During our recent trip to Turkey, we had an opportunity to tour a factory that makes hand made silk area rugs. The process is so interesting that I thought I would just share with you.
The handmade silk carpet are high value added products and all are done by hand through complicated process. From the silkworms to the final products, it will take many complicated processes to weave these beautiful carpets.
Silkworm is a kind of natural insect. It comes out from egg and then grows into worm. People feed them painstakingly by using leaves of mulberry tree. When the growing silkworms turn into the white cocoon, the location for raising should be indoor, and full of sunshine, ventilated and sterilized frequently.
The raw silk is dried and divided according to size and classified according to their weight. Then workers put alkali into the boiling water. The raw silk is then boiled for 30 to 40 minutes. This process can make the raw silk soft. Workers rinse the silk and wash out the alkali. After the water is squeezed out and dried by airing, the silk is packed for dying.
Then comes the Dying Process of Raw Silk. Workers classified the raw silk, then put dye and silk into boiling waters in containers. Turn them over constantly for 40 minutes, and this is the last process.
Silk Carpet Weaving
The weaving tools include looms and frames which should be made by hard wood or steel that can support press and be waterproof.
According to the design, the workers draw pictures and make a blue print,
To make silk carpets by hand, choosing weavers is the key. Ages from 18 to 25 years old and with good eye sight, the talented workers should be clever and deft with at least 5 years experience of making silk carpet.
Workers take the fine color wire in left hand and take knife in right hand, knot both sides, move the rim, weaving the weft, then patting the carpets. Every foot carpet takes 484—500 lbs of very fine color wire, then the wire was cut, leaving about 1/2 ” as sides. The carpet’s pile should be neat and smooth . The fringes should be straight. Workers can’t be careless and the patterns should be as same as drawings. After verified by the technical persons of the factory and appraised by the Light Industry Department, the carpet can circulate in market. It generally takes one worker 14 to 20 months to weave a piece of 5×8 feet silk carpet of 300 lines, and 40 to 50 months to weave a piece of 1.4×2 feet silk carpet of 800 lines. The material of 1.3×2 feet silk carpet of 1000 lines is as thin as a hair.
And the end result is a beautiful hand made carpet that will last for generations. Yes, it is very expensive to buy one of these carpets. Depending on the complication of the pattern, a 7′ x 8′ size area rug can run from $23,000 and above. While it was fun and we enjoyed being entertained with their local wine and beer, seeing the process, it was tempting but hey, ordinary people like me would not want to take on a mortgage to buy an area rug. I am sure that the next generation may not value this carpet as we do.
Here’s a video on Silkworm that is interesting to watch.
~ Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Till next time ~