First, recipes are prepared which will dye the natural wool to match specified colors.
Bunches of spun yarn are then loaded into a dyeing cabinet—boiling water is added along with the dye coloring—for 3-4 hours of dyeing time. Yarns are ready for tufting after drying in both a machine and warm sunlight.
Next, heavy cotton canvas—which will be the back of the rug—is stretched and nailed to an iron frame.
The pattern design is then transferred to the stretched cotton with the use of stencils—which leave outline markings for tufters to follow.
Since the pattern of the family rug is fairly graphic—using a lot of straight lines and blocks of colors—tufting is much like coloring in the lines while kneeling on the floor…or balancing on a scaffold for the larger 8x10’ version.
Tufting is the process of punching the yarns with a hand-tool through the canvas and back to create the pile—much like blades grass which stand up through soil.
When the entire rug is completely tufted, liquid latex is painted onto the backing which will help hold the weavings in place. Once dried in natural sunlight, the rug is removed from the iron frame, the edges are cut, rolled and stitched under.
And even though the pile is trimmed to an even length by a machine, well trained eyes ‘knit pick’ loose yarns with scissors and skilled hands. Finally, each rug is inspected, rolled and packed for shipping.