Steps for creating a carpet – Yassini gallery

Steps for creating a carpet

In search of the perfect wool

The first step in creating a Berber rug is to buy or source excellent quality wool. This is the basic material. As soon as the first heat arrives, the animals are freed from their thick fleece. At the end of winter, it bothers them and harms their well-being. Mowing is done with scissors in the traditional way.

Wool washing

The natural wool is then washed by a river, then put to dry in the sun. Then the wool is carded, combed and squared by hand to untangle and aerate the fibers, remove residual impurities and give it a smooth and regular appearance. Amazigh women then take their wooden spindle to spin the wool by hand, pinching the fibers between their fingers. Patient and meticulous work done by hand. Once the spinning is finished, the wool displays its natural color, ecru, gray, brown or black, and dyeing can take place.

Dyeing wool

The wool is then boiled in large vessels containing plants. Each plant and mixture of plants gives a particular color. For half an hour, the wool is stirred with a stick, then drained and exposed to the open air, in front of the weaving houses. Two to three days later, the wool is ready for weaving.

Assembly and weaving

The weft, in wool or cotton, is first mounted on a loom. When the weft is made of wool, the carpet is said to be “beldi”: it is considered to be of better quality. It will be lighter and less flat, giving a resolutely bohemian spirit. The more the weft is tightened, the more the carpet will be provided and thicker for a softer and more cozy touch. A cotton weft will give a more dense and “straight” aspect to the carpet, it will also be heavier.

The weavers assemble the wool on the loom, all in meticulous hand-made work. First, wrap the wire around two stakes. The distance between them will determine the size of the mat. This operation requires the intervention of three women: one at each stake, a third making turns between the stakes. We obtain a horizontal grid. This weft is then placed on the loom and turned over to obtain a vertical weft which will serve as a base for the carpet. This assembly by hand gives birth to a weft placed on the loom: the frame is ready to receive the ends of threads previously cut.

The Berber knot

A carpet is made up of a woolen weft and knots, the Berber knot being special. The knotting is done very quickly and each woolen rug requires several weeks, up to a few months of work, with a daily advance of one or two centimeters. When finished, the carpet is washed several times and dried in the sun. The density of the knots, the patterns and symbols, the colors and the format of each carpet are specific to the traditions of each tribe.

Finishing

During this step, the weavers will do the finishing touches: adding fringes (traditionally they only appear on one side), shaving the carpet for a flatter and more even finish, cleaning for a smoother touch, etc. You will find something for everyone!