What Is Involved in Carpet Weaving?

Dan Cavallari

Carpet weaving can be done in two general ways: by machines or by hand. Carpet weaving by hand is a labor-intensive process that can take anywhere from several days to several years to complete, and it usually starts with shearing wool or getting other materials together. Machine-made carpets are usually woven from pre-packaged materials that have been purchased from suppliers, rather than acquired by the weaving company itself. The machine is essentially programmed to weave a certain design, pile, size, and shape, whereas a carpet woven by hand must be planned and meticulously woven by an experienced weaver.

A weaving machine can be programed to create a specific type of carpet.
A weaving machine can be programed to create a specific type of carpet.

The traditional process of carpet weaving starts with gathering wool for creating yarn. This is done by shearing sheep and carding the wool, or working it back and forth with specially designed wire brushes, until it is smooth and free from knots and tangles. The carded wool is then woven into yarn. This wool will be used for the carpet weaving process once a loom is properly set up. The loom is essentially a frame or jig that will support the carpet as it is woven.

Lengths of threads, known as warp threads, run from the top to the bottom of the loom. Weft threads run horizontally across the loom; these threads will act as the support for the yarn that will be woven to create the carpet. The yarn is essentially tied to the warp and weft threads, and the resulting knots are known as the pile of the carpet. These loops can be cut to adjust the height of the pile, which will affect both the appearance and the feel of the completed carpet. This stage of the carpet weaving process can take several days, weeks, months, or even years, depending on the size of the carpet, the intricacy of the design, and the amount of people working on the project.

Once the carpet weaving process is finished, the carpet will be washed thoroughly to remove any excess materials, dirt, or stray objects. It will then be dried, and a trained workman will begin trimming the carpet. The trimming must be done carefully, as this stage of the process will have an impact on the carpet's final appearance and feel. Once the carpet is trimmed, it may be washed again, and the fringes of the carpet may be sewn. The final product can then be dried fully and packed for shipping.

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