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Tpyos, Google searches and the quirky effects of algorithms

Despite the best efforts of spellcheck, and often because of spellcheck, we are all very familiar with typos; annoying, funny, cute or even occasionally R rated we see them all. I type the word ‘Sheepskins’ a lot and love some of the variations I have seen, my personal favourite has to be sheepkins, but I have also mashed shepskins , shepkins and even deepskins into the keyboard. It’s a good job that Google searches often correct our ineptitude, which if anything gets worse on a mobile phone.

Where did it all go wrong?

When texting became more of a thing the outcry was of fear for the sanctity of our language. It was as if the abbreviated messages were undermining all communication. Would growing illiteracy inevitably destroy of the very fabric of society? Despite the huge risks posed by texting, the young folk still persist in growing up and becoming police officers, GP’s and annoying daily reminders that my skin is less elastic and that my knees hurt. Their spelling has improved too.

Cry for help

Pls sum 1 do sum fing 2 hlp plzzzzzz

On the backend of dartmoorsheepskins.co.uk we can see some of the searches that bring people here. There are some great typos and we come up on some unusual search terms. Terms we have never put any effort into. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take internet traffic from anywhere. Just as long as people don’t get annoyed when they arrive and find it’s just us selling sheepskins. Which brings me to the oddest search bringing folks here right now: “amazon”.

Seek and ye shall find

Google searches for dartmoor sheepskins, British sheepskins for the UK with free delivery

Mimosa searches make perfect sense as it’s one of our best selling products. We specialise in sheepskins and natural dyes. But I can only wonder how many pages of search results one has to scroll through before finding us rather than Amazon?! So I checked our site for mentions of the word amazon and found… just one:

“We have no dreams of competing with Amazon or any high street brand, what we want to do is find people like you who enjoy natural products, sourced responsibly.”

– Some bloke on dartmoorsheepskins.co.uk

Whatever brought you to our site I hope you like it. We have a mailing list where subscribers get to hear about any special deals and money off coupons. Sometimes we run competitions to win sheepskins, that sort of thing. Please feel free to add your name here. We also post pictures on Instagram (mainly of our chickens, for some reason). And we would naturally love you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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How to choose the best sheepskin

British sheepskin has always been of world-class quality. Despite massive changes in the industry, we still lead on quality. Featured image by Ayse Rifat

Most sheepskin in the UK is destroyed as a waste product of the meat industry, very few go through the tanning process (read more here). Buying British sheepskin makes a lot of sense. The climate in the UK is perfect for the development of a thick fleece with fiber in at least two layers; a very soft inner down beneath a longer thicker outer coat. It is the inner down that provides that soft snuggly feeling you want to plunge your hands into.

Ethics matter, the life of the sheep is relevant. None of our sheepskin come from sheep that were killed to make our sheepskin. Dartmoor sheepskins come from animals that have lived a wild life on Dartmoor. Our sheepskins are a byproduct of the meat industry.

Hardy breeds develop thick hides and strong fleece out in the open, they also eat lots and are quite large. The only sheep that are bigger are generally from America, where regulation of growth hormones is less strict than in the UK.

Raised outside, without fences

A minority of British sheepskin will come from animals raised indoors – we do not supply these sheepskins. The reason that these sheep are kept inside is to prevent the animals damaging their skin on the barbed wire commonly used to control animals for meat production. Ironically, the most likely animals to be given this more expensive treatment will be those with extra valuable sheepskin, rare breeds in other words. This is not to say that all rare breed sheepskins come from animal husbandry of this kind, but a single tear in a hide will render it unfit for tanning.

We have no problems with barbed wire on Dartmoor as the sheep can roam freely across thousands of acres of wild beauty. So little of the sheep that we eat are turned into sheepskin (just 0.4%) that the quality is exceptionally high. No one in the UK goes through a value-adding process on sub standard starting material.

Turkey and Australia produce a lot of sheepskins, often of high quality, but do check that you are getting a single skin rather than pieces stitched together. You may wish to spend your money more locally, supporting British farmers as you do so. With prices from £59 delivered, Buying British need not cost more.

