The Himalayan wool used in Nepal Looms rugs comes from the Himalayan Mountain sheep that are indigenous only to the high plateaus of the Himalayan Mountains. These mountain sheep live in one of the harshest climates in the world at altitude ranging from 15,000 to 18,000 feet. It is this harsh climate that helps produce the fine wool for weaving of our rugs.
This extremely long staple gives the wool extra strength and makes Tibetan Rugs and Carpets the most durable in the world. The unusually high lanolin content gives the wool a natural strain resistance and a very luxurious feel to the touch.
The combination of the natural softness, rich texture and high concentration of lanolin found in Tibetan wool serves strong resilient to common stains, brings out a unique style to look at, smooth to walk on and durable to use. The simple designs combined with sophistication of natural dyes are compelling work of arts. We also weave rugs using natural silk in pile with wool combination; wool provides the softness while shined silk brings out the beauty of the floor to a different level of elegance.
Himalayan wild nettle has been harvested for generations in Nepal to extract fiber in order to make carpets and fabrics. And the growing world demand for natural and environmentally friendly products means that these nettle carpets could increase opportunities for the rural economy in Nepal. The challenge is to ensure that this access to the market does not lead to unsustainable harvesting and the adoption of techniques for increased production speed that takes away the organic nature of this age-old traditional system.
Hemp is a bast fiber plant similar to flax, kenaf, jute and ramie. Long slender primary fibers on the outer portion of the stalk characterize bast fiber plants. An annual plant that grows from seed, hemp can be grown on a range of soils, but tends to grow best on land that produces high yields of corn. The soil must be well drained, rich in nitrogen, and non-acidic. Hemp requires limited pesticides because is grows so quickly and attracts few pests. In northern latitudes, hemp is usually planted between early March and late May. Hemp averages between 2-4 meters in height in about four months of growth. Hemp crops are harvested at different times for different hemp products.
The hemp plant is harvested for its fibers, seed, seed meal and seed oil. The valued primary fibers are contained around the hollow, woody core of the hemp stalk. These long, strong fibers that grow the length of the hemp stalk are considered bast fibers. Hemp fiber possesses properties similar to other bast fibers (flax, kenaf, jute and ramie) and excels in fiber length, strength, durability, absorbency, antimildew and antimicrobial properties.
Once a hemp crop has matured and been harvested, hemp primary fibers are separated from the hemp stalk through the “retting” process. For “dew retting”, the cut stalks are left in the field for several weeks to allow natural humidity and bacteria to decompose the fiber-binding pectins. Other ways to separate the fiber from the core are: water retting, warm water retting and chemical retting. When the retting process is complete, the fibers are readily separated from the core, and processed for specific product.
Some uses of Hemps:
Primary fibers are long-staple length fibers, averaging 8-inch (20 cm) in length. These hemp fibers can be spun and woven to a fine, crisp, linen-like fabric and used for apparel textiles, home furnishing textiles and carpeting. Antimildew and antimicrobial properties make them very suitable for sails, tarps, awnings, and floor coverings. Primary fibers can be cut to shorter staple lengths to accommodate a variety of spinning systems. Hemp fiber blended with wool, cotton, linen or other fibers, adds strength, durability, absorbency and breathability, making hemp-blended fabrics cool and comfortable to wear and touch.
Core fiber is derived from the sturdy, wood-like hollow stalk of the hemp plant. Sometimes referred to as “hurds”, it is up to twice as absorbent as wood shavings, making it an excellent animal bedding and garden mulch. It can be easily blended with lime to create a strong yet lightweight concrete or plaster. Its high cellulose content means it can be applied to the manufacturing of plastics. Like primary fiber, it is biodegradable and possesses antimildew and antimicrobial properties.