Making Rugs By Hand
A hand knotted or hand woven rug represents the remarkable achievement of many highly skilled artisans. There are few, if any, other items you can purchase for your home on which more care and handwork has been lavished.
Every stage of this ancient craft, from spinning the wool to trimming the pile of the finished rug, is carried out by hand – not out of stubbornness but because there is no better way of making a rug.
Many modern rugs are described as hand tufted or hand finished. These are made by the much less intensive process of hand gluing yarn onto a base material, producing a rug that is inexpensive to make, but has a short life and is difficult to repair.
Every piece at The Rug Company has been crafted by hand in the same way that it always has been, except to this rich tradition we have added the best designs for our contemporary world.
Carding is the process of teasing and straightening the jumbled fibres of raw wool by hand.
The carded wool or other fibres can then be spun into yarn. Experienced Nepalese spinners are able to produce yarn at various thicknesses to create rugs with higher or lower knot counts.
The most important person in the dyeing process is the Dye Master. He is responsible for matching the colours and preparing the dyes.
The yarns are dyed and then left to dry naturally in the sun on the roofs of Kathmandu.
Once the dyed yarns have dried, they are collected and wound into balls ready to be taken to the loom.
A hand drawn plan of the design sits behind the loom for the weavers to follow. It specifies the colour and position of every knot.
The weaving is carried out by skilled craftsmen working in synchronisation on the loom. The majority of our rugs are made with the Tibetan technique in which the yarn is knotted around the vertical warp threads and a metal rod. The higher the knot count, the finer the rug.
Once the row is complete, the rod is hammered tightly against the row below. The weaver then cuts the yarns along the rod, creating the pile.
The rugs are washed on both sides; water is squeezed through the pile with wooden paddles called 'pharwa' and left to dry naturally in the sun.
Once dry, the rug is laid flat and the pile cut neatly to the required height by hand.
Clipping is another part of the finishing process; boundaries between different colours or pattern elements are defined and differences in pile heights are smoothed.
The final stage involves neatly wrapping the sides of the rug in a yarn that matches the design. The rug is then ready for its new home.