Reduce waste and petrochemical consumption

Environmentally speaking we should be using all the sheepskins instead of disposing of them as hazardous waste. Add to this our love of faux fur, made from petrochemicals and lacking in the qualities of real fur. Fake fur has a place in saving animals lives, there is no doubt about that, but destroying fur from an already slaughtered animal only to replace it with an artificial recreation is illogical. Buying faux fur is a perfect way to help animals that are raised solely for their fur. Want a mink coat? Get faux fur. Want sheepskin? Buy British sheepskin.

What to look for when buying sheepskin

How to choose the best sheepskin: Look for; thick hide, no thin patches or holes. Symmetrical shape. Different layers of fleece, inner fluffy, and outer thicker with greater variety of pigment. No bald patches. Uniform density of fiber across hide. Attractive patterning. If buying for a baby get a shearling sheepskin with the longer hairs shaved close (just request this in the order notes at the checkout if ordering from Dartmoor Sheepskins). If buying for endurance use (as a motorbike seat cover, or to help with someone who is bed bound) choose from our standard or “seconds” products. For all other purposes, pick the one you fall in love with. Got any questions or preferences? Contact Us.

British Sheepskin
Grade A
From £
79
  • Dartmoor Sheepskin
  • Flawless Quality
  • Free UK Delivery
speckled dartmoor sheepskin
The utmost quality British Sheepskin

British Sheepskin Seconds
Grade B
£
59
  • Dartmoor Sheepskin
  • Hard-To-Spot Fault
  • Free UK Delivery
Your guests won’t notice a minor blemish and the chances are, neither will you

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Dartmoor Sheepskins – Send A Parcel Of Love

Dartmoor Sheepskins arrive beautifully packaged, as winners in our latest social media competition found out.

Many thanks to Ayse, one of three winners in our Win A Dartmoor Sheepskin Competition, for these lovely photos. Ayse is a wildlife artist (and very good in this writer’s opinion) check out her website here.

Kate won a Dartmoor Sheepskin on our Facebook Page, and kindly sent these lovely photos.

We specialise in luxury sheepskin made on Dartmoor, with prices from £50 you can afford a little luxury. We also supply very fine natural dyes, ethically sourced from around the world.

Feel free to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – we also keep a mailing list of people who get exclusive offers on sheepskins and natural dyes.

https://www.instagram.com/dartmoor_sheepskins/

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Like/Follow/Share for your chance to win a sheepskin for your Valentine*

Three people will #WinADartmoorSheepskin before Valentines Day – enter for free, read our (short) blog post with dead easy instructions…

*Or dog, whatever.

Enter our free giveaway and you could win Dartmoor Sheepskin just in time for St Valentine’s Day!

Ways to enter:

We have three lovely sheepskins to give away, and three easy ways to take part (the first two won’t cost you a penny and you don’t have to do all three).

One: Like our Facebook Page and share our competition post with your friends. You are welcome to tag people too if it’s the sort of thing they might like.

Two: Follow @Dartmoor_Skins on Twitter and share our Pinned Tweet promoting #WinADartmoorSheepskin (please add this hashtag to your retweet).

Three: Make a purchase on the site between the 1st of February and the 7th of February for a minimum of £40.

You need to have done at least one of these things before February 7th in order that we can get the prizes to the winners in time for the big day.

Small Print: Each person can have a maximum of three entries to the competition, by using all three methods. Any one person can only win a single sheepskin because sending two or three sheepskins to one person would seem unfair. On Twitter you must follow @Dartmoor_Skins and retweet our Pinned Tweet. Competition closing time will be at midnight on February 7th 2019 GMT. Actions taken after this time may not result in you being entered into the competition. Competition may be withdrawn at any time, we will do everything in our power to prevent this happening but y’know earthquakes and stuff. We will notify winners via the platform they entered on within 48 hours of the closing date. If you enter and win on Twitter you will receive a Direct Message from @Dartmoor_Skins and be @mentioned in a tweet, at this point you must contact us before Valentine’s Day February 14th to arrange delivery. If you do not make contact you forfeit the prize and you will not receive a sheepskin (unless you buy one, obviously). If you enter and win on Facebook we will tag you in the competition post and send you a chat message, again you must get in touch with us before the 14th of February or we will give the prize to someone else. If you enter and win by placing an order of £40 or more by midnight on February 7th, we will let you know by email and your sheepskin will be posted to you along with your order. Sheepskin prizes are strictly our choice, no negotiations will be entered into, it’s free and you’ll enjoy it, promise. Dog not included. Your house may be at risk, but definitely not because of these terms and conditions.

