Sheep-Smell
Bed Pillows

Dateline: 13 August 2013

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A couple months back, Marlene and I decided to go to the Home Green Home store in Ithaca N.Y. and look at "natural" bed mattresses. Marlene had been complaining about our Sealy Posturepedic mattress that we bought, used, 25 years ago. I was okay with the old mattress, but she has issues with her back and with getting a good night's sleep, and she has been complaining about the mattress for a few years.

Well, ya know, there is an old saying.... "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." 

That is a true old saying, and, fortunately for me, my wife is not normally a complainer. She puts up with me remarkably well (she says she has me figured out), and I've never known her to have a mercurial personality. I'm blessed to have such a wife. But she wasn't happy with the old bed.

In time, we ended up buying a new bed, but I don't want to talk about that, thank you. It's a painful thought when I consider what the thing cost. It's the pillow I bought Marlene that I am most impressed with.

I always thought that if you wanted a good, natural pillow, then goose down was the stuffing to get. And, fact is, I bought Marlene a goose down pillow several years ago. She appreciated getting the gift, but she didn't really like the pillow. It was too soft.

At the HomeGreenHome store, I saw that they had several different natural pillows. They had pillows stuffed with kapok, pillows stuffed with cotton, pillows stuffed with buckwheat hulls, and pillows stuffed with lamb's wool.

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Lamb's wool? How come I had never heard of stuffing a pillow with wool from sheep? It was a completely new concept to me. I bought one..... for Marlene.

The pillow I bought is a 20"x 26" "standard soft." It has a zippered cover, like the picture above shows. It is made by White Lotus Home and cost $55.  

Thus far, we like the pillow (I borrow it sometimes). It's a comfortable pillow. I can see where it might mat down, or get clumpy after some time (maybe not), but I would suppose that is just the way wool pillows are. We'll see.

The thing I like best about this wool-stuffed pillow is the smell. It isn't an overbearing smell, but when you get your nose up close to it, there is an unmistakable sheep-barn odour. I happen to like it, and so does Marlene.

That pillow got me to wondering why people who raise sheep don't use their "homegrown" wool to make pillows. I mean, this could be a great little homestead business idea, don't you think? It turns out that the wool in my pillow came from New Zealand! Now, don't get me wrong... I like New Zealand, but don't Americans still raise good wool? Of course they do.

I was talking about wool pillows to the girl who I bought the pillow from and I found out that she started raising sheep a couple years ago. She is building up a flock of some sort of hardy, heirloom sheep breed. I asked her if she was going to make pillows with the wool, and it turns out that is her plan.

Are there small-scale, home-based, wool-pillow-making American folk out there? Have I been totally out of the  loop on this idea? Does any one reading this know of any homestead sheep-pillow makers? I'd like to know about them. And does anyone else have a sheep-smell pillow? I'd like to get your opinion about them.

You can learn more about the White Lotus pillows at This YouTube link. And a Google search will bring up numerous other wool-pillow companies (not home-based operations) on the internet.


6 comments:

Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

How do you launder it? Is it dry clean only? I don't wash pillows often but every now and then they need it.

Granny Miller said...

Herrick -
There are a couple of good reasons to use down feathers instead of wool. Wool unlike down feathers, tends to felt when subject to moisture, warmth & friction. The exact conditions that a bed pillow may be subject to. You can end up with a big lumpy, knotty mess.

Down feathers can be repeated washed and dried - wool not easily. The wool would have to be re-carded after washing.

Herrick Kimball said...

Cynthia,
I think they say you can machine-wash a wool pillow.

Granny—
Thanks for the feedback. I'll be curious to see how the pillow holds up over time.

I think a lot of the interest in wool bedding is being fueled by Dr. Mercola. He is big on wool over down,as he explains on his web site, and on this video:
Natural Wool Products For Perfect Night's Sleep

Julia said...

I was amused to read your comments on wool pillows and how it hadn't occurred to you. Then again, I am from New Zealand where wool pillows seem to be fairly common. I had one for years - yes they can get a bit lumpy but you just pull the innards out,tease them out with your fingers and fluff them up a bit and they're good to go again. Also lovely with a lavender sachet inserted into the middle even though the sheep smell is nice too. Wool filled duvets are also common here - I have gone back to down for winter use after years of wool for a couple of reasons. First - wool is hygroscopic so in the winter when I lived in an old damp poorly insulated house (think icicles on the inside of the window sills) the duvet absorbed the damp and got very heavy in the winter (I still use a light weight wool duvet for summer though) and second I finally decided to wash it and despite being very careful it shrunk like crazy!
Have only just got back to visiting your blog after a long and busy autumn and winter season in the orchard so lots of wonderful reading to catch up on. Thank you :-)

Down To Sleep said...

Natural pillows are so easy to move the down around to cradle the neck and provide support wherever you need it.

Matt Curtis said...

I just got an new wool mattress from Mercola.com and have been very happy with it. My allergies are better and it seems to have helped my wife with her arthritic hip. Our mattress arrived within a week of ordering it and I very happy with it. I also recommend the all natural wool pillows and comforters from mercola.com