WHO WE ARE   (page 13 of 15)

Handspun natural dyed yarns

The natural dyes, which have now been in revival for decades, have many well documented benefits.  They produce, in tandem with the handspun wool, a slight variation in the color, a kind of  “abrash”, (which in the classical designs is not overly exaggerated, instead is almost subliminal) also they are very lightfast and colorfast, and rather than  fading over time, there is a very subtle harmonious warming, reinforcing their inherent chromatic harmony.  This is because on a molecular level, the colors from the natural sources,  the madder and weld and indigo, are not uniform, they contain elements of other the colors within them, which enables them to better blend with each other.  It is much more difficult to make a consistent color batch without chemical formulas, but Classical Carpets has the benefits of the skills of their experienced Master Dyer, Mustafa.  Chris says “His work is truly magical.  As we make each carpet individually, this makes each carpet that we make, slightly different in coloration, and absolutely unique.  And of course the natural dyes are less toxic and less harmful to the environment.” 

Another detail that some might think minor, but which Chris says is critical, is the black yarn outlines.   

When he was first drawing the carpets,  there was a puzzle he couldn’t figure out   The major geometrical shapes are outlined in black yarn, to emphasize them, and also guide the weavers. In the older carpets it often seemed like the outlines would only take up half a knot,  which seemed to be impossible, and challenging in terms of drawing the geometry.  But then, after working with the natural dyes, Chris learned that many black dyes use iron oxides, which over time disintegrate the yarn.   

Chris says “So in the old carpets we weren’t seeing half knots, but rather disintegrated knots!   And in making our carpets, when we used non corrosive natural dye that gave us a real black, it was too strong, while a very dark brown dye, didn’t feel right either, it wasn’t dark enough.” 

They now use a naturally dark sheep's wool, which they dye several times with indigo, and then in the outlines they often hand shear this black  a millimeter or two shorter than the rest of the pile, so they have the strong black of the outline, with a non corrosive dye, but set back literally just a hair.

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