Handmade rugs take extreme labor and time, from collecting wool from sheep skin to packing the end product. The main producers of handmade rugs and carpets are developing nations of Central and South Asia with its robust rug industry. The hard work and time it takes to complete an area rug is anywhere from 5 months to 15 months on average for a single artisan. With the more intricate patterns and designs, the longer it takes to complete the rug.
Here is a step-by-step process of rug making from textile to the finishing touches:
In the beginning stage the wool is extracted from sheep and is fragmented. The best wool is selected for the next step i.e. carding. The wool is further disjointed in the carding process, sand and pebbles are removed if they are present.
The second stage includes spinning the carded wool and transferring to a hand operated spinning machine or “Charkha” as it is called in South Asia, which is used to create yarn from the fragmented wool. The then produced yarn is separated to fiber lengths usually 3-6 inches in length.
The third stage consists of washing the yarn with special detergents to remove any dust particles. After washing, it is then hung up with exposure to the sun to ensure it is completely dried before it is dyed. The dyeing process is significant as it determines how the rug will look. In a handmade weaving process, no chemicals are used in the coloring process, rather a slower vegetable dyeing agent is used that fades to the desired color with a single wash. Multiple washing cycles are processed with enough heat to complete the dying process.
Now, the dyed yarn is left out to dry. It is then converted into balls or spools for weaving. Now, they are woven on vertical poles and are tightly suspended horizontally. After weaving, the fiber is trimmed to appropriate length to start carpet making process.
Once the carpet is made, it is washed again and then dried in the sunlight for a week or more.
The finished product is trimmed and made symmetrical in final touches, it is then rolled and packed for delivery to the rug market across the globe!