Entries in rug (13)
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.
Hemp is—again—gaining popularity for its inherent characteristics: strength, durability, fast growth, and its friendliness to the environment since it needs fewer substances to control pests and/or weeds. A bonus is that its fibers are stronger when the plant is younger—which means it spends less time in farm fields taking up valuable real estate.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years in the making of household goods—it’s one of the earliest domesticated plants—but unfortunately it fell out of favor in the US after the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed.
The soft, brawny fibers of hemp for industrial production come from the Cannabis plant—its genus significantly lower in THC (tetrahydro-cannabinol) than narcotic strains and it grows quite differently as well, especially in height.
Its versatility and benefits, specifically as a fiber used in paper and cloth production, are ironically what may have caused its growth to be restricted to this day. It’s suspected that some paper and cotton industrialists lobbied in favor of the Act—seemingly by blurring the difference between it and its narcotic cousin—thereby protecting their own interests.
Compared to cotton, hemp cloth can be stronger and last longer—durable rugs, ropes and cording can be made from these fibers as well. Due to its fiber structure, colorfastness can be an issue if dyed—especially for darker tones—and some shedding should be expected, similar to jute and wool.
Its seeds are rich in heart-healthy, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. They’re also pressed to make ‘milk’ which is both dairy and gluten-free.
As a crop, hemp seems to have tremendous untapped potential since it can be grown for food, fuel, daily necessities, tools and building materials. But also as animal bedding, horticultural mulch, and to clear impurities out of wastewater, sewage—even contaminants at the Chernobyl nuclear reactors.