Weaving Methods - Rugs of Nepal


A fine Nepalese rug is a true work of art. Every Step of production is completed with the care and touch of the human hand. Many of the techniques and tools have remained unchanged for centuries. Our weavers use a small pot dyeing process to enhance the material's natural boldness and luster, while maintaining colorfastness for generations to come. Each rug is woven on an upright loom using the Tibetan knot. When weaving is complete, the rug is cut from the loom, trimmed and washed.


Only the finest native Tibetan wool is used in weaving the fine Nepalese rugs we import for Rugs by Zhaleh. Tibetan highland sheep freely roam the Tibetan plateau at elevations over 10,000 feet. Because the sheep roam freely in the wild, the wool they produce is strong and very high in lanolin content, which makes Tibetan wool one of the finest natural fibers in the world. Sorters separate the wool by hand and select only the variations of natural white that meet our dye-maters' standards. It is then washed, carded, and spun entirely by hand, giving our hand woven modern rugs the raw, organic texture for which they are known. Since we value the high lanolin content of the wool for both its natural stain resistance and its lustrous texture, we do not wash our wool with chemicals or bleach before the dyeing process. We also weave using other natural fibers, such as Chinese silk and natural hemp, nettle and linen; as well as high quality man made, such as viscose, bamboo silk and other cutting edge and contemporary fibers.


To ensure color consistency, all wool is dyed onsite using the age-old pot dyeing technique. Our dye-masters submerge, simmer and spin the wool with the highest quality dyes to reach the optimal color saturation. In keeping with our commitment to minimal environmental impact, the dyes applied are the metal-free Nylosan/Optilan brand. These organic dyes, as offered by Clariant, are solid nonvolatile materials, and emit no off-gases. Offering a standard pallet of over 1200 colors, our rugs use a consistent formula to ensure the wool dyed years ago matches the wool that is dyed today.


Every one of our finely woven Nepalese rugs is woven by hand using the Tibetan knot, by which each knot is tied around two warp threads and then looped around a metal rod. When an entire row of knots is completed, they are cut from the rod which then exposes a pile. The weavers use what we call a "cartoon graph," which is a full scale version of the rug the weavers follow knot by knot.


Once cut from the loom, the rug is trimmed and sheared meticulously by hand. The trimming gives each motif its definition and detail while the shearing levels the surfaces of the rug to the desired consistency. Wash-water is used from our own factories' water purification plant. The rugs are washed with plain water; no heavy detergents or chemicals and then sun dried to bring out the rich hues and variations that are the hallmark of every fine Nepalese rug carried by Rugs by Zhaleh.