Felt rugs from the mountains

 An uextra large size Makalu radhi.  Photographed at  The Old School Studio,  London

An uextra large size Makalu radhi.  Photographed at The Old School Studio, London

Our radhi rugs are our best-selling products.  Based on traditional radhi produced for the local market in Nepal, they are often used as blankets, floor coverings and even worn to keep out the cold and rain.  They're woven in the Himalayas by artisans using wool from local sheep, which is hand-spun.  We use only the un-dyed wool in our designs - creamy white and a dark grey wool from black sheep.

 Weaver using a traditional back-strap loom

Weaver using a traditional back-strap loom

The radhi are first woven on simple back-strap looms, which can be set up anywhere - against a tree or a building.  The looms are narrow, and the cloth woven on them is only about 36cm wide.  To create a larger piece such as a carpet, several strips of cloth are sewn together by hand.  Our rugs come in various sizes, using 4, 5 and 7 widths of narrow cloth joined together.

 Sorting wool for spinning

Sorting wool for spinning

 Woven radhi prior to felting

Woven radhi prior to felting

Once woven and sewn into larger pieces, the radhi are then washed and agitated in hot water to felt the wool, producing a thick, sturdy rug.  The fringed ends of the warp threads also felt together making a nice detail along the edges.

 Boiled radhi 

Boiled radhi 

We designed several simple patterns based on the simple weaving process and taking inspiration from some of the traditional motifs we'd seen being woven.  Take a look at our full collection.  We try to keep a small stock of the small and large sizes in the UK, and we're always interested in creating bespoke designs to order.  Contact us if you have a rug project you'd like to discuss.

 Glaciologist Kimberly Casey took this photo of Mt. Everest (left peak) lit by the sunset while she was in the field at Khumbu Glacier in the Nepali Himalayas. Shared through Creative Commons license.

Glaciologist Kimberly Casey took this photo of Mt. Everest (left peak) lit by the sunset while she was in the field at Khumbu Glacier in the Nepali Himalayas. Shared through Creative Commons license.

Karen Sear ShimaliComment