Your Carpet - step by step
Every single step in the process of making a KUSINER carpet is done by hand. This is a slow and meticulous process. From shearing the sheep in early spring to the actual weaving of the carpets.
In between there are several steps. Sometimes things run smoothly and easy - other times, the process gets stuck. Maybe there is a shortage of wool, maybe a weaver got sick - maybe we run out of dyes. We are in touch with the women working in the project at least a few times a week, and we travel to Israel every couple of months. So we are always there, every step of the way.
#1 Wool from Local Shepherds
Our wool comes from the Middle East sheep Awassi. Herded by local Bedouin or Palistinian farmes. The sheep is sheared in early spring.
Awassi sheep is a nomadic sheep. A real toughie. The fleece is long, open and lofty. This wool is ideal for making carpets - because of its coarseness and resilience. The quality of the wool - and the method of weaving - makes Kusiner carpets extra resistant and durable - but still very soft under your feet - and well suited for ‘high-traffic areas’ in your home.
#2 Preparing the Wool
When the wool arrives in the weaving center, the women start to make it ready for weaving. First step is to spin the fleece into yarn. This is done by hand on small drop spindles. After spinning, the wool has to soak in cold water for 3 hours. This is to try to avoid irregular absorption of colour.
#3 Dyeing the Wool
Here Sarah is dyeing the wool. The work is slow, heavy and hard. The wool boils in water with dye for 3 hours. It takes half a day to dye 15 kilos of wool. After dyeing, she drains the wool and hangs it to dry in the sun for a couple of days.
#4 Drying and spinning the wool
After cleaning and dyeing the wool, the wool is hung to dry in bundles. It takes 3-5 days for the wool to dry completely. When the wool is dry, the women spin the wool again on the drop spindle. This time, they spin two strands of wool into a thicker yarn - and then finally wrap it into yarn balls.
Next step is to transport the wool to the weavers’ homes. Most live nearby in the village, but some of the weavers live further away in so-called unrecognized villages. Sometimes, when we have bigger productions, the Bedouin women cooperate with Palestinian weavers in the territories.
#5 Setting up the Loom
To set up a ground loom takes several days. The weaver gets help from other women in the family.
Bedouins weave on traditional ground looms. The construction is simple. A stick balances on two cans. From the stick, the warp stretches up to 6 meters long. But only 1 meter wide.
The loom’s construction derives from the days when Bedouins lived as nomads. Wandering all over the Middle East with their herds. The loom had to be transportable.
The weaver sits cross-legged at the end of the ground loom and feeds the weft yarn attached to a stick back and forth between the twisted threads.
Another stick is placed in the middle to separate the long warp threads.
The weaver gradually moves down the length of the rug and maintains the tightness of the threads.
#7 Finishing the Carpets
When the carpet - or the lanes of woven fabric - arrive back to the weaving center, the material has to be cleaned well and sewn together.
For wider carpets, the women sew two lanes together. The stitch becomes a decorative element in the carpet. Either in the same colour as the base of the rug - or in a contrasting colour.
The edges of the rug is another characteristic feature. A thick edge that combines the two colours of the rug - in a kind of zigzag pattern.
#8 Putting on tassels
Last step is to put on tassels. Each rug had four tassels. Made of the same wool as the carpet. These are made in hand by the same woman who makes the stitch and the edges.
#9 Quality Check and Labels
Finally, each carpet is thoroughly checked, and the ladies sew on our leather labels with the Kusiner logo. And then the carpets are weighed and packed - and shipped to Copenhagen.