Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rug Yarns

Preparing and dyeing woolen yarns for hand-knotted Tibetan rugs is labor-intensive.  First, the wool is sheared from the sheep (typically Tibetan sheep that live above 14,000 feet in the Himalayan mountains).  Sometimes New Zealand wool is used but currently NZ wool is much more expensive than Tibetan wool for the Nepalese carpet makers.  Once sheared, the wool is machine or hand-carded to separate and straighten the fibers, remove impurities and prepare the fibers for spinning.  Hand-carding is a traditional method where a pair of wooden paddles with wire faces is used to brush the wool.  The result is a batt or rolag of lofty wool that makes spinning easier.  After carding, the wool is hand-spun and then wound into balls.  The yarn balls are used to hand-knot the colors into a beautiful Tibetan wool rug. 

    Shearing sheep
    Brush for hand carding
    Spinning wool by hand
    Winding yarn balls and separating into colors
    Photo:  Courtesy of Goodweave
    Weaving of Concept Interiors Rug Design in Nepal

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