Without doubt the raw material is the essential element on which the quality level of the rugs is based. As you can imagine, the raw material most frequently is sheep’s wool. Despite being the most used raw material to produce the rugs, there are also other materials that we cannot forget.


Sheep wool is obtained as anticipated by flocks of sheep and is used for the fleece, the warp and the weft
Today, goat wool is no longer used to work the fleece but usually for the warp or the edges.
Over time, a raw material such as cotton has grown in its use. In fact, it is often used in most countries that produce rugs and is used for the weft and warp threads.
Finally there is the silk that is produced by silkworms and that is used for both the weft and the warp.

Wool

Wool is therefore the most used material to produce rugs but as you can imagine there are different types of wool and based on the specific characteristics also the quality of the rug can change. In Asian sheep, the mix of short and long fibers guarantees a product suitable for the processing of carpets.

The wool in question can be more valuable if it derives from lambs or even from specific parts of the body. For example, the wool that is sheared around the neck of the sheep, called kork, is often used for carpets of fine workmanship.

 

The wool of sheep that live at high altitude is also valuable as the wool is richer in fat, an element that makes it softer and shinier.

The sheep’s wool often comes from large flocks belonging to the nomadic tribes. In Iran they are often self-sufficient in production with respect to internal needs. Instead, in other Middle Eastern countries in some cases we turn to countries such as Australia to fill the gap in the need for this raw material.

Based on what has been said, obviously the wool needs to be collected in one place, separated by quality and washed. Then you can proceed with the carding (in some villages still manual) in order to separate the fibers. Spinning will follow.

The use to be made of it (whether for the warp, the weft or other) will guide the spinning process. Spinning is a process that is still carried out by hand in Iran today using traditional tools. In other countries such as Pakistan, on the other hand, most rugs are spun with the help of a machine

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Silk

The origin of silk, as many of you know, dates back to thousands of years ago and specifically in China. Subsequently, the use of the silkworm also spread to countries such as Turkey and Iran

The silk textile fibers obviously derive from the cocoon which contains raw silk. A substance called sericin is removed from this to obtain cooked silk. Without a shadow of a doubt the finest silk comes from mulberry worms.

Today, especially in China, rugs with synthetic silk are produced, even if the use of this raw material lowers the value of the product. There is apparently no difference with the original silk but with the passage of time the quality of the product is affected.

Silk in general is used to produce warp, weft and fleece in small carpets.

 

Cotton

Finally, as anticipated, cotton is increasingly used by many producing countries that have found an alternative in this material in the production of more modern rugs. Cotton comes from the malvaceae that are usually found in countries with a tropical climate.

The fruit of this plant is round and no larger than a few centimeters. When ripe the fruit opens and shows the seeds which are wrapped in hair. it is a round-oval capsule about 5 cm long, which opens when mature.

One of the processes recently used with the cotton material to make it more shiny is that of mercerization. The cotton rugs subjected to this technique can even be mistaken for silk rugs even if much more quickly than those, they wear out and lose this fine and elegant aspect.

 

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