The Craftsmanship Behind Handknotted Rugs
Our Dedication to Craftsmanship
There are many ways to make a rug by hand and many materials to choose from. Different yarns display different properties of strength, softness and lustre. Some are smooth and cool to the touch while others are sumptuously soft and warm. Beyond the more obvious charms of wool, silk and cotton we have explored the merits of such diverse fibres as bamboo, banana leaf, mohair, merino and alpaca.
The Journey of a Handmade Rug
We have remained faithful to the natural materials, carefully preserving their inherent properties. Once a yarn is chosen there are myriad ways in which it can be knotted and woven, twisted and looped to produce a handmade rug. These differing techniques produce a range of textural surfaces, from fine and flat to chunky and shaggy. Whilst the precise detail of weaving techniques is the stuff of academia, here follows a brief introduction to the basics.
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. Each dye takes about a day to create.
The yarns are dyed and then left to dry naturally in the sun on the rooftops of Kathmandu.
Once the dyed yarns have dried, they are collected and wound into balls ready to be taken to the loom.
A hand painted 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. Handloom rugs are made on a loom with a shuttle. 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. Handloom rugs are made on a loom with a shuttle.
The rugs are thoroughly 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 carefully 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.