Where was your rug produced?

Rug weaving is very common in many regions of Turkey. Yet, each region has a different type of rug. There are many ways to recognize a rug's region. For instance, the wool used for weaving differs from region to region as environmental changes such as weather or breed differences affect the wool. However, someone with experience with wool rugs could easily recognize this wool, thus its region.

The textile business uses many types of wool for various purposes. The final purpose of the wool is determined by the fiber diameter. Compared to coarse wool, fine wool is more adaptable and suitable for multiple clothes. However, socks, rugs, knitwear, and hand-knitting yarns typically employ coarse wool. The primary determinant of spinning fineness for wool processors is fiber diameter. Fiber diameter changes from region to region as all raise various species of sheep in different conditions, creating unique rugs.

Many factors impact fiber diameter, including sheep breed, age, diet, parasites, and stress. 

  • Sheep produced in the same way and run under the same environmental circumstances will have a more constant average fiber width than sheep brought onto the farm from diverse breeds. 
  • Significant nutritional gains, such as seasonal breaks and availability of feed, will result in a rise in fiber diameter. Regions with abundance will have sheep with coarser fleece.
  • The typical fiber diameter is also determined by the staple structure. Wool with pencil-shaped, thin staples has lately been claimed to be finer, evenly, and processes better than wool with heavy, blocky staples. This differs for each species of sheep.
  • Cold temperatures cause thicker wool, so colder regions produce coarser wool.

One of the most common material used also commonly to weave traditional Anatolian rugs is silk. The silk is produced by silkworms. If a rug is made from silk, it is most likely woven in a region where silk farming is common or there are silk farms nearby. For example, southeastern Anatolia holds the most amount of silk produced in Turkey, so it is possible that the vintage silk rug you want for your living room was made there.

Another way to recognize a rug's region is by looking at the coloring. Handmade rugs are colored with vegetable dyes. For instance, Aegean rug weavers use olives to color, but there is no production of olives in other parts of Turkey. In the same way, nettle grows pretty much anywhere in Turkey, so it is common to see the colors made from nettle in any region of Turkey. 

Vegetable dyes are really popular in the Aegean region, and here is how they dye those brilliant rugs.

  • Linden, madder, daisy, mallow, walnut shell, and many more plants are used to produce natural dyes.
  • Natural dyes do not fade away with time; only a particular type of chemical made to wash them off can do so.
  • Plants are extracted and boiled in big caldrons to release their color. Then, threads of wool are thrown into those caldrons and stirred until the desired shade of color is achieved.
  • The colors get darker and more brilliant as the wool stays longer in the caldron.

Meet the Author

Bihter Ege Baskin

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