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The Production Process

There are two main types of carpet produced in Adıyaman:
Carpets woven in mountain villages for use by local people have a coarse weave and a long pile. They are generally 1.2 X 2 m in size and are woven with a double row. These carpets can be used on the floor or stuffed with cotton, wool or straw to make cushions.
Finer weave carpets produced in the towns and nearby villages are woven with traditional materials, but as they are often exported abroad, they are more contemporary in style. They have 35-40 knots per 10 cm2 and a short pile. These carpets are made to order and are generally sold to buyers in the big cities or abroad. They are usually 6-8 m2 in size, but can be made in much bigger sizes if required.
The main colours used in carpets are yellow, blue, red, green, navy, brown and cream. The number of colours can be increased by adding different shades, depending on the customer’s order. In the past, traditional motifs such as flowers, leaves, trees, animals and various geometric shapes were used in carpet designs, however, today more modern patterns may be employed according to customer’s demand.

In traditional production methods, wool, the principal raw material of a carpet or kilim, must pass through several processes. A particular characteristic of Adıyaman carpets is that procedures that have been used for hundreds of years are still used today. In villages, the sheep are generally sheared in spring, the wool is washed and dried, and then combed and carded. The wool is then twisted on a spindle and spun into thread on a spinning wheel. The threads used in carpets are coloured with root dyes obtained from various plants. The natural dye used to colour the wool skeins adds to the longevity of the carpet.

The type of loom used in the area varies. Floor looms are used as well as roller beam type looms. The weaving process begins with the stretching of vertical threads, called warps, on the loom. After the tension on the warps has been adjusted according to the size and pattern of the carpet to be woven, the horizontal threads, known as wefts, are added, and the knotting of the coloured threads that will form the carpet pile begins. After one row of knots has been tied, the knots are pressed down with a comb-like tool called a kirkit. The thread pile that will constitute the carpet is cut with shears. When the weaving of the carpet is complete, a flat weave section called the toprakçalık is woven, followed by latticework. Finally, leaving threads for the fringe, equal in length to the beginning section (generally 10cm), the carpet is cut and taken off the loom.

Making a carpet is laborious work that requires patience. Three people working 8 hours a day take a month to complete 1 carpet. Upon completion, the finer carpets are sent for quality control and rectification of faults in the repair workshops. Here they are checked, knotting and colour errors are rectified, and warps damaged by the kirkit are repaired. After leather has been stitched onto the short sides, the carpets begin their journey to the purchasers.
While a carpet is being woven, care must be taken that, as the weft thread passes from side to side, the edges are not drawn in, and that there are no weft threads sticking out on the front and rear faces. The strokes of the kirkit should be regulated so that the tightness of the knots corresponds with the design and the quality of the carpet. At the same time, care should be taken that the kirkit does not harm the weft threads. The manager of the workshop regularly checks that the knot density is in accordance with the carpet quality. The pile of the carpet should be cut evenly with sharp shears.

Equipment used for carpet production:
Kirkit: This is a comb-like tool used to press down the weft thread each time it passes between the warp threads of flat-woven carpets. It is also used for pressing down the knots of carpets, according to the quality required. It is usually made from metal or hard wood. The kirkit, which resembles a comb, has a handle to enable the teeth to move easily between the weft threads. The distance between the warp threads varies according to the quality of the carpet, and so the density of the kirkit teeth also varies. For fine weave carpets, a fine-toothed kirkit is used; for a coarse weave carpet, a wide-toothed kirkit is used. When using a kirkit, the pressing action should be of uniform strength for all areas of the carpet. If this varies, then the quality of the carpet will be reduced.

Knife: During the carpet weaving process, this tool is used for cutting the excess weft thread, or the thread knotted to the warp. The knife has a wooden handle, a blade that is just sharp enough to cut thread, and is of a size that sits comfortably in the palm of the hand. When cutting the knotting threads, a downwards swiping motion should be used so that the threads sit on the warp neatly and are cut to an even length. When this happens, the back of the knotting threads form a uniform back to the carpet, and the quality of the carpet increases.

Adjustable Shears: This tool is designed to ensure that the pile of the carpet is even. The shears are adjusted at the beginning of the carpet weaving process, and remain at this setting until the carpet is finished. No other kind of shears should be used. The pile is cut after each row of knotting. If 3-4 rows are cut at once, it is not only difficult, but can also result in the spoiling of the carpet surface which will lower the quality of the carpet.

The contents of this publication, which has been funded through the 2010 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency, does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. The Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce is the sole bearer of responsibility for the contents.