The Art of Rug Weaving
The vital processes involved in rug weaving include:
Tibetan sheep wool comes in the form of raw wool. Pure white wool and impurities are separated to get the best white wool, which is hand-washed in spring water.
Carding is the process of combing and cleaning the wool. Since wool is the basic raw material for rug making, it should be fine and clean. In an effective carding, no fiber is intermingled with another and all foreign particles and dirt are removed. This helps in spinning, blending and wool mixing if necessary. Nowadays, carding is also done using machines.
After carding, the wool fibers are drawn and twisted to make yarns of desired thickness. This process is called spinning. The yarn of soft 5-7 twist per inch is said to be ideal for rugs. Spinning is a traditional skill of Nepalese people, so generally wool is spun by hand. Hand spinning gives the best yarn for rugs because of its elasticity and strength.
The wool can be dyed using either natural vegetable dyes or synthetic ones, since both have good and adverse effects. Using natural dyes is more complicated and the colors obtained are not that brilliant, but it promotes special textures of rugs. On the other hand, synthetic dyes easily give bright colors with various shades, which is not possible with natural dyes. Commonly, azo-free chemical dyes are used. The natural dyes are also used as per client's demand.
The entire weaving work is carried out by hand through the traditional Nepalese-Tibetan knotting system on a vertical loom. It is a creative task, which is performed by three or four weavers according to the size of rug. Rug weaving is done with the help of yarn balls, scissors, iron-rod, levers, comb beater etc. The knot density of a Nepalese-Tibetan rug ranges from 40 to 125 knots per square inch. However, the most common knot density of our rugs is 60 and 100 knots per square inch.
The sharp design and pattern is carved out by scissors from the woven rugs. It is a very delicate process because one false cut can ruin the whole rug.
After a rug is trimmed it is then washed with fresh water using household chemicals to keep it free of germs, remove dirt, and restore the original shine of the wool. The rug is then dried out in the sun for 4-5 days.
After washing and drying, the rugs are stretched from all four sides using metal frames and hooks. It helps in maintaining the perfect square shape of the rug.
The rug should be trimmed again to remove unusual yarn. After vacuum cleaning, it is packed with environment friendly packing materials. Now the rug is ready to be shipped.
Finally the carpet is packed with environment friendly packing material after which the carpet is ready for export.