Setting Up The Loom
The backbone of the rug, the warp, is usually constructed of cotton thread for Persian and Bokhara carpets and wool thread for Tribal carpets.
The warp is usually created in the village center or house courtyard. By foot, motorcycle or bicycle, it is then transported to the individual knotter’s home. There the warp is set on the loom and pulled very taut, like guitar strings. Each warp has a front set of threads and a back set. When put on the loom, these are separated.
The looms are located inside the rug knotters’ homes. This gives increased opportunity for women to work. Bokhara and Persian rugs are made on vertical looms while tribal rugs are crafted on horizontal looms.
An expert knotter can knot approximately 40 knots per minute. One knot is tied at a time and cut as evenly as possible with the churi (knife), and then the next knot is made. The churi is crafted in such a manner that the top “crook” adds the extra weight for easy cutting. This “crook” is blunt and is used to do the first pounding of the knots. The knotter knows the order of the knots either by reading from the talam or from memory.
An expert knotter
can knot approximately
40 knots per minute.
When one row of knots is completed, a weft thread is shuttled through the carpet and pounded into place by the panja, a comb-like tool. The warp threads are then shifted and another weft thread is shuttled through. Each row is then trimmed to keep the pile as even as possible which is necessary for good washing.
Knotting now continues in the next row. Usually a rug is both begun and finished with a small kilim (flat-woven) end. This is just a way of fastening the weft thread into the warp and adding extra protection to the ends of the rug.