Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tibetan Rugs from Nepal

I am in the process of planning another trip to India and Nepal and the question always comes up...should I buy another Tibetan Rug? When the Tibetans began settling in the Kathmandu Valley in the 50's they brought with them their rug making skills and quickly began setting up factories. It is very interesting to watch them at work weaving the yarn across the rug then quickly cutting the tufts. When I went through the house looking at the ones I already had it turns out I have seven. I didn't think I had that many. This is one of my favorites and depicts a famous painting/design seen on many Tibetan Buddhist monastaries.
I love the design on this one and since it is quite large it lives on my kitchen floor (under the breakfast area not in front of the stove or something)

I purchased this one on my last trip two years ago. Dragons are a very frequent theme.

As is the flayed tiger design.

Most of my rugs are 100 knot (supposed to be 100 knots to the square inch...more on that later) but this one is a 60 knot. The 60 knots are heavier and don't have as fine a design as the 100 knots.
This is probably my favorite and is on the upstairs hall wall. A 100 knot.

Tibetan women weaving the rugs in Patan...a Kathmandu suburb.

The Tibetan woman from whom I purchased my last rug (the two dragons) wrapping it up for my suitcase. I weights 7 pounds.

Sorting the wool yarn for spinning.

Spinning the yarn. After the rugs are woven they are washed and them clipped to a smooth surface or a design can be also cut in.

Most of this Tibetan production is in scatter sizes, although 8'x10' and 9'x12' carpets sometimes appear. The best of these rugs are still made the old fashioned way with totally handspun Tibetan yarn and vegetable dyes. These Tibetan rugs are thick and dense, with heavy, lustrous pile and deep, rich colors.
In all elements of design and construction Tibetan rugs are distinctly different from types made in other weaving areas. Tibetan rugs are woven by wrapping a continuous length of yarn over a rod laid across the warps stretched on the loom ( as in the illustration at the beginning of the blog). When the rod has been wrapped for its entire length, a knife is slid along the rod, cutting the wrapped yarn into two rows of pile tufts.
The most commonly found grades of Tibetan rugs are "60", "80", and "100" knot qualities although I rarely see the 80 . However, the scale of the graphs from which these rugs are woven does not exactly match the physical arrangement of warps on the loom; there are fewer knots per sq. in. in the actual rug than the graph indicates. Thus a "60 knot" rug actually has about 32 knots per sq. in., an "80 knot" rug about 50 knots per sq. in., and a "100 knot" rug about 72 knots per sq. in.
I have never had any moth problems despite the fact that they are all wool. The worst thing that happens is a bit of fuzzing for awhile on a rug on the floor as a few loose fibers slough off. They should wear for years and years.

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Blogger Hank Lee said...

Hi Priscilla,
I am planning a trip to Nepal in January- I can see that you got these beautiful rugs in Patan- do you happen to remember the name of the shop?
Thanks! Sylvia

December 17, 2012 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Priscilla Kibbee said...

If you take a taxi in Patan toward the Tibetan Refugee Center where they manufacture rugs there is a low hill heading down toward the building. Along the sides of the road on this hillside just before the center you will see lots of shops selling these rugs. Much more interesting rugs and cheaper. Bargain hard as always in Nepal.

December 17, 2012 at 10:58 PM  

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