13 May FACTORS THAT DETERMINE RUG QUALITY – WOOL
There are three fibers that are predominant in traditional rug production: wool, silk and cotton.
Most oriental rugs mainly feature a wool pile. Wool is predominant than other fibers because
- wool has a strong attraction for dye, so colors will remain true and resistant to wear
- wool has a natural resilience that gives it superior ability to withstand matting and crushing
- wool has the longest life of any carpet fiber. Its natural elasticity makes woolen fabrics resistant to tearing.
One of the main factors that determine quality of you rug is the type of wool used to produce them. Sheep’s wool is the most important material in Oriental rugs.
This wool is mainly derived from sheep, whose quality depends on:
- the animal’s breed
- the animal’s diet
- the part of the sheep from which the wool is taken
- the local climate
- the shearing seasons
Every year usually at the end of the winter, sheep farmers shear their sheep, and remove all of the sheep’s fleece in one piece. Wool from the shoulder and flank sections is regarded as the most desirable fleece on the sheep. Winter fleece produces thicker and heavier wool, while spring fleece is softer and finer. Lambs aged 8 to 14 months produce some of the finest wool, called “kork.” Proper shearing guarantees maximum fiber length. This is usually done by a skilled shearer in under 5 minutes.
After shearing, the wool is washed and cleaned thoroughly. The first wash waters are warmed up to 140°F and are followed by a cold rinse. Then squeeze rollers and a hot–air drying chamber bring the moisture content to the right level for the next step in the process, which is carding.
Carding the wool is the next stage, it is the process that straightens its fibers. A system of wire rollers to straighten the fibers. Divide the web and roll the strands over onto one another to create narrow continuous ropes of fibers.
Finally comes the process of spinning in which the wool turns into yarn. The spinning machines twist and retwist the roving into yarns of a wide variety of qualities defined by strength, firmness, size and ply. After the spinning process, the yarn can be dyed.