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Mimosa Hostilis: Our Best Selling Product

Mimosa Hostilis inner root bark was our best selling product of 2018, and for good reason. It holds the purple crown in our natural dye collection, and customers return again and again for two main reasons:

I LOVE how fine the powder is, I actually broke a kitchen blender on some mimosa root bark from another supplier!

RJ, Port Talbot

It’s really important that the dye comes from the right part of the plant, inner root bark makes best colours 🙂

Sara, Kildare
Fine powdered Mimosa Hostilis inner root bark
Fine powder gives better colour extraction and is easier to work with

Mimosa hostilis inner root bark can be used to recreate authentic 17th and 18th century costume dresses. Customers also use mimosa on certain military uniforms and royal court costume recreations. We also supply folks who work our powdered inner root bark into leather to tan it.

Our Mimosa Hostilis is harvested from the right part of the plant (inner root bark). We grind this tough woody material for days at a time until the colour is bursting to get out. Not only this, but we only ever deal with the same highly skilled people who are dedicated to working in a sustainable manner. Order Mimosa Hostilis from Dartmoor Sheepskins today.

It’s been a wonderfully varied year at Dartmoor Sheepskins, we’ve developed new dyes and have been working with artisan makers creating natural wool and felt products, handmade soaps, leather shoes and boots, the list goes on. But most surprisingly, we also sent Madder and Turmeric dye to Farne Island to help the rangers tag baby seals to help with conserving the colony. More here…

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Exquisitely Patterned, Beautifully Unique

We thrive on beautiful, unique sheepskins. As a husband and wife team we can pick the perfect sheepskins. These are gorgeous items that will add luxury to your family home for generations. 

Pretty patterns and soft durable hides

Every trip to our tannery is exiting, although we know roughly what we want to get there is always that moment when we go through the newly tanned fleeces and select the ones that we will be offering in our latest collection. Almost every time there is one that was not what we were thinking but that we cant resist for some reason. This time we were offered a lambskin that is softer than any fleece we have ever had before. It is smaller than out usual sheepskins, gently curled, soft colours and honestly we don’t know which side you would want facing upward, both the wool and the skin are as soft as butter. 

One of our favourite parts of our tannery visits is getting to see our new range for the first time, no two sheepskins are ever alike but this time the ‘theme’ of the trip seems to have been softness, from the dappled browns of the ‘Pretty’ to the gently light brown spot on our new ‘spotty’ this is the gentlest collection we have had to date.

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Adventures With Logwood Soap.

Some time ago we were contacted by the fantastic soap maker Nicole from Les savons de Nicole she wanted to try Woad to make a blue soap. We have been looking into new and more affordable natural blue dyes and were really exited to try out Logwood and pass some onto Nicole to try Logwood soap making. However, when it arrived we were disappointed to discover that the logwood powder was a deep and rich brown.

Logwood Dye, powder.
Logwwod Powdered Dye

We offered Nicole some of our Madder to have a play with instead and you can read about the results here.  We are often surprised at the beautiful and unusual results we get when playing around with natural colours but Logwood was one of the most surprising I have come across yet. When testing out the colour on a piece of fleece I discovered, on rinsing, that the water ran out a deep red and left us with a beautiful, solid dark blue!

Sheep's fleece dyed blue with Logwood.

The process

I was very exited offer Nicole a sample of Logwood to have a play with. What happened with the soap was even more interesting, she sent us photographs of the process showing us the soap making process showing us the dye in the oils, the water and the water and lye.

The results looked very promising and the soap batter had a lovely deep blue colour.

