Friday, October 2, 2009

From Sheep to Rug

From Sheep to Rug
Wool is by far my favorite fiber. It is warm, resilient, and looks darn fine in an Oriental Rug. Did you ever wonder about how it went from the sheep to the rug?

First the sheep is sheared. This looks painful to the animal but is really only a hair cut. From there is it is washed and rinsed - because lets face it - the sheep do not shower on a regular basis, and then it is thoroughly dried.

Next it is “carded”. During this process the wool fibers are continually brushed between two brushes that resemble dog brushes. This process straightens out and blends the fibers together into a consistency that will be easier to spin into the wool thread.

Then it is time to spin the wool. There are many different ways to spin the wool using several different tools to turn the wool fibers into thread. This is then coiled into skeins to ready for the dying process.

The dyes are usually in large boiling pots with the proper mixture of colors and chemicals to set the dye. There is a whole science in the dying of yarn that we will not go over at this time. The boiling dye not only colors the yarns but it also will “set the twist” of the yarn to hold it texture through the weaving process.

The wool is dried and then the weaving of the rugs can begin. I have made this sound like an easy process but it is all rather time consuming and in the end you get to have a very nice Oriental Rug on your floor that will give you years of enjoyment.