How Rugs Are Made in Nepal

Last month we hosted a presentation from rugmaker Tamarian on how rugs are made and how they can be customized in Nepal.
 
I liked it so much that I'm summarizing the manufacturing portion this month in our newsletter. Special thanks to Chris Saliga and Geoff Duckworth for their presentation and making the images available to us!
 

A Multi-Millenial Tradition

The Nepalese have raised sheep for thousands of years. The wool they produce is prized throughout the world for sheen from high lanolin content and its long fibers. And they have made rugs from this wool.
Portrait of a Nepalese sheep
 
It's no wonder. These sheep have had to evolve to survive in one of the world's harshest environments.
Flock of sheep in Nepal
 
The wool embodies an awesome landscape.
View of Himalayas in Nepal
 
Newly sheared wool comes in two shades, dark and light. It must be divided by hand, just like your laundry.
Two people sort raw wool
 
The wool is then washed by hand in pure glacier water from the Bishnumati River.
Washing raw wool in the river
 
The clean wool is then carded, a process of lengthening the fibers and cleaning debre. Then it's hand spun into yarn. In this picture the women in the front row are carding and those in the back are spinning.
Women carding and spinning raw wool
 
The spinners organize the yarn into skeins to prepare them for dying.
Skeins of newly spun wool yarn
 
Color possibilities are virtually limitless. The Tamarian pallette has over 1200 colors.
Bottles of rug dyes
 
The dyers wrap the yarn around large wheel structures and hand turn the wheels to control the exposure to the dye solutions.
Dye vats with yarn ready to be dyed
 
Endless possibilities.
Skeins of yarn dyed in a variety of colors
 
The weavers are next to handle the wool. Here they work at a loom. The rug is in the lower part of the picture. The upper part is called a graph. It is a map of the rug's pattern with yarn specification. The pile of your rug is comprised of thousands of knots that the weavers tie one at a time.
Woman at a rug loom with graph
 
When the rug is completed, skilled finishers level the pile and clip away stray strands of yarn.
Man trims pile of newly weaved rug
 
Then the rug is thoroughly washed by hand. Washing enhances the natural luster of the wool's lanolin and makes the pile softer.
Men washing newly made rug
 
The rugs dry in the Nepal sun.
Washed new rugs dry in the sun
 

A New Tradition

We aim to continue with presentations that are useful to our designer community. From nearly four decades of experience selling rugs, we are confident that people are interested in the rug story beyond size and color.
 
What more about rugs would you like to know?
 
Or carpeting?
 
Or wood flooring?
 
Please let us know. We're always looking for ideas.
 
Tampa 813-258-6511
Orlanfo 407-228-9822
 
Mike Bailey