Blue Logwood soap batter.
Blue Soap Batter

Finished Product – Logwood Soap

Anyone who has worked with natural dyes will know that there is always that exiting moment when you get to see how your project has turned out, you never quite know what you are going to get and in the case of logwood soap the result looks…well, kind of like chocolate. Although not the blue we were hoping for we still love these beautiful soaps Nicole sent us, they smell amazing and they look almost good enough to eat!

Hand made Logwood soap
Finished Logwood Soap

Special Thanks to Nicole from Les savons de Nicole for the wonderful soap, we look forward to more exiting experiments in the future. If you would like to try out our range of natural dyes you can find them here.

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How Would You Dye A Seal Pup?

We had the most interesting enquiry, it read: Can your dye last in sea water for three weeks?

We didn’t know. Nobody did. We wondered why you want a dye that only lasted three weeks as much as anything. What can you do in three weeks? Shoot a film? Shoot an underwater film…? Turns out it’s for dying seal pups on Farne Island, the National Trust rangers and volunteers tag the baby seals to track how the colony is doing. Once you’ve counted the seal, you paint it. I’m not saying all seals look alike, it’s just there are such large numbers.

There are between 15 and 20 islands depending on the state of the tide

Wikipedia

Look out for the island’s colony of grey or Atlantic seals hauled up on the rocks or bobbing inquisitively in the sea. The islands have the largest breeding colony in England with some 2,000 pups born here each autumn.

VisitNorthumberland.com

David Attenborough declared Farne Island one of two places in Britain to see nature at its best. Tweeter @BarleySpillman asked “for those who can’t go abroad as easily, where in the UK offers the best opportunity to capture magnificent nature?”

David Attenborough tweet about Farne Island best place to see nature in Britain

Count us in

Seals cub with dye marking
Farne Island seal pups are marked after they have been counted 

The National Trust volunteers count the seal cubs, then mark them to avoid counting them twice. The dye also allows the National Trust to keep track of mortality rates and watch for any trends. The task of the dye is simply to mark them for three weeks until their adult fur comes through. The dye needs to be safe, seawater resistant and to stick to the fur despite the natural oils that help keep the seals warm.

This year the rangers have experimented with our natural Madder Dye and we’ve just sent them some of our natural Turmeric Dye for testing. Like all our dyes they are both just plant material with nothing added or taken away. Both are considered non-toxic, which is a great starting point, however the real test will be whether it can survive in this challenging and unique environment.

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Enjoy Our Stunning New Dyes With 15% Off

Welcome to our new range of vibrant winter colours! Use the coupon code WinterCheer15 to save 15% right across our new (and old) dyes, incenses and perfumed oils. Perfect for you, perfect to give and perfectly priced. Winter is here, and it becomes more important than ever to bring beauty into your home. Our incenses are evocative and peaceful, our perfumed oils are delightful and fun (and at prices you can play around with). But right here I want to introduce you to our new range of natural dyes.

Use the coupon code ‘WinterCheer15’ at the checkout to save 15% on your basket. The discount can be applied to all our natural dyes, incenses and perfumed oils. You’re welcome!

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Unusual requests and pink soap.

Pink soap story – At Dartmoor sheepskins we love unusual requests, most of our queries are around shipping times or fabric types but this one was unusual. We had an enquiry from Nicole from Les savons de Nicole who wanted to use our dyes to colour her hand made soaps. We have never thought of using our dyes for things other than fabric, wool and the such like so we were very excited by the new challenge. 

Dye Types

We talked via email about various dyes and how they might work colouring soap without colouring people. We settled on madder which can be added straight to the lye water rather than infusing in oil first.

Voila! Pink Soap!

Nicole sent us some samples of the soap when it was made and they are beautiful! She said that she has only used a small amount of madder as this was her first try. She later sent a picture of some that she had made with more pigment and the results were equally beautiful.

Special thanks to Nicole for the beautiful soap and the interesting enquiry! If you would like to see more of her work you can check out her Facebook page here. If you would like to try our madder for any of your own projects you can get some of your very own here.