The Carding Process in Rug Weaving
What is Carding?
Carding – An integral process in the construction of hand made rugs is the process that is referred to as “Carding.” Carding is the term for the process that is used to prepare the wool before it is spun into workable threads, which are then utilized in the construction of the carpet.
After the wool has been sheered and gathered together, it must then be combed by hand to remove any bulk dirt and in order to begin the process of separating out the fibers for spinning. This carded wool is then washed. Picked cotton balls and silk cocoons are also submitted to a process of carding and washing before they are spun.
This process cleans and mixes the fibers to create a single continuous thread. This is achieved by passing the fibers between moving surfaces covered with what is referred to as carding clothing.
The process will break up the knots and smooth-out the clumps of fibers that naturally occur. It then aligns the singular threads so the are all, in effect, parallel to and with each other. As such, the successful execution of the carding process is an essential component in the ultimate outcome and appearance of the rug.
What remains at the end of the process of carding is workable, untangled and aligned. Once this process has been completed, the wool that remains will be easily spun into sturdy threads that could be used to create the foundation and or the actual pile of a rug (in which case it would go through a dying process so that the different colors could be created to weave the carpet).
Carding, which is still widely practiced today, is an ancient technique. Its ongoing utilization is a testament to its tried and true nature!