We have seen many beautiful Persian rugs and sometimes even wonder what makes them so precious. It is the dedication and time required to weave a Persian carpet that makes it so valuable.
Not only the time taken to weave rug matters, but also the number of years it takes an artisan to learn the skills of creating the carpet. The final product that reaches the market and eventually our homes includes generations of carpet-making knowledge.
The time it takes to make a rug may vary according to different factors, including its size, knot counts, materials used, and whether hand-crafted or machine-made. If you’re confused and curious to know about the process of Persian carpet-making, we have attempted to explain that in detail.
It would be incorrect to give one definite answer about the time it takes to craft a Persian rug, as it differs depending on various elements.
Designing the “Cartoon”
There are many steps involved in creating a hand-woven Persian carpet. The process begins with drawing the rug’s design on graph paper called a “cartoon.” Once it has been prepared, the weavers then start making the rug following the design – one knot at a time!
The entire carpet is not drawn out; it is just enough to make the weavers understand the design so that they can continue it. Even software is available to make the cartoon, such as Photoshop, which allows making changes on the fly.
Warp, Looms, and other Tools
Once the crafters have the final design, they choose the color of yarn accordingly and knot (or tie) them onto the warp. Warp can be explained as vertical strands of silk, wool, or cotton used to make the carpet’s foundation.
It is then attached to the looms – two horizontal beams parallel to each other. These beams are held up in front of the weavers. The distance between them varies according to the size of the rug. Weavers tie the knots on the warp and cut it roughly before tying the next knot.
The quality of the rug depends a lot on the type of knots and size of wool strands. A superior quality rug has a high knot count. It is no brainer that a bigger-sized carpet would take longer to be crafted, but at the same time, the higher the knot count, the longer it would take to finish making a rug.
It is estimated that a small 4×6 rug with 800 knots per square inch (KPSI) will take at least 19 days to complete – working 8 hours per day. While a large 10×14 rug with the same 800 KPSI will be weaved in approximately 122 days.
A hand-knotted rug costs more than a machine-made. Here, weaving labor alone is very impressive.
Dying and Drying
Before beginning to knot the yarn onto the warp, it is dyed by placing colors in different containers. For a woolen rug, the wool is submerged in these containers. Through this, the dye is stuck and set completely onto the wool.
The wool is not left for longer in the container to ensure that the correct shade is achieved. For this purpose, an experienced artisan checks it often. However, if you love deep and vibrant colors, then an overdyed rug is for you.
Once the dying process is completed, the wool becomes soaking wet. Therefore, before weaving the wool into the rug, the artisan needs to dry it completely. Although there are special rooms for drying the dyed materials, ideally, it can be placed under the sun for getting rid of the dampness.
To make the wool easier to be pulled onto the loom, artisans pre-coil it, which is another time-consuming process.
Weaving, Washing, and Final Finishing
The coiled wool is then loaded into a special room that is used to store the wool inventory. Each time weavers take the wool out of the room or add more; they weigh the available material to keep an account of it and determine how much more needs to be stored.
This wool room is taken to be loaded onto the loom that is already set up with the warp. Next is the “weft” process – where the wool is weaved in between the warp and knotted on each one for securing it.
A small knife is used to tie the knots and cut the wool. Multiple artisans work together to create one rug and ensure that the correct design is formed. After finishing the weaving process, it is washed to remove any loose material.
To remove any wrinkles and flatten out the fiber, the rug is blocked and stretched after washing. The stretched rug is then taken to be dried in the sun, creating an even surface. In case any wrinkles are left, they are ironed out. Each artisan carefully participates in the entire process, as even one mistake can ruin the entire rug. Thus, their years of experience come in handy in avoiding such situations.
For the final touches, the ends of the rugs are secured, keeping the material in place. Later, final trimming is done for removing any loose strands. It is only after this long and time-consuming process that the rug reaches its final destination.
Time is Money
We all know the value of time; considering the long process of creating hand-knitted rugs, these Persian rugs are worth every penny. The detail and precision that goes into making these beautiful rugs are evident from the process that we explained above.
These oriental rugs that you buy are a work of handmade art. It is not only the number of hours or days it takes to complete the entire weaving process, but the remarkable skills of the labor to make it a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
It is worth spending your hard-earned money to purchase these unique rugs, as they survive all trends and can never be out of style!