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The Basics of Rug-Making

Many times our clients ask great questions before buying a rug, and much thought is devoted to reaching a sound decision on their purchase. Among the many questions contemplated is "How is this rug made?" Just about every rug at ABC Rug Outlet is hand-made, and no two rugs are alike. This is the distinction that will set your purchase apart from just about everything you'll buy in your life.

Today, most weavers work on fixed, vertical looms and we have an example of this in the ABC Rug Outlet showroom. A simple vertical loom is little more than a sturdy frame, usually made of wood and designed to hold the warp strings in place so the weaver can tie rows of knots. A heddle is used to separate alternate warps so that the shuttle carrying the weft string can be passed between warps from one side of the rug to the other. More sophisticated vertical looms have their upper and lower beams constructed as rollers. A roller loom lets the weaver roll the completed part of a rug under and to the back of the loom, allowing the construction of a longer carpet on a loom of the same vertical size.

Most weavers work with a hooked knife, or gollab, in one hand. A weaver uses his finger to push the yarn through the warps, then uses the gollab to catch the yarn behind the warps and pull it to the face of the rug. After the knot is tied the weaver cuts the yarn with a flick of the blade. After several rows of knots are tied across the width of the loom, the weaver uses a comb made of metal or wood to beat down the warps and rows of knots to consolidate the weave. After a strip of pile (an inch or so wide) is woven across the width of the loom, the weaver uses scissors to clip the nap back to nearly its final heigth. The scissors have handles bent so that the blades can cut flush with the face of the rug. Like the gollab and comb, the scissors are made by the blacksmith down the street in the village; when they become dull, a boy runs them back for sharpening.

Next week, we'll explore that eternal question "How long does it take to make a rug?"

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