Home All about carpets Materials

I. Wool & wool production

Almost all carpet countries have their own wool production. If necessary regularly high-grade material must be bought from outside the country as well, e.g. from Australia and New Zealand.

The quality of an Oriental carpet depends crucially on its wool. It is also important in which climatic conditions the sheep live. Difficult living conditions for the sheep, e.g. with long dry periods or strong variations in temperature, results in particularly durable carpet wool.

The preparation of the wool extraction begins already at the body of the animals with pre-washing. The animals are driven through a brook, until dust, sand and sweat are almost removed from their fleece. After shearing, the wool is stacked and cleaned thoroughly in flowing water. It loses almost half its weight, in the form of gluing surface and welding fat. Already while shearing, that animal's wool is sorted according to hair length and fibre refinement.

Depending upon the type of carpet, the suitable wool is then selected. Generally for rural carpets one takes the stronger hair of the back of the lamb to knot the pile, because its fibres are often firm bristle, precipitously but nevertheless pliant, shining and to a considerable degree dirt-deflecting. For high quality carpets weavers mostly use a finer fibre and softer hair, which is beneath the lamb - called 'cork wool'.

II. Weaving material

If one speaks about the material of a carpet, one should consider both the material used for warp and weft (structure) and also for the pile. The following table illustrates the distinctions:

MaterialsWrap and Weft (weave)Pile material (knotting material)
CottonCotton serves in the carpet production usually only for the manufacturing of the weave - thus warp and weft. Sometimes also one mixes, e.g. for the warp threads one uses silk and high-quality cotton for the weft. It gives enormous firmness and a long life span to the weave. Cotton is rarely used for the pile material because it is not durable enough for daily use. ---
Sheep wool---Sheep wool is most frequently used for the carpet production. It is not only warmth retentive and water-repelling, neither it changes neither the volume nor its tension substantially and it has a large elasticity.
Pure wool---The most preferable material for tiding an oriental carpet is usually hand spooned wool from the fleece of the sheep. Only from an alive sheep sheared wool can be called pure wool.
Cork wool---Precious and fine pieces are tied with so call cork wool. Cork wool is a quality term for the finest wool fibres. They consist of the soft bloom hair of the fat-rich ruffle of a young sheep, whose beauty and suppleness resemble silk.
SilkMostly for precious and expensive silk carpetsSilk threads are gained from the Kokune of the pupated larva by means of a complex procedure.
Silk is a very durable and flexible weaving material. Silk carpets are very preciously because one can reach high knot numbers with silk threads (approx. 1.5 millions knot /m2). In the Persian wool carpets one uses silk around outlines and figures to lift, out mostly in combination with cork wool.
Mercerised cotton---Likewise cotton; also mercerised cotton can be used as knotting material.
Beware of dubious dealer, who offers a mercerised cotton carpet as silk carpet. With the purchase of an expensive silk carpet we therefore recommend to ask a specialist for advice.
Camel hairCamel hair is very rare, more expensive than sheep wool. They are very fine and soft, but easily receptive to moths; very frequently used with Belutsh and nomadic carpets.---
Goat hairGoat hair is combed from their body, it is hard, stringy and durable; mostly with nomadic, Afghan and Turkmen carpetsA rarely used material. Nomads primarily use goat hair for the weave, because it is bursting and rigid. The Angora goat are very precious for their fine Angora wool - also called Mohair -, which can be knotted easily. This wool grows in one year up to 20 cm long, and per animal one receives only 2.5 to 5 kg of wool.

< History | Back to menu | Knotting >