly" like the real thing. A real one is going to have the sheepskin part; you can't glue the real fur to a fake backing. In addition, there's this argument that just shearing sheep is not cool, either.
posted by beagle at 7:00 PM on November 19, 2008

Beagle - I don't want it to look like the real thing, I want it to feel like the real thing. This isn't going to be an area rug; I'd like to sleep on it. By "look convincing", I meant that none of the fake sheepskins I had seen looked like they were quality products - they weren't "convincing me" of their worth - now I realize that my wording was unclear.

It's true that shearing sheep can be painful and inhumane. I take that very seriously; I've visited several farms and observed shearing. Some farms treated their sheep in ways that were not acceptable to me; others (for example, a farm in VT with only a few sheep) were much more gentle and the sheep did not bleed or struggle and were left with a reasonable amount of fur for themselves. I didn't say this in my original question, but I investigate the source of any animal product/food I consume or purchase thoroughly, and if somebody had suggested here a product containing real wool, I would have investigated the source of that wool before buying.

I had also read, somewhere on the internet, that sometimes "sheepskin" coats are faked by sewing real wool in to fake leather. Perhaps this is not true. However, I thought it might be, and I wondered if the same sort of thing was done for sheepskin rugs.
posted by Cygnet at 7:29 PM on November 19, 2008

Have you tried looking at wool mattress pads? Here's one that appears to be wool pile on a cotton backing.
posted by cabingirl at 7:31 PM on November 19, 2008

I had this mattress pad called Cuddle ewe. It is not the sheepskin rug, but a mattress stuffed with wool. It was very comfortable to sleep on. Stayed warm in the winter and didn't sweat in the summer.
posted by JujuB at 8:54 PM on November 19, 2008

Cabingirl - Thank you! Just what I needed. Real wool sewn on to a cotton backing. And available from loads of different places, including ones that list sources. Great!
posted by Cygnet at 9:38 AM on November 20, 2008

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