The Dyeing Process
Since the beginning of time, weavers from nomad tribes used the natural resources they had available to create dye for the spun. After the thread for a carpet is completed, the next stage is to choose the colour and dye it. This process isn’t easy; it requires a lot of knowledge and accuracy. Some methods can be done over one day for one colour while other colours could take up to four days. Colouring yarn is a real art, and there are many different ways of doing this. One thing for sure, natural dyes are the best, and this is because they give the yarn a natural and high and hard to exceed its soft natural glow.
Natural Dyes can formulate from either the plant and animal kingdom. For the colour Blue, a plant of the pea family called indigo is utilised; For the colour red, the root of the madder, kermes (chermes) and cochineal (dried lice) is used; yellow comes from saffron or pomegranate; Brown is usually applied from a walnut shell, oak bark. Even so, these techniques have evolved, and nowadays most rugs are made with synthetic dyes or a combination of both dyes which is not a bad thing.
Synthetic dyes were introduced in1870, so it is not something new. In the 20th century, weavers began to use better artificial colours known as chrome dyes. These were reliable and resembled natural dyes because they are sun and wash proof. It is considered to be identical to natural dyes, with the exception that it does not provide the same softness in the looks; Synthetic carpets get a harder, slightly metallic lustre which mitigates after about 10-15 years. Finding a combination of both natural and chrome dyes in a manufacturing a rug is not uncommon. The weaver uses the one that gives the best result for the purpose. It is common to use chrome dyes in a carpet’s details and natural colours to the backgrounds. Good synthetic dyes are just as suitable as vegetable dyes. It all depends on the correct procedure of dying and rinsing at the end, making sure no chemicals are left in the dyed wool which in time would cause damage and gradually weakens the wool fleeces.
Making a pure vegetable dye rug generally works very expensive and is long if it is appropriately dyed, for example, you would need 1 kg of madder to dye one KG of wool and as you need a minimum of approx. 4 to 5 KG of wool for one sqm, soon the cost of the material exceeds most budgets; therefore, most weavers and producers use good quality synthetic dyes where you could dye 1 kg by using 10 Grams or less of artificial colours and have more control of the actual shade they wish to achieve. They also use and mix some vegetable dyes when dying the wool of attaining an unevenness in the tone and colour of the wool which most people find interesting and are more natural.