Prior to 1984, no machineries were used in the production process. The whole process from the sorting of the wool to the packaging stage of the finished product was carried out by hand process. The production process of Nepalese Tibetan carpet include:
Wool sorting & Washing:
Wool from Tibet is generally imported in raw form requiring careful sorting to pick-out the foreign particles such as vegetable materials. The Tibetan wool also requires washing to remove dirts and executive greases which is followed by sun drying for two to three days. The Tibetan wool has a strong good fiber length is imported in scoured form, good luster and a high resilient value. The New Zealand wool are of 36 micron, 100 mm barb length and is identified as type 128. British wool meeting regulatory standards have also started being available in the market.
The carding process allows the fiber stand to flow smoothly when spinning. This is also the stage for blending different wools and to ascertain the ratio of different origins. Traditionally, carding was performed by hand and machine carding was introduced when the industry grew. However hand carded product is still available if a customer so desires.
The carded wool is spun into yarn by hand using a charkha (Spinning wheel). The thickness of the yarn depends on the quality of the carpet and generally a 3 ply yarn is used .
The traditional pot dyeing method has been largely replaced by machine dyeing in closed Chambers. Dues containing harmful substances such as AZO are banned and dye-stuffs from renowned international manufacturers are used. These dyes have a high degree of fastness. The dyed yarn has to be dried in the sunlight for one to three days depending on the weather. Pot dyeing and vegetable (natural) dyeing are still being used by some manufacturers.
Carpet knotting is an art by itself. The workers known as the weavers are well trained and skilled in their art and has a very high versatility in knotting. One or more weavers work on a loom depending on the size of the carpet. Each weavers makes individual knots row after row. The designs are chartered out on a graph and the weaver translate the graphic designs into knots on a carpet. The dyed yarn is made into balls and scissors, iron rod, levers, comb beaters are used as tools.
The finished carpet taken off from the loom and the designs & patterns are curved out by scissors.
Washing and Drying:
The trimmed carpet is washed with the fresh water & chemicals. The washed carpet is dried in the sunlight up to four or five days. While the bulk of the carpets are manually washed in Nepal a notable quantity is washed in Switzerland.
The dried carpets are given the final finishing touch by retriming and stretching, where necessary to bring it to as close to the ordered size.
All washed carpets are rolled and wrapped in polythene sheet and is sealed at each end. Again, it is wrapped in Hessian cloth and sewn. Generally around 14m2. are packed in each bale.
Export proceeds must be received through an irrevocable letter of credit (L/C) or advance payment.
There are quite a few distinctive qualities of Nepalese - Tibetan Carpets, which are generally identified by the density of knots. The major productions is in 60 knots quality but demand for 80 knots, 100 knots, & above 100 knots quality are rising. A universal density of 70,000 knots/ m2 and 3.80 kgs weight in 60 knots quality carpets was the standard upto early seventies. But the introduction of strong wash and market demand in Europe, led the manufacturers to change their product to beet thick pile product.
The present day quality of Nepalese- Tibetan carpet of knot of 60 knots would have a density of 56,000/m2+and the weight ranges from 4.5 to 5.0 kgs., where as in 80 knots would have 80,000 + with a weights is 3.5 to 4.25 kgs and in 100 knots the density would be 1,25,000+& the weight varies form 2.5 to 3.5 kgs.