Diving deep into the various stages involved in the production process of a hand knotted custom rug.
Sorting and carding the wool
The wool for the custom wool rugs once sourced goes through a sorting process in which any unwanted particles are removed from. Any dust or grease is cleared out by washing the wool. Carding is the process in which the raw wool is detangled and then transformed into yarn that is ready to be spun. If a blending of different types of wool is required then it is done at this stage.
The carded wool is then spun into a yarn using a spinning wheel commonly known as ‘charkha’. The thickness of the yarn is determined at this stage. The yarn may be spun by a machine operated spinning wheel as well, but the quality of the hand spun yarn is much better. After the yarn is spun it is wound around a spool and balled.
The spun yarn is now dyed using traditional pot dying methods as per the colours specified in the custom rug. The dyes are created using various combinations of colours to get the exact hue. The dye is heated to near boiling temperature and the temperature is maintained based on the type of dye and degree of darkness or lightness of the shade required. Yarn is hung onto a large rack and submerged into the dye. The wheel or the rack is constantly turned to ensure uniform dying of the yarn and so the colour effectively permeates into the wool. Once dyed, the yarn is left to dry in the sunlight.
The design of the custom rug is recreated using specialised computer software keeping the size and colour requirements in mind. This is called a graph. It is then enlarged and printed. The final graph gives a detailed account knot by knot of the correct colour and design for the weavers to follow.
Once the dying and graph are completed, the yarn for the custom rug goes onto the loom. A loom is made of a wooden frame that is strung with thin cotton threads looped tightly between the top and bottom bar to create tension. These threads are called warps and the weft threads are to be woven through it. The warm and weft threads form the structure of the custom rug. The density of the warps is the key to the quality of the carpet and with more warps, the design looks more clear and vivid.
Knotting is a highly skilled art often passed down through generations. Seasoned weavers have a very good speed in knotting developed over a span of time. One or more weavers work on a loom depending on the size of the custom rug. Weavers make individual knots row after row. Once a line has been woven the part is bashed down and then cut, then the process is started again using the graph as a guide. The designs printed on the graph helps instruct the weavers knotting the custom rug.
Once the custom rug gets off loom it goes for washing. It is essential to wash a rug to ensure that the dyes have truly bound to the yarn and is colour fast. Also it washes out any dust or dirt that may have become knotted in with the yarn when making the rug. The rug is laid flat on the ground, then fresh water is poured over it. The rug washers then use a wood plank, sharpened on one edge, to force the water through the rug pile. Washing also helps to soften the wool of the finished custom rug.
Once washed, the rug is stretched out to dry. The next step is to stretch the rug. It is stitched onto a metal frame, and stretched for 4 to 5 days. This is done to counter any shrinkage caused by washing and to flatten out any wrinkles and ensure the custom rug lays properly on the floor.
The stretched rug then goes into finishing. Finishing involves final touches that are given to the rug like clipping to bring the woven knots to the same level. The finished custom rug is then given a final check by our quality inspectors before it is shipped off to its final destination.