All of our carpets are “traditionally hand knotted” and the entire process of making a rug is completed by hand. Dense plush wool is sheared from Tibetan sheep grazing in high altitudes on the Tibetan plateau. The raw wool is then (sorted) to remove any impurities and manually spun into a fine, high quality yarn. Rug designs are drawn and painted by Tibetan graph artists and the templates are forwarded to the weavers to create the rug. It can take between 2- 4 months to weave a rug depending upon its size.
The Wool and yarn section
This section turns the raw Tibetan sheep wool into the finest yarn balls for carpet weaving. The unprocessed wool is gently combed and sorted through by hand to remove any impurities. This process is referred to as carding and prepares the wool for spinning.
Spinning the wool is a manual process completed by highly skilled Tibetan spinners on small foot powered wooden wheels. The wool fibres are drawn and twisted to make various yarns of required thicknesses. The soft yarn of 5-7 twists per inch is ideal for rug weaving.
Spinning is a traditional Tibetan skill and hand spun wool is renowned for being the best yarn for rug weaving due to its elasticity and its strength.
The skilled task of spinning is generally performed by elderly Tibetan women who have been former carpet weavers. This enables them to continue earning a family income, contribute to their community and remain socially active.
The Graph Section
This section converts sample rug designs into templates that illustrate geometric patterns and free hand artistic designs. Tibetan graph artists use graph paper and coloured paint brushes to perform this task. The artist steadily draws the design and then paints the rug area design on a full scaled grid for the weavers. When the sample template is ready it is forwarded to the weaving section to weave the design into a rug. Graph artists can freely create and combine their designs and patterns at will and as a consequence many of our carpets are uniquely “individual” “and one off” works of art.
The Weaving section
Tibetan Women make up the majority of our carpet weavers. With a graphic illustration on hand, yarn in a cane basket, and a cotton foundation on the loom, the weavers take over to perform their magic. Hundreds of hours and an infinite number of knots are meticulously hand woven into the rug, until they reach the last row and the last knot.
The numbers of weavers working on an individual carpet may vary depending upon the size of the rug. Between one and five women could work on a single carpet sitting side by side.
It can take an average rug weaver twenty days of full time weaving to make one square meter of sixty knot per square inch of rug and thirty days to make a hundred knot per square inch of rug
As mentioned, Tibetan rugs are traditionally hand woven through the (centuries old) Tibetan knotting system on a vertical loom. The knot that is inherent to the Tibetan weave is called a Senneh knot.
Rug weaving is a creative task, passed from generation to generation, and performed with balls of coloured yarns, scissors, iron-rod, levers, and a comb beater.
each rug is woven with one knot at a time. The process of hand knotting takes the longest time to complete as each knot is inserted into a vertical loom by hand.
The smaller the thickness of the yarn, the longer it takes to cover a given square inch with knots. The more knots per square inch, allows more colours to be inserted into that inch of rug. This enables the weaver to create multicoloured rounded patterns by alternating different yarns and colours into a small area of carpet.
The Tibetan carpet is woven using a slit-loop technique. The yarn is looped under a warp attached to the loom and then drawn toward the weaver and over a metal gauge rod before being returned to the rug and looped around another warp. When a row is finished, a knife is passed along a groove in the gauge rod, cutting the loops of yarn and thus forming a pile. This technique sets the Tibetan carpet apart from all other Eastern and contemporary hand-weaving techniques world-wide.
Once the process of weaving is complete the rug is removed from the loom and the loose wool fibres are trimmed by hand using long shears to ensure that the surface has a smooth and even finish.
The carpet is then reversed and each knot is individually pressed to create a smooth and uniform finish on its under-side.
A master cutter manually trims the edges of the patterns by cutting the outlines of each coloured pattern to provide pattern relief and allowing the images to stand out.
The rug is then washed in water to gently clean and soften it. This enhances the colour and gleam of each rug making it uniquely "one of a kind".
Once washed, the rug is then sun dried and stretched to ensure perfect symmetry.
The rugs are then carefully inspected for quality assurance.
Our carpets are carefully prepared for shipment and we guarantee that they arrive at your door on time in pristine condition and ready to enhance the warmth, ambiance and beauty of your home for many years to come.