Sunday, December 11, 2011


I am totally addicted to carpets. I mentioned a few posts ago that I have a friend at the bazaar who sales carpets. He has been giving me a bit of an education on how to decipher the quality of a carpet you’re looking at. He has been teaching me how to tell when they are handmade or done on a machine, whether it is real silk or synthetic. He has even been giving me an idea about what the price should be based on these discrepancies.

All of this foreknowledge made my trip to the carpet factory a few days ago that much sweeter. The factory itself, is a large room filled with huge carpet looms that stretch from floor to ceiling. Depending on the size of the carpet they are working on, each loom has two to seven ladies sitting in front of it working away. Their fingers move so fast you can barely see how they are tying the knots. They have a pattern to work from tucked in behind the loom that they can check for reference when they need it.

I had fun moving from loom to loom and talking to the women and asking them their story. One lady started working at the factory when she was 12, she has now been making carpets for over 40 years. Every day she works tying knot after bright colorful knot eight hours a day, six days a week for a total pay of about $125 US a month. Sitting right next to her is her daughter who also started working at the factory when she was about 12. The daughter was proud to announce to me that she has two children who are both able to go to school.

An average carpet takes 2-3 months to make. I look at that and I think of the handmade carpet in my living room. I bought it 5 years ago before the price of carpets went up so much. It likely would have taken three ladies three months to finish which for their labor cost alone should be a total of about $1,125 US, but I know for a fact I only paid $325 US for it. Doing the math the women sitting at the loom would have been paid less than $36 US a month for all their hard work on the masterpiece that is our living room carpet. As much as I would choke at shelling out the amount of money needed for today’s pricing, I am glad it has gone up if means the third generation of carpet makers can stay in school and get an education.

Here are some of the carpets around our house. The cheap machine made one in the office
The tightly woven handmade wool one in my bedroom
The real silk machine one hanging on the wall in our living room

The big beautiful handmade wool one in our living room.


Abby Lodge said...

I too love carpets! We had a silk carpet factory about 7 minutes from our home in Skand and Michael ended up teaching many members of the family who owned it. We only have one silk/wool rug from there, and a few little ones from that family. I have often said if there's a fire in the house, our big rug would be one of the prized possessions I would grab.

Rahangul said...

Carpets are also good to get ideas for future cross-knitting projects!