Wool is a pipe-shaped, fatty keratin fiber extracted from animals like sheep, goat etc... After the cutting, it is washed, dried and combed before any use.
High quality wools are composed of longer fibers and they contain a higher percentage of fat (lanolin). They are generally taken from the neck or the back of the animal. These high quality wools have higher elasticity and higher flexibility. Furthermore, they appear brighter and shinier, thanks to increased lanolin presence.
It is possible to make geometric designs and motifs while weaving
Cotton has been used widely after the agricultural revolution. It is extracted from the cotton fields. It is stronger in bond and softer in touch. Also, it has better flexibility compared to wool. Therefore, bigger carpets could be made much easily with the increasing use of cotton.
The material characteristic of cotton enabled the weavers to produce finer handmade carpets. With more knots fitting in one square centimeter, floral and curvy designs flourished.
Introduction of cotton material to handmade carpets symbolizes the renaissance of carpet weaving art. Large sized carpets were woven with beautiful motifs for palaces, castles and houses of noble aristocracy.
After the industrial revolution, mercerized cotton emerged through the processing of the cotton material. Softer and shinier carpets were produced with mercerized cotton compared to regular cotton carpets.
The crown of carpet weaving materials belongs to fine silk. It was discovered and widely produced in China; and eventually, gave its name to the famous trading route between Asia and Europe, the “Silk Road”.
Passing through the caravanserais of Asian mainland and reaching to the trading ports of the west, the Silk Road became one of the most effective routes for connecting various cultures and trading of valuable goods. Nowadays, the highest quality of silk material is produced in France and Turkey.
Silk is a natural protein fiber. Each silk fiber is around 0,14 microns thick. Its value comes from providing finesse and strength at the same time. With the increasing finesse thanks to silk material, carpet motifs could be woven with much better resolution. This phenomenon gave way to weaving pure art on silk carpets, and place silk among the most valuable materials the nature has to offer.
The most common handmade carpets are produced in four main categories.
- • Wool on Wool
- • Wool on Cotton
- • Mercerized Cotton on Cotton
- • Silk on Silk
In each category, the first word describes the material of the knots, and the second word describes the setup material of the carpet loom before any weaving is done. For example: wool on cotton means wool knots are woven on cotton setup.
Today, different versions of materials can also be made by mixing materials in different percentages or by using composite elements as weaving material.