Wool & Nettle Yarn Process
Nepal Looms Rugs guarantees that our wool comes only from Himalayan sheep that are raised in the high mountains of the Himalaya and are known for producing the finest quality wool. It is lustrous, naturally resilient and rich in lanolin that naturally protects it from damage caused by typical wear and tear.
Washing, Drying and Sorting
After shearing, The Himalayan wool is trekked by yaks over the Himalayas to our weaving facility in Nepal. The wool is gently washed and dried naturally under the sun. Once it is dried it is sorted according to the naturally occurring color variations. Now, we start selecting the finest Himalayan Wool of 30-36 micron and minimum 60mm fiber length for our rug use and rest is used for felting, knitting and other doll making in our next unit. We maintain the high quality of our wool by completing the entire process by hand.
Carding & Spinning
After the wool is sorted, it is hand-carded to align the fibers and to remove any short fibers or remaining debris. There is gentle combing of the wool to untangle and straighten the fibers to align them for hand spinning. To assure high standard of quality, wool is hand sheared; fibers are combed with handmade carding tools.
The wool is then spun into yarn by hand in an ancient tradition with a traditional wooden spinning wheel called ‘charkha’ in which gives the yarn its textured and uneven appearance of rug designers wish. Spinning the wool fibers are drawn and twisted to make the yarns in desired thickness, thicker yarn for 45-60 knots and fine yarn for 100-150 knots quality rug.
The indigenous process of Himalayan wild nettle processing is a long and strenuous task. First Nettle is harvested from stingy bushes. After removing the dead bark, the inner bark is peeled off. Then the bark is cooked in hot water for up to 3 hours. The cooked fibers are then washed in rivers followed by beating the fiber with a wooden hammer for several hours. This process of washing and beating is done at least 3 times to get a good quality pulp. The pulp is then mixed with rice husk to make it soft and again washed and dried to remove the extra husk to prepare it for spinning. The fiber is then spun into yarn. Most of the time women use a hand-spindle and sometimes, where available, use spinning wheels.
Dyeing process is most important in rug making process. The entire looks of carpets and it’s textures is depends upon the dyeing quality.
Once the wool is spun into a yarn, it is hand-dyed in small batches in large pots to assure proper absorption using vegetable dyes or environment free natural dyes. The process of pot dyeing creates a natural variation of color shade in the yarn. This process produces rugs that are naturally, beautifully irregular.
The wool can be dyed either using natural vegetable dyes or synthetic ones, since both have good and adverse effect. Using natural dyes is more complicated and the colors obtained is not that brilliant, but it promotes special textures of rugs. In other hand, synthetic dyes give bright colors with various shades easily, which is not possible in natural dyes. So that commonly azo-free dye-stuffs from renowned international manufacturers such as Clariant, Dystar and Ciba are used. These dyes have a high degree of fastness. The natural dyes are also used as per customers demand.
First, we match customers required color in our yarn and develop a formula. After that we make solutions for a batch of dyeing.
The dyed yarn has to be dried in the sunlight for one to three days depending on the weather. Dried yarn will make a roll with three ply yarn (normally) for weaving.
Rug weaving is performed by hand reading graphs of a design which is hanged in front of the weavers on a loom, The graph will be 1:1 scale. Our Carpet weaving is done with the traditional tools like scissors, iron-rod, levers, comb beater, iron hammer etc. This process involves skills and craftsmanship.
All of our rugs are completely hand-knotted of the finest wool.
Every lot of wool is dyed separately using chrome dyes, imported from Switzerland, that provide a vibrancy, consistency and longevity that can never be achieved by vegetal dyes.
Then, hour after hour and week after week, every rug is mapped out and knotted by human hands. Not only is wool in these rugs more durable than man-made fibers, but by hand-knotting, weavers are able to produce rugs that are more dense, luxurious and durable than machine woven.
