Handmade rugs have been made following a virtually unchanged process for thousands of years. Passed down from generation to generation of draftsmen, weavers, and dyers, these techniques are what make Solo rugs so exquisite and durable.
The meticulous process, which takes months—sometimes years—of detailed work, is standard for all of our rugs, from traditional and floral to modern and abstract. Not only are the final products beautiful, but the production itself is mesmerizing to watch.
Here’s a peek at how it happens.
A great rug starts with a great design—and whether it’s a globally inspired Suzani or an abstract, modernistic piece, all rugs are graphed by hand onto a life-size piece of graph paper. Once these blueprints are made, the fastidious process of translating them into the ancient weaving language of Taalim begins.
Much like sheet music instructs musicians which notes to play, Taalim indicates to weavers which styles of tying and colors of yarn to use for every individual knot in the rug. Since handmade rugs can have up to 800 knots per square inch, this transcription is critical to the design process.
Since each design requires unique combinations of colors and textures of yarn to produce, rug producers continue to spin and dye yarn in small batches. Wool and plant fibers are washed, combed, and meticulously stretched and spun into yarn. While some spinning is done by hand, creating a rustic appearance, other yarns are machine-spun to produce a more precise and delicate quality.
Working in small teams, weavers begin the daunting process of turning the freshly-dyed wool into woven designs. While the eldest craftsman reads or sings the Taalim code aloud, two or more weavers will bring those instructions to life. While exact customs vary from village to village, weaving is very much a communal activity and often involves the entire family. Through this, artisans are able to pass down their craft from generation to generation.
This weaving process is often overlooked in an era where we heavily rely on machine technology. A hand-knotted rug in 8 x 10 size, for example, can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to complete. This level of quality and attention to detail is unparalleled in the industry
Once a rug comes off the loom, it is ready for a thorough wash. Working in synchronized motions, groups of washers brush and clean to rug to bring out its luster and vibrance.
After it has been completely washed, the rug is left to dry in sunlight and open air—something rug artisans have done for millennia to get the perfect shading and consistency.
When a rug is dry, it is inspected and carefully trimmed with shears to give it the perfect plush texture that is synonymous with luxury handmade rugs.