The colors are fast and the pile will wear evenly. The result is a rug that will last a lifetime. Each rug is a unique piece of art that can be appreciated over many, many years.
The Tibetan weaving technique is unique. Unlike other weaving traditions, the knots in a Tibetan rug are usually tied over a rod. When a row of knots is completed, the pile is cut and the rod is slipped out, leaving an overall flat surface.
Then, in the finishing process, most Tibetan rugs are ‘carved,’ outlining elements of the design and demarcating borders from fields. The result is a colorful, bas-relief, textile floor sculpture that adds accent to any home or the centerpiece around which great interiors can be built.
Tibetan rugs are normally produced with 60, 80 or 100 knots per square inch. The more intricate designs will require fine weaves, but the rug will also be thinner than the average 60-knot rug.
A 60-knot rug, on the other hand, will have more pile to sculpt and shape, allowing the designer more leeway in producing a design with greater depth and texture. An average 6×9’ rug would take a weaver approximately 12 weeks to complete and contain between 450,000 and 800,000 individual knots. Each rug is a handcrafted masterpiece.
Our rugs are made entirely by hand from yarn making, dyeing, weaving to finishing. Our rugs are made by ancient Tibetan rug weaving technique. Our rugs are woven on iron and wooden frame in vertical looms which is warped with cotton yarn from top to bottom. A metal rod is pushed horizontally across the warp and yarn is loop knotted over the rod, then onto the warp to make a pile. When the whole knot is made, a crossed cotton weft is put across to separate the pile, then combined and compacted with a wooden hammer. It is then slit with sharp blades across the metal rod to make a cut pile or pulled out a rod without cutting to make loop pile. This process is repeated until the rug is made.
Our knots density is measured by knots per square inch (KPSI) basis. We produce 45 knots, 60 knots, 80 knots, 100 knots, 120 knots, 150 knots and 200 knots per square inch rugs depends on the design and your requirements. Our standard and most popular quality is 100 knots which is good for simple to medium complex designs. 100 Knots means it has around 100 knots per square inch but sometimes knots density may be plus or minus to match the required designs accurately.
Knot count in our rug does not effect the quality of our rugs in terms of durability because whether it is higher knot counts or lower it is weaved in a same way of knotting technique. Knot count only effects the perfection of the designs, the higher knot means finer design. Knot is exactly like a computer or television screens as lots of pixels means high definition or clearer image.
Following are the picture of different knot samples, here you can see the difference of knots from 80 knots to 200 knots in a same design:
Clipping and carving
After rug is weaved and comes out of a loom a surface pile of a rug is then clipped by the traditional big size scissor called ‘khapsi’, this will smoothen the level of pile evenly and gives a shiny and even surface texture. The design edges will be carved by scissor for the luxurious look.
Washing and drying
After clipping and carving, rug will be washed with the help of long wooden flappers which helps to rub the surface of a pile and to carry out the water properly for faster drying. The natural soap like sapindus and the normal liquid soap is used to wash the rugs. After washing rug will be dried on direct sunlight for about 4-7 days.
Second/final Clipping and carving
After rugs are dried it is again clipped one more time to ensure the even surface and also carved the edges of the design one last time to ensure the perfect and clean design finishing.
After final clipping and carving rugs are stretched from all four sides using metal frames and hooks, keeping on a frame for at lest 24 hours. It helps in maintaining the perfect shape of the rug.
Final finishing and checking
After taking rugs out of a stretching frame it is then checked by our professionals. It is mainly checked for the size, shape, surface, designs, stains, etc… This is the most important part and we treat it as a very serious step.
Packing and shipping
After rug is approved by the management it is then packed. We never fold a rug for packing because there could be a fold marks on a rug, we roll the rugs and put it in a transparent heavy duty plastic bag as a first protection, and then we warp a rug with a heavy duty tear and water proof sheets from above. For heavy weight rugs we also warp with a burlaps for extra protection on the transits.